Thursday, July 19, 2018

Read our Chair of the Board Ira Straus's article about why the U.S. benefits from NATO, a cornerstone of transnational organizations and global security: NATO: The Greatest Bargain America Ever Got (https://nationalinterest.org/feature/nato-greatest-bargain-america-ever-got-25626)


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Trump should use the Iran deal's provision for making sanctions “snap back”

by Ira Straus 

 The Trump Administration wants to hit Iran as hard as it can with sanctions. However, it has neglected to use the provisions of the Iran deal itself for doing this. In stating that it is withdrawing from the deal, it seems to be giving away for free its standing to invoke these provisions in the future. This is troubling, and self-defeating.

 Thanks to the pressures that skeptics had placed on the Obama Administration during the negotiations for the deal, a provision was included for sanctions to “snap back” if any major party to the deal insisted on declaring Iran in non-compliance. All other parties to the deal, and indeed the entire global community, would then be legally obligated to join in reimposing sanctions.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

What is the “snap back”?


The extent to which it solves the problem of the Iran deal; its merit as a precedent for better management of sanctions

by Ira Straus

(First Publish in 2015)

The Obama Administration stated many times, in the course of negotiating the Iran deal, that sanctions would "snap back" if Iran cheats. It did not however specify how this would happen.

A lot of people were skeptical that this could ever happen. They pointed out that it had been hard to get the necessary countries to agree on sanctions in the first place. It took years. Some of these countries have made it clear that they want to be rid of the sanctions and would not agree to reimpose them, were they ever lifted. These countries have a veto on the UN Security Council (SC). So if the sanctions are lifted now, they will in fact never be reimposed. Moreover: once sanctions are lifted, economic links will be developed rapidly, economic interests will become attached to these links, further preventing governments from agreeing to reimpose sanctions. So how could sanctions ever simply “snap back”?

Thursday, May 10, 2018

How we could still strike a deal with Russia and the UN Security Council to stabilize Syria:

Hold Referenda for Secession, and assure Russia a Warm Water Port 

by Lucy Law Webster 

There are common interests shared by Russia and the USA. One of these would be to stop the war in Syria, in return for assuring Putin and Russia its use of the warm water port that it has on Syria’s Mediterranean coast. This coast is fortunately in the part of Syria where Syrian President Assad is respected.

 Much of the rest of Syria is the home of people who want to change their government. The Kurds want a Kurdish homeland. Other groups, emerging from the Arab Spring, are working and fighting for a regime that would not be subject to President Assad; and, some of them, for a democracy. The UN should be instructed by the Security Council to organize referenda in the parts of Syria where the rule of President Assad has been resisted. There is or has been a small unit within the UN Department of Political Affairs that has the skills to do this. Once these steps are taken, the residual sympathy for ISIS among the Sunni majority in Syria will dissipate, making it easier to defeat all residual ISIS forces, and enabling the securing of the area against ISIS permanently.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem for the Palestinian Authority


How to turn the lemon into lemonade
by Ira Straus
The decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem is not the first time countries have pre-empted the negotiations for peace. It follows in the footsteps of many another country undermining the peace process in the opposite direction. It could claim to be a corrective step as well as a simple recognition of reality.
However, if so, it needs to correct itself also. The way to do this is to announce a U.S. consulate explicitly assigned to the Palestianians.
This can be done easily enough, by upgrading the U.S. Consulate-General that is already in Jerusalem.