President Obama's recent moves in Iraq seem to have violated the one thing on which virtually everyone inside and outside of both the Obama and the Bush administrations agreed upon -- that U.S. troops in Iraq required parliamentary-approved immunities. In light of the President's recent escalation of U.S. forces, what are the immunity protections for the 3,000 U.S. troops in Iraq? Why weren't those protections enough to provide for a stay-behind force in 2011? And why does it matter?
Luis CdeBaca, the Ambassador-At-Large to Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP), has just stepped down. As we note in a recent op-ed, this leaves the State Department's anti-trafficking office without leadership, and imperils the progress the United States has helped make in calling attention to the problem of human trafficking. The TIP office, headed by the ambassador, we write,
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is facing the most serious crisis of his presidency as widespread outrage over the disappearance and presumed murder of 43 students in the state of Guerrero in September has sparked a wave of national protests (full story here). Worsening the situation has been the government's perceived ineffective response to the tragedy, as well as Peña Nieto's decision to leave the country for the APEC Summit in China amidst the crisis, even as a separate scandal was unfolding surrounding the cancellation of multi-billion dollar construction bid won by a consortium allegedly linked to the president's $7 million mansion. It has all contributed to the image of a presidency under siege.
Since the failure of the 2009 climate summit in Copenhagen, both the United States and China have largely retreated from big international agreements, each waiting for the other to move first. This week's bilateral accord sets the stage for future international discussions. That would seem to be a big deal.
Watching President Barack Obama's grueling travel across Asia, I have to give some credit to the administration. But also wonder if they understand what is really at stake.