Category Archives: Obama Foreign Policy

Libya and Darfur

I started doing international news in 1998 and one of the first stories I covered was Kosovo.  Five years later, as I watched the news of atrocities unfolding in Darfur, I naively thought that the international community would act swiftly to stop atrocities in Darfur.  But of course it didn’t,  and in December 2004, I wrote a radio story exploring all the reasons Darfur was not like Kosovo.  Now I am again stunned, but by an opposite situation: the speed with which the Obama Administration, European allies, the Arab League, the UN Security Council came together to act on Libya. So today, (acknowledging none of these analogies really works because each case is so so specific and different), I am exploring the reasons why Libya is not like Darfur. Here’s the story.

New Challenges for U.S. Foreign Policy

Today’s story on The World–a look at how the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East are changing the Obama Administration’s foreign policy calculus.

Working for peace in Sudan

Here’s a WP report on the Obama Administration’s efforts to focus attention on salvaging the North-South Peace Process–it ends with this tidbit on US policy:

The Obama administration is finishing a lengthy policy review on Sudan that has been marked by disagreements over how many “carrots” it should offer to Bashir, who has been charged by the International Criminal Court with war crimes in Darfur. There also appears to be a rift in the administration over whether to characterize the violence in Darfur as an “ongoing genocide.”

Meanwhile Alex de Waal is blogging about the African Union Panel on Darfur and its work exploring the roots of the conflict in Darfur.


Here’s a link to yesterday’s story on drones over Pakistan. You’ll hear from former RAF pilot Andrew Brookes, counterinsurgency expert Dave Kilcullen, Stanford History Professor Priya Satia and Georgetown’s Daniel Byman.  There’s much more to say and I’ll try to get to it one day soon.


Afghanistan, Women’s Rights and U.S. Policy

Al Qaeda first, nation-building second. What does that mean for women’s rights in Afghanistan?  Some thoughts in a radio story here:


Related links:

Women and Nation-Building, a study from the RAND Corporation

How We Got Here #3


Episode 3 is online. You can subscribe at iTunes or The World or listen here.  It’s a story I did for the radio show about the British experience in Afghanistan and its legacy and lessons. Also on today’s show, Ahmed Rashid and Clare Lockhart.


Listen to Matthew Bell’s American Influence podcast this week for some telling excerpts from last week’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee roundtable on Afghanistan: James Dobbins, David Kilcullen, Sarah Chayes, Ashraf Ghani all weigh in.  On The World today Jason Margolis looks at the Pakistan challenge; we hear from Daniel Markey, Anthony Cordesman and Alex Thier.  President Obama’s special representative Richard Holbrooke arrived in Pakistan today. For a view from Pakistan on “Talibanisation,” read my pal Beena Sarwar‘s recent piece in Dawn.  On Sunday BBC Newshour talked to Marvin Weinbaum and there’s more from Sarah Chayes who raises urgent alarm bells about the deteriorating situation in the south of Afghanistan. And also Sunday, a NYT piece by Dexter Filkins on disillusionment with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.