The idea was to vet the rebel groups and train fighters, who would be supplied with weapons. The plan had risks, but it also offered the potential reward of creating Syrian allies with whom the United States could work, both during the conflict and President Bashar al-Assad’s eventual removal.

Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Petraeus presented the proposal to the White House, according to administration officials. But with the White House worried about the risks, and with President Obama in the midst of a re-election bid, they were rebuffed.

"Mr. Romney-here’s a little advice: Before you debate Barack Obama on foreign policy, you better finish the debate with yourself!"

It isn’t fair to say Mitt Romney doesn’t have a position on Afghanistan. He has every position. He was against setting a date for withdrawal-then he said it was right-and then he left the impression that maybe it was wrong to leave this soon. He said it was ‘‘tragic’’ to leave Iraq, and then he said it was fine. He said we should’ve intervened in Libya sooner. Then he ran down a hallway to duck reporters’ questions. Then he said the intervention was too aggressive. Then he said the world was a ‘‘better place’’ because the intervention succeeded. Talk about being for it before you were against it!

Mr. Romney-here’s a little advice: Before you debate Barack Obama on foreign policy, you better finish the debate with yourself!‘‘President Mitt Romney”-three hypothetical words that mystified and alienated our allies this summer. For Mitt Romney, an overseas trip is what you call it when you trip all over yourself overseas. It wasn’t a goodwill mission - it was a blooper reel.
”  - John Kerry’s DNC 2012 speech

longreads
longreads:

How Hilary Clinton carefully negotiated blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng’s freedom, and proved herself to be a tenacious Secretary of State.

“By the time the American diplomats acknowledged what had happened and went back to cut a new deal for Chen, the Chinese were in no mood to talk. In the meantime, Clinton herself was pulled away by the hours of unrelated meetings that had brought her to Beijing in the first place. The two sides had used the dialogue to schedule an intensive series of small discussions with Clinton and Dai on the most pressing — and divisive — issues between the countries, from thorny nuclear talks with Iran and what to do about North Korea’s erratic new leader to the bloody crackdown in Syria and the mounting crisis between the Philippines, a major U.S. ally, and China over disputed waters in the South China Sea. It was quite a performance by both sides; no one mentioned Chen. ‘This was all taking place in the eye of the storm,’ said one Clinton aide.

“Head of State.” — Susan B. Glasser, Foreign Policy
More from Foreign Policy

longreads:

How Hilary Clinton carefully negotiated blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng’s freedom, and proved herself to be a tenacious Secretary of State.

“By the time the American diplomats acknowledged what had happened and went back to cut a new deal for Chen, the Chinese were in no mood to talk. In the meantime, Clinton herself was pulled away by the hours of unrelated meetings that had brought her to Beijing in the first place. The two sides had used the dialogue to schedule an intensive series of small discussions with Clinton and Dai on the most pressing — and divisive — issues between the countries, from thorny nuclear talks with Iran and what to do about North Korea’s erratic new leader to the bloody crackdown in Syria and the mounting crisis between the Philippines, a major U.S. ally, and China over disputed waters in the South China Sea. It was quite a performance by both sides; no one mentioned Chen. ‘This was all taking place in the eye of the storm,’ said one Clinton aide.

“Head of State.” — Susan B. Glasser, Foreign Policy

More from Foreign Policy

Clinton responded that one problem is that some human rights standards are “so foreign to other cultures.”

"If you’re someone, as I am, who believes strongly in the empowerment of women … in a lot of places, it’s just not understood," she said.

"Of course, we take good care of our women," Clinton told the audience, impersonating one of those foreign leaders. "We don’t let them out of the house, so that they never get into trouble. We don’t let them drive cars, so that they can never be taken advantage of. So we are protecting the human rights of our women."

"You can imagine the conversations that I have," she said.

In parts of Africa and Asia, she said, gay rights is “just a totally foreign concept.”

"I mean, the first response is, ‘We don’t have any of those here,’" she said, to laughter. "Second response is, ‘If we did, we would not want to have them and would want to get rid of them as quickly as possible. And it’s your problem, United States of America, that you have so many of those people. So don’t come here and tell us to protect the rights of people we don’t have or that we don’t want.’"

"It’s a very difficult conversation because it’s just not been one that people have had up until now," she said.

jonathan-cunningham

jonathan-cunningham:

The BBC’s new documentary, “The Power of Nightmares”, presents evidence that al Qaeda does not exist, and was created by United States Central Intelligence Agents. Among the evidence presented, they call into question the testimony of Jamal al-Fadl, point to staged footage of bin Laden’s ‘foot-troops’, and the faked Tora Bora headquarters that Donald Rumsfeld insisted was one of many.

There are militarized Islamic terrorists, but they aren’t a unified or monolithic front. 

theatlantic
theatlantic:

Inside Colin Powell’s Decision to Declare Genocide in Darfur

In September 2004, then-U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, became the first member of any U.S.administration to apply the label “genocide” to an ongoing conflict. Interviews I conducted for Fighting for Darfur: Public Action and the Struggle to Stop Genocide revealed that despite a thorough investigation into the atrocities in Sudan’s western region of Darfur, the legal advice given to Powell was that the resulting evidence (on which he based his genocide determination) was inconclusive. Now a newly declassified State Department memorandum sheds further light on why Powell nonetheless decided to label the situation in Darfur genocide. 

Read more of Rebecca Hamilton’s excellent report in The Atlantic

theatlantic:

Inside Colin Powell’s Decision to Declare Genocide in Darfur

In September 2004, then-U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, became the first member of any U.S.administration to apply the label “genocide” to an ongoing conflict. Interviews I conducted for Fighting for Darfur: Public Action and the Struggle to Stop Genocide revealed that despite a thorough investigation into the atrocities in Sudan’s western region of Darfur, the legal advice given to Powell was that the resulting evidence (on which he based his genocide determination) was inconclusive. Now a newly declassified State Department memorandum sheds further light on why Powell nonetheless decided to label the situation in Darfur genocide. 

Read more of Rebecca Hamilton’s excellent report in The Atlantic

"[H]e [Mitt Romney] said, only the Afghanis can decide their political future. That’s a concept, I think, everyone would agree with. The problem is, the people are not called Afghanis. They’re called Afghans. So if you’re trying to talk about what the foreign policy should be for a foreign nation… you should know what the people are called." - Richard Engel, Meet the Press - Watch

"[H]e [Mitt Romney] said, only the Afghanis can decide their political future. That’s a concept, I think, everyone would agree with. The problem is, the people are not called Afghanis. They’re called Afghans. So if you’re trying to talk about what the foreign policy should be for a foreign nation… you should know what the people are called." - Richard Engel, Meet the Press - Watch