Tuesday Headlines

Should US Change Policy On Negotiating With Terrorists
Many nations, including Israel, have chosen to allow exceptions to their policy of not negotiating with terrorists, but the United States remains firmly opposed in call cases. Should it? Clint Watts, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and a Senior Fellow at the George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, considers the validity to a policy that allows negotiations with terrorists. He points to Al Qaida’s affiliate in Syria, Nusra, as one of the cases in which it might benefit the US to open the door to loosening that policy if Nusra indicated it might be amenable to breaking with al-Qaida.

“Should the United States negotiate with the Nusra Front as a way to secure a more viable ground force to use against Assad and the Islamic State and, ironically, kill al-Qaida’s advance in Syria? No. And also yes. The United States should not negotiate with Nusra as it currently stands, but rather should seek to fracture Nusra and then negotiate with its splinters,” he says.

In the end, he suggests, “negotiation and amnesty programs with extremist groups must enter the U.S. counterterrorism repertoire if reluctance to military deployment continues.”

NOTE: Clint Watts of the Brookings Institution has a similar piece and also supports negotiations with Nusra.

What Went Wrong In The Ebola Response
Laurie Garrett has a lengthy article in Foreign Affairs in which she outlines the problems with the World Health Organization’s response to last year’s ebola crisis, which simply exposed existing failures.

Garrett, who has been involved in combating disease outbreaks for decades, says almost 20 years after her visit to Liberia, little had improved.

“Although there had been at least 16 more Ebola outbreaks across the Congo basin and Uganda in the interim, the world had not developed any new technical or medical tools for addressing the virus. Treatment was only incrementally more sophisticated than it had been back in 1995, it was still impossible to rapidly diagnose infections, and there was still no vaccine,” laments Garrett.

One solutions she suggests is to formulate a plan for a rapid-deployment teams that will be able to react in real time.

“Composed of doctors, nurses, lab technicians, epidemiologists, and other professionals necessary for handling a humanitarian crisis, such a corps should be voluntary and multinational, with thousands of trained and registered people ready to be summoned into service on short notice when the next emergency arises. When crises are so obviously recurring and predictable, there is simply no reason that each one should be met with a similarly ad hoc, uncoordinated, amateurish response, sluggish when it matters most and panicked when problems have already escalated,” she proposes.

China’s Maritime Disputes: A Primer
The Council on Foreign Relations offers a comprehensive history of China’s look at the roots of the escalating territorial disputes between China and its neighbors in the South China Sea.



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