Global Security Headlines

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Israel’s Iran Dilemma by S. Samuel C. Rajiv

credit: AFP - Israeli Arrow Interceptor Missile Launch

Israel’s Iran Dilemma by S. Samuel C. Rajiv

Mr. Rajiv at India's Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) lays out in frank terms the dilemma Israel faces in countering the budding Iranian nuclear missile challenge.

As the new US president extends the olive branch to his country's longtime foe, and Iran's leader boasts of centrifuges and unwillingness to halt the march toward nuclear weaponry, analysts wonder about the next moves of the new Israeli prime minister.

Is deterrence enough? Does Israel have the necessary supplies to project "extended deterrence?"

Mr. Rajiv methodically examines Jerusalem's limited options.

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Thai Tempest Boils Over, Again - State of Emergency

courtesy: Buenos Aires Translator

Analysis: It is painful to see Thailand unravel. It is very polarized at the moment. The embarrassment of forcing the cancellation of the ASEAN summit this weekend matches the opponents' closing of the international airport last year. Something has to give, but there seems to be no common ground between the two warring sides.

Bangkok: incidents et état d’urgence - Actualités internationales
source: France3

Bangkok: incidents et état d'urgence

Clashes amid demonstrations by "red shirts” in Thailand (April 2009)

France 3

The Thai government decreed a state of emergency on Sunday in Bangkok wracked by demonstrations.

On Sunday, thousands of demonstrators defied a state of emergency imposed in Bangkok where armed soldiers were deployed on the streets.

The tension worsened on Sunday with the arrest of the demonstration leader in Pattaya, the former pop singer Arisma Pongreungrong. Later the state of emergency was declared in and around Bangkok.

In Bangkok, anti-government demonstrators erected barricades and seized an armored vehicle. Violence left at least six injured according to emergency personnel.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Beating the Pirate Challenge

Proceedings Story - U.S. Naval Institute - "What Makes Piracy Work?"

Dr. Virginia Lunsford provides a fascinating history of African piracy and sensible policy prescriptions to defeat the Somali pirate challenge.

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

US President Obama's Flunking First Test

credit: BBC

The principle of freedom of the seas has traditionally been a cornerstone of US international policy beginning with the War of 1812 with Great Britain.

As US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt pronounced in May 1941 before later entering World War II:

"All freedom—meaning freedom to live and not freedom to conquer and subjugate other peoples—depends on the freedom of the seas—for our own shipping, for the commerce of our sister Republics, for the right of all nations to use the highways of world trade, and for our own safety…. As President of a united, determined people, I say solemnly: we reassert the ancient American doctrine of the freedom of the seas." (American Foreign Policy Encyclopedia )

The freedom of the seas is paramount to ensuring global security.

Thus, President Obama's silence on the latest pirate attack off the coast of lawless Somalia is curious and appears to be an abandonment of the principle of freedom of seas upheld by his predecessors.

This latest incident comes on the heels of Chinese harassment of a US civilian crewed naval survey vessel last month 70 miles south of Hainan Island.

Statements by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton qualifying the seizure of the American captain of the Maersk Alabama by Somali "outlaws of the ocean" as a "criminal act" is also erroneous. Piracy is more than a crime; it is terrorism on the high seas.

The purposeful misnaming of the attack by the puckish pirates only adds to the mysterious behavior by the Obama Administration facing its first international policy test. The new administration appears to be downplaying the incident despite the increase of US naval forces in the vicinity of the dinghy where the pirates hold the US captain.

The deadening silence from the White House on freedom of the seas raises concerns about the ability of the new US administration to deftly manage international relations given the high principle and US citizen involved. The US military possesses a strategy and is prepared to defend the freedom of the seas.

For the moment, US President Obama is flunking his first international test and more worthy opponents are surely taking note.

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