America’s image of Pakistan is of a nation on the brink of total chaos. While there is certainly a great deal of instability in Pakistan, a more serious problem is the severe disconnect between the emerging crises in Pakistan and U.S. foreign policy toward the country. Unresolved, this disconnect could have tragic consequences for the security of people in both countries.
As Congress works to balance the budget and find a solution to the Iraq crisis it must also focus on a different kind of budget balancing. Our country needs a rebalanced its security budget, one that strengthens a different kind of overall U.S. presence in the world. This budget would emphasize working with international partners to resolve conflicts and tackle looming human security problems like climate change; preventing the spread of nuclear materials by means other than regime change; and addressing the root causes of terrorism, while protecting the homeland against it. The rhetoric of these intentions must be underwritten by the resources to make them real. The overall priorities set by a Unified Security Budget must both symbolically and substantially guide the United States toward a new, more balanced foreign policy.
On Monday, Iraq’s National Assembly will release a draft constitution to be voted on by the people in two months. Since February, vital issues have been debated and discussed by the drafting committee: the role of Islamic law, the rights of women, the autonomy of the Kurds and the participation of the minority Sunnis.
Congress is about to enact an energy bill that would severely limit the power of coastal states and municipalities to veto construction of massive — potentially dangerous — liquefied-natural-gas (LNG) terminals in their harbors. If the bill is signed into law by President Bush, federal authorities will gain the power to overrule states and municipalities in choosing locations for these terminals.
(Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram on Monday, August 1, 2005.)
Until recently, I’ve been completely unimpressed with Washington antics. Politicians get paid a lot of money to do their jobs. They take an oath to uphold the Constitution. Watching them blatantly abdicate their responsibility in the run-up to the Iraq War was almost as difficult as watching most of America let them get away with it.
While the Bush administration still aspires to ward off defeat, it is becoming increasingly clear that its failure to pass the Central American Free Trade Agreement represents the latest in a series of setbacks for its sputtering trade agenda. For working people throughout the Americas, this is cause to celebrate.
Thanks in large part to persistent campaigners in the global South and their international supporters, a plan granting 100 percent multilateral debt relief for 18 impoverished countries has been approved by leaders of the Group of Eight industrialized countries in advance of their July meeting in Scotland.
Somenthing extraordinary is happening in Korea, and Washington appears to be paying no attention. The two Koreas have plunged headlong in to unknown territory: reunification. For 50 years, aside from the occasional defector, it was impossible to cross the demilitarized zone dividing the Korean Peninsula.
Ironically, as the Pentagon proposed to close 33 military bases in the United States, including four in Georgia, Congress passed a spending bill for the Iraq war that included half a billion dollars for permanent military bases and another half billion for building the world’s largest embassy on Iraq’s soil.