Stephen Zunes : Democratic Party Foreign Policy
In yet another assault on fundamental principles of international law, a bipartisan majority of the Senate has gone on record calling on the United States to endorse Morocco’s illegal annexation of Western Sahara, the former Spanish colony invaded by Moroccan forces in 1975 on the verge of its independence. In doing so, the Senate is pressuring the Obama administration to go against a series of UN Security Council resolutions, a landmark decision of the International Court of Justice, and the position of the African Union and most of the United States’ closest European allies.
John Hall is a former musician and supporter of progressive causes. But since he was elected to Congress, he has become one of the most shameless defenders of Israel’s crimes.
Despite two ongoing wars, it was striking that Obama focused so little in his first State of the Union speech on the world outside our borders other than the call to be competitive in the global economy. Indeed, he dedicated only eight minutes of the 70-minute speech to foreign policy. Yet many of the pressing economic problems the country faces that were addressed in the speech are directly related to foreign policy. And, despite promises of change, much of this foreign policy shows disappointing continuity with previous administrations.
On October 1, the Obama administration successfully pressured the Palestinian delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva to drop its proposal to recommend that the UN Security Council endorse the findings of the Goldstone Commission report. The report, authored by renowned South African jurist Richard Goldstone, detailed the results of the UNHRC’s fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict. These findings included the recommendation that both Hamas and the Israeli government bring to justice those responsible for war crimes during the three weeks of fighting in late December and early January. If they don’t, the report urges that the case be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for possible prosecution.
When Barack Obama picked Joe Biden as his running mate, he drew sharp criticism from his anti-war base because of Biden’s support for the U.S. invasion of Iraq, his flagrantly false claims about the alleged Iraqi threat, and the abuse of his position as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to suppress antiwar testimony before Congress prior to the invasion….
President Barack Obama’s speech in Cairo to the Muslim world marked a welcome departure from the Bush administration’s confrontational approach. Yet many Arabs and Muslims have expressed frustration that he failed to use this opportunity to call on the autocratic Saudi and Egyptian leaders with whom he had visited on his Middle Eastern trip to end their repression and open up their corrupt and tightly controlled political systems….
Obama has inherited a difficult challenge in pushing Israel to end the expansion of its illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Reports by international human rights groups and from within Israel in recent weeks have revealed the massive scale of war-crimes and other violations of international humanitarian law, committed by Israeli forces during their three-week offensive against the Gaza Strip earlier this year. Despite this, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has steadfastly stood by her insistence that the U.S.-backed Israeli government has no legal or moral responsibility for the tragic consequence of the war….
Hopes that a Democratic administration with an expanded Democratic congressional majority might lead to a more ethical, rational, and progressive foreign policy were challenged with last week’s passage of the 2009 omnibus budget bill, which included many troubling provisions regarding the State Department and related diplomatic functions. In the House of Representatives, all but two […]
In disc golf, there’s a shot known as “an Obama” — it’s a drive that you expect to veer to the left but keeps hooking right. In no other area has this metaphor been truer than Barack Obama’s foreign policy and national security appointments. For a man who was elected in part on the promise to not just end the war in Iraq but to “end the mindset that got us into war in the first place,” it’s profoundly disappointing that a majority of his key appointments — Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, Dennis Blair, Janet Napolitano, Richard Holbrooke and Jim Jones, among others — have been among those who represent that very mindset.