The Threat of ‘Anti-Access’ and Public Delusions About Security
Those with a hand in crafting US foreign policy are always more explicit about their strategies than those in the servile political and pundit classes who have a bullhorn to the ear of the American public. The result of this is that the public are under grand delusions about what motivates US foreign policy. It’s far easier to listen to a speech from your district’s representative or to what Bill O’Reilly screams about than to actually attempt to understand policy from those who implement it.
US warships in the Persian Gulf
Take, for example, a piece in the most recent issue of Foreign Affairs, the main establishment journal, by Andrew Krepinevich, a West Point graduate with a PhD. from Harvard who has served on the personal staff of three Defense Secretaries and now heads the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments think-tank. Here is a key sentence:
The challenges that China and Iran pose for U.S. security lie not in the threat of traditional cross-border invasions but in efforts to establish spheres of influence in, and ultimately to control access to, critically important regions.
Now, if that is how most Americans understand the supposed top two greatest threats the country faces, I’ll eat my foot. What the public sees constantly streaming on television, across headlines, and rushing out of politicians mouths is that Iran and China are outlaw states that are threats to the security of Americans. And that’s why polling generally shows Americans are troubled by these two threats.
Krepinevich’s piece is subtitled “Why the Pentagon Should Focus on Assuring Access.” The last word there is important. US foreign policy centers around “access.” The threat to the US emanating from China and Iran is not that they will attack us – that is a virtual impossibility. Rather, it is that those states will “establish spheres of influence” and therefore deny US military “access.”
These are referred to in Pentagon parlance as “anti-access” or “area-denial” scenarios. A Department of Defense paper that was released last January focused on the potential increase of these scenarios going forward. It said, “the United States must maintain the credible capability to project military force into any region of the world in support of [its] interests.” Notice the technocratic description of empire. The notion that any state or non-state actor would dare deny America military access to their territory is patently unacceptable.
This is the mindset that informed the Carter Doctrine – literally the cornerstone of US foreign policy in the Middle East, which colored every policy and perspective on the region since its induction in Carter’s State of the Union address in January 1980. “An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region,” Carter declared, “will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”
US Navy fleet in Asia-Pacific
Suddenly America began to consider the Middle East part of its own territory. Any move by any state to gain influence in that region will be regarded as an “assault” on the United States worthy of military action in – they regard it – self-defense.
And thus the threat from Iran is not the status of their nuclear program per se, but rather its rising influence and how it might impact US control of Persian Gulf oil. A secret memo written in 1982 to the National Security Council regarding the threat from Iran put it succinctly, arguing that “whoever is in control of the Gulf’s” oil, “is in a position to have a very large political as well as economic influence in the world.”
You can see this strategy now playing out in the Asia-Pacific region as well, due to China’s rising influence. Not long before Obama announced his “Asia Pivot” strategy of surging US military presence throughout the region in order to contain China, then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates spoke at an International Institute for Strategic Studies meeting in Singapore and argued for “sustaining a robust [US] military presence in Asia.” He spoke of overcoming “anti-access and area denial scenarios” that the US military faces in Asia, which threatens America’s access to strategic markets and resources.
China represents a threat to the professional statists in Washington who benefit from having dominion over the world. Unless the Pentagon can span the entire globe at will with little or no resistance, it is a loss for them.
But Americans don’t understand it this way. They see Iran and China as a threat to their personal security. If only they could get beyond political soapboxes and Bill O’Reilly.
“If the US government doesn’t spend trillions of dollars each year dropping bombs, torturing and spying on the world, the foreigners will come here and kill us all!”
I do believe in educating the public. I try my best in illustrating, perhaps with my comments, caricaturing it. Public cares not.
Major policy wonks take care of molding public opinion with their high flying, scholarly (sic) arguments. They are experts, I have no doubt about it. However, public has no access to their research methods or well stocked libraries with books, scholarly papers.
Public libraries do not keep anything more than few books. Mostly from authors without pedigree.
Discussions become complicated because of emotional outbursts from parties having opinions that border on insane justifications for or against US policy.
I want all to understand the gravity. Not the propaganda and publicity.
…and I am Sid Harth@elcidharth.com
Copyright © Antiwar.com 2012
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You are here: Home»Articles & Letters»Articles»Iran, Syria, China: Obama faces foreign policy challenges
Iran, Syria, China: Obama faces foreign policy challengesNovember 14, 2012
US President Barack Obama has barely won re-election and is already making waves with his first trip abroad after the crucial vote, as he spends four days in South-East Asia from Saturday through November 20. The itinerary explains more about the new foreign policy focus than a think-tank full of establishment experts ever could: Europe is no longer Washington’s top priority.
The United States sees itself increasingly as a Pacific power. The United States’ most pressing foreign policy challenges are Iran, Israel and Syria, and their challenges to peace. Obama is travelling to three relatively small countries – Myanmar, Cambodia and Thailand – which are in the orbit of China, whose military policies have long been giving Washington headaches.
The visit to the small tigers is a political gesture in Beijing’s direction to show that the US has a presence. China’s claim to the natural resources in the South China Sea has caused Washington even more concern. “The risk of a conflict in the South China Sea is considerable,” says political scientist Bonnie Glaser.
The expert on Asia notes that Beijing’s military policy could even put US forces at risk in the event of a conflict in the region. For now, however, Obama’s most urgent foreign policy problem is Iran. Fears are growing that Israel may take military action against Iran’s nuclear programme, perhaps as soon as early 2013. Obama is trying to deter Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from ordering a use of force, but relations appear icy between the two men.
US media reports suggest the Pentagon is already planning for scenarios that might see the United States dragged into the conflict. Only the US has weapons that could break through Iran’s hardened nuclear sites. “I suspect we’ll see a new push for some sort of diplomatic deal with Iran,” says political scientist Stephen Walt of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Washington-based think-tank.
He suggests that the US will “gradually adjust itself to a nuclear-capable Iran” that does not actually have nuclear arms. The United States would have to put up with Tehran holding large quantities of enriched uranium, while the regime refrains from assembling nuclear bombs or missiles to carry them to Israel.
So far, the official line in Washington has been to force Iran to give up its nuclear programme through increasingly tough sanctions. However, a Western diplomat in Washington recently said that “a satisfactory deal could not rely on Iran unilaterally backing off.” Direct talks between the United States and Iran are regarded as likely in the near future, according to The New York Times.
The second smouldering problem for Obama is Syria. So far, no military role has even been considered by the White House. It is far too dangerous, and intervention in Syria would be far more complicated than the US-led no-fly zone that helped bring down the Libyan dictatorship in 2011, the US military says. Obama ended the war in Iraq and he wants to pull out of Afghanistan: a new military quagmire would be a nightmare. But pressure may mount for the US to do something as the death toll continues to rise into the scores of thousands.
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It’s Not About Religion
Publisher: Perceval Press
Quantity Available: 17
Literary Nonfiction. Middle Eastern Studies. When the Middle East is covered on the news or depicted in film, what is shown is a region defined almost exclusively by violence, chaos, and extremism, and a common question often arises in response: Does religion have anything to do with it?
In this concise book, Gregory Harms examines a range of topics in an effort to answer the question. As the book’s title indicates, the region’s woes and instability are in fact not caused by biblical or Islamic factors. Harms reveals a list of entirely secular factors and realities as he examines how and why Americans view the Arab Middle East the way they do; the history of European and U.S. involvement in the region; the emergence of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism; and how academics and the mass media tend to discuss the region and its inhabitants.
In roughly one hundred pages, the reader is shown a constellation of history and culture that will hopefully help move the conversation of the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy in a more grounded and precise direction.
“For anyone wishing to understand the disconnect between the protests of the ‘Arab Spring’ that have so inspired us all and the Western image of the Middle East as an eternally fundamentalist, freedom-hating backwater, this book is for you. An informative, lively, and humane look at the real sources of conflict and struggle in the region.”—Naomi Klein
“Gregory Harms’s IT’S NOT ABOUT RELIGION is a welcome breath of reason in the midst of our continued and willful ignorance about all things Islamic, Middle Eastern, and especially, Muslim. Important and timely.”—Nick Flynn
Author City: CHICAGO, IL USA
Gregory Harms is an independent scholar specializing in American foreign policy and the Middle East. He lectures, keeps a blog on Facebook, and has published articles on CounterPunch, Truthout, and Mondoweiss. Harms has traveled throughout Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, and has been interviewed on BBC Radio. He is the author of Straight Power Concepts in the Middle East: US Foreign Policy, Israel and World History (Pluto Press, 2009) and, with Todd M. Ferry, The Palestine-Israel Conflict: A Basic Introduction, first published by Pluto Press in 2005, now (2012) in its third edition.
Bio|Books|Events|News|Letters|Links|ArchiveWelcome to GregoryHarms.com, which contains information about Gregory and his work. The site also furnishes supplementary news and research resources outside the frame of mainstream news outlets, as a diversity of information is of principal importance to comprehension. The two logos to the right—for Facebook and Blogger—will lead you to his blog, located on both sites.INTERVIEWS Nov. 02, 2012 Harms: Society of Midland Authors interview
Oct. 28, 2012 Harms: KPFK Radio, Middle East in Focus (35:30)
Oct. 09, 2012 Harms: Truthout interview, with David Masciotra
Sep. 09, 2012 Harms: WGN Radio, Sunday Papers with Rick Kogan
Aug. 15, 2012 Harms: WBEZ, Worldview with Jerome McDonnell
Sep. 20, 2012 Harms: The Earthly Interests of Power: A Response …
Aug. 12, 2012 Harms: Oak Creek and us
Jun. 21, 2012 Harms: Mitt Romney (the Candidate) on the Middle East
May 18, 2012 Harms: Huntley fails to work within history
Apr. 25, 2012 Harms: Fareed Zakaria: At War with History
Apr. 03, 2012 Harms: Palestine-Israel: Peace Process Fulfilled
Mar. 23, 2012 Harms: Afghanistan: The Devastation of a Virtual Country
Jan. 13, 2012 Harms: The Liberal Media and Foreign Policy
NEW BOOK, NOW AVAILABLE
July 24, 2012: Harms’s third book, It’s Not about Religion, is now available to order, through Amazon or directly from Perceval Press. See Books section on this site for details.
June 25, 2012: The updated third edition of The Palestine-Israel Conflict: A Basic Introduction is now shipping and is also available for the Kindle on Amazon US. See Books section on this site for details.
© MMXII Gregory HarmsJune 21, 2012Does Anyone Know Where He Really Stands?
Romney and the Middle Eastby GREGORY HARMS
Campaign rhetoric generally strains credulity, and no less so during the recent Republican mobilization to unseat Barack Obama. From the GOP primaries to the present, the candidates – and now Mitt Romney in particular – have intensified the atmosphere where a candidate cannot possibly pledge with enough ardor – or redundancy – devotion to family, the Constitution, the free market, and Israel.
The first three talking points in the above list are generally meaningless, merely functioning as easy bona fides: Being pro-family is like being anti-genocide. The Constitution is merely a metonym for “America,” as is the phrase “free market,” despite its basic nonexistence. The subject of Israel naturally serves the same purpose, but is connected to the very real world of foreign policy.
On June 16, Romney addressed the Faith and Freedom Coalition in Washington, DC, via video link, and during the Q&A session commented on the subject of Israel and Obama. His remarks invite comment, for what it’s worth given the context: Republicans seek much-needed votes among conservative Christian organizations on account of the GOP’s unrepresentative policy agenda; that is, tending to the needs of people like citizen Romney against the needs of the middle class people who, incidentally, make up the bulk of Christian evangelicals. As a result, the rhetoric is dialed up even more than usual and, as mentioned, this reality should be taken into consideration.
Generally speaking, caution is advised against immersion into the clamor of party politics. Voters do have serious, vested interests and therefore must negotiate the political order as it exists and try to determine where candidates stand. That being said, the blizzard of statistics, debates, soundbites, points, counterpoints, “gaffes,” and controversies offers little more than bewilderment; the media coverage alone is a national disgrace. A particular peril of this blizzard is that one can forget one is even in it. As a result, the population begins to adopt the language and vocabulary provided by the parties. And when the voting public’s words are supplanted, so to is its thinking. One then forgets (or suppresses) the original policy concerns he or she originally went in with. Roughly 70 percent of Americans want some kind of national, single-payer healthcare plan; but because this thinking is off the partisan spectrum, it’s off the agenda. Out of sight, out of mind – hence the value in taking heed.
Nevertheless, Romney’s message on Israel suggests an ultra-hawkish position on the Middle East and is worth a thought.
In his answer to a question about how, as president, Romney would strengthen ties with Israel, he replied that “by and large you could just look at the things the president has done and do the opposite.” I do not disagree with the former governor’s words here. A good way to improve on President Obama’s overall Middle East policy – not just Israel – would be to, in many instances, do the opposite:
- * Cease the drone-attack policy
- * Close Guantanamo Bay
- * Withdraw from and internationalize a development effort in Afghanistan; pay reparations
- * Place real pressure on Israel regarding settlements and diplomacy in accordance with international law, resulting in a Palestinian state
- * Help foster real international diplomacy concerning de-escalation in Syria
- * Rely on diplomatic strategies for dissuading Iran from ever moving toward uranium enrichment over 20 percent; normalize relations
When candidate Romney said “opposite” with regard to Obama’s handling of Israel, he of course didn’t mean opposite.
Romney then went on to raise a number of points including:
(1) criticizing Obama for “castigat[ing] Israel for building settlements”;
(2) alleging that the president seems “more frightened that Israel might take military action than he’s concerned that Iran might become nuclear”;
(3) lamenting Obama’s “insistence that Israel return to the ’67 borders, [which are] indefensible borders”;
(4) condemning Obama for being “disrespectful of Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu”; and
(5) urging the further arming of the Syrian opposition.
The governor is off the mark on all five points.
First, the Obama administration has indeed been critical of Israel’s settlement program, which is standard White House policy and has been for decades. But being critical minus actual pressure equals consent. It should be pointed out that Israel’s building of settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank is in contravention of international law. What is more, Obama has done nothing to stop Israel’s settlement activity.
Second, Israel attacking Iran is precisely a frightening proposition. A number of US and Israeli security and defense elites have said as much. Therefore, fright is the appropriate response. Whether this is what Obama is experiencing is another matter. The president’s handling of Iran thus far has been irresponsible, illegal, and has likely inspired Tehran to at least further weigh the benefits of joining the nuclear club. Into the bargain, Israel has been allowed a great deal of latitude on the issue and has been afforded ample room in the American press to set the tone for discussion (see New York Times Magazine, Jan. 25, 2012). And it bears repeating that there is no evidence that Iran is heading toward a weapons program.
Third, the June 1967 borders – also called the Green Line – are the internationally recognized borders between Israel and the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza, and have been the diplomatic point of departure for 45 years. Obama’s position is not new, and again, the White House has done absolutely nothing on this point.
Fourth, Romney’s stated concern for how the president of the United States has treated Israel’s prime minister is more strange than anything else. Israel is a US client and is actually expected to be recalcitrant to a degree. When Israel goes too far, its leash gets jerked. Tel Aviv’s diplomatic embarrassment of Vice President Joe Biden in spring 2010 with an announcement of major settlement expansion was just such a case, for which Netanyahu was roundly reprimanded. There have been many other instances. Former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir was brought to heel by George H. W. Bush in 1992, when documents thoroughly embarrassing to Israel started to get “leaked” after the prime minister crossed the line concerning, again, settlements. It is doubtful Romney knows this history. It is doubtful he even cares how one leader treats another. It is also doubtful his national allegiance is split (it being uncertain he has any to begin with), but one could possibly be within bounds to question him on this point.
Finally, the fact that segments of the opposition in Syria armed themselves in the first place explains much of the destruction and bloodshed. This in no way excuses Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s brutality. But further arming the Free Syrian Army and others – which the Obama administration is indirectly involved in vis-a-vis Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar (Independent, June 13) – can only inflame matters. Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan’s peace initiative is a sensible path. Romney’s is not.
Watching Mitt Romney over the last year, it is difficult if not impossible to determine where he stands. Therefore, one can only take him at his word and evaluate what he happens to be saying at that particular moment. On the topic of Israel and Middle Eastern policy, he has made similar remarks in the past. Whether he believes them, or stands behind them, or is simply playing to the room is anyone’s guess. Beyond the inaccuracies and inconsistencies, where might a President Romney fall in on the subject of the Middle East? Though an equally speculative issue, a plausible, sober answer appeared in the May issue of Foreign Policy in an article entitled “Barack O’Romney.”
The piece was authored by Aaron David Miller, a former State Department envoy and longtime adviser on Middle East diplomacy, and his conclusion is quite simple: “there’s just not that much difference between the two.” In other words, when it comes to foreign-policy formulation, Obama and Romney are cut from the same bolt of fabric. Miller, a stalwart insider and meticulous custodian of American power in the Middle East – and protector of Israel’s diplomatic preferences – can spot his own kind with equanimity.
Irrespective of who wins this November, continuity will likely, and sadly, be the victor. If there is, however, any sincerity in Romney’s campaign pronouncements and he wins, the outcome could be much worse.
GREGORY HARMS is the author of The Palestine-Israel Conflict: A Basic Introduction (2nd ed., Pluto Press, 2008), and Straight Power Concepts in the Middle East: US Foreign Policy, Israel, and World History (Pluto Press, 2010) and the 2012 forthcoming It’s Not about Religion (Perceval Press).Friday, 06 April 2012 10:29
Palestine Has Always Been Off the Agenda
Written by Gregory Harms
Counterpunch – It was recently noted, correctly, by Al Jazeera and the New York Times that the Palestinians and their situation have been “sidelined” and moved off the “world agenda.” On account of factors including US-Israeli tensions with Iran, unfolding Arab Spring developments, and the US election year, things have indeed been quiet, but more by a matter of degree. At the moment, the Palestinian national movement is simply further off the agenda, with the status quo firmly intact.
Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem continues uninterruptedly. For the last number of years, Gaza has been at the receiving end of ongoing and brutal military punishment. Most recently, the Israeli Defense Forces assassinated Zuhair al-Qaissi, a leader of the Popular Resistance Committees, thus provoking reprisal rocket fire from Gazan militants. Over the course of the violence, 25 Palestinians were killed, five of whom were civilians, including a school boy and a father and daughter; approximately 80 were wounded, mostly civilians.
The violence was initiated by Israel disturbing a period of calm between Israel and Hamas – a behavior not without precedent. The response in the US media was predictably cautious in how it portrayed Israel’s conduct. New York Times journalist Isabel Kershner, in a video segment on the Times‘ website, made sure to keep the event in perspective: “Although of course Israel did set off this latest round, Israel’s action has been very pinpointed, a lot more restrained than it might have been.” In the paper that day (March 13), Kershner quoted but failed to question Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s warning after a truce was established: “Our message is clear: quiet will lead to quiet.” Things, Kershner might have noted, were quiet.
In addition to military assault, Gaza’s forced economic isolation remains crippling; despite withdrawal from the territory in 2005, Israel maintains its occupation externally. Human rights groups have carefully documented the territory’s hardship, creating an immense and unequivocal documentary record. According to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, “The Gaza blockade [imposed since 2007] … is a denial of basic human rights in contravention of international law and amounts to collective punishment.” The news headlines alone are revealing. The title of a Haaretz piece in February read “Gaza’s only power plant stops due to smuggled fuel shortage.” Taking into consideration everything contained in those words, an accompanying article is close to unnecessary.
As Dov Weisglass, an adviser to former prime minister Ariel Sharon, stated prior to Israel evacuating Gaza: “The disengagement is actually formaldehyde. It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that’s necessary so that there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.” The subsequent years up to and including the present have done nothing but give credence to Weisglass’s admission. With Gaza basically removed from the picture, Israel has concentrated on the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
While the development of settlements in the West Bank continues – and did so even during the 10-month “moratorium” on their expansion during 2010 – Palestinians continue to experience worsening restrictions of movement. As reported in the Guardian, “91 permits were issued for Palestinian construction in Area C [the majority of West Bank] between 2001 and 2007. In the same period, more than 10,000 Israeli settlement units were built and 1,663 Palestinian structures demolished.” Area C was to be negotiated after the Oslo Accords, and ever since has been the focus of Israel’s land expropriation, and preemption of a viable Palestinian state.
The period commonly referred to as the “peace process” spanned from 1991 to 2000. It started with the George H. W. Bush administration convening a conference in Madrid, Spain, and ended with Bill Clinton conducting negotiations at Camp David and then issuing the Clinton Plan at the very end of his second term. While these years helped foster periods of calm, what is starkly visible is Israel’s ceaseless consolidation and refinement of its occupation.
Though Clinton’s last-minute parameters represented the high-water mark of US-Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy for that decade, they also drew that diplomacy to a close. Independent initiatives were produced over the following years, in particular, the Saudi proposal in 2002 (reissued in 2007), and two “track-II” proposals: the People’s Voice principles and the Geneva Accord, both issued in 2003. The Clinton Plan and these three later proposals bear much in common with one another, and contain reasonable, workable paths to a two-state resolution of the conflict.
Regardless of this fact, since Camp David II, the situation in the Palestinian territories has basically remained in a post-peace-process limbo. Which is not to suggest that the peace process was a strenuous and genuine effort to end the Palestine-Israel conflict. A simple survey of the diplomatic history all the way from 1967 to the present makes it clear that the United States has opted for suspension and delay.
For Washington, the Palestinians have no strategic value, only intermittent tactical value. Palestine mainly functions as a diplomatic lever when the White House needs to manage regional tensions. The executive branch also uses the Palestinians as an example of how difficult gaining independence can be, falling into the category of democracy prevention – a highly visible pattern in US foreign relations. And postponing Palestinian statehood – and thus sustaining Israel’s occupation – helps keep Israel in the mode of militancy, its primary function in the US-Israeli “special relationship.” Apart from utility, the Palestinians are considered a trifling entity by American policymakers.
Western Europe makes the occasional compelling pronouncement, but falls in line with US policy. Middle Eastern leaders have generally been disinterested throughout the conflict’s history, with thought usually only given to the Palestinians’ plight unsettling their own domestic populations, and therefore the stability of their regimes. This, of course, is now in flux.
So while the Palestine question is presently being eclipsed by other affairs in the international arena, it bears consideration that the Palestinians have always been off the agenda. The occupation has become procedural, and the Bush II-Obama paradigm could conceivably go on for years to come. While not peaceful by any rational standard, things are stable enough for Washington and Tel Aviv’s liking. Placing the matter front and center, and in the context of practical solutions already in reserve, will likely only be achieved by way of popular pressure.
GREGORY HARMS is an independent scholar focusing on American foreign relations and the Middle East. He is the author of The Palestine-Israel Conflict: A Basic Introduction (2nd ed., Pluto Press, 2008), and Straight Power Concepts in the Middle East: US Foreign Policy, Israel, and World History (Pluto Press, 2010) and the 2012 forthcoming It’s Not about Religion (Perceval Press).More in this category: « Why is Palestine solidarity being criminalized on California campuses? Rick Steves: Reflections on Israel and Palestine — I’ve Been Duped »
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U.S. keeps Israel in mode of militancy, author says
President Barack Obama has adhered to policy orthodoxy in the Middle East, “keeping Israel in the mode of militancy,” author Gregory Harms says.
Harms, an independent scholar specializing in American foreign policy and the Middle East, is the author of three books, including most recently It’s Not About Religion (Perceval Press, July, 2012).
“If you think like Dick Cheney, if you think like Henry Kissinger, then the [U.S.] policies make perfect sense,” he told a meeting of the Society of Midland Authors Tuesday evening at the Cliff Dwellers club in Chicago.
But that “subsurface continuity,” those policies that have been little changed at root since the Truman administration, don’t make sense to most Americans, he said.
“Americans want Washington to conduct less interference in the Middle East,” he said. “They want more UN involvement. They want a more democratized system. … You need to look at what the population wants, not what a handful of planners want.”
Washington’s concern is resources – that as markets expand in India and China, as oil prices go up – it is critical from the “rational” perspective that the United States has authority in that region, he said.
For business, “the Middle East is the jewel,” he said.
As for average citizens, “If you spend time in the region there is a far greater openness to discussing politics,” he said. ” … In the United States because we are all a little confused, our political discussions turn immediately into arguments. You get two people who are yelling at each other who aren’t fully informed.”
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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Frisbie published on November 13, 2012 7:04 PM.
Americans Urge Congress, the President to Avoid Fiscal Cliff
Most Americans want both sides to compromise
PRINCETON, NJ — More than eight in 10 Americans say it is extremely or very important for Congress and President Obama to agree on a plan so that the automatic budget cuts and tax increases of the “fiscal cliff” do not occur on Jan. 1.
Republicans are slightly more likely than either independents or Democrats to say it is important that the fiscal cliff be avoided, although large majorities of all groups hold this belief.
These results are from a Nov. 9-12 USA Today/Gallup poll. Now that the presidential election is over, more attention is being focused on the implications of the pending Jan. 1 fiscal cliff — which will occur if Congress and the president do not agree to an alternative plan.
Americans Want Both Sides to Compromise, but Have Little Faith They Will
The strong ideological breach between President Obama and the Democratically controlled Senate, on the one hand, and the Republican-controlled House, on the other, make negotiations on an alternative to the fiscal cliff difficult. Americans of all partisan orientations, however, appear to believe that both sides in the negotiations should compromise in order to reach a solution.
Although about a quarter of both Republicans and Democrats say it would be best for the country if the other side compromised more, two-thirds of both groups say both sides should compromise equally. In short, rank-and-file Republicans and Democrats across the country are to a significant degree willing to forfeit philosophical purity in order to avoid the fiscal cliff.
In contrast, Americans have quite mixed views regarding how likely it is that both sides will comprise. About a quarter predict that both sides will compromise equally, while 34% say neither side will compromise, with the rest about evenly split between saying Republicans or Democrats will compromise more.
Americans Following News of Fiscal Cliff Closely
Seventy-one percent of Americans are following the news of the fiscal cliff very or somewhat closely — 10 points higher than the average attention given to news stories Gallup has measured in the past several decades. There are only small differences in the attention being paid to the news story between Republicans and Democrats.
Most Americans view finding an alternative plan for the pending Jan. 1 fiscal cliff as either extremely or very important, and want the president and members of the Senate and the House to compromise in order to find a solution.
For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample includes a minimum quota of 400 cellphone respondents and 600 landline respondents per 1,000 national adults, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents by region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cellphone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.
Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, and phone status (cellphone only/landline only/both, cellphone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2011 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
For more details on Gallup’s polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.
July 31, 2012
He is simply following orders from his financial masters and saying what Israel’s leaders like to hear. And because the Romney campaign needs to create the image of distinction between itself and Obama, the rhetoric is off the wall. This reality was on display throughout the Republican primaries; the political differences between the GOP and the Democrats are relatively minor, and because both parties have moved to the right, the Republicans choose to move rightward further still so as to differentiate themselves. We are now hearing this in Romney’s alternately inaccurate, bizarre, and/or contradictory statements on the campaign trail, especially concerning foreign policy.
Even establishment intellectuals like Fareed Zakaria think Romney is off the mark on foreign policy:
Romney’s pledges of devotion to the Jewish state are in themselves difficult to take seriously. It is not entirely clear how devoted he is even to the United States, much alone one of Washington’s clients. One doesn’t detect from the governor any deeper feelings about this country beyond it serving as a playground on which to generate and accrue vast wealth. His record at Bain Capital, tax havens, and undisclosed personal finances are cause enough for suspicion; that his plan for improving the economy involves tax cuts for the rich (and seemingly little else) is not only breathtaking but strongly indicative of his true priorities.
What he said in Jerusalem is, again, diplomatically, morally, and factually unsound. Nevertheless, his comments were part of a performance delivered for payment. Maybe he believes what he said, maybe he doesn’t; there is little point in speculating. But if he doesn’t believe it and this kind of rhetoric is his chosen device for getting votes and financial contributions, it doesn’t say much for the candidate or the person.
July 30, 2012
July 28, 2012
July 24, 2012
July 12, 2012
Flouting international opinion, an Israeli government-appointed commission of jurists said Monday that Israel’s presence in the West Bank was not occupation and recommended that the state grant approval for scores of unauthorized Jewish settlement outposts there.
July 9, 2012
July 6, 2012
July 5, 2012
July 2, 2012
cross-referenced news and research resources about
US President George W. Bush’s foreign policy
Sid Harth – 58 seconds ago – Limited –
US Foreign Policy, Oops, Fallacy and I Of Plans, Policy, Public Perceptions and I
Sep 16, 2012 – Cairo-protesters-US-foreign-policy-result … It is the fallacy that democracy can save the Islamic World from its tyrants and deprivations and …… I come to your country, I bribe oops I mean support your dicator oops again I mean …
Oct 10, 2012 – Middle East, Oops, Muddle in a Political Puddle and I …. Mitt Romney: U.S. Foreign Policy Should Be More Assertive … …… The fallacy of your arguments is that you believe that arab countries will have democracy if the proper …
2 days ago – परोपदेशे पांडित्यं FP Libyan Fallacy and I | वसुधैव … … US Foreign Policy: 1001 Arabian Nightmares? | वसुधैव कुटुंबकम … वसुधैव कुटुंबकम – Foreign Policy Rumble, Oops, Stumble and I …
Nov 5, 2012 – Barack Obama is furthering Bill Clinton’s policies. … Only US foreign policy is important to us — and Obama is no dove and Romney no hawk.
2 days ago – परोपदेशे पांडित्यं FP Libyan Fallacy and I | वसुधैव … … US Foreign Policy: 1001 Arabian Nightmares? | वसुधैव कुटुंबकम … वसुधैव कुटुंबकम – Foreign Policy Rumble, Oops, Stumble and I …
Are Scientists Too Cautious to Help Us Stop Climate Change? …… like science, I guess I would still hold to my point about the fallacy of the ‘verification principle.
Results 1 – 10 of 684 – Fallacy free download – Fallacy Abhorrence (2011),Betrayal The People 039 s Fallacy Abandonment (2008)2011 2cd [MP3] SO 1237152 …
Sep 7, 2012 – Today Americans have no interest in foreign policy. …. for Israel is the most important plank of US foreign policy because it indicates the nature of that foreign policy as a whole. …. Factcheck: Women’s pay-oops Dems what did you do? …… The Peace Process: View from the West Bank · PE: The Fallacy of …
Oct 27, 2012 – If the economy was in great shape,we had a coherent foreign policy … Uh, how about you show us your work since you are making such an …