State Department

White House Ready For Withdrawal?

As the White House prepares it's interim report on the progress of the so-called "surge", more and ore officials within the West Wing are talking about trying to announce plans for a redeployment in an effort to shore-up the shattering support the Administration has from the Republican side of Congress.

Passport Restrictions Eased Temporarily

As the reality sets in that new passport restrictions are seriously inconveniencing travelers this summer, the Bush Administration has temporarily suspended those restrictions. The suspension will last until the end of September and allows Americans to fly to and from Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean without a passport.

Zoellick Another PNAC Neoconservative Hack

Today president Bush nominated Robert Zoellick to replace Paul Wolfowitz as head of the World Bank. Both men, along with Donald Rumsfeld, James Woolsey, and Richard Armitage were signatories to an open letter to president Clinton in 1998 seeking an American invasion of Iraq.

Guinea Under Martial Law, Troops Firing On Civilians

Since our last report on Guinea, their president has declared martial law and sent troops out with orders to end the unrest and violence.

A report today comes complete with video of troops opening fire on protesters. Guinea has been surrounded by war for the past few years, and it is feared that rebel fighters from those conflicts have been steadily crossing into Guinea and may be partially responsible for the unrest.

The American State Department has encouraged Americans to forgo travel to Guinea and has pulled non-essential staff from their consulate there.

U.S. Middle East Diplomacy Continues To Unravel

Fuelled Partially by the ineptitude of the Bush Administration and partially by a Democratic takeover of congress, which some might argue is the result of the former, the political fabric of the middle east is starting to seriously fray and come apart at the seams.

Iran was once held in check partially by the Taliban to the east and Saddam Hussein to the west. The United States has eliminated both opponents for them. If you think that that is an exaggeration, consider this quote from Mohsen Rezai, an adviser to Ayatollah Khamanei of Iran:

"The kind of service that the Americans, with all their hatred, have done us — no superpower has ever done anything similar. America destroyed all our enemies in the region. It destroyed the Taliban. It destroyed Saddam Hussein… The Americans got so stuck in the soil of Iraq and Afghanistan that if they manage to drag themselves back to Washington in one piece, they should thank God. America presents us with an opportunity rather than a threat — not because it intended to, but because it miscalculated. They made many mistakes".

North Korea: What's Being Done Besides Finger Pointing?

Talk to a Republican and they'll rant a litany of the failings of the Clinton Administration, which ended January 20, 2001, to keep North Korea out of the Nuclear Club. Talk to a Democrat and they'll tell you that it is the Bush Administration's consistent policy of disengagement (refusing direct talks) that is to blame. Consider this moderating quote from Larry Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell:

"It's difficult to say that the Clinton policy failed, but it's crystal clear that the current policy has failed. You need a carrot-and-stick approach -- you can't just use the stick."

I do believe that the Clinton Administration was lax in it's dealings with many of the threats facing the U.S. and its interests, preferring to put out fires rather than work to prevent them. In 1994, the U.S. and North Korea entered into the "agreed framework," negotiated by former president Jimmy Carter, under which North Korea would receive two light water reactors in exchange for abiding by the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and handing over its old reactor rods. This deal, had it been kept, would have left North Korea without material for weapons.

U.S. State Department Travel Advisory Page

Not all unrest in foreign countries makes the news these days. One way to stay aware of these things is to regularly consult the U.S. State Department's Current Warnings page.

Many of the listed countries are ones which seem obvious to anyone who follows international news; but, even when the news fades from the public conciousness, those headline countries remain trouble spots. Here's some examples:

Al-Qaida and Taliban elements continue to operate inside Pakistan, particularly along the porous Afghan border region. Their presence, coupled with that of indigenous sectarian and militant groups in Pakistan, continues to pose potential danger to American citizens.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) and Sri Lankan military forces have clashed on several occasions, and this fighting has escalated in recent weeks. While most of the country remains largely unaffected, the Department warns Americans against traveling to areas in the North and East of the country given the dangers caused by the ongoing fighting between LTTE, other armed groups, and Sri Lankan military forces. This Travel Warning expires on November 15, 2006.

Syndicate content