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North Korean Nuclear Crisis Discussion

Panelist Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution

On May 27, 2009 I attended a panel discussion on the North Korean Nuclear Crisis presented by the Brookings Institution. Considering the controversy surrounding North Korea because of their announcement that they tested nuclear bombs this past Monday, May 25, 2009, the discussion focused on why North Korea did what it did and what the U.S. should do next. Panelists included Richard C. Bush, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and Director of its Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies; Michael O'Hanlon, a Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution; Carlos Pascual, Vice President and Director of Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution; and Dennis C. Wilder, a Visiting Fellow at the John L. Thorton China Center in the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution.

White House Treaty Priorities

The White House released its list of treaty priorities for the 111th Congress last week. Here is the complete list of treaties that the administration supports immediate action on:

Comprehensive Nuclear- Test-Ban Treaty, done at New York September 10, 1996 and signed by the United States on September 24, 1996 (Treaty Doc. 105-28); submitted to the Senate on September 23, 1997.

Treaty with Australia Concerning Defense Trade Cooperation, done at Sydney September 5,2007 (Treaty Doc. 110-10); submitted to the Senate on December 3, 2007.

Treaty with the United Kingdom Concerning Defense Trade Cooperation, done at Washington and London on June 21 and 26, 2007 (Treaty Doc. 110-7); submitted to the Senate on September 20,2007.

Annex VI on Liability Arising From Environmental Emergencies to the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, adopted on June 14, 2005 (Treaty Doc. 111-2); submitted to the Senate on April 2, 2009.

Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels, done at Canberra on June 19,2001 (Treaty Doc. 110-22); submitted to the Senate on September 26,2008.

International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, adopted on November 3,2001 and signed by the United States on November 3, 2002 (Treaty Doc. 110-19); submitted to the Senate on July 7, 2008.

1996 Protocol to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, 1972. Done at London November 7, 1996; signed by the United States on March 31, 1998 (Treaty Doc. 110-5); submitted to the Senate on September 4, 2007.

Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, done at Stockholm May 22, 2001 and signed by the United States on May 23, 2001 (Treaty Doc. 107-5); submitted to the Senate on May 7, 2002.

Foreign Affairs Mark-Up Hearing

I attended the House Foreign Affairs Committee Mark-Up Hearing for the Foreign Relations Authorization Bill today, and I was pleased to see that the Bill will be accepted with limited amendments. The amendments that have been added only seek to expand and suggest areas that the State Department should use its funds, not to inhibit the progress of or cut back on the amount of funding for State Department actions.

Nonpartisan Anti-Nukes

Obama, Kissinger, Schultz, Perry NunnYesterday President Obama met with Former Secretary of State George Shultz, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Sam Nunn, and former Defense Secretary William Perry to discuss how to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

Foreign Relations Authorization Bill Released

On Wednesday May 20, 2009, the full House Committee on Foreign Affairs will meet to discuss H.R. 2410, the Foreign Relations Authorization Bill introduced by Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA). applauds Mr. Berman for his attention to the need for increased engagement between the United States and the international community. The Bill includes legislation that runs parallel to the interests of, and we encourage the rest of the Committee to support these measures.

The legislation that we find most important includes:

1. Paying back our dues and arrearages to the United Nations and other international organizations, as well as synchronizing our payments so that they are received at the first of the year for which they apply;

2. Reauthorizing and expanding the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI);

3. Paying our share of international peacekeeping activities, as well as increasing our logistical support for such missions; and

4. Developing our capacity for early warning and genocide prevention to combat situations where mass atrocities against civilians occur.

We urge the Committee to pass this legislation as is in order to show that the United States is committed to working both with the international community and from within to meet the challenges that our world faces today.

Press Release

Qatar Becomes the 186th Nation to Ratify CEDAW!

What do Sudan, Somalia, Iran, and the United States have in common? They are just a few of the states that have yet to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women [CEDAW]. The United States remains the only developed nation in the world to not have ratified CEDAW. The state to ratify CEDAW most recently was Qatar. On April 26, 2009, Qatar ratified CEDAW without any reservations to the Convention.

What Role for Diplomacy in Stabilization and Reconstruction?

Yesterday, May 12, Army Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal was recommended by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to replace the former top U.S. and NATO commander. McChrystal joins four ambassadors who are second-in-command for the region.

Energy Security: Carter's View

J.Carter and J.Kerry

Former President Jimmy Carter spoke at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, May 12. During the hearing it seemed the panel's main goal was to hear what Carter had to say about the current climate crisis and how it affects United States foreign relations.

Engaging Iran: Obstacles and Opportunities

On Wednesday, May 6, the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations held a hearing with Senator John Kerry presiding. The hearing addressed prevention of nuclear proliferation in Iran and challenges it posed to the global community.  Witnesses included District Attorney and Assistant District Attorney for New York County, Robert Morgenthau and Adam Kaufmann, as well as Former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns.