Spotlight on the U.S. - Mexico Border

What do our border policies say about our values as a nation?

President Obama committed to dispatching up to 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border and is asking Congress for $500 million for increased law enforcement in the Southwest and for other border protection tools.

The White House is calling the maneuver "a multi-layered effort to target illicit networks trafficking in people, drugs, illegal weapons and money.”  But in practice, beefing up border enforcement under existing federal programs has only drained our government resources, has put into serious jeopardy our commitment to due process under the law, and has presented serious human rights implications. 

For example, Operation Streamline, an existing Department of Homeland Security program, was instituted in 2005, and mandates the federal criminal prosecution and imprisonment of all people who cross the U.S.-Mexico border unlawfully.

There's more...

Stability of Pakistan’s Democratic Government Key to Nuclear Security

President Obama met with Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Gilani over the weeked as the global nuclear summit kicked off in Washington, DC. The US has consistently said that it is not worried about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal per se, but sees a greater threat in efforts to destabilize the democratic government.

Pakistan has approximately 70 to 90 nuclear weapons according to a report by Havard University’s Belfer Centre for Science and International Affairs, titled Securing the Bomb. According to the authors of the report, while “Pakistan has taken major steps to improve security and command and control for its nuclear stockpiles,” the greatest opportunity for terrorists to seize nuclear weapons comes from the fragile stability of Pakistan’s democratic government.

There's more...

Pakistan extends hand to India

That ongoing tensions between Pakistan and India present a serious obstacle to long-term peace and stability in the region is well known. In addition to straining relations between two nuclear powers (Pakistan and India), the dispute over Kashmir resulted in Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) supporting Taliban and possibly al Qaeda militants in the region as a "strategic asset" in their struggles with India. This resulted in the blowback we see today, as militants shed any pretense of control by the ISI and began taking over Pakistani villages and declaring Shari'a rule.

As such, diplomats and international security experts have been long saying that an important part of a successful strategy in the Af-Pak region is to heal old wounds between Pakistan and India. While this will not come easily, it's good to see that Pakistan President Zardari is making the important move of extending a hand to India:

There's more...

So why shouldn't Obama get to keep his Blackberry?

I was listening to Newsweek's Jonathan Alter being interviewed on Public Radio as I drove home from teaching today and the argument he was making was that Obama should not have to give up his Blackberry as the security mavens around him are demanding. Indeed, Alter gave lots of good reasons why Obama should stay plugged in.

In this day and age when corporate users and those developing highly secret government projects are using their Blackberries, the President should have at least the same access to personal communication. There are plenty of means to encrypt everything and Obama is an intelligent user. It was his use of the Blackberry that helped him get through this very tough election... and the Republicans didn't break his security... But I'll bet they tried!

There's more...

Anne Korin: Why Shouldn't We Believe Her?

This morning I heard on C-SPAN radio about 10 minutes of an Anne Korin speech (Co-Director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, and Chair of Set America Free), delivered live to the National Conservative Student Conference in DC.  In the space of a few minutes, filled with a fast-paced presentation of data on global oil production and US oil consumption, I learned that she favors quick adoption by the US of plug-in hybrids, combined with flex-fuels combustion engines, as the most immediate path to extricating ourselves from our current national security pickle.

She sure made sense to me -- but then, I'm a sucker for arguments set up with a marshaling of seemingly relevant facts (that why I'm a Biden supporter, by the way - but that's another topic).  She made so much sense that I'm about to sit down and watch the video on C-SPAN's site (Korin appears about one hour in on the morning session).  

I did a quick search online looking for any critiques of her analysis -- nothing so far.  I'm curious what the progressive blogosphere thinks of her work.  Anyone?  I did learn she teamed up with James Woolsey on a National Review article last September: "Turning Oil Into Salt," and that apparently Woolsey is now advising McCain.  I also found a KCRW radio show she appeared on last November (in a segment titled, "Is America's Thirst for Expensive Oil Fueling Dictators?")

Thanks for any comments.

~ Rob

There's more...


Advertise Blogads