Foreign Policy Newsletter of June 8, 2012
What is a Foreign Policy Newsletter?Our Foreign Policy Newsletter is a digest of this week major statements by U.S. public officials on the Foreign Policy issues of the moment.
[...] But despite this progress, the danger from terrorism remains urgent and undeniable. The core of al-Qaida that carried out the 9/11 attacks and other attacks in countries represented here today may be on the path to defeat, but the threat has spread, becoming more geographically diverse as groups associated with al-Qaida expand their operations. Terrorists now hold territory in Mali, Somalia, and Yemen. They are carrying out frequent and destabilizing attacks in Nigeria and the Maghreb. Here in Turkey, the PKK continues its long campaign of terror and violence, which has claimed tens of thousands of lives. The United States stands strongly with Turkey in its fight against the PKK. And groups are now actively encouraging lone wolf terrorists like those responsible for recent killing sprees in Europe.
That’s why this forum and the international cooperation it represents are so vital. Just as the threat we face crosses borders and oceans, so must our response. We need a strategic, comprehensive approach to counterterrorism that integrates both military and civilian power that uses intelligence, law enforcement, diplomacy, development, humanitarian assistance, and every possible partner and asset.
Because we have learned that to defeat a terrorist network, we need to do more than remove terrorists from the battlefield. We need to attack finances, recruitment, and safe havens. We need to take on ideology and diminish its appeal, particularly to young people. We need to improve conditions for women, because their security is a bellwether for societies’ security, and we need to help build the capacities of nations that have the political will to take on this fight. Clinton Praises Global Counterterrorism Efforts at Istanbul Forum (07-06-2012) | Global Counterterrorism Forum - Deliverables (06-06-2012) | Briefing on Global Counterterrorism Forum in Istanbul (07-06-2012) | State Dept. Fact Sheet on Counterterrorism Meeting in Istanbul (06-06-2012)
Separately, the Kimberley Process has strengthened monitoring and sharing of data about the diamond trade, and has served as a forum for exchanging technical expertise relating to on-going challenges, such as the steps that need to be taken to formalize small-scale mining. This important work needs to continue and provides another area where our mutual interests are well served.
At the same time, as we meet here in 2012, we need to reflect on how the world is changing and what we can do collectively – through this and other fora – to strengthen the collaboration between sellers and buyers, between the diamond industry and their consumers, and among governments to address the contemporary challenges that we all face.
In so doing, our aim should be to create a practical and principled systems and processes. This system should allow and encourage the mining and sale of diamonds without burdensome controls. But such a system also should be subject to reasonable, principled standards that govern their production and sale.
In most countries in the Western Hemisphere, we see governments working to provide greater political and economic opportunities for citizens but there remain exceptions. That is why supporting human rights, democratic governance, and greater prosperity remains a fundamental U.S. objective throughout the hemisphere, especially in Cuba.
In Cuba, the Obama administration’s priority is to empower Cubans to freely determine their own future. The most effective tool we have for doing that is building connections between the Cuban and American people, in order to give Cubans the support and tools they need to move forward independent of their government. U.S. citizens, engaging in well-defined, purposeful travel, are the best ambassadors for our democratic ideals. The hundreds of thousands of Cuban Americans who have sent remittances and traveled to the island since we eased the way for them early in this Administration are a central part of a strategy to ensure that Cubans have the opportunities which they deserve. The administration’s travel, remittance and people-to-people policies are helping Cubans by providing alternative sources of information, taking advantage of emerging opportunities for self-employment and private property, and strengthening independent civil society.
The Obama administration says “multiple credible sources” have reported the targeted killings of Syrian civilians, including women and children, near the city of Hama and describes the murders as “outrageous,” urging the international community to unite around a plan that will offer Syrians a democratic, representative and inclusive government.
White House press secretary Jay Carney condemned the reported killings in Al-Qubeir in a June 7 statement and said that when coupled with the refusal of Bashar al-Assad’s regime to allow U.N. peace observers into the area to verify witness accounts, the reports are “an affront to human dignity and justice.”
“Assad’s continued abdication of responsibility for these horrific acts has no credibility and only further underscores the illegitimate and immoral nature of his rule,” Carney said | Briefing on Clinton's Meeting About Syria (07-06-2012) | White House on Situation in Syria (07-06-2012) | Ambassador DiCarlo at U.N. General Assembly Session on Syria (07-06-2012) | “Friends of the Syrian People” Call for More Pressure on Assad (07-06-2012)
Treasury's Geithner on Crisis in Syria: Strong sanctions, effectively implemented, aggressively enforced, can help deprive the Syrian regime of the resources it needs to sustain itself and to continue its repression of the Syrian people (June 6, 2012)
This is the second meeting of the Friends of the Syrian People International Working Group on sanctions. More than 55 nations are represented here today – united in our condemnation of the Assad regime’s brutality. United in our support for the aspirations of the Syrian people. Together we seek to hasten a political change that puts an end to 15 months of violence.
[...] The greatest threat to the well-being of the Syrian people is the regime in power there today. And the longer this regime remains in power, the more the Syrian people will suffer. The longer Assad’s brutality persists, the greater the likelihood of further bloodshed and the greater the risk to a fragile region that is important to the world.
We, the United States, hope that all responsible countries will soon join in taking appropriate economic actions against the Syrian regime, including, if necessary, Chapter 7 action in the UN Security Council, as called for by the Arab League last weekend.
"This month, Americans continue our march to a more perfect union by proudly celebrating our many victories in the fight for LGBT equality.
"We are proud to live in a country where gays and lesbians can now serve openly in the armed forces, just as we are proud that our military is led by a commander-in-chief who understands that sexual orientation has nothing to do with one's fitness to serve.
"We are proud of our president's history-making support for the right to marry regardless of sexual orientation, just as we are proud that he refuses to use taxpayer dollars to defend the Defense of Marriage Act.
"We are proud of our country's leadership at home and abroad in protecting Americans from violence, hate crimes, bullying and harassment.
The partnership between Georgia and the United States reflects the energy, the entrepreneurship, and the dynamism of our people and societies. More than that, our relationship delivers results. You can see that just from what we have achieved in the past few weeks.
[...] Of course, Georgia’s long-term security and prosperity will depend in large part on the quality of your democracy. And this is a moment of great opportunity for your country. The United States will stand with the Georgian people as you take the next steps to strengthen the rights, freedom, and opportunities of all your citizens. Every Georgian deserves to live in a tolerant, democratic, inclusive society.
Today, I met with leaders of opposition parties and discussed their vital role in deepening Georgia’s democratic development. The United States believes competing energies and ideas drive the democratic process. Civic activism, open debate, a level playing field, citizens’ access to information are all vital as you move toward parliamentary elections and then presidential elections. We expect Georgia will hold free and fair elections this fall, and then complete a democratic transfer of power in 2013. And we believe that every party and every candidate should respect the political process, and we look forward to welcoming a strong relationship with those that the Georgian people choose. U.S., Georgia Celebrate 20 Years of Partnership (05-06-2012)
“This agreement provides economic opportunities for certified organic farmers as well as additional incentives for prospective farmers,” said Miles McEvoy, deputy administrator of the U.S. National Organic Program. “We look forward to working with our European Union counterparts to support organic agriculture.”
[...] Although there are slight differences between the United States and European Union organic standards, the negotiators determined that their programs are equivalent, USDA said.
An exception has to do with the use of antibiotics. USDA organic regulations prohibit the use of antibiotics except to control invasive bacterial infections (fire blight) in organic apple and pear orchards. The EU organic regulations allow antibiotics only to treat infected animals. For products traded under the new partnership, certifying agents must verify that antibiotics are not used for any reason, USDA said.
The United States and Sweden are founding members of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, and in Stockholm June 3 they announced further progress in expanding the campaign to reduce short-lived climate pollutants, such as methane, soot and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), used in refrigeration.
[...] The coalition aims to make dramatic cuts in this special class of greenhouse gases, an action scientifically shown to have the short-term effect of slowing climate change, Ek said. “By preventing SLCPs emissions, we can significantly reduce near-term climate change and at the same time save 2.5 million lives per year, increase crop yields and food security, and promote gender equality and women’s rights across the globe,” she said.
Today, Sweden and the United States are beginning a global campaign to close the information gap about short-lived climate pollutants. Few people actually know about the impact we could have on global warming if we aggressively target them. And fewer still know that many cost-effective solutions already exist and are just waiting to be broadly implemented. Clinton, Swedish Officials at Climate, Clean Air Event (04-06-2012)