The Foreign Policy Initiative's Open Letter to President Obama

While my prime penchant is politics, my first and foremost love of its sub-categories is anything economic. This is because it is what truly greases the tracks of government and is the fuel for its engine. Nevertheless, my second love, under the vast umbrella of anything politic, is foreign policy. With that being said, here is an interesting letter written to the President from The Foreign Policy Initiative.

This is brought to you by way of an old bloggin' buddy to whom I have not linked in a VERY long time. The jingoistic, colorful, sexily written, and un-apologetically hawkish GrEaT sAtAn"S gIrLfRiEnD

July 1, 2009

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, DC

Dear Mr. President:

You have stated your intention to forge a positive relationship between the United States and Russia. We write on the eve of your summit meeting with President Dmitry Medvedev to express our belief that such a relationship requires a commitment by both countries to democracy and human rights and to urge you to reiterate that these values, which you have called universal, are inextricably linked to humane behavior at home and responsible behavior abroad. Furthermore, we ask you to meet with human rights, civil society, labor and opposition political party leaders while you are in Moscow.

Since Vladimir Putin became President in 2000, Russia has been on a downward spiral away from the democratic and economic reforms made in the 1990’s after the collapse of communism. Human rights activists, opposition political party leaders, lawyers and journalists are targets of brutal, even deadly attacks. Freedoms of speech and the media are increasingly limited by the state and the Kremlin has asserted growing authority over the economy, especially the energy sector.

We urge you to challenge Russian leaders about the lack of political and economic freedom in Russia. In your Cairo speech you stated that the freedom of speech, the ability to choose one's own government and way of life, the rule of law and transparency “are not just American ideas; they are human rights. And that is why we will support them everywhere.” Moreover you noted the connection between democracy and security, asserting that “governments that protect these rights are ultimately more stable, successful and secure." This principle gained even more salience as Russia's invasion of Georgia last year revealed the lengths to which it will go to assert a sphere of influence in the region.

For decades, the United States was a beacon of hope to those behind the Iron Curtain who longed for their freedom. As you stated in Prague, after the Iron Curtain was lifted “freedom spread like flowing water. Just as we stood for freedom in the 20th century, we must stand together for the right of people everywhere to live free from fear in the 21st.”

As you go forward, we hope that you will maintain a clear-eyed assessment of Russia’s intentions and keep the above principles in mind in order to ensure that the effort to “reset” U.S.-Russian relations does not come at the expense of the Russian people or Russia's neighbors.

What I find absolutely astounding in this intriguing letter is the list of people who have signed it. I have long talked about the lack of differences that modern day progressives and neo-conservatives share on matters of foreign policy. I coincidentally found a smattering of evidence to back this up.

This is nothing conspiratorial, just an observation that it is difficult sometimes to tell these two supposedly different political philosophies apart. A few of the signatories of this letter illustrate my point.

Larry Cox-Executive Director of Amnesty International USA

Morton H. Halperin-Senior Vice President and Director of Fellows at the Center for American Progress

Gare A. Smith-Presently employed at Foley-Hoag LLP (Foley Hoag is one of many large law firms providing counsel to the detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.)and deals with Human Rights Impact Assessments and country-specific due diligence regarding the risks associated with social and environmental issues.

Leon Wieseltier-Literary editor for the highly progressive magazine The New Republic

R. James Woolsey, Jr.-Evidently a neo-conservative Democrat, whatever that is.

Stephen Rickard-Executive director of the Open Society Policy Center (OSPC) and a member of the Board of Directors. (Assumption being made on this gentleman due to the mission statement of the OSPC and his involvement with Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.)

As I stated above, this is nothing conspiratorial, just a point of interest that some of the people whom they have co-signed this with are unabashedly hawkish neoconservatives with strong ties to the Bush Administration. Just strange company for these "progressives" and "liberals" to be keeping considering their political stripes.



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