USA*Engage Blog

What to Make of the Cuba Handshake
Wednesday, 11 December 2013
by Jake Colvin
For as much as the media made of the handshake between President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro, it's not nearly as juicy as other aspects of the U.S.-Cuba relationship.

The handshake itself is small potatoes.  President Obama was right not to have snubbed a handshake at a memorial for Nelson Mandela, which would have turned into an even bigger story. 

The reality is that there are much more important developments in the U.S.-Cuba relationship, and strong potential for principled engagement to further benefit the Cuban people and America's national interest.

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Dealing with Iran
Monday, 8 April 2013
by Richard Sawaya
In the remarkable and riveting Israeli documentary, "The Gatekeepers," constructed around interviews with six former heads of Shin Bet, Ami Ayalon – recipient of the medal of valor, Israel's highest decoration; head of the Israeli Navy, who accepted the Shin Bet post only after Yitzhak Rabin's assassination, serving from 1996 through 2000 – paraphrases Von Clausewitz: "Victory is the creation of a new political reality."

He is commenting, as his five comrades do in their ways, on the paradox that has prevailed since the outcome of the 1967 war; that since Rabin's assassination, the series of tactical "successes" effected by Shin Bet in responding to terrorism and implementing occupation of the conquered territories has afforded successive Israeli governments the means to avoid a strategic agreement regarding a Palestinian state.
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Rethinking Economic Sanctions: The Emperor Has No Clothes?
Thursday, 14 February 2013
by Richard Sawaya
The financial bubble blowout of 2008 dealt a self-inflicted body blow to the U.S. economy. We avoided a collapse of the financial system by means of federal government intervention just in time. Many Americans do not realize the material calamities they were spared.

Over the past several years, Congress has enacted – and the Administration has multilaterally implemented – the equivalent of a financial system meltdown on the Islamic Republic of Iran and on Syria, by means of sanctions targeting the countries' financial systems. We do so to compel Iran's leaders to forego nuclear weapons and Syria's to accept regime change.
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U.S. Sanctions on the Decline (But Donít Cheer Just Yet)
Friday, 28 September 2012
by Richard Sawaya
The Global Works Foundation’s Progressive Economy published its “Trade Fact of the Week” for September 26, highlighting that the number of countries targeted with significant U.S. economic sanctions has declined to six – from 29 in 1992, and 12 in 2002.
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