Greetings from Kenya! And Other Foreign Policy News
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Kenya: Diane Randall's Trip Continues; Iran: Will Congress Kill the Talks? Atrocities Prevention: Obama Speaks at Holocaust Museum; Afghanistan: The U.S. Fights on, For What? Syria: Military Intervention Is Not the Answer
This week, our Executive Secretary Diane Randall continues her engagement with Kenyan peacebuilding partners and Quakers from around the globe at the World Conference of Friends. Read her trip reflections on "being salt and light," and check out the new Kenya section of our website to learn more about how we'll continue these connections through our work on Capitol Hill.
Photo: Diane Randall in Nakuru, Kenya with Lal Muana from Myanmar
Earlier this month, the U.S. and Iran came ten hours closer to avoiding war. That's how long the talks between the U.S., Iran and five other world powers lasted. But will Congress support this diplomatic approach or sabotage it?
As Kate Gould points out in her Huffington Post op-ed, your messages to Congress and questions at town hall meetings have helped stall legislation that would lower the threshold for war and pressure the president to abandon diplomacy.
You can make a difference this week by writing a pro-diplomacy letter to the editor of your local newspaper.
On Monday, Bridget Moix and Mary Stata were invited to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum where President Obama gave a speech announcing a comprehensive U.S. strategy to prevent genocide and other mass atrocities.The establishment of the Atrocities Prevention Board is a significant milestone for FCNL's peaceful prevention of deadly conflict work. Mary Stata's blog post describes that while President Obama's speech is a step in the right direction, we still have a lot of work to do to achieve a world free of war.
Photo: President Obama tours the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum with the museum's executive director Sara Bloomfield and Elie Wiesel. Source: whitehouse.gov
As the one-year anniversary of the assassination of Osama bin Laden approaches, the U.S. war in Afghanistan drags on with no clear end in sight. The Obama administration is poised to sign a U.S.-Afghan Strategic Partnership Agreement that could preclude an Afghan civil war. FCNL is instead urging a political solution to the political problems that Afghanistan and the region face.
As the U.S. heads toward the NATO meeting in May, it should commit to speeding up troop withdrawal and begin robust and inclusive political negotiations.
Read Matt Southworth's blog to learn more.
As the Syrian government continues its brutal crackdown on the opposition, some members of Congress have been calling for Pentagon involvement. FCNL strongly opposes proposals to help arm the opposition, as Arizona Senator John McCain calls for in his resolution, S. Res. 424. This approach would further militarize and escalate the conflict. Read FCNL's statement for recommendations on what the U.S. could do to promote a resolution of the crisis.
Also, see Kate Gould's analysis of U.S. policy toward Bahrain in the international affairs publication Foreign Policy in Focus. Kate points out that as the United States rightly criticizes Russia for its military support of Syria, the Obama administration should stop arming the Bahrani dictatorship, which continues its deadly crackdown on nonviolent protestors.
What We're Reading (And Watching):
"Five Principles for a Nuclear Deal with Iran," Joel Rubin, Ploughshares Blog, 4/20/12
"Award for Afghan war whistleblower," Tim Mak, Politico, 4/23/12
"Christians in the Holy Land," CBS 60 Minutes, 4/22/12
"Congress should not sabotage Iran negotiations" Jamal Abdi, The Progressive, 4/16/12
"Clinton Overrules Ros-Lehtinen's Hold on Aid to Palestinians," Ben Armbruster, Think Progress, 4/11/12
"Afghanistan War- Operational deception or political hoodwink?" Kimberly Dvorak, The Examiner, 4/24/12