US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

The American Prospect


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"Is Trump Accidentally Triggering Reconciliation in the Middle East?"

Trita Parsi vom Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft hält es für denkbar, dass die Länder im Persischen Golf sich angesichts einer unentschlossen wirkenden Iran-Strategie der USA gezwungen sehen könnten, eine eigene Lösung für die sicherheitspolitischen Konflikte in der Region zu suchen. Der Schlüsselmoment für diese mögliche Neuorientierung sei die kurzfristige Absage eines US-Militärschlags gegen den Iran im Juni gewesen. "Regardless of what transpired before Trump called off the attacks, the perception in the region and beyond was that when push came to shove, America’s reality TV president decided to blink rather than to shoot. For America’s Arab allies in the Persian Gulf, this was devastating. For more than a decade, they have pushed the U.S. to go to war with Iran (...), and they currently are the sole supporters of Trump’s maximum-pressure strategy besides Israel. (...) Not only was their long-term investment in a U.S.-Iran confrontation unlikely to pay off, Saudi Arabia and the UAE were now faced with a much-incensed Iran without the protection from America they thought they had secured. They had played with the lion’s tail without realizing they would face the lion alone once he woke up. (...) By signaling, albeit inadvertently, that America wisely lacks the appetite for a war of choice — or even worse, a war on behalf of Saudi Arabia and the UAE — with Iran, Trump may have opened a window of opportunity for indigenously driven diplomacy in the region by simply stepping aside."

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"America’s Interest in a Global Rule of Law"’s-interest-global-rule-law

In diesem langen Essay erklärt Will Hutton noch einmal ausführlich, warum die USA auch weiterhin gut daran täten, sich als führende Weltmacht für den Erhalt der globalen Sicherheitsordnung einzusetzen. "The threat to the globe, and to the United States, is that Donald Trump personifies those self-same menacing forces. His contemptuous attitude toward the international system he now leads will shatter the framework that however imperfectly has created a global society and pursuit of international rule of law. Trump could mark the end of an epoch — and the opening of a perilous new one of dog-eat-dog competition, ruthless assertion of individual national interest, and a hardening of enmities. Bluntly, it is pure poison. (...) Trump’s view of the world is based on a profound misreading of how the system works, how asymmetrically it is organized to benefit the United States, and the terms on which the rest of the world has accepted, albeit grudgingly, what is an extraordinarily biased bargain. The United States is not the victim of the current international framework. It is one of its principal beneficiaries."

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"Trumpism as a Transatlantic Phenomenon"

Charlotte Cavaillé, Noam Gidron und Peter A. Hall betrachten den politischen Aufstieg Donald Trumps als "Revolte gegen die Globalisierung", die gegenwärtig auch in Europa zu beobachten sei. "His closest counterparts are the radical right parties of Europe, such as the National Front in France and the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), which campaign on platforms opposed to immigration, hostile to the European Union in its present form, and scornful of mainstream politicians as members of a political establishment. Like Trump, all of these parties are a reaction against globalization — the master process of the past three decades that has seen large increases in flows of goods, people, and capital across national borders. (...) we should not let the mesmerizing reality show that the American primaries have become distract us from the underlying economic and political realities that call into question the effectiveness of democratic governance on both sides of the Atlantic. If governments cannot deliver inclusive economic growth or narratives of social solidarity rooted in something other than xenophobia, we may be living with the politics of discontent for many years to come."

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"A Grand Bargain with Putin Against ISIS?"

Angesichts der gemeinsamen Bedrohung durch den "Islamischen Staat" sollte der Westen eine neue Koalition mit Russland in Betracht ziehen, meint Robert Kuttner. "As part of the deal, the U.S. and Russia might have to reach some understanding about how to stabilize the situation in Ukraine, possibly acknowledging a Russian sphere of influence in the eastern, Russian-speaking part of the country. That is not pretty either, though it is already something of a fait accompli. But, with a deal with Putin, the great powers could have a more of a chance of reversing the territorial gains of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, restoring stability to Syria, which in turn would slow the torrent of refugees now engulfing Europe, increasing votes for far-right parties, and undermining the European Union. Maybe that’s not such a bad bargain."

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"Faint Praise: Why Israeli Moderates Aren't Thrilled with the Iran Deal"

Annie Slemrod erläutert, warum sich auch die linke Opposition in Israel nur zu einer bestenfalls "lauwarmen" Unterstützung des internationalen Atomabkommens mit dem Iran durchgerungen habe. "(...) it won’t surprise those who have been watching the country's mainstream political parties converge for some time, at least on issues of national security. Parts of the Israeli moderate left give the deal lukewarm support on two grounds. First, people don’t want to jeopardize Israel’s fast-deteriorating relationship with the United States. Second, it seems a possible improvement over the status quo, but few people have illusions that it will bring lasting security."

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"The U.N. Gaza Report: Grim, but Even-Handed"

Der von der israelischen Regierung scharf kritisierte UN-Bericht über mutmaßliche Kriegsverbrechen im Gazakrieg von 2014 sei nicht ohne Fehler, stelle aber die richtigen Fragen, meint Gershom Gorenberg. "Israelis who demand context often mean: What else could we do? Terrorists ruled Gaza; our cities were under fire. But 'this was the only choice' is sometimes an argument from tunnel vision. The real meaning of context, I suggest, is the opposite. Context includes asking about all the policy choices before last June, on all sides of the conflict, that created a situation where it seemed nothing else could be done. A panel of legal experts wasn't empowered to ask such questions. But Israelis and Palestinians need to look up from the pages of the report and do so."

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"Why Everyone Wants the Military Budget to Be Bigger"

Paul Waldman schreibt, dass die Verfechter einer weiteren Vergrößerung des schon jetzt erheblichen Militärhaushalts der USA immer wieder mit der Notwendigkeit der Landesverteidigung argumentierten. Tatsächlich gehe es seit langem vor allem darum, amerikanische Interessen weltweit auch militärisch jederzeit durchsetzen zu können. "So let's be honest: We build our military not to deal with threats to us, but to accommodate the myriad ways we'd like to project American power outward. Though we've referred to our military as 'defense' since the Department of War was renamed in 1949, almost nothing our military does is about defending the United States from direct attack. If you joined up tomorrow, the chances that you'd be trained and deployed to stop foreign invasion would be almost nil. You can fervently support every mission we've given the U.S. military in the last few decades and still acknowledge that fact. Yet for some reason, presidential candidates seem to believe that they can only justify the military budgets they want by telling the voters that unless we keep spending more, before you know it your kids will have to pledge allegiance to a poster of Kim Jong Un."

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"The Neocons Strike Back"

Sollte 2016 ein Republikaner in das Weiße Haus einziehen, wäre ein Krieg gegen den Iran wohl nur noch eine Frage der Zeit, fürchtet Paul Waldman. Die neokonservativen Falken hätten nichts aus dem Irak-Krieg gelernt und bereits mit ihrer Überzeugungsarbeit begonnen. "(...) it will be easier to realize than you may think — at least up until the point where the bombs start falling. Spend the next year and a half sowing the seeds, writing the op-eds, going on television, giving the speeches, making the dark predictions of cataclysm should we fail to muster the courage to act. If the Iranians walk away from negotiations, declare that we now have no choice but to use force; if there is an agreement, declare that its weakness is precisely why we have no choice but to use force. Condemn those who disagree as weaklings who refuse to stand up to the ayatollahs and their plan to destroy Israel and then the United States. Pressure the Republican presidential candidates to take the most hawkish position possible, as they compete to see who's the toughest and strongest. If next November brings the blessed return of a Republican to the White House, with a Republican Congress behind him, the war will be all but begun."

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"The Bush Doctrine Lives"

Angesichts der radikalen Oppositionspolitik der Republikaner gegenüber US-Präsident Obama wäre Paul Waldman keineswegs überraschend, wenn die desaströse "Bush-Doktrin" in der US-Außenpolitik durch einen republikanischen Nachfolger Obamas wiederbelebt werden würde. "For all we know, there may be vast differences in how the Republican candidates would actually handle foreign policy crises or opportunities. With the exception of Rand Paul, though, they're all likely to adopt a pose meant to contrast with Obama. They'll say America needs to act, and be bold and strong and muscular, whatever the actual challenge is. In other words, they're going to sound a lot like George W. Bush."

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"Do Republicans Want to Bring Torture Back?"

Angesichts der Reaktion vieler republikanischer Spitzenpolitiker auf den Folterbericht des US-Senats hält es Paul Waldman keineswegs für ausgeschlossen, dass die Folter von Gefangenen in kommenden Jahren wieder offizielle Politik der USA werden könnte. "(...) for Republicans, you don't even have to put it in the context of another large terrorist attack. Many of them are saying not just that there are problems with the Intelligence Committee's report, and not just that it was a crazy time and folks did some crazy things and now we should move on. They're saying the program was perfectly legal, morally defensible, and tremendously effective. If that's true, why wouldn't you want to restart the program as soon as possible? My guess is that if asked directly, the GOP presidential candidates would say, 'That's all in the past.' But at the very least, we ought to get them on record now making clear whether they would ever consider using torture again."

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"A Taxonomy of Torture Defenses"

Die Veröffentlichung des Senatsberichts über die CIA-Folter in der Bush-Ära habe auch die Verteidiger des Geheimdienstes und der Bush-Regierung auf den Plan gerufen, schreibt Paul Waldman. Ihnen gehe es unter Zuhilfenahme bekannter Argumente vor allem darum, den historischen Ruf der Verantwortlichen zu retten. "(...) one of the things the torture advocates fear is that this debate will move from the realm of controversy to the realm of consensus, leaving them forever defined by history as the villains of this period. Today we no longer argue about whether Jim Crow or McCarthyism was right or wrong, though at the time they had their passionate defenders. Eventually, the Bush torture program will move to that same ground of consensus. But in the meantime, the torture advocates hope to forestall history's judgment for as long as they can."

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"Danger Signals"

Gershom Gorenberg wehrt sich gegen die u.a. vom israelischen Premierminister Netanjahu vorgebrachte Gleichsetzung der Hamas mit dem Islamischen Staat. Israels Weigerung, zwischen den beiden Gruppen zu unterscheiden, könnte eine weitere Radikalisierung vieler Palästinenser begünstigen. "Along with its rejection of Israel’s existence and its disregard for the lives of civilians, in Israel and in Gaza, Hamas has its pragmatic side. It has negotiated indirectly with Israel; it has enforced ceasefires and prevented rocket fire by more extreme Islamic groups; it joined a unity government under President Mahmoud Abbas, who is committed to a two-state outcome. The support of one-eighth of Gazans for ISIL is a sign that despair can lead people to positions much more radical than those of Hamas. By refusing to distinguish between Hamas and the Islamic State, Israel does nothing to stop radicalization. The way to reverse the process begins with understanding that achievements by Palestinian moderates can be successes for Israel."

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"On Ebola, Like Terrorism, We Don't Actually Have to Be Right 100 Percent of the Time"

In den USA haben Politiker erste Vergleiche zwischen dem Ebola-Virus und der Bedrohung durch den internationalen Terrorismus gezogen. Angesichts der Überreaktion in den Medien und in Teilen der Öffentlichkeit seien tatsächlich Parallelen zu erkennen, meint Paul Waldman. "Ebola is producing some of the same insane overreactions that terrorism did and continues to do. That 'We have to be right 100 percent of the time' argument has been repeated a zillion times with regard to terrorism, and there are two problems with it. The first is that we don't, actually. What if we were right 99 percent of the time? Then there might be a successful terrorist attack every once in a while. And then what? It would be awful, and the nation would survive. (...) The second problem with the '100 percent' argument is that it inevitably becomes the justification for all manner of policy excesses, including spending hundreds of billions of dollars to create an Orwellian national security state and abandoning all kinds of civil liberties."

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"Hillary Clinton's Foreign Policy Doctrine"

Paul Waldman analysiert das ausführliche Interview der früheren US-Außenministerin und wahrscheinlichen Präsidentschaftskandidatin Hillary Clinton mit Jeffrey Goldberg. Clinton wolle als mögliche Nachfolgerin von Präsident Obama offenbar wieder eine "außenpolitische Doktrin" verfolgen. "The appeal and the danger of doctrines is that they simplify decision-making, assuring you that there's only one reasonable choice in complex situations and unintended consequences aren't something to worry your head over. What would the Bush doctrine tell us to do right now about the Islamic State? Go git 'em! But that would mean pulling the United States back into Iraq at a large scale all over again, with all kinds of negative results sure to follow."

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"Are the Media Reporting the Gaza War Fairly?"

Paul Waldman stellt fest, dass die amerikanischen Medien in der aktuellen Gaza-Krise ein realistischeres Bild vom Nahost-Konflikt vermittelten als bei früheren Gelegenheiten. "If Israel is losing the propaganda war, it's because propaganda can only take you so far when the facts are telling a story you'd rather people didn't hear. Social media has something to do with it, but it's still traditional media that show the largest numbers of people what's going on. And when you have a Palestinian death toll that now exceeds 500 and is going nowhere but up while the numbers of Israeli civilians who have died is still in the single digits, you just aren't going to be able to spin a story of equal suffering and blame."

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"The Good War, Now Not So Good"

Der Krieg in Afghanistan wurde lange von einer deutlichen Mehrheit der US-Bevölkerung aufgrund der Anschläge vom 11. September 2001 als notwendig und richtig eingeschätzt. Einer neuen Umfrage zufolge halten die meisten Amerikaner die Invasion nun für einen Fehler. "According to the latest Gallup poll, a war that was supported by nine in ten Americans at its outset is now opposed by a plurality of us, with 49 percent saying it was a mistake to ever go there in the first place and 48 saying it wasn't a mistake (...). We've now amassed over 2,300 American dead there, in addition to the hundreds of billions of dollars we've spent. We didn't get Osama bin Laden when we invaded. Our 'partner' Hamid Karzai increasingly looks like he has lost his mind and is determined to make sure that when American troops leave later this year, the country will promptly get taken over by the Taliban again. So it isn't too surprising that so many Americans are asking what the whole thing was for."

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"Want to Predict the Future of Surveillance? Ask Poor Communities."

Wer einen Eindruck von der Zukunft des Überwachungsstaates bekommen möchte, sollte einen Blick auf bereits bestehende staatliche Programme in marginalisierten und verarmten Gemeinschaften in den USA werfen, schreibt Virginia Eubanks. "Poor and working-class Americans already live in the surveillance future. The revelations that are so scandalous to the middle-class data profiling, PRISM, tapped cellphones – are old news to millions of low-income Americans, immigrants, and communities of color. To be smart about surveillance in the New Year, we must learn from the experiences of marginalized people in the U.S. and in developing countries the world over. (...) We need to move away our fixation on privacy and towards a future based on digital human rights. (...) Seeing privacy as the cornerstone for democracy is a kind of naivete we can no longer excuse nor afford. We should care when national governments engage in surveillance of any kind, not just when they spy on us. Shock and outrage are callow luxuries, and the Snowden leaks eliminated our last justification for ignorance. Software designed for authoritarian political aims spawns repressive political environments wherever it is used."

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