Participation in the global community of nations has always required compromises, sometimes uncomfortable ones. How the United States confronts these issues generally depends on the current ideological temperament holding sway in the Oval Office and among the American people in general.
One thing any student of foreign affairs quickly learns is that when it comes to America's security and economic interests, things get very complicated, very quickly. This is why, for example, we do business with China despite their rather dismal human rights record. This is why we are a strategic regional partner with the nation of Saudi Arabia, despite their enforcement of strict religious laws that result in the severe social and political curtailment of women's rights.
Sometimes, however, the opportunity arises for the United States to stand unabashedly and unreservedly on the side of justice and civility, and we should always seize upon these opportunities without hesitation if we truly believe in the principles we espouse. Concerns about "cultural sensitivity" should not hold sway when egregious abuses of human rights are occurring. If we have leverage in this kind of situation, we should use it, which is why a recent story in the New York Times regarding child sex abuse in Afghanistan is so disturbing. more >>
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has fired back against Republican members of Congress who've criticized the nuclear deal between the Islamic Republic and several Western states, calling them "laughable" and suggesting that they don't even know where Iran is located.
"Sometimes when I would have time — some of it was broadcast live and I would watch it — some of it was quite laughable. It was very strange, the things that they spoke of," Rouhani told CNN's Christiane Amanpour in an interview on Sunday, talking about ongoing Republican criticism of the deal.
"Some of them wouldn't even know where Tehran was in relation to Iran. Some of them didn't know where Iran was geographically, not distinguishing that one is the capital of the other," Rouhani added. more >>
NEW YORK — President Barack Obama addressed the "poisonous theology" of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) that "affects too many of our young people," in a far-reaching address during the Opening Session of the 70th United Nations General Assembly in New York City on Monday. He also took issue with atrocities carried out by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom he called a "dictator."
Obama stated that the Islamic State, also called ISIS, "depends on perpetual war to survive" but also "gains adherence because of a poisonous ideology."
So "our job is to reject extremism that affects too many of our young people," the president added. He specifically called on Muslims to reject teachings that promote violence, and on non-Muslims to "reject ignorance that equates Islam with terrorism." more >>
Major sectarian violence between Christians and Muslims in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, has left at least 24 people dead and over 100 wounded over the weekend.
"The events of [Saturday] and [Sunday] are very serious. We count many crimes against property and persons," Security Minister Dominique Said Paguindji said in an interview, according to Foreign Policy. "We will deal with this situation diplomatically to avoid civilian casualties that would add to the death toll."
The Telegraph reported that the violence broke out after a Muslim taxi driver was found murdered wth his body dumped near an airport. The local Muslim population blamed Christian militiamen known as the Anti-Balaka for kidnapping the driver, and decided to attack the nearby Christian neighborhood of Miskine with automatic weapons, machetes and grenades, leading to a major clash. more >>
The Islamic State terror group has executed almost 11,000 people across Iraq and Syria since its establishment of a self-proclaimed caliphate in June 2014, human rights groups have said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that at least 3,207 people have been put to death by the Islamic militants in Syria, while another 7,700 have been killed in Iraq.
The number does not include the ever-growing list of casualties from the various wars IS is waging against the Syrian and Iraqi central governments, the U.S. and its broad team of allies, and against rival rebel groups in the region. more >>
With the recent news that Russian forces are joining the fight against the Islamic State terror group in Syria, but will be fighting on President Bashar al-Assad's side, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter noted that America will still be attempting to pursue both the fall of Assad and the fall of the Islamic terrorists.
"The United States believes that these two interests must be pursued in parallel," Carter said during a press event, Defense News reported on Thursday.
"To pursue the defeat of ISIL without, at the same time, pursuing a political transition, is to fuel the very kind of extremism that underlies ISIL, and if that's the Russian view, that's a logical contradiction," Carter added. more >>