A new report by the International Crisis Group (ICG) helps answer the question about what the appropriate responses are to Islamic militancy in Central Asia. The ICG is a highly respected, well connected, expert, private, multinational organization that describes itself as “committed to strengthening the capacity of the international community to anticipate, understand, and act to prevent and contain conflict.” In its new report titled “Central Asia: Islamist Mobilisation and Regional Stability,” ICG makes recommendations to Central Asian governments, external powers, and international organizations.
Paul Wolfowitz, Reagans Man in Indonesia, Is Back at the Pentagon Tim Shorrock
President Bush worries that the “United States might become militarily engaged” in Colombia. It’s a little late for that. Reports that American civilians were involved in an exchange of fire between FARC guerrillas and Colombian police last week put U.S. military involvement in sharp focus. The millions of dollars invested in renovating military bases in El Salvador, Ecuador, and the Caribbean, together with the training of new counternarcotics battalions, indicate that the U.S. has long term military plans in the region–even if George W. Bush hasn’t figured it out yet. His meeting with Colombian President Andres Pastrana provides an important and timely opportunity to evaluate and even reverse U.S. military involvement.
The air strikes against suburban Baghdad this past week continue and escalate the failed policies of the Clinton administration.
The guilty verdict against Libyan intelligence operative Abdel Baset Ali Mohamed Al-Megrahi may have finally established guilt in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland in 1988, yet it will not usher in a new era for U.S.-Libyan relations. Perhaps, however, it will lead the new Bush administration to re-evaluate the failed anti-terrorism policies of recent administrations.
The U.S. emerged from the cold war as the only military and economic superpower and maintained that position throughout the 1990s while substantially reducing military spending and force levels. The peace dividend produced by the spending reductions contributed significantly to America’s sustained economic expansion by easing pressures on the federal budget, making possible lower interest rates, and fueling greater investment. Although it is arguable whether the best use was made of the resources that were freed, it is unquestionable that military cuts were a major cause of the record long recovery.
U.S. defense contractors were full participants in the last election cycle. Their contributions, totaling $13.5 million, were liberally distributed among both presidential campaigns, major party coffers, and House and Senate races, heavily emphasizing the members of both houses’ Armed Services Committees. This corporate campaign financing will help ensure that weapons industry interests will be well served in the coming year’s budget process.
The Bush administration has made many of its major priorities clear through the selection of the president’s foreign policy advisers.
The first six weeks of the George W. Bush era, starting with the flurry of appointments he made during December, through the confirmation hearings of his key cabinet members earlier this month, and on into his first full week in office, has had a very “retro” feel about it. We have a vice president who was Gerald Ford’s chief of staff, and we have a secretary of defense who got his start in the Nixon administration in 1969 before he went on to become Ford’s chief of staff and then Ford’s secretary of defense.
As the Senate Armed Services Committee begins hearings on the nomination of Donald Rumsfeld for Secretary of Defense, new information has emerged which casts doubt on his image as a solid, non-ideological manager who can bring the Pentagon into the 21st century.