Reflection on the Grassroots Movement to Stop the War in Yemen

By Isaac Evans-Frantz

This week marks the fifth anniversary of US and Saudi entry into the war in Yemen, a war that has taken over 100,000 lives and left 24 million people in immediate need of humanitarian assistance. Today, between Houthi interference in aid delivery, resulting US government plans to recklessly suspend assistance, Saudi restrictions on goods and people entering Yemen, intensified Saudi-led coalition airstrikes, and the looming threat of COVID-19 to a Yemeni healthcare system that’s already operating at only 50% capacity, it is easy to feel discouraged about the situation in Yemen. Yet there are reasons for optimism. Grassroots peace activism by Yemeni Americans and others in the US has produced real results, both in Congress and on the ground in Yemen. Last year, those activists set a new high water mark for peace advocacy in Congress by securing passage of a historic War Powers Resolution on Yemen. As the war enters its sixth year, taking a deep dive into how that victory was produced can point a way forward for efforts to end the war in Yemen and stop other unconstitutional wars.  Continue reading “Reflection on the Grassroots Movement to Stop the War in Yemen”

Drop the Damn Sanctions

By Lawrence Philby

Let me be brief: drop the damn sanctions (in part or in whole). 

Drop the trade embargo with Cuba that is draining the country of cash and goods. Slash the sanctions on Iran that have choked the supply of masks and pharmaceuticals. For the love of all, suspend the sanctions on Venezuela and channel aid to the country instead.

This is an absolute no-brainer – it’s rare that a foreign policy idea unites the “don’t ask me about 2003” neoconservative right with the left

The United States should not be holding fast to dead-end sanctions in the middle of a global pandemic, harpoon raised in an Ahab-like pursuit of regime change abroad even as the US ship of state comes apart under the strain of the crisis.

Continue reading “Drop the Damn Sanctions”

Disarm to Democratize

By Emma Claire Foley

Nuclear weapons are a crisis masquerading as a settled issue. While policy experts warn that the possibility of a nuclear weapon being used again is higher than ever, the relative absence of any discussion of that risk from the presidential debates is an indication of how far down the list of priorities nukes have slipped outside the small circle of the initiated. Worse, when they do come up, the nuclear discourse among Democratic presidential candidates reflects a commitment to holding humanity hostage in the name of security that is fundamentally incompatible with the larger left foreign policy project. Far from a side issue that must be wedged in among more pressing concerns, a renewed push for nuclear disarmament can and should form the center of a foreign policy that extends and serves the priorities of the left’s domestic demands.

Continue reading “Disarm to Democratize”

No Arms for Modi

By Sean McGuffin

President Trump’s trip to India showcased his, at best, disregard for mass violence against Muslims. While Trump lauded Indian Prime Minister Modi for his religious tolerance and the ink dried on a new US-India arms deal, the ashes of burned out homes cooled after an anti-Muslim pogrom scorched North Delhi, leaving at least 53 dead. Members of Congress should fight to block Trump’s arms deal with Modi, using the same tools they deployed in an attempt to staunch the flow of American weapons to Saudi Arabia last summer. These riots are only the latest chapter in a string of policies discriminating against Muslims enacted by the Modi government, and the US Congress has a moral responsibility to stand up to violent religious repression. 

Continue reading “No Arms for Modi”

On Chile in America’s Winter of Discontent

By Yong Kwon

Mass protests in Chile caught many US observers by surprise last October. The foreign policy establishment in Washington had looked to the Latin American republic as a beacon of stability. In addition to its peaceful transition to democracy after 17 years of military rule, the country was one of the strongest economic performers in the region. Yet much like the United States, an outward sense of economic growth and procedural stability masked rising inequality, a hollowing-out of the welfare state, and the displacement of citizens from the decision-making process. 

Continue reading “On Chile in America’s Winter of Discontent”

An Indyktment of the Blob

By Lawrence Philby

The Blob likes to think of itself as a vast marketplace of ideas – think tanks, academics, pundits and politicians each offering their thoughts on the best course for US foreign policy, with the best of the lot winning out.

Yet this marketplace is governed less by the content of the ideas themselves and more by the intellectual pedigree of those expressing them. The same familiar faces debate the same general worldview, shrugging off outside perspectives unless couched in such a way as to preclude any real change.

To the blob, radical change proposed by outsiders is unrealistic, mere fantasies put forward by individuals who can’t see the big picture. Even the Blob can wobble under the strain of its own fatigue, however, as evidenced by the world-weary jeremiad that Martin Indyk published in the Wall Street Journal on Sunday, January 17th.

Continue reading “An Indyktment of the Blob”

War Crimes Are Inevitable in the Forever War State

By Lawrence Philby

The anti-democratic nature of the US national security apparatus is why we’re in this mess, and preventing future escalation spirals requires changing not just who is in power, but how power works at the highest levels.

To be clear – and don’t let the reams of ex post facto justification distract you – this is fucking nuts.

It would be nuts even if it were President Cool Hand Luke at the helm to give the go-ahead for the assassination of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps General Qassem Soleimani and not President 10-Flush Toilets.

It would be nuts even if it were the result of careful consideration and not Donald Trump picking “D – all of the above” on a hastily prepared multiple-choice policy planning document.

If would be nuts even if the Trump administration had a follow-up plan beyond talking shit on Twitter and dragooning government communications accounts to extoll the litanies of hate.

The United States should not be in the business of assassinating foreign leaders abroad on the flimsy pretext of undefined “terrorist” threats.

Continue reading “War Crimes Are Inevitable in the Forever War State”