Tuesday, November 30, 2010

After Diplomatic Cable Leaks, Clinton Heads for Potentially Difficult Meetings With Foreign Leaders

Reaching out to foreign governments in the wake of the massive leak of confidential State Department cables, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says one foreign minister told her, “Don’t worry about it – you should see what we say about you.” Read

Monday, November 29, 2010

South Korea Warns North Korea of Retaliation As Naval Exercises Begin

Apologizing to the nation for failing to prevent loss of life during a North Korean artillery attack, South Korean President Lee Myun-bak on Monday vowed strong retaliation against the Stalinist state in the event of any further provocation. Read

Leak of State Dept Cables Could Impact Friends and Allies Around the World, White House Says

Sunday’s release by WikiLeaks of classified U.S. State Department cables provides a glimpse into the world where views are delivered directly and sometimes bluntly, far removed from bland diplomatic statements reserved for the cameras. Read

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Islamic Nations’ ‘Religious Defamation’ Drive Is Losing Steam

An Islamic-led campaign against “religious defamation” suffered a fresh setback Tuesday when a U.N. General Assembly committee passed an annual draft resolution on the subject by the smallest margin ever. Just 12 votes separated countries voting for and against the measure. Read

Low-Key U.S. Reaction to Uranium Enrichment Revelations May Have Prompted North Korean Aggression, Analysts Say

Pondering possible reasons for North Korea’s deadly artillery attack on its southern neighbor, some Pyongyang-watchers in South Korea believe the regime is trying to prod the U.S. into talks after its most recent provocation – the unveiling of previously-undisclosed uranium enrichment facilities – failed to generate the desired response. Read

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Arab Governments Scramble to Ease Looming Crisis in Lebanon

Arab leaders are looking for ways to calm sectarian tensions that threaten to erupt in Lebanon when indictments are issued in the assassination of one of Lebanon’s most famous politicians. In the view of some observers, those tensions may even trigger a Hezbollah coup. Read

Death Sentence in Pakistan Spotlights Blasphemy Laws As U.N. Votes on ‘Defamation’

International calls for clemency for a Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy looked likely to succeed on Tuesday, but similar cases will arise until the country’s controversial blasphemy laws are thrown out, critics say. Read

Monday, November 22, 2010

As NATO Wraps Up A Deal on Missile Defense, the Threat Remains Unnamed

The Obama administration is highlighting its achievement in getting NATO partners to agree to a joint Europe-based missile defense shield, while remaining vague about the source of the threat making it necessary in the first place. Read

Obama Administration Steps Up Push for ‘Lame Duck’ Ratification of Arms Control Deal

Ramping up the campaign to get the Senate to ratify the New START arms reduction treaty during the lame duck session of Congress, President Obama devoted his weekly radio broadcast to the issue while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pressed it home doing the rounds of the Sunday talk shows. Read

Friday, November 19, 2010

Time for ‘Upgrade’ in Ties With European Union, Says Transatlantic Expert

The bilateral relationship between the United States and European Union is “one of the most important, and understated” in the world, but needs an “upgrade,” an expert in transatlantic ties says ahead of a U.S.-E.U. summit this weekend. Read

Nineteen is the Number to Watch as UN Committee Prepares to Vote on Religious ‘Defamation’

As a U.N. General Assembly committee prepares to vote on a controversial religious “defamation” resolution – possibly as early as Friday – critics will be keen to see how successful their lobbying against the Islamic-led initiative has been. Read

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Obama Sets Aside Only Two Hours to Meet With European Leaders at NATO Meeting in Portugal

Nine months after disappointing European leaders with a decision not to attend a scheduled United States-European Union summit, President Obama will meet with E.U. leaders on the sidelines of the NATO gathering in Lisbon this weekend. Read

U.N. Torture Expert Says U.S. Should Probe Bush-Era Torture Claims With Intention to Prosecute

The U.N. Human Rights Council’s newly installed expert on torture says the Obama administration should investigate allegations of torture under President George W. Bush and prosecute those responsible – including those who gave the orders. Read

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Obama Finally Names Nominee for U.N. Reform Post, But He Has No U.N. or Diplomatic Experience

Twenty-two months into his administration and almost a year since a previous effort failed, President Obama has nominated an envoy to the United Nations with a mandate focusing on reform. Read

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

At Turkey’s Insistence, NATO Will Not Name Iran As a Missile Threat

Ahead of a key summit this week, NATO’s secretary-general has confirmed that the alliance will not identify Iran as a threat requiring the deployment of a NATO-wide missile defense umbrella in Europe. Read

Monday, November 15, 2010

Supporters Worry About Freed Burmese Leader’s Safety

As the newly released Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi prepares to travel around her military-ruled country to “hear the voice of the people” on the way ahead for the pro-democracy movement, supporters are concerned about her safety. Read

Obama’s Asia Trip Not Seen As a Success

As he ended a 10-day visit to Asia, President Obama told reporters on Air Force One he believed that “all of Asia is eager for American engagement and leadership,” but his upbeat assessment sharply contrasted with the view of critics who have characterized the trip as disappointing – if not a downright failure. Read

Friday, November 12, 2010

Human Rights Advocate Who Wants Criminal Probe of Bush Has Defended ‘Defensive Jihad’

A leading human rights advocate who called this week for the U.S. to investigate whether former President Bush should be prosecuted for endorsing “waterboarding” of detained terrorists came under fire earlier this year for arguing that so-called “defensive jihad” is not antithetical to human rights. Read

Many American Jobs on the Line, US Chamber Warns Over Stalled Trade Deal

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has expressed disappointment that President Obama had been unable to finalize a long-stalled free-trade pact with South Korea during talks in Seoul. It urged speedy progress and warned that hundreds of thousands of “American jobs are on the line.” Read

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Breakthrough Reported in Iraq’s Eight-Month Political Deadlock

Iraq’s parliament was due to meet Thursday to approve a tentative agreement setting up a new government, eight months after inconclusive elections and following a renewed wave of sectarian and anti-Christian violence. Read

After Obama Criticizes Israel, Palestinians Push for Urgent U.N. Security Council Meeting

Buoyed by President Obama’s criticism of Israel during his visit to Indonesia, the Palestinian Authority is seeking an urgent U.N. Security Council meeting to confront Israel on its housing plans in Jerusalem. Read

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Top Vatican Officials Hold Interfaith Dialogue With Iranian Gov’t Body

The head of an official Iranian religious body that is holding talks in Tehran with senior Vatican officials has called for the establishment of a “united front of monotheistic religions.” Read

Late Entry Foils Iran’s Bid for a Seat on Board of New U.N. Women’s Agency

Iran has some unexpected competition in its bid to be elected to the executive board of the new United Nations agency tasked with promoting the equality of women. Read

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Despite Obama’s Endorsement, India Faces Uphill Battle in Bid for U.N. Security Council Seat

President Obama’s call for a permanent U.N. Security Council seat for India drew the expected enthusiastic reaction from his audience in New Delhi, but India’s quest remains a long way from being realized. Read

U.S. Torture Prosecutions on the Agenda at U.N. Human Rights Council

The disclosure that former President Bush personally approved the “waterboarding” of al-Qaeda terrorist Khalid Sheik Mohammed is expected to bring calls for torture prosecutions – both in the U.S. and at the United Nations. Read

Monday, November 08, 2010

Pakistan Happier Than India With Obama’s Comments on Terror

President Obama ventured reluctantly into South Asia’s deep-rooted rivalry over the weekend, apparently leaving observers in Pakistan happier than those in India. Read

Friday, November 05, 2010

Obama, Clinton, Gates Pushing for ‘Lame-Duck’ Ratification of New Arms-Reduction Treaty

The Obama administration is stepping up the pressure on the U.S. Senate to vote to ratify the new arms-reduction treaty with Russia. President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Thursday all called for action during the looming “lame-duck” session. Read

Full Agenda, High Expectations Await Obama in Asia

A year after declaring himself “America’s first Pacific president,” President Obama embarks Friday on a 10-day Asia-Pacific trip with a crammed agenda that includes assuring some Asian countries that he means what he said. Read

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Republicans Headed for Top Committee Posts Signal Change in Foreign Policy Priorities

Republican lawmakers in line to chair important foreign policy-related committees and subcommittees in the new Republican-majority House of Representatives scored badly on a 2010 congressional report card compiled by a liberal anti-war organization that promotes “global issues” and supports U.S. participation in the United Nations “to solve the problems that we cannot solve alone.” Read

Cuba, Venezuela, Iran Top the List of Countries Lining Up to Scrutinize U.S. Human Rights Record During U.N. Review

Scores of countries, more than half of them in the developing world, are lining up to take part in the first U.N. Human Rights Council assessment of the United States’ human rights record. Read

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

China Backs Ban Ki-Moon, As Advocacy Groups Criticize His Failure to Address Human Rights

Ban Ki-moon appears to have secured Beijing’s support in his bid for a second term as U.N. secretary-general, amid concerns that he may have done so at the cost of raising human rights issues with China. Read

A ‘Horror Show’ for Obama: The World Ponders U.S. Election Results

Newspapers around the world focused closely on Tuesday’s U.S. midterm elections, with headline writers scrambling for words to describe the scale of the losses faced by the Democratic Party – and President Obama. Read

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Palestinians Seek U.N. Support for Independence Without Risking U.S. Veto

In its plan to seek United Nations support for a declaration of an independent state, the Palestinian Authority may invoke a little-used mechanism to bypass the Security Council – and thus the risk of a U.S. veto, a top Palestinian official said. Read

Monday, November 01, 2010

U.S. and Its ‘Broken’ Immigration System to Be Reviewed by U.N. Human Rights Council

The United States this week will undergo its first appraisal by the U.N. Human Rights Council, and one of the issues likely to be raised – thanks to the Obama administration – is Arizona’s new immigration law. Read

New Congress May Stall Obama’s Foreign Policy Priorities, Including Arms-Reduction Treaty

Although the midterm election campaign has focused predominantly on domestic matters such as the economy, the anticipated Republican-led U.S. Congress would have a significant impact on the Obama administration’s implementation of some key foreign policy priorities. Read