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A spreading Islamic insurgency engulfs the amorphous and ungoverned border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. After initial victories by the United States and the Northern Alliance in autumn 2001, hundreds of Taliban and al Qaeda fighters fled Afghanistan to seek refuge across the border in Pakistan's rugged northwest. Since 2007, the number of ambushes, militant offensives, and targeted assassinations has risen sharply across Afghanistan, while suicide bombers and pro-Taliban insurgents sweep through settled areas of Pakistan at an alarming pace. For better and for worse, Pakistan will remain the fulcrum of U.S. policy in the region -- its leaders continue to provide vital counterterrorism cooperation and have received close to $20 billion in assistance from the United States, yet elements associated with its national intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence, covertly assist militant proxy groups destabilizing the region.
Instead of "surging" into this volatile region, the United States must focus on limiting cross-border movement along the Afghanistan-Pakistan frontier and supporting local Pakistani security forces with a small number of U.S. Special Forces personnel. To improve fighting capabilities and enhance cooperation, Washington and Islamabad must increase the number of Pakistani officers trained through the U.S. Department of Defense International Military Education and Training program. In addition, U.S. aid to Pakistan must be monitored more closely to ensure Pakistan's military does not divert U.S. assistance to the purchase of weapons systems that can be used against its chief rival, India. Most important, U.S. policymakers must stop embracing a single Pakistani leader or backing a single political party, as they unwisely did with Pervez Musharraf and the late Benazir Bhutto.
America's actions are not passively accepted by the majority of Pakistan's population, and officials in Islamabad cannot afford to be perceived as putting America's interests above those of their own people. Because the long-term success of this nuclear-armed Muslim-majority country depends on the public's repudiation of extremism, and our continued presence in Afghanistan is adding more fuel to violent religious radicalism, our mission in the region, as well as our tactics, our objectives, and our interests, must all be reexamined.
Journal of Palestine Studies;
From the era of Woodrow Wilson, when the United States committed itself to support the Zionist program in Palestine, American public opinion on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has been formed and policy has been made from a restricted, generally Israel-centered vantage point. This frame of reference has excluded the Palestinian perspective and, in the struggle for Palestine that culminated in the Palestinians' dispossession in 1948, has made it impossible for U.S. policymakers to take this seminal episode into account in shaping Middle East policy.
Journal of Palestine Studies;
Following Israel's creation in 1948, the Palestinians disappeared from United States policy considerations and did not reemerge until the late 1960s, when they forced themselves on the world's consciousness with a series of terrorist actions and a determined assertion of national aims. With the exception of the Carter administration, the history of the two decades of American policy-making that followed is one of a concerted effort to suppress the Palestinian question as a political issue and to undermine the Palestinian Liberation Organization. This article, the second in a three-part series, examines the frame of reference that molded policymaker thinking on Palestinian-Israeli issues--one centered on the Israeli perspective and basically ignorant of the Palestinian viewpoint--from the Eisenhower administration through the Reagan years.
Journal of Palestine Studies;
The policymakers most responsible for shaping policy on the Palestinian-Israeli question in both the Bush and the Clinton administrations, a team led by special mediator Dennis Ross, came of age politically at a time when the Palestinian perspective was virtually excluded from American political discourse. These policymakers, by their own testimony emotionally involved in Arab-Israeli issues because of their Jewish roots, are naturally inclined to view the issue from the traditional Israel-centered vantage point despite their occasionally harsh criticism of Israel's right-wing government and their vaunted understanding of Palestinian sensibilities. Part III of this series examines how the old frame of reference still determines policy even in an era when Palestinians are seen as legitimate participants in the peace process.
National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at University of Maryland;
Existing survey data do not provide comprehensive baseline information about U.S. beliefs and attitudes on terrorism and counterterrorism. Improved understanding of public attitudes can inform programs and tools related to managing public risk perception, increasing effectiveness of pre- and post-event communication by Federal, state, and local officials, and building and supporting more resilient social networks within and across communities.
In this project, systematic survey data was collected from a sample of Americans in response to a range of newly developed survey questions. The survey was developed by two leading survey methodologists, following consultations with a research team of experts who study the dynamics of terrorism, counterterrorism, and community resilience, as well as with practitioners and officials from throughout the homeland security community. The questions were administered to members of a web panel by the on-line survey firm Knowledge Networks, and a second wave of the survey will be issued approximately six months after the first wave to allow for analysis of attitudes over time.
The first wave of the questionnaire was completed, from September 28, 2012 to October 12, 2012, by 1,576 individuals 18 years of age and older. The first section of the questionnaire assessed the salience of terrorism by asking respondents whether they had thought about terrorism in the preceding week, how likely they thought a terrorist attack in the United States was in the next year, and whether they had done anything differently in the past year because of the possibility of such an attack.
The second section of the questionnaire posed questions about how likely respondents would be to call the police in response to various actions potentially related to terrorism and how concerned respondents felt the government should be about these actions. Respondents who said they had thought about a terrorist attack in the last week were more likely than other respondents to say they were likely to call the police in response to the various situations described to them.
The survey then assessed respondents' awareness and evaluation of government efforts related to terrorism in the United States. A large majority of the respondents said that the U.S. government has been very effective (33 percent) or somewhat effective (54 percent) at preventing terrorism; less than 13 percent characterized the government as not too effective or not effective at all.
In a final section of the survey, we asked respondents about two specific programs focused on increasing communication between members of the public and the government on topics related to terrorism.
Aspen Institute Justice & Society Program;
Nearly a decade after the 9/11 Commission issued its report on the greatest act of terrorismon U.S. soil, one of its most significant recommendations has not been acted upon. The call for consolidated Congressionaloversight of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is, in the words of Commission co-chair Thomas H. Kean, "maybe the toughest recommendation" because Congress does not usually reform itself.
To underscore the importance of this reform, The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands and the Aspen Institute's Justice and Society Program convened a task force in April 2013, including 9/11 Commission cochairs Kean and Lee H. Hamilton, former DHS officials under Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, and members of Congress (Appendix). While the failure to reform DHS oversight may be invisible to the public, it is not without consequence or risk.
Fragmented jurisdiction impedes DHS' ability to deal with three major vulnerabilities: thethreats posed by small aircraft and boats; cyberattacks; and biological weapons."I think we've been distinctly less securefrom a biological or chemical attack than wewould have been had we had a more rationaland targeted program of identifying the most serious threats," said former Sen. BobGraham (D., Fla.). As the 9/11 Commission Report noted: "So long as oversight is governed by current Congressional rules and resolutions, we believe that the American people will not get the security they want and need."
Earlier work by policy groups such as the Heritage Foundation and Brookings Institution attests to the consensus that consolidated oversight of DHS is needed. Among the concerns: More than 100 Congressional committees and subcommittees claim jurisdiction over it. In 2009, the department spent the equivalent of 66 worky ears responding to Congressional inquiries.Moreover, the messages regarding homeland security that come out of Congress sometimes appear to conflict or are drowned outaltogether. As former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff noted, "When many voices speak, it's like no voice speaks."
The task force recommends that:
DHS should have an oversight structure that resembles the one governing other critical departments, such as Defenseand Justice.
Committees claiming jurisdiction over DHS should have overlapping membership. Since a new committee structure cannot be implemented until the 114th Congress is seated in 2015, the task force also recommends these interim steps toward more focused oversight:
Time-limiting subcommittee referrals to expedite matters of national security.
Passing, for the first time since formation of the department in 2002, an authorization bill for DHS, giving the department clear direction from Congress.
American Academy of Arts and Sciences;
Explores what countermeasures China and Russia are likely to take if the United States continues to pursue the weaponization of space, and what the broader implications for international security will be.
Examines domestic and international factors affecting the bilateral relationship, especially in the context of economic normalization between the two countries and a changing international environment in the Asia-Pacific region.
Peace and Security Funders Group;
Examines trends in grantmaking by U.S. foundations for civil society initiatives worldwide to promote peace and security, including by issue area, strategy, and foundation and grantee characteristics. Lists foundation giving by issue area and total.
Open Society Institute;
Based on interviews with former detainees, documents abuses, including sensory/sleep deprivation, forced nudity, and exposure to excessive cold, at a Special Operations facility in 2007-10. Lists minimum steps needed to meet U.S. and international standar
Pew Research Center;
Presents survey results from the Global Attitudes Project on Mexicans' views on immigration, the United States, Barack Obama, Mexico's war against drug traffickers, the economy, leaders and institutions, trade and globalization, and their personal lives.