Posts Tagged ‘Israel’



During the Arab Spring Egyptians covered the streets in protest of President Mubarak and demanded a leader change and access to a democracy to give power to the people. After a long wait, the military rule gave power to the elected President Morsi. An operating democracy is a major step for Egypt and the people got what they wanted. Or did they?

On November 22nd, President Morsi decided to give himself sweeping powers that destroyed checks and balances and any real accountability. This led to more protests by the people who demanded the democracy that they thought they had already won. Once again, Egyptian protests were seemingly successful despite 7 people dead and hundreds wounded in a clash between protesters and Morsi’s support, the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. Mursi renounced his unstoppable powers and ceded to the wishes of the people. However, in doing so he issued a decree that gave the military permission to arrest protesters and hold them and refer them to prosecutors. On top of this, a constitution was written that clearly supports the agenda of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, liberals see it as a stab in the back from Morsi but so far a peaceful vote has been the result. The vote looks to be in favor of the constitution which may cause for more instability.

Morsi is accredited with much of the work that brokered the ceasefire between Israel and Palestine over the Gaza Strip. This could be an indicator that Morsi plans to step up as a major peace maker in the region but at this point he seems a little difficult to get a beat on. His domestic policy and foreign policy approaches appear to be polar opposites. 

Egypt can play a major role in the region and having influence on conflict between Israel and Palestine is not easy to come by. How should the United States judge this? Is Morsi a leader that we can trust and include in future regional peace talks? Many leaders have had differing grand strategies when gears shift from domestic to foreign policy, is that an excuse to accept Morsi for the leader he showed himself to be when dealing with Gaza?






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I watched this final presidential debate three times trying to be as even handed about it as possible. I know that people keep calling for the “hope and change” Obama from 2008 but I realized why we aren’t seeing him. It was easy to rage against the system then because Obama was the challenger. Now he’s “the man.” He’s the one people rage against. In fact, if he walked around saying he wanted to change things, I don’t know that I’d want to vote for him. He’s the president and he want’s to change the system that he’s spent the last four years putting in place? What I’m saying may seem a bit confusing but think of it like, no incumbent is going to say they weren’t doing a good job come election time.

I think the Obama we’re seeing isn’t Candidate Obama; it’s President Obama. The difference being the level of insight into the position. If you’ve ever ran for an office twice, you know that the first time is about changing everything and the second time is about being focused and overcoming the problems that stumped you the last time. That’s what Obama is doing here.

Romney on the other hand, has a problem with the facts. I listened to his side as closely as I could to hear his thoughts and give him the chance to show me why Obama was wrong. Rhetoric aside, Obama continually shut him down. The part that stands out foremost in my mind was the part about our military size. Romney said the navy and air force are miniscule. However, Obama explained that it’s because the nature of warfare has changed. He was right, we have less battleships because we don’t need that many. Another came when Romney once again spoke about the greatness of the schools in his state. Obama pointed out that it wasn’t his policies that made them that way and that he cut funding to them. Romney also called out the President on not visiting Israel when he toured the middle east post inauguration. Obama said he didn’t need to because he had visited there already as a candidate.

What made it easier for Obama to lay out these zingers is that Romney always says the same things at these debates. Obama does too but at least he seems to try to get better with each debate. Romney says the exact same things every time. It’s predictable. It’s these kinds of things which convince me, who isn’t particularly for either party, that I want to vote for Obama.

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This article talks about a poll taken in Egypt which had some disconcerting results. Foremost of which was that there was an overwhelming desire to obtain a nuclear bomb from Iran. Israel was seen as a racist and evil place and the U.S. and Obama and administration was more for Israel than arabs in general. Mitt Romney‘s statements about Obama letting our relations with Israel deteriorate were seen as false. That was of course after many asked who Mitt Romney was. Hillary Clinton actually had fairly positive reviews for some reason. However, Iran’s President Ahmadinejad had garnered a large amount for support. It’s unclear to me as to what specifically caused Egyptians to develop these ideas but it is alarming that they feel this way.

Nuclear proliferation is something to be concerned about. While more than a few countries have the technology today, for the most part, they’re stable. In the future some political scientist will probably come up with some fancy title for Pakistan, North Korea, Iran and then maybe Egypt developing nuclear weapons. For now its unnamed but this trend is seeming very disconcerting. Egypt isn’t fully stable yet and it’s political actors are’t all in favor of peace with the west, much less peace with Israel. This would only seem to add concern over the Iranian nuclear program. They’ve already said they would help other states achieve nuclear weapons as a deterrent against Israel.

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I know it’s obvious that Israel isn’t just a trouble maker in the region. It is in fact involved in numerous bilateral conflicts wherein other nations and groups attack them too. I post this in reaction to an idea I had. With Iran and it’s nuclear development program, we hear a lot of panic from Israel. However, we haven’t heard much about why specifically they fear Iran. I know there are good reasons but it seemed like a good time to post a reminder as to Israel’s justification for concern. (In case anyone forgot that Iran and Israel aren’t friends)

According to the article in the link, Hezbollah has been using drones provided by Iran to invade Israel’s airspace. What’s worse is that these drones have the capabilities to bombard targets. Israel does of course have an anti-drone air defense grid. It’s just that their grid doesn’t seem to be able to stop these drones. This is deeply disturbing for the Israel’s. In a logical next step, one of these drones could be loaded with a nuclear weapon, sneak into Israeli airspace, and launch a strike on an unsuspecting city. It seems as though this latest turn of events will do nothing but further the threat level in Israel over the Iranian nuclear program.

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Please excuse my shameless attempt to attract attention with a cool video. My post is in response to a discussion my group had about option 7 from the article we read. Basically, there was disagreement as to whether or not the U.S. would follow Israel into a war with Iran. I’m hoping the whole situation is resolved peacefully. However, if it is not, the article above cites interviews with high ranking leaders in the U.S. military as well as the former head to the Mossad that believe a solo attack by Israel would not be able to sufficiently destroy Iran’s nuclear program. In fact it would simply ignite the region in a war that would involve the U.S. What’s more, it’s believed that it could spark a dramatic increase in terrorist activities all around the world. I accept that it’s possible that this article is a bit more alarmist than it needs to be and I acknowledge the possible war hawking that may have gone on in the interviews. However it is an article saying that if Israel goes to war, so will the U.S.
As we spoke about the 8 ways to deal with Iran article, I realized that none of the options presented seemed to be very desirable short of Iran capitulating, which it won’t do. Perhaps in a best case scenario, a clandestine preemptive strike on Iran would be effective. But the U.S. would have to do it as Israel doesn’t have the bombs capable of fully destroying Iran’s nuclear sites. Therefore internationally, even that, the best option, would have a negative affect on foreign relations. Perhaps the author just framed his article in a way that it seemed like the sky was falling. That’s what I noticed about it when I first read it. Even still, it seems like no matter what happens, it would be viewed as a failure for the Obama administration and U.S. foreign policy. But when North Korea got nuclear weapons, it wasn’t as big of an issue. Perhaps it’s a difference in the political makeup of the two regions. Maybe it has to do with the other issues at the time. Really, I have no idea.

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I bring up this topic in response to the Hadley article. Just to start off, his statements under the “the problems posed by the Iranian regime” section, to say it’s needlessly blunt is an understatement. I specifically refer to the section about Iran not interfering in the affairs of its neighbors as an example but the wording of the others is also without nuance or any kind of the political double talk that you can expect when dealing with other countries. I sight this example specifically because it is a gross attack against Iranian sovereignty. That’s an old concept but to tell one state they can’t meddle in the affairs of their neighbors? Aside from being a little hypocritical, the same could be said about our number one ally in the region, Israel. I realize that this piece in and of itself could be simply one big love letter from the author to Israel.  It’s all about no tolerance and political rhetoric. Not once does he note ways that historically nuclear proliferation problems sort themselves out. Moreover, the entire piece tries to indicate that if we don’t stop Iran’s nuclear program in every conceivable way, immediately, well he doesn’t really say what’ll happen, he just says that they must be stopped. He even brings up taking out the leadership. This isn’t the Cold War anymore Mr. Hadley, we don’t topple governments just because  they don’t agree with us. In fact, it’s that very practice that got us the current anti-American Iran. It isn’t even until option eight that he allows for the thought of allowing Iran to build its bomb and it is interestingly enough, the shortest and most under explained section. It’s as if he didn’t even think that option was worth speaking about. But it is because that is the option that will inevitably occur. The U.S. cannot and will not invade another country looking for weapons of mass destruction. No more land wars in Asia! And if Israel cannot find a way to accomplish peace with their neighbors and war is their only option, then maybe their government needs to reevaluate its priorities.

Simply put, the author needs to come down off his soapbox; things have changed, this isn’t the Bush administration anymore.

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This article is an old one but it works as an AMAZINGLY similar case study to frame what’s currently going on with Iran. Consider the case of North Korea and their nuclear program. To list some similarities, both are countries that have governments that seem tyranical and dictatorial. Both have long standing grudges with their neighbors (litterally from the time when the countries were created). Both have enemies with nuclear capabilities adjacent to them. The similarities are numerous.

With North Korea, they just bided their time until they built a bomb and when it was finished the hype died down and now we don’t even talk about it. To say that nuclear bombs being developed by Iran is something to go to war over seems a bit of a stretch. They’re attempting to build something for the first time that the U.S. has been toying with for over fifty years. And they don’t even have the ICBM technology that North Korea did. Isreal finds it to be a national security problem but they have second strike capablilties. While MAD isn’t something really take seriously anymore, it seems to me that Iran wouldn’t randomly decide to use it’s brand new bomb on their neighbor just to have Isreal wipe them off the face of the planet afterwards. It may seem as though I am asking for far too much slack with my theories but, under the rational actor model, we assume all actors to be rational, that is; they all have an ordered list of priorities which they consult before taking action. I believe that the members of both the Isreali and Iranian government prioritize not just staying in power, but also staying alive above resorting to nuclear war just because they don’t like eachother. North Korea and South Korea didn’t; niether did Japan and North Korea. The Solvients never used their bombs in battle. We haven’t even used nuclear bombs since WWII and the U.S. has actually gone to war while having them. My point is, Iran will most likely finish it’s bomb but then just sit on it.

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