Monday, June 24, 2013
Philip Mudd, former deputy director of the Counterterrorism Center at the CIA and of the national security branch of the FBI, current research fellow at the New America Foundation and the author of Takedown: Inside the Hunt for Al Qaeda, talks about how the White House, the State Department and the national security agencies worked together.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Vali Nasr, Dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies who was Senior Advisor to Ambassador Richard Holbrooke from 2009 to 2011, offers a critique of America's foreign policy and outlines a new relationship with the Muslim world and with new players in the changing Middle East. In The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat, Nasr goes behind the scenes at the State Department and reveals how the U.S. government's fear of political backlash and the specter of terrorism crippled the efforts of diplomats like Richard Holbrooke and Hillary Clinton to boost America's credibility with world leaders.
Monday, April 08, 2013
A tax and budget deal, an immigration reform deal and restrictions on gun sales. All three eluded him during his first term, but in the next few weeks, President Obama will try and get movement on all three. In this week on The Washington Report, David Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times, talks to Nolan discusses if this policy trifecta will happen.
Monday, December 24, 2012
Following Friday's nomination by President Obama, it is expected that Senator John Kerry will find an easy confirmation of his role as the next secretary of state. Juana Summers, national reporter for Politico, discusses how the leadership at the State Department will change under Kerry.
Monday, December 24, 2012
Senator Scott Brown may have lost his seat to Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren, but his campaign has new life. With John Kerry well on his way to head up the State Department, Brown has a chance to fill his empty seat. Political writer David Bernstein discusses who might be Brown's challenger.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
This week, the New York Times reported that a multibillion-dollar police training program in Iraq intended to serve as the centerpiece of an expanded civilian mission in the country has all-but-failed. The program began in October and has already cost $500 million. Retired Lieutenant General Jim Dubik oversaw the training of Iraqi security forces from 2007-2008 and discusses the State Department's catastrophic missteps.
Monday, February 06, 2012
By Annmarie Fertoli : Associate Producer at WNYC
The United States has closed its embassy in Damascus as violence intensifies in the Syria, now eleven months into a crackdown on political dissidents that began last March. All embassy staff, including U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford, have left the country.
Thursday, February 02, 2012
On Sunday, the American Embassy in Cairo offered to shelter American citizens barred from leaving the country after the Egyptian government instituted a travel ban on 17 American citizens working for NGOs within the country. Sam LaHood, son of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, is among the Americans stuck in Cairo. The American Embassy's need to shelter American citizens in a once-friendly nation symbolizes a serious rift in U.S.–Egypt relations.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
From the White House:
Statement by the President on the Keystone XL Pipeline
Earlier today, I received the Secretary of State’s recommendation on the pending application for the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. As the State Department made clear last month, the rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment. As a result, the Secretary of State has recommended that the application be denied. And after reviewing the State Department’s report, I agree.
This announcement is not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline, but the arbitrary nature of a deadline that prevented the State Department from gathering the information necessary to approve the project and protect the American people. I’m disappointed that Republicans in Congress forced this decision, but it does not change my Administration’s commitment to American-made energy that creates jobs and reduces our dependence on oil. Under my Administration, domestic oil and natural gas production is up, while imports of foreign oil are down. In the months ahead, we will continue to look for new ways to partner with the oil and gas industry to increase our energy security –including the potential development of an oil pipeline from Cushing, Oklahoma to the Gulf of Mexico – even as we set higher efficiency standards for cars and trucks and invest in alternatives like biofuels and natural gas. And we will do so in a way that benefits American workers and businesses without risking the health and safety of the American people and the environment.
And here's the release by the state department:
Denial of the Keystone XL Pipeline Application
Today, the Department of State recommended to President Obama that the presidential permit for the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline be denied and, that at this time, the TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline be determined not to serve the national interest. The President concurred with the Department’s recommendation, which was predicated on the fact that the Department does not have sufficient time to obtain the information necessary to assess whether the project, in its current state, is in the national interest.
Since 2008, the Department has been conducting a transparent, thorough, and rigorous review of TransCanada’s permit application for the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline project. As a result of this process, particularly given the concentration of concerns regarding the proposed route through the Sand Hills area of Nebraska, on November 10, 2011, the Department announced that it could not make a national interest determination regarding the permit application without additional information. Specifically, the Department called for an assessment of alternative pipeline routes that avoided the uniquely sensitive terrain of the Sand Hills in Nebraska. The Department estimated, based on prior projects of similar length and scope, that it could complete the necessary review to make a decision by the first quarter of 2013. In consultations with the State of Nebraska and TransCanada, they agreed with the estimated timeline.
On December 23, 2011, the Congress passed the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011 (“the Act”). The Act provides 60 days for the President to determine whether the Keystone XL pipeline is in the national interest – which is insufficient for such a determination.
The Department’s denial of the permit application does not preclude any subsequent permit application or applications for similar projects.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Several news outlets are reporting that the Obama administration will reject TransCanada's proposal to run an oil pipeline across the U.S.-Canada border.
The Washington Post reports the administration will make it official later today and will allow TransCanada to reapply once it has a proposal to reroute the pipeline to avoid the environmentally sensitive Sand Hills of Nebraska.
As we've reported, the Keystone XL pipeline has become a rallying point for environmentalists. The president first sought to put off a decision on the pipeline until after the 2012 elections, but he agreed to make a decision by Feb. 21 as part of the payroll tax cut negotiations.
Full post here.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Despite deep worries over the continuing stability of the Iraqi government, the U.S. is planning on selling $11 billion of arms and training to Iraq's military. The sale comes as Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has attempted to marginalize Iraq's Sunni minority since the U.S. withdrew its forces earlier in the month, setting off concerns over civil war. The Obama administration hopes the sale, which includes tanks and fighter jets, will help Iraq build its military and secure its border with Iran. But some American officials worry Iraq's government will move to align itself with the Shiite theocracy in Tehran.
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
In a possibly historic move, the Obama administration announced its dedication to promoting LGBT rights around the world. In a memorandum from the president, and a speech from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, the administration equated LGBT rights with human right, vowing to spend $3 million to finance LGBT rights organizations. "In reality, gay people are born into — and belong to — every society in the world," Clinton said to an audience of representatives of 47 nations, who gave her a standing ovation. (Watch the speech after the jump.)
Friday, November 04, 2011
After numerous complaints from military and State Department officials, the Central Intelligence Agency has agreed to concessions in the way it runs its covert drones program. Military and diplomatic officials complained large drone strikes were undermining the already fraught relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan. A White House review came out in favor of the drones program, but found that the CIA must coordinate its attacks with the State Department. Siobhan Gorman, intelligence correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, reported on the story in today's paper.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
The U.S. put much of its global credibility on the line with its invasion and occupation of Iraq. The reconstruction program of subsequent years has been marred by violence, instability in the Iraqi government, the influence of Iran, and millions of American dollars either unaccounted for or wasted. In 2009, Foreign Service employee Peter Van Buren spent a year in Baghdad working for the State Department Provincial Reconstruction Team, where he oversaw efforts to rebuild Iraq's economy and infrastructure.
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
Stephen Glain examines the tension between the diplomats in the State Department and the warriors at Defense. In his book State vs. Defense: The Battle to Define America's Empire, Glain profiles the figures who crafted American foreign policy, from George Marshall to Robert McNamara to Henry Kissinger to Don Rumsfeld, in order to reveal why he sees America becoming increasingly imperial and militaristic, and why he thinks it will lead to our financial peril.
Monday, November 29, 2010
By Kateri Jochum : WNYC/WQXR Newsroom
Washington is reeling after the release of a quarter of a million classified cables sent to and from the State Department. The Obama administration has been forced into damage control and politicians are criticizing the release of the documents.