Obama’s Foreign Policy Legacy

Obama is perhaps the biggest game changer of our lifetime. Besides being the first African-American president, he enacted numerous major policy shifts and programs such as the Affordable Care Act and a financial stimulus package after the Great Recession, and he made progress in the battle against climate change. Domestic policy is where President Obama has made his biggest waves in the news and his greatest enemies. He struggled to put many of his ideas into action due to two deadlocked Congresses and many strong enemies on the right. His…

How Mosul Can Reshape Obama’s Foreign Policy Legacy

In mid-June of 2014, smoke rolled into the sky above Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq. Burning Humvees littered streets that had once bustled with people. Only days earlier, the Islamic State had invaded the city, crushing the ill-equipped Iraqi security detail that had been assigned to protect it. The stunning defeat gave the radical group its first strong foothold in Iraq (most of its activity had been in Syria up to that point) and allowed it to use the city as its base of operations in the country. The…

Why Is Syria Allowed to Crumble?

With the city’s medical system strained, the World Health Organization expects that the almost 850 civilians wounded in Aleppo last week will die due to a lack of resources – resources that could have been received if alleged Russian fighter jets hadn’t mercilessly bombed a UN humanitarian aid convoy. Of the 850 helpless civilians expected to die, 261 are children. These reports have come after one of the most crippling weeks of violence of the Syrian civil war. With atrocities continuously committed by the Bashar al-Assad regime and Putin’s Kremlin,…

The West’s Policy of Inaction Cripples Syria

Recently, when an interviewer asked presidential candidate and former Gov. Gary Johnson what he would do about Aleppo if elected president, Johnson, the Libertarian Party nominee, asked, “What is Aleppo?” Some interpreted his remarks as an unconscious gaffe. Yet, in response to ensuing pressure, he genuinely reassured the public that he didn’t know where Aleppo was or the significance of the city. Johnson’s isolationism is not an excuse to be ignorant of tragedies riddling the world. The truth of the matter, however, is that Johnson’s lack of understanding of the…

Seeking Peace in Syria

The conflict in Syria has no end in sight, but recent events have provided prospects for peace with some glimmers of hope. The Feb. 27 ceasefire has helped humanitarian aid reach some 150,000 people in besieged areas. On March 14, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the surprise withdrawal of most Russian forces in Syria. And the self-proclaimed Islamic State has been losing strategic ground in Iraq and Syria, most recently when Syrian army forces took Palmyra; meanwhile, U.S. strikes kill about one Islamic State leader every three days. These are…

The Future of U.S.-Saudi Relations

Saudi Arabia’s leaders are scared — and that’s a problem for the United States. The kingdom is surrounded by instability. To the south, the Houthi rebellion, a local Shiite insurgency, is battling Sunni-led Saudi forces in Yemen. To the north, the Islamic State has targeted Saudi Arabia, calling for an attack on the Saudi royal family. To the east, Saudi troops put down what was seen as an Iranian attempt in 2011 at subversion in Bahrain. Further east, the Saudis are faced with their most feared rival, Shiite-ruled Iran. The Saudis…

The Warm Heart of Germany’s Iron Lady

Looking back two years, one can recall the all too familiar sight of the Greek people demonstrating in the streets of Athens, holding up signs depicting Angela Merkel clad in an SS uniform and with a penciled in Hitler mustache. Not withstanding the fact that her actions in dealing with European crises, namely the Greek debt crisis, have divided Europe, some see her as the new ‘Iron Lady’ of the European Union. For the past ten years, she has governed Germany rationally, thoughtfully, and pragmatically. Some have criticized Merkel for…

The Arab Spring Four Years On: Reflections on a Movement Gone Wrong

When the Arab Spring erupted, quite literally, with a spark caused by Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation in Tunisia, the international community watched with bated breath.  The region that we had long written off as consistently oppressive, backwards, and anti-democratic, was beginning to wake up, finally, and smell the sweet fragrance of freedom and democracy.  The masses across the Arab world were shaking off their oppressors and demanding the political and social freedom that they had been denied for too long. As of this writing, the protests led to rulers being forced…