Globe Trot

Globe Trot 08.15


A massive bomb attack and a firefight shook Damascus Wednesday as pressure mounts on the Assad regime to end its fight against the rebels and step aside. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the world's largest pan-Islamic bloc, moved yesterday to suspend membership of Syria, which has already been kicked out of the Arab League.

If you don't read anything else on the Syrian conflict, read this analysis by Robert D Kaplan and Kamran Bokhari. It explains why waiting for the rebels to "take control" of Syria is a disastrous prospect. "Regional stability and moral considerations both require a transitional phase in Syria, not cold-turkey democracy." We in the United States should've learned this by now.

Daniel Drezner at Foreign Policy illuminates the short-sighted approach of the Obama administration to Syria, i.e., "The more blood and treasure Iran loses in Syria-even if Assad stays in power longer-the weaker Iran will be." This is a legitimate approach only for those who think nothing of 20,000 civilians killed and 2.5 million displaced and/or suffering severe food and gasoline shortages. I argue in the latest issue of WORLD for real policy and a return to legitimate American ideals vs. postmodern realpolitick.

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One of the few groups working with Aleppo's Christians is the Barnabas Fund, and that's a good place to go if you want to help those suffering in the civil war. I've had the privilege of seeing that work in action during my last Syria trip, in 2008.

Rudwan Dawod, a legal permanent U.S. resident whose case we've been following in Khartoum, was declared "not guilty" on Monday by a Sudanese judge over July charges of terrorism. But immediately following the verdict and while still in the courtroom, Dawod was rearrested and ushered into a police vehicle by Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS). He remains in NISS custody without charge or accusation, and has not been allowed access to his family or a lawyer.

In China the trial of Gu Kailai came to a swift conclusion when Gu declined to contest the charges that she poisoned British national Neil Heywood. Sentencing, which could be the death penalty, awaits Gu, as China's greatest political scandal for a generation lurches "between an airport thriller and a Stalinist show trial."

When will Republicans learn? As criticism over lack of foreign policy bona fides for the GOP presidential ticket rises, Mitt Romney picks former World Bank chief Bob Zoellick to head his national security transition planning team. According to Danielle Pletka at the American Enterprise Institute, "He's pro-China to the point of mania, he's an establishment guy, he's a trade-first guy. He's basically a George H.W. Bush, old-school Republican." Zoellick has a reputation for butting heads with others respected in the Republican national security community, including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Ambassador to the UN John Bolton.


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