Department of State

How SOPA Could Have Hindered Our Democracy Promotion Efforts
January 21, 2012

When the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate’s PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) were put on hold late this week, many had cause to celebrate, including Internet companies, free speech advocates, and the millions who signed petitions against the bills.

Strategist and Scourge
December 14, 2011

George F. Kennan: An American Life By John Lewis Gaddis (Penguin, 784 pp., $39.95) I. George F. Keenan, who was born in 1904 and died in 2005, and served under presidents from Calvin Coolidge to John F. Kennedy, left as deep an imprint on American geopolitics as any intellectual of the twentieth century. But the exact nature of his achievement continues to elude full or even coherent description. One reason is that most of his very long life was spent in comparative obscurity.

Will Immigration Officers Continue to Undermine Obama’s Reforms?
November 02, 2011

This story is one of a series aiming to answer a simple question: Why are undocumented immigrants that the administration says it intends to help stay in this country still facing deportation? For earlier stories on this topic, see “One Family In Limbo: What Obama’s Immigration Policy Looks Like In Practice” and “Are Bureaucrats Blowing Off Obama's New Immigration Policy?” In El Salvador, in the spring of 2004, Fernando Quinteros-Mendoza was dating a woman who lived in a rough neighborhood riddled with gang violence.

Why Is There Such Widespread Support in DC for a Former Terrorist Group?
October 15, 2011

Glancing over the invitations to briefings and rallies from organizations with names like the Iranian-American Community of Kansas, and the Iranian-American Community of North Texas—which include broad references to the "Iranian opposition" and looming "humanitarian catastrophes"—it's fair to assume that these organizations represent a broad set of issues that face Iranians living here in the United States and back in their native country. However, attending these events reveals that all of these groups have one primary, and rather narrow, aim: removing an organization known as the as the Muj

Arab Spring, My Foot
October 06, 2011

Or, better yet, “my ass.” The Arab Spring has been with us for nearly three quarters of a year. This is not a long time as history goes. But the annual flowers of the spare land have long ago vanished into the crude, mostly gritty sand that is the Middle East. It’s not, though, as if it is at all back to “normal” in the Arab world. And, frankly, we haven’t the slightest about what normal in the Arab world is or will be. The Muslims and the Jews and the increasingly scarce but differentiated Christians who constituted the region lived (and live) recreant lives.

Why the U.S. Should Support Palestinian Statehood at the U.N.
September 28, 2011

The Obama administration, after failing to head off a Palestinian request to the Security Council for United Nations membership, is prepared to use its veto against it. In an undistinguished address to the General Assembly on Wednesday, President Barack Obama advised the Palestinians to bypass the UN and to confine their campaign for statehood to negotiations with Israel.

Why Is the Press Spending So Much Time Obsessing About Libya?
September 08, 2011

The U.S. economy being what it is, it should come as no surprise that most Americans, including the minority with a keen interest in foreign policy, have been focused on domestic issues. What is less understandable is why that internationally-minded remnant should have been so concerned with events in Libya to the virtual exclusion of any other part of the world. This has been particularly true of mainstream liberals, and the media outlets that reflect their views, above all the New York Times, CBS, ABC, and NBC.

Hope and Change: Meet the Ex-Obama Staffers Getting Arrested in Front of the White House
September 03, 2011

Each morning for the past two weeks, scores of respectable-looking protestors ushered themselves into single file lines, walked determinedly through Washington’s Lafayette Park, sat down on the sidewalk in front of the White House, arranged themselves in rows as if for a class photo, and waited patiently to be arrested (the violation: blocking pedestrian traffic).

The State Department’s Shameful Record on Internet Freedom
August 08, 2011

At the annual meeting of the Community of Democracies last month in Lithuania, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton struck a characteristic note of cautious idealism in support of Internet users living under repressive governments: “Because technology both empowers and endangers your work, we are giving activists new tools to try to circumvent the many obstacles that governments are putting in your way.” In a February speech Clinton gave at George Washington University, she said roughly the same thing: “There is a debate currently underway in some circles about whether the Internet is a force

Stop Complaining About Harold Koh’s Interpretation of the War Powers Act
July 01, 2011

Harold Koh and John Yoo are two peas in a pod, except that Yoo is the right-wing pea and Koh is the left-wing pea. Yoo, a Justice Department lawyer during the Bush administration, interpreted “torture” narrowly in order to advance a constitutional agenda in which executive power has primacy. This interpretation permitted the Bush administration to use harsh interrogation tactics on suspected members of Al Qaeda.

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