Missile Defense: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Missile defense. It's been talked about for decades, some of us even grew up watching Patriot missiles shoot down Iraqi Scud missiles in the first Gulf War. But where do things stand today? Is it still needed? Should I care?  Those questions and more are answered in the FAQ below.

1. What is missile defense?

Ostensibly, the term "missile defense" refers to a system that allows one nation to shoot down or destroy in-flight missiles launched by a hostile nation or force before those missiles can do harm to the defending nation. President Reagan notably spurred the United States to begin developing a missile defense system in the 1980s to protect the country from inter-continental ballistic missiles armed with nuclear warheads launched by the Soviets. Here's an example of how it works: 

 

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2. Do we need missile defense?

A strong missile defense system theoretically protects the United States from the most dangerous missile attacks, including those armed with nuclear warheads. Today, a nuclear missile attack (even accidental) could eliminate a major U.S. city causing millions of deaths and untold damage to the economy. Additionally, a nuclear missile could be detonated higher in the atmosphere to cause what is called an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) attack. An EMP attack destroys all electronic devices in its wake, which would render our electrical systems, food networks, water supplies, transportation systems, and more useless. If that were to happen, millions and even tens of millions of Americans could die over the course of several months.

As missile and nuclear technology progress, so too must the defense technology, goes the thinking. Indeed, the National Missile Defense Act of 1999 (Public Law 106-38) states:

"It is the policy of the United States to deploy as soon as is technologically possible an effective National Missile Defense system capable of defending the territory of the United States against limited ballistic missile attack (whether accidental, unauthorized, or deliberate) with funding subject to the annual authorization of appropriations and the annual appropriation of funds for National Missile Defense."

Detractors, though, advocate caution. They claim that strong missile defense systems will only push the world to the brink of nuclear war; that there are few imminent missile threats within range of hitting the United States; and that since 1987 the number of ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States has drastically decreased, as shown below:

Based on those arguments and a few others, detractors of missile defense argue against its further development.

Proponents, on the other hand, argue that if the most powerful nations in the world all acquire adequate missile defense technology, the threat of nuclear holocaust will decrease and a more stable international community should emerge. Additionally, they argue that the United States government has a Constitutional mandate to defend the country against all threats, including nuclear missile attacks. Furthermore, supporters of missile defense will argue that, as the chart shows, while the numbers of long- and medium-range missiles may be decreasing, more hostile regimes, such as North Korea and possibly Iran, are attempting to acquire more long-range missile capabilities.

Nuclear missile attacks may be accidental or unauthorized, and defenses should be put in place against them, supporters argue. Because of the potential devastation posed by a missile attack (nuclear or EMP), they argue that we should continue to develop the technology to be able to protect ourselves against rising threats and future challenges. (Source: Heritage Foundation) 

 

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3. What kind of nuclear missile threats exist?

Generally speaking, there are two types of nuclear missile threats: Strategic nuclear missiles and tactical nuclear weapons. 

  • Strategic nuclear weapons are long-range missiles that can reach a target between 3,500 and 9,000 miles away.
     
  • Tactical nuclear weapons are generally considered as short-range missiles, capable of hitting targets 300 to 400 miles away. Medium-range missiles (somewhere more than short-range, but less than long-range) are sometimes called tactical or non-strategic. 

 

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4. What kind of missile defense systems exist?

Many countries, including some American adversaries, possess a variety of different missiles (short-, medium-, and long-range). Therefore, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency focuses on three types of defense: against intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), theater missiles, and tactical missiles. All of these weapons pose great potential danger. Missile defense systems are usually multi-layered and combine ground-based radar, satellites, and, depending on the type of missile that needs to be intercepted, ship-based, land-based, and truck-based anti-missile missile stations. 

Below is a diagram of how the U.S. missile defense system is designed to operate: 

Source

 A missile defense radar station is pictured below.

Missile Defense Installation

Source

 

The U.S. military has also developed lasers for missile defense, such as the MTHEL featured below.

 

 

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5. What does an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) attack look like?

Nuclear weapons were originally delivered simply by an airplane. The nuclear warhead was attached to a “gravity bomb” which would explode on impact. This is still a feasible means of delivery and a potential threat to the United States. Any of the three main types of missiles (tactical, theater and ICBM) can be delivered with a nuclear warhead attached. Though technologically more difficult to deliver, these missiles can be launched quickly, travel extremely fast and are very difficult to stop. At this point, if such a missile were launched at the United States there would be a strong probability that it would successfully detonate.

A nuclear detonation could take place at high-altitude which would cause an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) to spread out across much of the United States, likely shutting down all unprotected electronic devices in its path. If an EMP attack were to take place, it's quite likely that a large part of our food, water, and health care networks would be partially or entirely crippled because of our high-dependency upon electronics. As such, an EMP could lead to many millions of deaths. To learn more about EMPs, click the image below:

 

 For more information on EMPs, please refer to the Intellectual Takeout EMP library topic and FAQ.

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6. What is a tactical missile threat?

Like all ballistic missiles, the tactical missile is sent temporarily out of Earth’s atmosphere before reentering and detonating at a predetermined location. This point cannot be changed mid-flight. This is one of the simpler ballistic missiles, and several dozen countries possess the technology to deploy it.

Tactical Missile Threat

 Source

This weapon has very limited range and is generally used only during a relatively localized battle, often times used to target ships or small bases. Despite this, they made up a large portion of the U.S. and Soviet missile stockpiles of the Cold War. Tactical missiles are inexpensive, very mobile, and can carry a variety of warheads. Though only able to travel up to short- and medium-range distances, tactical missiles can be launched from a mobile launcher, such as aircraft, ships, submarines and Club-K crates. Below is a video detailing how the Club-K delivery system works:

Treaties throughout the Cold War, particularly those in 1980s, focused on eliminating long-range weapons, but largely ignored tactical missiles such as the Soviet SCUD. Despite the large number of tactical missiles, some argue that they are not a serious concern for the United States because potential U.S. adversaries are located too far away for their missiles to hit the United States. Others argue that in a changing environment of transnational terrorism and "rogue" states, tactical missiles could be used in different and more innovative ways to attack the the United States domestically, its navy while abroad, or other interests and military installations. The United States has taken steps to develop defences against tactical missile attacks with systems such as THAAD, featured below:  

 

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7. Which countries can deliver a tactical nuclear attack? Who might be able to do so in the near future?

Many countries have tactical missiles with short- or medium-range capability, but not nuclear warheads. For the most part, the United States does not have to worry about such countries attacking the domestic U.S. Those missiles could be used to attack the U.S. Navy or military bases in other regions. 

The list of countries which have nuclear weapons (or are believed to be developing them) and could be an adversary of the United States are listed below:

Russia

Despite the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia remains heavily armed with nuclear weapons capable of hitting the domestic United States. Like China, a big problem is Russia’s past and current arming of other nations, including North Korea, Iraq, Syria, and Iran. Fearing too much U.S. control in the Middle East, Russia has become very involved in the missile development programs, particularly short-range tactical missiles.

China

China is a nuclear power with missiles capable of reaching the United States. It's also believed that China has sophisticated capability with short-range tactical weapons. These are mainly used for regional power plays in Asia and as a threat to any movement toward true Taiwanese autonomy. Perhaps the greatest concern is the Chinese willingness to sell ballistic weapons and technology to countries like North Korea and Iran. Currently, China is believed to have around 200 nuclear-armed ballistic missiles. (Source: Heritage Foundation)

Pakistan

Pakistan possesses dozens of nuclear warheads and short- and medium-range tactical ballistic missiles.  Like Iran, Pakistan has received ample support from China and North Korea. Also like Iran, they are unable to deliver any long-range missiles. The greatest concern regarding Pakistan and its nuclear capabilities is the stability of the government as well as the potential for terrorists to acquire nuclear weaponry from it. 

North Korea

North Korea has developed rather advanced missile systems, and has nuclear weapons. Its tactical missiles are able to reach any part of South Korea as well as much of Asia and the Pacific. The U.S. Department of Defense believes that the North Koreans are developing weapons capable of hitting the continental United States.

Concern abounds regarding North Korea and its weapons, particularly in light of the death of its leader, Kim Jong Il, and his replacement by his son Kim Jong Un. Unlike most other countries in the region, North Korea has shown a willingness to use them, the last attack taking place in the fall of 2010. It has shown a willingness to help other potential U.S. adversaries such as Iran. It's estimated that North Korea has roughly 1,000 ballistic missiles of varying range.  (Source: Heritage Foundation)

Iran

Iran, with the help of China, Russia, and North Korea, has been greatly improving its missile systems as well as working toward nuclear capability. It has short- and medium-range SCUD tactical ballistic weapons, some stationed in the Persian Gulf. Though they are constantly improving the mobility and range of the weapons, there is little evidence that they have a sophisticated guidance system or long-range capacity.

Iran's Ballistic Missiles

Source

There has recently been growing concern over the Shahab-class missiles, which reportedly have an increased range of up to 2,000 km. Iran is supposedly developing the Shahab-6, an ICBM which has a range up to 1,800 miles (Source: NTI.org), but this has not been verified. Additionally, it is believed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.S., Israel, and other nations that Iran has been and continues to pursue nuclear weapon capabilities, though it does not currently possess such weapons.

Venezuela

In May of 2011 a report came out that Iran and Venezuela had been in the process of discussing the sale of short- and medium-range tactical missiles and building missile installations in Venezuela. The concern was that these missiles would be able to target the continental United States. Shortly after the report came out, both the U.S. and Venezuelan governments denied the report. What is known is that the Venezuela's President Chavez and Iran's President Ahmadinejad have close ties and many agreements between the two countries.

Nevertheless, there is concern over what Venezuela may attempt to do in the future. For some, the idea of a Venezuela armed with missiles capable of hitting the United States conjures past memories of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

 

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9. Does ICBM/long-range missile defense work?

The long-distance ICBM defense is much more controversial. This advanced technology has remarkable defense potential, but is still very young. The anti-ballistic missile must be able to combat different types of approaching missiles at different altitudes and different speeds.  Depending on the time of detection of an oncoming missile, the anti-ballistic defense missile must also be capable of hitting its target at various points in it trajectory. 

Recently there have been several successful tests completed, but critics have long argued that the technology is something out of science fiction.  When Reagan released his Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) plan, its opponents quickly coined it “Star Wars,” a name that has stuck.  Astrophysicist Yousaf Butt wrote a strong and concise critique of the current missile defense system. 

Despite the current shortcomings of this defense technology, proponents point out that every president since Reagan has continued significant funding for it.  Successful tests have been run and, if a bigger success rate is achieved, anti-ballistic missiles could become the U.S. Defense Department’s most treasured assets.  To be sure, it remains much easier to hit a stationary target on the ground, but many believe that a more all-encompassing defense strategy is necessary in our volatile world.

For more details on the test records of the Missile Defense Agency, click here.

 

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10. What is the Club-K missile system? Should it concern the United States?

Within the last couple of years, a Russian company has developed the Club-K missile system, aptly marketed as “Pandora’s Box.” It allows powerful sea or ground-launched cruise missiles to be hidden in shipping containers and then inconspicuously transported around the world. Russia has been notorious for selling weapons to any buyer interested ($7.8 billion in weapons sold in 2010 – second largest arms exporter in recent years behind the United States), and many in the United States fear that these missiles could fall into the wrong hands. Controlled remotely, the weapons can be deployed at any time from their shipping container. Each crate can carry up to four missiles. Each missile can be armed with nuclear warheads with EMP capability. With such a vast number of crates moving around the world every day, an attack would be nearly impossible to detect and would come with no warning.

Iran, Syria, Venezuela, China, India, United Arab Emirates and several other countries have shown interest in Club-K. Though a powerful and dangerous weapon, Club-K is quite expensive ($10-20 million/shipping crate) and therefore more easily kept out of the hands of smaller and more belligerent terrorist groups (unless they are state-sponsored, as some are). Here is the Club-K promotional video, showing the opportunities the system could provide to smaller nations under attack or to their permanent military force:

 

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11. Who can deliver a nuclear threat?

Given the ability to deliver a nuclear attack without a missile, it has become increasingly more feasible that individuals or small groups could successfully deliver a nuclear weapon. Though such a threat is often exaggerated, it is still a possibility. Physicist Li Bin wrote a technical article on the ability of “young” nuclear capable nations to deliver the weapons: ”Nuclear Missile Delivery Capabilities in Emerging Nuclear States.”

Currently there are five nuclear-weapon nations under the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty:

  • Russia Flag Russia – 11,000 
  • USA flag United States – 8,500 weapons 
  • Great Britain Flag United Kingdom - 225  
  • France Flags France - 300  
  • China Flag China - 240 

There are three nuclear-weapon nations not under the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty:

  • Pakistan Flag Pakistan – 90-110 
  • India Flag India – 80-100  
  • North Korea North Korea - ~10 

Finally there is one undeclared nuclear power:

  • Israel Flag Israel – 80-200 


Below is a map of the world in indicating current and past nuclear states, and whether or not those states agree to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). (Source: Institute for Science and International Security)

 Map of Nuclear Countries

Below is the key to the map:

Nuclear Map Key

Iran and Syria are believed to be working on nuclear capabilities, but have not yet succeeded. Even if they were able to enrich uranium, they would not be able to launch a long-range missile attack against the domestic United States. They could deliver an attack against the U.S. navy, U.S. military installations within various regions, smuggle a weapon into the United States, or take advantage of weapon systems such as the Club-K to be within range of the United States. The same goes for Pakistan and North Korea. Only the five nuclear-nations under the NPT currently are able to attach nuclear warheads to ICBMs.

There is serious debate throughout the world over which nations, if any, should be able to develop nuclear weapons. The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) was designed to prevent the spread of nuclear technology and to encourage disarmament among the already nuclear-capable nations, while allowing nations to peacefully use nuclear technology as an efficient energy source. Only Israel, Pakistan and India have never signed the treaty, while North Korea signed but withdrew in 2003.

 

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12. What are the ramifications of a tactical missile? A ballistic missile? A nuclear missile?

Because of the reduced range of tactical missiles, an attack on American soil remains unlikely unless a Club-K delivery system or something similar were used or tactical missile installations were built in South America. That said, U.S. military basis, naval fleets, and other installations located abroad are within range of tactical missiles. If the tactical missile is non-nuclear than the damage would be rather limited. If, on the other hand, the tactical missile is armed with a nuclear warhead, then the damage, though less than what a ballistic missile could do (due to payload capacity), would be quite severe.

It is hoped that the destructive capabilities and certain retaliation/mutually assured destruction (MAD) that would come from a nuclear attack (particularly long-range) will keep nations in check so long as rational actors are in charge. Advocates of missile defense systems, nonetheless, argue that the United States needs to be able to defend itself against a long-range missile attack, accidental launch, or unauthorized launch as well as tactical missiles launched from systems such as the Club-K.  

Some argue that the smaller, tactical nuclear missiles pose a bigger threat to worldwide stability. They are easy to use, and though they cause less destruction, they are still tremendously dangerous weapons. This may open the door for some nations or independent groups to use these weapons in the future.

For the last 50+ years, scientists have speculated what the world would look like if there ever was nuclear war. So far, we have only witnessed the use of two (comparatively weak by today’s standards) nuclear bombs. Those bombs were dropped by the United States in 1945 during World War II on the Japanese cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The poisonous aftermath remained dangerous for decades. Hence, since the advent of nuclear power, numerous treaties and armament agreements have been signed. An image of the aftermath from Hiroshima is below:

Hiroshima

Source

The nuclear bomb that destroyed Hiroshima (named "Little Boy") was approximately 15 kilotons in size. The Nagasaki bomb (named "Fat Man") was roughly 21 kilotons. (Source: Strategic-Air-Command.com) Today, a tactical nuclear weapon is 6 to 20 times the power of the Hiroshima bomb. A strategic nuclear weapon can be hundreds of times more powerful. (Source: Brookings Institute)

If a nuclear weapon were to be detonated in a U.S. city, the deaths would likely be in the millions and the destruction would be immense. If a nuclear weapon were to be detonated in the atmosphere above the United States it would be considered an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) attack. If that were to happen, there would be less immediate destruction of life, but the EMP would destroy nearly all electronic equipment in its wake, rendering most of our modern civilization useless. Because food, water, sanitation, and health care networks would likely be knocked out, many believe that such an attack could kill tens of millions of Americans over several weeks as food, water, health care, and more would be limited to local supplies. 

 

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13. Have there been efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons?

Certainly. Many treaties have been signed over the years with the hope of reducing and eventually eliminating nuclear weapons. Practically speaking though, nuclear weapons are immensely powerful and now that they are available it is unlikely we will ever be able to get them back into pandora's box, so to speak. 

Here is a small list of nuclear treaties and agreements as well as attempted agreements:

  • SALT I (Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty – 1972)
  • START I (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty – 1991)
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14. What can the United States do to protect itself against tactical or long-range nuclear missiles?

The United States has spent billions of dollars since the onset of the Cold War on building sophisticated missile defense technology. But it wasn’t until 1983 that there was a separate missile defense program. President Reagan began the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) in 1983. This plan was initially mocked as being wildly impossible, with many coining the program “Star Wars.” The effectiveness of this program continues to be widely debated, but some trials and real-world scenarios have proved successful. In his announcement of the plan, the President laid out the need for a missile defense program and its ultimate goal:

I know that all of you want peace, and so do I. I know too that many of you seriously believe that a nuclear freeze would further the cause of peace. But a freeze now would make us less, not more, secure and would raise, not reduce, the risks of war. It would be largely unverifiable and would seriously undercut our negotiations on arms reduction. It would reward the Soviets for their massive military buildup while preventing us from modernizing our aging and increasingly vulnerable forces…

I am directing a comprehensive and intensive effort to define a long-term research and development program to begin to achieve our ultimate goal of eliminating the threat posed by strategic nuclear missiles. This could pave the way for arms control measures to eliminate the weapons themselves. We seek neither military superiority nor political advantage. Our only purpose--one all people share--is to search for ways to reduce the danger of nuclear war.

Its name was changed to the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) in 1993 and is currently named the Missile Defense Agency. These programs have attempted to replace the defense ideal of mutually assured destruction (MAD).

Unfortunately, missile defense is not cheap and requires a serious investment by an country wishing to protect itself against nuclear missiles, whether launched in aggression or by accident. 

If a country is willing to make the investment, the goal of missile defense technology is to be able to disable a missile at any time in its flight. For more detailed information on its capabilities, the U.S. Defense Department outlines the different missile defense strategies and technology.

Proponents of missile defense believe the following steps should be taken: 

  • A commitment to spend between 2 percent and 3 percent of the defense budget on ballistic missile defense;
  • A consistent program of development and testing;
  • A layered missile defense concept;
  • A plan to expand the role of the services in ballistic missile defense;
  • The development and fielding of space-based elements;
  • A program for cooperation with U.S. allies; and
  • Recognition that ballistic missile defense has been the least developed component of the forces necessary to protect and defend the U.S. and its allies.

For a chronology of missile defense programs, click here

 

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15. What views have recent administrations had regarding a national missile defense system?

Reagan began the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) in 1983. Its goal was to completely protect the U.S. from any possible Soviet attack. This received considerable debate in Congress before a partisan passing. Despite this new program, the U.S. was allowed to remain part of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972.

The Clinton administration kept a missile defense program, but made it a bit less ambitious and shifted focus to preventing acts of terrorism from small groups or a rogue nation.

In 1999 the United Nations passed a resolution calling for the end of the U.S. national missile defense system and the continuation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. In 2002, after some debate, the U.S. decided to withdraw from the treaty and further develop missile defense technology.

The Bush administration began to seek military bases for missile defense throughout Europe. Several tests were run but few were successful. Over the last decade there has been substantial criticism over the large and expanding budget for missile defense combined with its very modest successes in long-range defense. Moreover, the recent initiative to install the missile “shield” in Eastern Europe has irked Russian leaders, at least enough for Putin to threaten the onset of another Cold War. Despite this and significant public objection in Poland and the Czech Republic, an agreement for a defensive shield between the U.S. and Poland was signed in 2008. However, the agreement was thrown out by the Obama administration in 2009.

President Obama also signed the New START Treaty with Russia in 2010. Some argue that the New START Treaty limits the United States' ability to develop missile defense technology. (To learn more about START, click here.) He would like to see a world free of nuclear weapons. In response to Iran, he signed the Iran Sanctions Act in 2011. Not without controversy, President Obama cancelled programs to place missile defense interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic. 

Many Republicans, including most of those vying for the 2012 presidential nomination, argue that it is necessary to return to a strong missile defense system like those proposed under Reagan and Bush. Mitt Romney strongly criticized New START for limiting America's ability to develop missile defense systems. Newt Gingrich believes the U.S. must have a strong missile defense and is also a very outspoken opponent of New START. He argues that China, Iran, North Korea and Pakistan all pose considerable threats to U.S. interests and safety. Ron Paul believes U.S. policy on nuclear power is hypocritical. He disagrees with the national missile defense system due to its expense amongst other reasons. 

 

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16. Why should I care?

Simply put, there are literally hundreds of nuclear-armed missiles pointed at U.S. cities right now. Additionally, the future potential for more adversarial nations to acquire nuclear weapons and the capability to deliver them to the United States is certainly there as well as developing threats such as the Club-K missile system mentioned above. While we can try to work toward a world free of nuclear missiles, we should also consider whether or not it should be a priority for the United States to be able to defend itself against a nuclear attack, even an accidental one, that could either directly hit a major U.S. city or detonate in air to create an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) that may cripple much of our food, water, sanitation, and health care infrastructure by potentially destroying electronic devices. 

 

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"Many are concerned that conditions could worsen in Iraq once the US military has withdrawn its forces from the country. Troops are required to leave by the end of the year and the pullout is already well underway. Hundreds of transport vehicles are currently snaking their way south towards the Kuwaiti border. Most of the troops are likely to have left the country by Christmas. Concerns are...

Medved compares the history of the United States with Israel's, and concludes that to question Israel's right to exist would be as ludicrous as questioning the same of the United States. Both are controversial republics, founded by idealistic patriots, whose people share common goal, but not a common ancestry, and must continue to defend their right to exist every...

"As America's economic recovery continues to lag, politicians and pundits are scrambling to find ways to kick-start growth. One of the oddest such proposals appeared recently in the New York Times. Paul V. Kane, a Marine and former international security fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, argued that the United States should agree to 'terminate the United States-Taiwan defense arrangement...

"For years, the United States and its allies have accused Iran of being a major nuclear threat because it has violated the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Ironically, the real violators of the NNPT [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty] are the same nations accusing Iran. The U.S. and its allies have never been able to confirm their accusations with concrete proof since they are based entirely...

"Finally, we’re hearing concrete talk about withdrawal from Iraq. Probably this has something to do with public opinion: in a recent Gallup poll, 71 percent supported leaving Iraq in a year or less.

Most public discussions of the actual mechanics of withdrawal have emphasized how difficult it will be. Army sources, many of them, estimate that it will take time. Most reports say 12 to 20...

"Education is a fundamental human right which should be directed to the full development of the human personality. ... Under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the second Millennium Development Goal (MDG) and the second Education for All (EFA) goal, the Government of Iraq is committed to ensuring that, by 2015, children everywhere in Iraq, all boys and girls alike, are able to complete...

"When the political party representing El Salvador's former Soviet-backed guerrillas won the presidency in 2009, some of its opponents took comfort in the separation of powers dictated by the Salvadoran constitution. Despite the Marxist roots of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), and the uncertainty about what it might do with its new power, there was an independent...

"After two decades of sometimes fervent Atlanticism in the ex-communist world, disillusionment (some would call it realism) is growing. At its height the bond between eastern Europe and America was based, like the best marriages, on a mixture of emotion and mutual support. The romance dates from the cold war: when western Europe was sometimes squishy in dealing with the Soviet empire, America...

"Colombian voters on Sunday overwhelmingly elected as their new president an American-educated former defense minister who oversaw a forceful counterinsurgency against the country's rebel groups."

These scenarios are on the forefront of the debate on when and how to leave Iraq. This article examines a few of the possible consequences of leaving Iraq prematurely.

Barry R. Posen lists and describes the various reasons why it is important for us to leave Iraq. He does this not on an ideological ground but rather emphasizes the inability for the Iraqi people to gather motivation to protect themselves when the United States is doing it for them.

Michael Novak retells stories from early American history to highlight the importance of religion and the influence of both Judaism and Christianity on the formation of American government. He stresses the emphasis on Old Testament language and values in order to keep the various Christian denominations united.

"Europeans have spent lots of airtime and ink on Hurricane Sandy--but so far, very few euros."

This is an interview conducted by Katie Couric with General Odierno answering questions related to withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq.

"Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has asserted that his recent visit to the United States raised US-Georgian strategic ties to a 'new level.' American officials have been much more reticent on bilateral defense issues, raising questions about what exactly was discussed in Washington."

"Honduras is becoming notorious. The country now has the highest murder rate in the world. In 2011, more people were killed per capita in the industrial center of San Pedro Sula than in Mexico's Ciudad Juárez, where the drug war rages on the U.S. border. It has also become one of the most dangerous places to be a journalist: At least 23 have been killed in the past three years. And according to the World Bank, 60 percent of the population lives in poverty, a statistic outmatched in the Western Hemisphere only by Haiti."

"Military rule, corruption, a huge wealth gap, crime and natural disasters have rendered Honduras one of the least developed and least secure countries in Central America."

"A violent death every 74 minutes has earned Honduras the dubious title of 'murder capital of the world', with the government unable to control powerful cocaine cartels in parts of the country."

"The United Nations human rights chief today called on Honduras to take urgent steps to combat impunity for crimes against lawyers and journalists, stressing that recent killings reflect the 'chronic insecurity' that these professions are subject to in the country."

O'Hanlon and Gildroy discuss the policies of McCain and Obama on Iraq, and argue that a combination of the two policies would be most effective.

"The Iraq war has become one of the most polarizing issues in American politics. Most Democrats, including Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.), want large, early troop cuts; most Republicans, including Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), want U.S. troops to stay until Iraq's stability is guaranteed. Years of bad news from the front have hardened these divisions along partisan lines and embittered many on...

"If the world sniggered to see Kim Jong Un, with his fat-faced boyishness, thrust forward as the dictator-to-be of North Korea, it is not laughing now. A 65-minute-long artillery barrage on November 23rd rained down upon the tiny South Korean island of Yeonpyeong, marking the first time since the war of 1950-53 that the North has fired shells at civilian targets on land.

Four South...

"In the midst of heated debate over nuclear proliferation, missile defense and the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Rendall strongly criticizes U.S. policy on the issue as well as several mainstream publications for their bias in blindly backing Washington's policies."

"ON the morning of May 6, 1783, Guy Carleton, the British commander charged with winding down the occupation of America, boarded the Perseverance and sailed up the Hudson River to meet George Washington and discuss the British withdrawal. Washington was furious to learn that Carleton had sent ships to Canada filled with Americans, including freed slaves, who had sided with Britain during the...

"The head of US intelligence has warned that there is an increasing likelihood that Iran could carry out attacks in America or against US and allied targets around the world.

The warning from the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, reflects rapidly rising tensions over Iran's nuclear programme after the US and EU announced embargoes on the Iranian oil trade in the past few...

"Iraq would be drastically affected should Iran block the Hormuz Strait. Most of the oil Iraq produces is exported via the Strait. The scenario is seeing Iraq, distinct because of its good relations with both the US and Iran, practice its new diplomacy again."

Abdell investigates the different factors that may become problematic in a post-war Iraq, including:

- "Reemergence of the quasi-defeated extremist groups, namely, AQI, Jaysh al-Islami, the Promised Day Brigade, Kata’ib Hizbollah, and Asaeb Ahl al-Haq."

- "Rekindling of sectarian violence and lawlessness that engulfed Iraq before (05-07)."

- "Precipitating the war...

"Poland’s decision to join the 'coalition of the willing' has left the military stretched beyond capacity, the society in serious mistrust of their leaders and perception of a joint effort for a good cause seriously damaged. It took 25 lives 5 years and 3 governments to rethink and withdraw.

With more than 15,000 troops in 10 tours of duty so far Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) remains...

John Paul Rossi describes the similarities between the Iraq and Vietnam wars. Rossi writes, "Although the final chapter on the Iraq War is yet to be written, the Vietnam experience suggests that exiting the Iraq quagmire poses serious challenges."

Nevertheless, let us hope that Iraqis take advantage of the opportunity they now enjoy. It will take enormous statesmanship and restraint to accommodate those of different faiths and ethnicities, forgive past crimes committed by Sunni and Shia forces, eschew violence for retaliation and revenge, resolve even bitter disagreements peacefully, and accept political defeat without resort to arms.

"Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the U.S., argues that Israel is first-tier strategic ally of the United States, and he criticizes the so-called foreign policy realists who have intermittently dominated Washington, in a piece in Foreign Policy:

'(Israel's) prominence on the eastern Mediterranean littoral, at the nexus of North Africa and Southwest Asia, has enabled the...

"Which is the less trustworthy ally, the United States (vis-à-vis Taiwan), or China (vis-à-vis North Korea)? My answer: the United States.

Geography is a big part of the reason why. The Korean Peninsula is a half-island appended to the Asian mainland not far from the Chinese capital city, it shares a frontier with China, and it overshadows sea lanes connecting north China with the...

"Israel's attack on Gaza rests on an assumption that it can suppress Hamas and thereby remove an obstacle to a negotiated deal with the Palestinians. That assumption in turn requires the conflict to remain limited."

"There has been very little work by orthodox Jewish scholars on the relationship among socialism, capitalism, and Judaism. Careful reading of the relevant literature, however, suggests that it is possible to posit five basic axioms of Jewish economic theory from which many economic policy implications can be deduced. Although not exhaustive, our five axioms...

Rabbi Spiro provides a brief history of the impact of Judaism on the American Founding as well as the treatment of Jews in early America.

"What does Judaism require in the political realm? Except for a few liberal rabbis, whose understanding of and commitment to Judaism is commensurate with the dedication of the National Council of Churches to Christianity, the subject will be ignored. In an effort to rectify this lack of critical analysis, I would offer some observations on the essential...

Former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger analyzes the potential options for exiting Iraq and the some of the consequences of each. He does so by comparing the current situation in Iraq to the situation the U.S. faced in Vietnam.

"The record of past U.S. experience in democratic nation building is daunting. The low rate of success is a sobering reminder that these are among the most difficult foreign policy ventures for the United States. Of the sixteen such efforts during the past century, democracy was sustained in only four cases ten years after the departure of U.S. forces. Two of these followed the total defeat...

The Iraq War was one of the key issues in the 2008 presidential election. In this article, McCain argues that the U.S. cannot abandon the mission in Iraq. To do so would be costly, both for the United States and for Iraq.

"The U.S. and its Middle East allies are bracing for the potential that a catastrophic fracture of Syria along sectarian lines could spread chaos into neighboring countries."

"The rejection of the proposed extension of the Philippines-United States (PH-US) Military Base Agreement (MBA) in 1991 that saw the closure of the sprawling US military bases – Clark Air Force Base and the Subic naval base – was a short-sighted decision by the Philippine Senate."

"The situation in Bahrain continues to boil. Every week brings new reports of protests and police abuses, and the gap between the Sunni royal family and the mostly Shia population is by all accounts widening."

Iraqi security forces have made great strides in improving their effectiveness and are increasingly confident that they can shoulder the bulk of the security burden.

"President Obama has decided to sell a new arms package to Taiwan that will likely include weapons and equipment to upgrade the island’s F-16 jets, according to administration and congressional officials.

Congress will be briefed Friday on the arms package, worth an estimated $4.2 billion, said officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity. A formal announcement is expected soon."...

"President Barack Obama declared Thursday that the United States will take an expanded role in shaping the Asian Pacific region, with an increased military presence one step of that policy.

'Our enduring interests in the region demand our enduring presence in this region,' Obama said in a speech to the Australian Parliament. 'The United States is a Pacific power, and we are here to stay...

"US President Barack Obama has shelved plans for controversial bases in Poland and the Czech Republic in a major overhaul of missile defence in Europe.

The bases are to be scrapped after a review of the threat from Iran."

"During an exclusive campaign fundraiser on New York’s Upper East Side tonight, President Obama offered reassurances to some of his most loyal Jewish supporters about the administration’s commitment to Israel.

Speaking about the 'enormous tumult' in the Middle East brought by the Arab Spring, Obama said the U.S. stands 'on the side of democracy' but remains unwavering in its support for...

"The Obama administration is not known for its pro-British track record, but this is by far the strongest indication yet that the current White House has little regard for the Special Relationship and its unique role in modern American history. During a White House photo-op with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, President Obama had this to say:

'We don’t have a stronger friend and...

"One in three U.S. veterans of the post-9/11 military believes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were not worth fighting, and a majority think that after 10 years of combat America should be focusing less on foreign affairs and more on its own problems, according to an opinion survey released Wednesday.

The findings highlight a dilemma for the Obama administration and Congress as they...

"Pakistan's spymaster has postponed a trip to the United States in the latest sign of the dire state of relations between two supposed allies in the war against Islamist extremists."

"After Kim Jong-il’s death, U.S. defense officials have consulted with their South Korean counterparts as they monitor the ongoing developments in North Korea.

Pentagon Press Secretary George Little says that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called South Korean Defense Minister Gen. Kim Kwan-jin Monday morning to reaffirm America’s 'strong commitment' to stability on the Korean...

"The president of the Philippines made a direct pitch to the White House Friday to help bolster his country's relatively weak defenses as the island nation increasingly finds itself tangled in territorial conflicts with China."

"Poland seeks to develop relations with Russia further, Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski said at the President's Palace on Wednesday evening during a meeting with the diplomatic corps.

'Poland has made efforts for normalizing relations and reconciliation with Russia,' he said. 'We have seen and continue to see in this our contribution to the rapprochement of the peoples of Europe...

"The president’s decision to reverse Bush-era foreign policy in Eastern Europe by scrapping plans to build a missile defense shield and radar system in Poland and the Czech Republic resulted in disparate and polarized responses last week.

Seventy years ago to the day that the Red Army invaded Poland, the Obama administration announced the major foreign policy shift to cries of 'betrayal...

"More Americans consider Great Britain, rather than Canada, to be the United States' top ally, according to a recent Gallup Poll.

The telephone survey of 1,023 adults found that although Canada is the United States' most important trading partner, 36 per cent of respondents believe Great Britain to be their country's 'most valuable ally.'

Canada ranked second, earning top spot...

Religion and Liberty interviews Meir Tamari on what, in her opinion, Judaism actually stresses in regards to morality, focusing particularly on the accumulation of wealth and treatment of the poor.

"Russia fears Israel will push the United States into a military conflict with Iran which could retaliate by blocking oil shipments from the Gulf, a confidant of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said.

'There is a likelihood of military escalation of the conflict, towards which Israel is pushing the Americans,' Nikolai Patrushev, who heads the Kremlin's Security Council, told Interfax news...

"It was an extraordinary scene: President Barack Obama, sitting impassively in the Oval Office in May as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lectured him, at considerable length and at times condescendingly, on Jewish history, Arab perfidy and the existential challenges facing his country.

What was extraordinary wasn’t the message -- it was not an untypical Netanyahu sermon. What...

This article discusses the legitimacy given to the new democratic government in Iraq by the international community and surrounding issues.

"American troops have been in Iraq for several years now. Although the defeat of Saddam and the Iraq military was relatively easy, the stabilization of the country in the aftermath has been anything but easy. Thousands of American troops have died, and Iraqi civilians continue to get caught in terrorist and cross-cultural attacks on a daily basis. The U.S. continues to progress in its attempt...

"Those who blame Israel and its Jewish supporters for U.S. policies they do not support are wrong. They are wrong because, to begin with, support for Israel is in our best interests. They are also wrong because Israel and its supporters have the right to try to influence U.S. policy. And they are wrong because the U.S. government is responsible for the policies it...

"The first of September, symbolic as the 70th anniversary of the start of World War II, also marked the end of an era of special closeness between Poland and the United States.

The dignitaries jostling for space near the Gdansk memorial where the opening shots of WWII were fired included Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The U.S. was...

"Over the Past Five Years, Iraq has become one of the most divisive and polarizing issues in modern American history. It is now a subject on which Republicans and Democrats tend to disagree fundamentally about the past (the reasons for going to war), the present (the impact of the 'surge' in American forces), and the future of American policy (how quickly, and in what way, American forces...

"Japan and Turkey form an alliance to attack the US. Poland becomes America's closest ally. Mexico makes a bid for global supremacy, and a third world war takes place in space. Sounds strange? It could all happen."

"Washington cannot make a deal for the Israelis and the Palestinians, but it can and should help them do so themselves. At the very least, it should not make matters worse by allowing itself to be distracted yet again from the main task at hand. If anything, successful U.S. efforts to achieve a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians would make it...

"The British were in town last week. President and Mrs. Obama hosted Prime Minister David Cameron and Mrs. Cameron for an official visit, a state dinner and an NCAA tournament basketball game.

This visit marks the beginning of a series of meetings during the next several months where Cameron and Obama will have an opportunity to interact with each other. Although much will be debated...

"The world's interest in all things United States is showing Tuesday in foreign media and social media coverage of Hurricane Sandy's impact on the East Coast."

"Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday warned Israel should 'take another look at its relations with its neighbors' if it wants to maintain ties with Turkey in the future.

'Israel should give some thought to what it would be like to lose a friend like Turkey in the future,' Erodegan told Euronews, regarding his thoughts on the recent tensions between the two...

"Uganda's escalating crackdown on its gays, lesbians and transgenders has the U.S. indicating that it might just cut off that military aid."

"David Cameron was warned last night by America that damaging secrets of the ‘special relationship’ are about to be laid bare.

The U.S. ambassador to London made an unprecedented personal visit to Downing Street to warn that whistleblower website WikiLeaks is about to publish secret assessments of what Washington really thinks of Britain."

"The UK is to end financial aid to India by 2015, international development secretary Justine Greening has said."

"British aid to India is to be brought to an end in 2015 in recognition of the booming sub-continent's 'changing place in the world'."

"A United Nations assessment team will head to Bahrain in early December, at the invitation of the Government, to discuss the judicial system and accountability for present and past human rights abuses, it was announced Friday."

"The United States and its British and Canadian allies are preparing to roll out a coordinated set of sanctions against Iran on Monday amid growing concern that Tehran is pursuing a nuclear weapon, sources tell ABC News.

U.S. officials familiar with the plans say they target Iran’s nuclear sector as well as plugging key gaps that have allowed Iran to work around existing sanctions on...

"Iraq’s postelection process of forming a new government has been troubled and drawn-out. Now, American officials are openly questioning the impact on US-Iraq relations."

"With America’s push for democracy in the Arab states, groups with radical Islamic links are lining up to fill the power vacuums which are emerging. Amid the current instability, the ramifications for America's closest Middle East ally could be huge.

Israel is keeping quiet during the current chaos in the Middle East and North Africa, while Hamas gunmen are upping the stakes just that...

"According to polls, Americans remain wary of supporting the idea of either Israel or the United States – or both together – attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Perhaps one reason for this hesitancy is the fact that Israel, in a historic choice to rely on itself for defense, has never become an official US ally.

America has no treaty obligation to come to Israel’s defense as it...

In one of the biggest national security reversals of his young presidency, Mr. Obama canceled former President George W. Bush’s plans to station a radar facility in the Czech Republic and 10 ground-based interceptors in Poland. Instead, he plans to deploy smaller SM-3 interceptors by 2011, first aboard ships and later in Europe, possibly even in Poland or the Czech Republic.

"This week Andrew Mitchell, the secretary of state for international development (DfID), announced that UK aid to India is going to be maintained at about £280m per year for the next few years."

"For some time now, Republican hawks like Sen. John McCain and Rep. Howard P. 'Buck' McKeon have been saying that our military budget is inadequate for the threats we face. They like to gripe that President Barack Obama is orchestrating the decline of American power.

Some of this is pure partisanship. Republicans criticize Democrats just as Democrats criticized President George W. Bush...

"For a town entangled in a national controversy, Waegwan's streets give off an eerie languor. Ask residents in this South Korean burg about Agent Orange — the code name for a poisonous blend of herbicides that three U.S. Army veterans allege they buried near there in 1978 — and nearly all sigh wearily. The accusation isn't surprising, bemoans Chang Jung-hun, a 69-year-old melon farmer. He says...

"The alliance system was started by Bismarck, the German Chancellor from 1871 to 1890. After the Franco-Prussian War, Bismarck held that Germany was a 'satiated state' which should give up ideas of further conquest. Thus Bismarck organized a system of alliances designed to maintain Germany's hegemony on the European continent. France was determined to challenge the hegemony of Germany because...

Chart or Graph

"Research has found that the rate at which British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan is almost four times that of their US counterparts, and double the rate which is officially classified as 'major combat'."

The number of deaths per month nationwide is down to January 2006 levels, at about 600 per month. The numbers peaked in December 2006, with about 3,000 deaths per month.

"The war in Iraq has cost the US $823.2bn since 2003 - and in 2011 cost $49.3bn, only $4bn less than 2003 when the invasion happened."

"The following graphic lists the ten most/least corrupt countries based on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2011. The Corruption Perception Index assigns countries and territories with scores between 0 (highly corrupt) and 10 (very clean)."

"As of September 30, 2011, $182.27 billion had been made available for the relief and reconstruction of Iraq through three main sources...."

This poll taken just prior to U.S. withdrawal from Iraq shows bipartisan support for President Obama's decision.

"The United States has appropriated or otherwise made available $61.83 billion for Iraq reconstruction efforts since 2003, primarily through five major funds.... Figure 1.2 shows current and requested funds that may be used for new projects from the five major funds."

"In total, about 30 countries have sought nuclear weapons, and ten are known to have succeeded."

"Figure 4.2 provides a status of funding and descriptions of major completed and ongoing activities for these [Iraqi] programs."

In a Spring 2012 Dartmouth poll, 48% of respondents ranked Great Britain as America's most important foreign ally. Israel and Canada ranked second and third respectively.

"For a timeline of U.S. troop withdrawal, see Figure 4.5."

"The CBI reported a rise in foreign currency reserves to $58 billion this quarter, an increase of 26% from the beginning of 2011. For trends of key economic indicators, see Figure 4.10."

"In August 2007, the Bush Administration agreed to increase U.S. military assistance to Israel by $6 billion over the following decade."

"As of September 30, 2011, $182.27 billion had been made available for the relief and reconstruction of Iraq through three main sources...."

"Here is a summary chart of United States Foreign Aid payments. Data is listed by major recipients, for the 6 years from 2001 to 2006."

Analysis Report White Paper

"The purpose of this paper is to trace the way in which Deuteronomy seeks to create the civic community that undergirds institutions of collective governance: how does Deuteronomy call forth unity within the society; how does it mediate the relationships between different parts of the society."

This survey, administered by YouGov (formerly Polimetrix) from April 26 - May 2, 2012, examines public attitudes on U.S. foreign policy, especially U.S. alliances and security commitments in regions such as East Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.

"President Lee Myung-bak’s October trip to the US represents an ostensible high point in the US-ROK alliance. But there are cracks in the relationship, primarily on the American side."

There are periods when the international system undergoes radical shifts in a short time. The last such period was 1989-1991. During that time, the Soviet empire collapsed. The Japanese economic miracle ended. The Maastricht Treaty creating contemporary Europe was signed. Tiananmen Square defined China as a market economy dominated by an unchallenged Communist Party, and so on.

U.S.-Tajik relations have developed considerably since September 11, 2001. The two countries now have a broad-based relationship, cooperating in such areas as counter-narcotics, counterterrorism, non-proliferation, and regional growth and stability.

"In early 2002 rumors circulated that Saudi Arabia was considering asking the United States to withdraw its troops from the gulf kingdom. Outraged denials arose in both Washington and Riyadh. But even before the September 11, 2001, terrorist assaults, Saudi Arabia was among Washington’s more dubious allies."

Cato handbook on how Congress should wean South Korea off dependence on the United States.

"China and Taiwan, while in practice maintaining a fragile 'status quo' relationship, periodically grow impatient with the diplomatic patchwork that has kept the island separate from the Communist mainland since 1949."

The Israeli 'Declaration of Independence' - adopted just after Israel was recognized as a country by the UN. In this piece, Professor E. Gutmann breaks down the facets of Israel's Declaration.

"The rise of China poses grave challenges to U.S. security. Beijing implements a mercantilist trade policy and artificially sets a low value on its currency to promote exports, thus creating a large U.S. trade deficit with China year after year."

Rabkin compares and contrasts the inheritance practices, loan practices, and other interactions between the law and economics in ancient Israel (before and after the Babylonian exile respectively), early America, and Christian Europe up to the American Founding. All claim some basis in Old Testament law.

"Alliances, we had always felt, were not our sort of thing. They would involve us in obscure quarrels and sordid rivalries which were none of our concern. They seemed to be both undesirable and unnecessary in view of our special geographic and political circumstances."

"Virtually all key sectors of the economy have contributed to this growth, in contrast to the development of countries richer in natural resources. This suggests that President Mikheil Saakashvili's policy of increasing economic liberty was the decisive factor in Georgia's transformation."

"Is the ROK ready to take on a greater role in the Asia Pacific and beyond in ways that support mutual U.S. and South Korean interests?"

"When Israeli soldiers rescued hostages in Entebbe, they honorably manifested a manly concern for the weak and dependent. Conversely, when Israeli leaders made promises that they could not keep in fighting Hezbollah in 2006, they acted dishonorably. The problem with Zionism is not that Zionists have fought for Israel; the problem is that they have not always ­...

Since emerging from the shadow of communism at the Cold War's end, Poland has undoubtedly been one of the most spirited Atlanticists in Europe. Following its 1999 admission to NATO, Poland's enthusiastically pro-American stance was evidenced by a strong preference for US leadership in defense and security matters, as well as robust support of American foreign policy.

"It is time to ask a fundamental question that few in an official or political position in the United States seem willing to ask. Has it been a terrible error for the United States to have built an all but irreversible worldwide system of a thousand or more military bases, stations and outposts?"

"At a time of rising dependence on oil, the potential for supply disruptions and the stability of energy-rich regions pose major concerns. While disruptions can happen anywhere along the supply chain, certain areas are particularly vulnerable."

This paper will examine Polish National Security Strategy and its Homeland Security Policy in response to the growing worldwide terrorism threat. Moreover, it will analyze the advantages and disadvantages of Poland's engagement in the anti-terrorism world coalition.

With mounting evidence showing that the Bush Administration's surge policy has made significant military progress, the congressional debate has shifted to focus on the need for political progress toward national reconciliation in Iraq.

Robert Kaplan, correspondent for The Atlantic and author of Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power, is interviewed by Foreign Affairs on China and how America's relations with it might look in the near future.

As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration's miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily 'victory' but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with.

"But make no mistake about it: despite his reluctance to mention Saudi Arabia by name, the president's words were aimed squarely at Riyadh. Proclaiming that 'the status quo is not sustainable,' the president boldly endorsed a new democratic future for the Middle East and placed America unequivocally – and unconditionally – on the side of change."

"Washington’s objective was to encourage the formation of a 'trans-Atlantic bridge across which DoD [U.S. Department of Defence] can take its globalisation policy to Europe. …Our aim is to improve interoperability and war fighting effectiveness via closer industrial linkages between U.S. and allied companies.'"

"With its $3 billion annual aid package, Israel today receives more aid on better terms than any other nation in the world."

"Relations between the US and South Korea have been steadily warming. The problem is, it could push North Korea into even worse behaviour."

"This monograph provides a set of recommendations to the United States, NATO allies, and EU institutions in promoting a more consequential Eastern Dimension."

"America’s alliances have been a bulwark of stability and prosperity for the Asia-Pacific region since the end of World War II. Yet the rise of Asia as an economic and military power in its own right is changing the fundamental power dynamics of the region and the strategic calculations that underpin these alliances."

"Given the US strategic imperative to block Eurasian hegemons and Europe's unease with the US, the US-Polish relationship becomes critical."

"Extended nuclear deterrence has been one element of the broader United States security policy towards East Asia. Because Washington has been willing to threaten the use of nuclear weapons against adversaries of its allies, those allies have felt less compelled to pursue a nuclear option."

"The longstanding U.S.-South Korea alliance, originally established during the Cold War as a bulwark against the communist expansion in Asia, has undergone a series of transformations in recent years."

"The risk to America might have been warranted when the ROK was unable to defend itself and the Korean confrontation was tied to the Cold War, but there no longer is any cause to maintain a defense commitment that is all cost and no benefit to the United States."

"What is the definition of an American ally? On an ideological level, an ally is a country that shares America's values, reflects its founding spirit, and resonates with its people's beliefs. Tactically, an ally stands with the United States through multiple conflicts and promotes its global vision."

"Because many elements of this strategic relationship are kept secret - particularly in the intelligence field - it is difficult for academics and pundits to assess the true value of U.S.-Israel ties."

"Winston Churchill once said that the only thing worse than having allies is not having them. It was an apt description of the tensions that existed between Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United States during World War II."

"South Korea became a defense dependent of Washington decades ago. Like America's other alliances around the globe, the 'mutual' defense treaty with Seoul does not protect the U.S. Given the South’s recent economic success, Americans should ask: When will this prosperous and populous friend begin defending America?"

Video/Podcast/Media

In this audio clip, George Galloway interviews Charlie Wolf about the alliance between the U.S. and U.K. Though the relationship has long been friendly, it is not enjoying the popular support it once did.

"Following the 2008 war, the United States has struggled to redefine its relationship with Georgia. While the Bush administration deemed Georgia a 'beacon of democracy' and identified it as a key ally, the new administration has changed the rhetoric, stripping Georgia of its special status even as policy has remained largely the same."

"The United States pledges to defend our NATO allies under Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty. Why, and in what ways, do the allies reciprocate? Jason Davidson will present evidence from his unique analysis of transatlantic burden-sharing to explain why Britain, France, and Italy provide or refuse military support for U.S.-led uses of force. Sixty original interviews with top policymakers...

Mr. Korb discusses the exit strategy for Iraq proposed by President Obama and why it will be successful.

"When President Barack Obama cited cost as a reason to bring troops home from Afghanistan, he referred to a $1 trillion price tag for America's wars.

Staggering as it is, that figure grossly underestimates the total cost of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan to the U.S. Treasury and ignores more imposing costs yet to come, according to a study released on Wednesday.

The final...

Analyst Marko Papic explains two separate statements made Wednesday that give Russia momentum against U.S. plans for ballistic missile defense in Europe.

Jim Phillips, a Fellow in Middle Eastern Affairs at The Heritage Foundation, lays out the facts as to how America must act in Iraq in 2008.

Three experts debate the United States' relationship with Israel. Is it America's best ally? Is Israel an ally at all?

"The 'Judaism: A Way of Being' author makes the case for Judaism as the most important intellectual development in Western history."

"In this address made on September 17, 1978, President Jimmy Carter reminds the public that at the beginning of these negotiations, he asked the people of the world 'to pray that our negotiations would be successful.' He adds, 'Those prayers have been answered far beyond any expectations.' After 13 long days at Camp David, Carter commends Sadat and Begin's 'determination, vision, and...

President Obama explains why Poland is such an important ally to America.

Obama confirms the unique alliance that the U.S. and U.K. share. Often referred to as the "special relationship," the two nations have remained remarkably strong allies over the last century.

Under George W. Bush's administration, the United States decided to place its third missile defense site in the European nation of Poland. This clip, however, details President Obama's plan to scrap the Polish missile defense site and pursue a different course in missile defense.

"Bahraini security forces fire tear gas into the funeral procession of a protester who died from injuries received in earlier clashes."

"The author of 'Monsoon' explains why an attack won't be necessary, and why China is just like the U.S. in the late 19th century."

U.S. Congressman (R-TX) and self-professed libertarian Ron Paul gives his thoughts on foreign policy and the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

"The events began in Tunisia in January 2011 . . . shook the political, social, and intellectual foundations of the Middle East. The tremors can still be felt, and no one is quite certain when the aftershocks will end, or when another shock wave of popular unrest might occur. Nevertheless, enough time has passed to try to make sense of what has happened so far and, perhaps, gain an inkling of...

In this interesting presentation/debate, the authors of The Israel Lobby present their primary arguments and discuss the reactions they have received from across the academic and media worlds. The third participant, Bruce Riedel, has worked alongside former presidents on the peace...

"Speaking at the 25th anniversary celebration of the national media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, world-renowned political dissident and linguist Noam Chomsky analyzes the U.S. response to the popular uprisings sweeping the Middle East and North Africa. 'Across the [Middle East], an overwhelming majority of the population regards the United States as the main threat to their...

Research Fellow Jim Phillips explains why Congress needs to consider the implications of a rapid troop withdrawal from Iraq.

What do America's allies think of America? International approval was very low during the heart of the Iraq War. The rest of the world's opinion has slightly improved in recent years, but many still believe the United States is one of the biggest threats to world peace. Do you agree? Why or why not?

"'It's very clear that most Muslims don't consider working women or whiskey or movies or elections in America a dire threat to their families and a life and death issue for themselves. But they clearly see our support for Israel, our support for the dictators that rule them as an offense against both themselves and against their faith.

...If you go through the corpus of the rhetoric of...

"China has vowed to suspend military exchanges and security talks with Washington and to impose sanctions on US firms involved in a deal to sell arms to Taiwan.

In a statement the foreign ministry said that in protest at the US arms sales to Taiwan it was suspending military exchanges, along with scheduled high-level talks on strategic security, arms control and non-proliferation.

...

Primary Document

"EVENTS IN EL SALVADOR assumed worldwide prominence in the late 1970s as political and social tensions fueled a violent civil conflict that persisted throughout the 1980s. The intense controversy and scrutiny accorded this diminutive nation ran counter to the relative obscurity that had characterized it during its colonial and national history. A backwater of the Spanish Empire, El Salvador...

"This Agreement establishes the rights and obligations of the Parties with respect to the use by the United States of the Closed Area on the territory of Poland in the locality of Slupsk-Redzikowo for the purpose of deployment there and use of non-nuclear ground-based ballistic missile defense interceptors."

"From May 2009 through October 2011, arrests were made for 32 'homegrown,' jihadist-inspired terrorist plots by American citizens or legal permanent residents of the United States. Two of these resulted in attacks—U.S. Army Major Nidal Hasan’s alleged assault at Fort Hood in Texas and Abdulhakim Muhammed's shooting at the U.S. Army-Navy Career Center in Little Rock, AR and produced 14 deaths....

"The most populous country in Africa, Nigeria accounts for over half of West Africa's population."

"Korea's legendary foundation by the mythical king Tangun in BC 2333 embodies the homogeneity and self-sufficiency valued by the Korean people. Korea experienced many invasions by its larger neighbors in its 2,000 years of recorded history. The country repelled numerous foreign invasions despite domestic strife, in part due to its protected status in the Sino-centric regional political model...

"In 1783, the Sunni Al-Khalifa family captured Bahrain from the Persians. In order to secure these holdings, it entered into a series of treaties with the UK during the 19th century that made Bahrain a British protectorate. The archipelago attained its independence in 1971. Facing declining oil reserves, Bahrain has turned to petroleum processing and refining and has transformed itself into an international banking center...."

"The uprising that began in Bahrain on February 14, 2011, at the outbreak of the uprisings that swept several Middle Eastern leaders from power, began a political crisis that has defied resolution."

"That effort begins with a clear and strong commitment to the security of Israel: our strongest ally in the region and its only established democracy. That will always be my starting point.

And when we see all of the growing threats in the region: from Iran to Iraq to the resurgence of al-Qaeda to the reinvigoration of Hamas and...

"The State Department is a fitting venue to mark a new chapter in American diplomacy. For six months, we have witnessed an extraordinary change taking place in the Middle East and North Africa. Square by square, town by town, country by country, the people have risen up to demand their basic human rights. Two leaders have stepped aside. More may follow. And though these countries may be a...

"Prime Minister Tusk. Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, before the visit of President Barack Obama, I learned that Ralph Waldo Emerson was your favorite American thinker. And certainly at the time I tried to search for some association, some quotations, some connections. And out of all these ideas, the one that talks about enthusiasm—that nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm—...

Buchanan addresses the nation as he prepares to become the 15th president of the United States.

"After twelve days of secret negotiations at Camp David, the Israeli-Egyptian negotiations were concluded by the signing at the White House of two agreements. The first dealt with the future of the Sinai and peace between Israel and Egypt, to be concluded within three months. The second was a framework agreement establishing a format for the conduct of negotiations...

"Colombia, a key U.S. ally, has made measurable progress in providing security despite having endured the longest armed internal conflict in the Western Hemisphere."

"The United States has maintained a strong interest in developments in El Salvador, a small Central American country with a population of 6 million. During the 1980s, El Salvador was the largest recipient of U.S. aid in Latin America as its government struggled against the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) insurgency during a 12-year civil war. A peace accord negotiated...

President Obama calls for Israeli and Palestinian peace, assuring the Israelis that their land will be secured, while also asking Israel to recognize an official Palestinian state.

"On the Issues" provides this collection of President's Bush's views on different areas of foreign affairs.

"The Obama Administration has provided ongoing support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity."

General David Petraeus analyzes how success was achieved in Iraq, where the U.S. stands now, and what the future holds.

"The Dutch began to colonize Indonesia in the early 17th century; Japan occupied the islands from 1942 to 1945."

Our national conversation about Iraq needs more realism, and more focus on the future rather than the past. We need to refocus on our original goal - a stable Iraq that does not threaten its neighbors, develop WMD, export terrorism, or terrorize its own people.

In this presentation, originally delivered on the floor of the US Senate, Inhofe lays out the arguments for Israel's right to the lands it currently holds. He outlines seven reasons:  Archaeological Evidence, Historical Fact, Agricultural Superiority, Humanitarian Concern, and the fact that Israel is a Strategic Ally, a Roadblock to Terror and has a Biblical...

"I appeal tonight to the leaders of the Arab countries and say: Let us meet. Let us talk about peace. Let us make peace. I am willing to meet at any time, at any place, in Damascus, in Riyadh, in Beirut, and in Jerusalem as well."

"The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), negotiated between the United States and the Russian Federation, is a follow-on agreement to the original START Treaty between the U.S. and the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan that expired in December 5, 2009. Signed by Presidents Obama and Medvedev on April 8, 2010, New START significantly advances our leadership on...

"The U.S. government considers its strategic relationship with Nigeria, Africa's largest producer of oil and its second largest economy, to be among the most important on continent."

"In his April 2009 speech in Prague, President Obama highlighted 21st century nuclear dangers, declaring that to overcome these grave and growing threats, the United States will 'seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.' He recognized that such an ambitious goal could not be reached quickly – perhaps, he said, not in his lifetime. But the President expressed his...

This speech set the tone for the Obama administration's attitude toward the Muslim world, and toward the Israeli/Palestinian question.

President Obama speaks to the United Nations about the state of some of the more troubled nations of the world. He reiterates America's allegiance to the UN with the common goal of seeking peace throughout the world.

"Thank you so much. Thank you for this wonderful welcome. Thank you to the people of Prague. Thank you to the people of the Czech Republic. (Applause.) Today, I'm proud to stand here with you in the middle of this great city, in the center of Europe. (Applause.) And, to paraphrase one of my predecessors, I am also proud to be the man who brought Michelle Obama to Prague. (Applause.)

To...

John Quincy Adams delivered this brief speech to the United States House of Representatives while he was serving as U.S. Secretary of State.

"The 112th Congress has focused on measures to reduce the federal budget deficit. This backdrop may continue to influence congressional debate over a top-ranking U.S. aid recipient, Pakistan—a country vital to U.S. national security interests but that some say lacks accountability and even credibility as a U.S. ally."

"The Partnership for Growth effort aims to rapidly expand broad-based economic growth in El Salvador under an overarching commitment to democracy, sustainable development, and human rights. In order to achieve these goals, the Governments of El Salvador and the United States acknowledge the importance of a well-functioning market economy and the critical role of the private sector in leading...

"El Salvador and the United States have embarked on a new Partnership for Growth (PFG) to mobilize the traditional and non-traditional resources of both governments to remove obstacles and identify opportunities for broad-based economic growth in El Salvador. The PFG is an unprecedented bilateral collaboration based on a focused and deliberate strategy to generate the greatest possible impact...

"The Philippine Government faces threats from several groups, some of which are on the US Government's Foreign Terrorist Organization list. Manila has waged a decades-long struggle against ethnic Moro insurgencies in the southern Philippines, which has led to a peace accord with the Moro National Liberation Front and on-again/off-again peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The decades-long Maoist-inspired New People's Army insurgency also operates through much of the country. The Philippines faces increased tension with China over disputed territorial claims in the South China Sea."

President Clinton congratulates Israel as it celebrates its 50th birthday as a nation.

"Upon his return from London, Mr. Carter stated that Israel has a special relationship with the U.S. entitling it to special treatment in the arms sales policy he was developing. This assurance came after a series of negative decisions regarding arms sales to Israel that were viewed in Jerusalem with growing concern. In an effort to alleviate such fears, the President also said that there...

This analysis underscores the importance of leaving Iraq as a stable democratic society.

"On New Year’s Day 2012, the U.S. relief and reconstruction mission in Iraq will enter a new phase. Under the guiding polestar of the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement, the deining characteristic of this new phase will be the State Department’s complete responsibility for the full constellation of continuing eforts to assist the Iraqi government’s economic, security, and governance...

The President spoke on the long history of friendship and alliance between France and the United States in Cannes, France. After some tensions with France during the Bush administration, President Obama and President Sarkozy have been quite amicable for the past several years.

This report on the implementation of Department of Defense Directive 3000.05 is provided as requested by House Report 109-452 accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007.

President Reagan addresses the instability in the Middle East. He calls for a broad regional peace, not simply peace between Israel and Lebanon.

Senator McCain expresses his disagreement with the proposed plan by Senator Feingold to withdraw troops from Iraq.

This site provides an extensive archive of the speeches delivered at the Democratic National Convention of 2008, sorted by speaker or topic.

"On behalf of the people of the United States, President Obama congratulates the people and government of Israel on the 61st anniversary of Israel’s independence. The United States was the first country to recognize Israel in 1948, minutes after its declaration of independence, and the deep bonds of friendship between the U.S. and Israel remain as strong and unshakeable as ever. The...

"Tajikistan is a significant country in Central Asia by virtue of its geographic location bordering China and Afghanistan and its ample water and other resources, but it faces ethnic and clan schisms, deep poverty, poor governance, and other severe challenges. Tajikistan was one of the poorest of the new states that gained independence at the end of 1991 after the break-up of the former Soviet...

This is an analysis of where Republican and Democratic candidates stood on the issue of Iraq prior to the 2008 election.

Belasco gives an incredibly thorough and specific picture of how America's defense spending is allocated.

"The United States and Russia signed the New START Treaty on April 8, 2010. New START provides the parties with seven years to reduce their forces, and will remain in force for a total of 10 years. The New START Treaty limits each side to no more than 800 deployed and nondeployed ICBM and SLBM launchers and deployed and nondeployed heavy bombers equipped to carry nuclear armaments. Within that...

Sandra Keiser, the Minister-Counselor for Public Affairs, speaks about the special relationship which the United States and United Kingdom have.

"The United States established diplomatic relations with Bahrain in 1971 following its independence from the United Kingdom."

"El Salvador is a key partner in efforts to dampen the threats posed by transnational criminal organizations and gangs. The country has been a strong, durable partner on security and defense issues. However, endemic crime and impunity threaten El Salvador's progress by undermining the legitimacy of state institutions and impeding economic growth. U.S. policy toward El Salvador promotes the...

"The United States established diplomatic relations with Georgia in 1992 following Georgia's 1991 independence from the Soviet Union."

"Honduras has traditionally been an ally of the United States."

"The United States established diplomatic relations with Indonesia in 1949, following its independence from the Netherlands."

"The United States recognized the Philippines as an independent state and established diplomatic relations with it in 1946. Except for the 1942-45 Japanese occupation during World War II, the Philippines had been under U.S. sovereignty since the end of the Spanish-American War in 1898."

"The United States established diplomatic relations with Uganda in 1962, following its formal independence from the United Kingdom. Post-independence, the country saw a mix of tribal rivalries, insurgencies, military coups, dictatorships, and elections. U.S. relations with Uganda were strained by the human rights abuses of several Ugandan governments."

This resolution, which was drafted following World War II, separated the territory into two separate states, one Arabic (Palestine) and one Jewish (Israel) with Jerusalem as an international city.

The father of The Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel became a close and key ally of the United States as the Soviet Union began to collapse. Havel and the Czechs worked closely with the United States as they strove for independence and a secure nation. This speech was one of his most famous in the United States.

George WashingtonPreparing to leave office, Washington wrote his now famous "Farewell Address" to placate American concerns that a country without his leadership could not survive. Washington stresses the importance of unity, the supremacy of the...

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FAQs

Missile defense. It's been talked about for decades, some of us even grew up watching Patriot missiles shoot down Iraqi Scud missiles in the first Gulf War. But where do things stand today? Is it still needed? Should I care? Those questions and more are answered in the FAQ below.

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