The Obama Administration sought to capitalize on the fifth anniversary of Osama Biden Laden’s death in an effort to cement the outgoing President’s foreign policy legacy. At the same time, the US was desperately trying to work with Russia to stop the Aleppo Offensive in Syria as protesters stormed Iraq’s highly secure “Green Zone.” Unlike the symbolic victory that was Bin Laden’s demise, the threat of globalized terrorism and self-serving, unresponsive governance are problems not easily solved. With President Obama about to retire, the Peoples of the world have serious concerns as to how, and if, the next US President will lead on these issues.
Obama’s response to top foreign policy concerns like the Arab Spring Revolutions, the Islamic State threat, the Ukrainian Crisis, and the South China Sea crisis draw criticism from both sides of the political spectrum. President Obama and his team have made mistakes, including critical ones such as their mishandling of the Benghazi embassy attack and the hollow “red line” threat issued to Bashar al-Assad over the use of chemical weapons. Recognizing the shortcomings of the Obama Administration, there is a chance to learn. That said, the cautious approach of the Obama Administration probably best fits the current mood of the International Community.
The Aleppo Offensive by the Bashar al-Assad government has finally revealed its latest strategy to win Syria back for the brutal, minority regime. While the US and Russia work reinstitute ceasefires on the local level, which excludes Aleppo, the Assad regime and Russia justify their assault on Aleppo, because militant have been active in the area. As the whole territory of Syria is a divided battleground and insurgents can only be expected to shift their limited resources to secure their territory against changing threats, the objective is a lightly veiled effort to besiege rebel-held territory while maintaining a ceasefire across the rest of Syria.
In order for the Assad-Putin strategy to be successful, the so-called cession of hostilities must hold elsewhere across Syria, so additional forces can be diverted to Aleppo. In addition, insurgent must remain distracted by the war on the Islamic State and Al Nursa. The goal will be to break rebel lines at Aleppo then recapture part of Syria over time. Meanwhile, Russia has already been busy discouraging the US and its allies amid re-escalating tensions between NATO and Russia, thus trying to force the West to choose between supporting the defense of the Syrian People and risking a war with Russia.
Donald Trump’s mini-super Super Tuesday victories on April 26th have not derailed the efforts of the “Stop Trump” and “Never Trump” movements, yet it has solidified his standing as the de facto GOP Nominee. While Ted Cruz decided to take the unusual step of naming Carly Fiorina as his running mate in an apparent effort to attract the support of Republican women, despite the fact he cannot beat the frontrunner, Donald Trump delivered a foreign policy speech. Not surprising, an army of professional analysts, political insiders, and media outlets seized upon the opportunity to discredit the Presidential candidate, thus revealing his and their shortcomings.
Although the US Press was more than willing to regurgitate criticism of Trump’s speech, The Guardian offered important insights from a foreign perspective. By focusing on the inconsistencies of Trump’s address, instead of criticism based on differences in political philosophy, the inconsistencies that have long undermined US foreign policy become apparent. Looking at politically unbiased coverage, such as that from NPR, Trump’s speech offered little more than a reiteration of his America First platform and criticism of past US foreign policy. In other words, Trump simply mirrored the failings of US foreign policy.
The “war on drugs” has accomplished little in the eyes of detractors, except for criminalizing those in need of help and fostering violence at the hands of criminals. After more than four decades of the drug war, the globe faces a crisis of prescription drug abuse, a meth epidemic, a growing number of increasingly dangerous synthetic street drugs, a brutal war between terroristic drug cartels, the criminalization of addicts, and the further entrenchment of socioeconomic disparities along racial lines. With traditionally conservative Pennsylvania becoming the twenty-fourth State to legalize the use of marijuana in the US for medical purposes and over 1,000 world leaders declaring the war on drugs a failure, change is certain, but what changes are made will determine whether or not it is for the better.
Although proponents of the drug war might argue efforts have helped save the lives of countless by curbing the use and availability of drugs, the failings of the war on drugs cannot be denied. Compared to the harmful nature of prescription drugs, marijuana is probably a far more sensible alternative when it comes to managing chronic pain. Like alcohol, however, the last thing anyone needs is a bunch of people under the influence of marijuana or any drug when driving, working, or walking around public areas while children certainly do not need added peer pressure to try drugs. Where many critics of the war on drugs are pushing to outright legalize the “recreational” use of marijuana, as well as other drugs, national and global leaders must take the lead to ensure the best policies are adopted.
The following was written by Guest Blogger Anant Mishra and does not reflect the views of The Washington Outsider or its staff.
Anant Mishra is a former Youth Representative to the United Nations. He has served extensively in United Nations General Assembly, the Security Council along with the Economic and Social Council. He is also a visiting faculty for numerous universities and delivers lectures on political economics and foreign policies.
Many have supported the referendum on whether or not Britain should remain an EU member. Since 2013, members of the Conservative Party, also known as the Tories, have been the most vocal proponents of a so-called Brexit by 2017. Being the largest party in Britain, the Conservatives push demonstrates the growing anti-European Union sentiments. The UK Independence Party also actively opposes the UK’s membership in the EU.
David Cameron’s return as Prime Minister in 2015 means he must conduct a secession referendum to determine whether or not Britain will remain part of the European Union, which in 2013 he called a “right for every British to say.”
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