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Friday, August 04, 2006
State of the Union's Foreign Policy

To close the week on a light note, I wanted to state the big picture view of foreign affairs. Condi only has about two years left to find herself a legacy.

1. North Korea testing of missiles has threatened Japan's leadership. This leadership now seems determined to use it to substantively re-written and re-interpret Japan's pacific constitution.

2. Israel and Lebanon are at war. Lebanon is the tinder box that could drag the entire region into a situation where international armies sit on Israeli borders and greatly circumscribe its national freedom to act. That same Lebanese tinderbox could set off conflicts between Syria, Iran, the United States, and Israel-- conflicts that will be costly to at least two of the parties involved (Syria and Israel).

3. Turkey is heavily considering armed intervention into Iraq to end a Kurdish insurgency within its own borders. Armed intervention into the Kurdish area of Iraq would propel Iraq into a further state of disunion by incentivizing militaristic nationalism among the Kurds, and, demonstrating to them whether their Shiia allies would divert state resources to protect them. Conflict in Northern Turkey would also limited the small opportunity that Turkey has to enter the European Union.

4. Vice President Cheney, President Bush, and President Putin exchanged harsh words about democracy in the lead up to and during the G-8 summit. While I concur with Putin that Russia does not need 'democracy like Iraq', one can only marvel at the limited nature of democratic life in his Russia. Nevertheless, my concern for Russia does not translate in Dick Cheney's fighting words of last spring's tour through Europe.

5. The Doha rounds of the WTO negotiations have stalled again while Chavez is situating himself to be the new Castro of the world, getting chummy with all the United States' rejects.

6. Iraq. Enough said.

7. On a good note, the United States has pledged unconditional support for a Cuban democratic transition, and, has put its money where its mouth is.
The United States is actively monitoring the situation in Cuba following the announcement of a transfer of power. At this time of uncertainty in Cuba, one thing is clear: The United States is absolutely committed to supporting the Cuban people's aspirations for democracy and freedom. We have repeatedly said that the Cuban people deserve to live in freedom. I encourage all democratic nations to unite in support of the right of the Cuban people to define a democratic future for their country. I urge the Cuban people to work for democratic change on the island. We will support you in your effort to build a transitional government in Cuba committed to democracy, and we will take note of those, in the current Cuban regime, who obstruct your desire for a free Cuba. In the event of a transition in the Cuban government, we stand ready to provide humanitarian assistance as needed to help the Cuban people. It has long been the hope of the United States to have a free, independent, and democratic Cuba as a close friend and neighbor. In achieving this, the Cuban people can count on the full and unconditional support of the United States.