The United States might look less welcoming to foreign investment these days. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has ceased operations temporarily. Foreign investors seeking the “safe harbor” that CFIUS approval confers will have to wait until CFIUS resumes operations in order to close acquisitions of U.S. companies.
As the United States and other world powers weigh the risks and rewards of a strike against Syria, there are rising concerns that destabilizing the Assad regime could give extremists – particularly al Qaeda – an opening to gain strength and weapons. The embassy closures earlier this month threw a spotlight on al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), with some suggesting the terrorists in Yemen are more powerful than ever. So are they?
Media coverage of the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) government in Egypt by the military has generally been lopsided and focused on the military’s various violations of human rights. Americans often believe that every conflict involves “good guys” and “bad guys.” I would argue that we have to stop looking for good guys where we are not likely to find any and instead focus on our interests, which are to support the army in its efforts to stabilize Egypt.
The civil war in Syria may have begun in March 2011 with peaceful protests against regime policies, but it is now unquestionably a brutal sectarian conflict characterized by massacres and ethnic cleansing. It is now clear that the Syrian humpty dumpty, with its mix of Sunnis, Alawis, Christians, Druze, Kurds, Ismailis, and other communities, cannot be put back together again. One action that could potentially bring stability and advancement to Syria is partition.
Canadian police and intelligence agencies will announce later today they have thwarted a plot to carry out a major terrorist attack, arresting two suspects in Montreal and Toronto. The investigation was part of a cross-border operation involving Canadian law enforcement agencies, the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Since Israel’s last incursion into Gaza in December 2008, Hamas and its fellow “resistance organizations” in Gaza have been taking advantage of weak Egyptian control over the Sinai Peninsula to hasten the smuggling of medium and short-range rockets. Hamas’s strategy is to attempt to deter Israel from launching attacks against the organization by amassing a rocket arsenal that will allow it to strike deep into Israel. It is highly unlikely that this latest round of fighting will fundamentally change a reality in which Hamas continues to rule in Gaza and Israel lacks any realistic alternatives to changing the equation.
U.S. government agencies often seek more power. They generally do that by asking Congress for a new law conferring additional authority or by simply asserting the power based on old law. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, has made a recent bold play that follows the second path. CFIUS now has asserted that it is a full-scale regulator, with the power to issue orders on its own.
Since news of the shooting of a fourteen year old Pakistani girl by a Taliban gunman, a ninth grader named Malal Yousafzai broke, I’ve wrestled with feelings of heartbreak and sheer anger. This young woman could be my own daughter, another happy ninth grader, and what happened to her is nothing short of despicable. Much of the world finds the Taliban abhorrent, but what I find just as disturbing is the deafening silence coming from the streets of Pakistan, Afghanistan and other places in this region. People seem to be willing to riot over a stupid YouTube video, but when the blood of child is spilled, where is the outrage?
An interesting thing happened this weekend – two diverse voices came in violent agreement on the threats America faces today. First, CBS reporter Laura Logan, a renowned Middle East war correspondent; then, Governor Mitt Romney, in a foreign policy speech at the Virginia Military Institute this past weekend. They separately emphasized that only by showing strength to foreign radical groups will we ever hope to have a degree of safety.
The White House’s 2009 Cyber Review estimated the loss of intellectual property from companies as a result of cyber-based hacking in 2008 alone exceeded $1 trillion in value. FBI Director Mueller said in 2009 that his Bureau was aware of 3200 Chinese front companies operating in the United States. Kudos to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers for telling the American public about the significant efforts of countries like China to utilize every means available to spy on American companies – something the National Economic Security Grid has designated as the “Advanced Persistent Asymmetrical Threat.”