Last year, Congress asked the U.S. Institute of Peace, a government-funded think tank, to develop "a comprehensive plan to prevent the underlying causes of extremism in fragile states in the Sahel, Horn of Africa, and the Near East."
So the Institute of Peace organized a bipartisan task force — a veritable who's who of Washington's foreign policy elite, including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and, as co-chairs, former Gov. Tom Kean and former Rep. Lee Hamilton, who headed the 9/11 Commission which investigated the circumstances that led to the attacks 17 years ago, and offered recommendations to avert future terrorist attacks.
Seventeen years ago next week, out of a clear blue sky, Americans were massacred on a scale unprecedented since Pearl Harbor.
The Japanese attack of 1941 led to an intense but relatively brief war. By contrast, the Sept. 11, 2001, attack has led to what some call "The Long War," a low-intensity conflict with no end in sight.
To say that the 9/11 attacks came out of clear blue sky is true literally but not figuratively. Self-proclaimed jihadists had long been using vehicles packed with ordnance and operated by aspiring martyrs as smart bombs.
In this topsy-turvy world, if you'd like to see Palestinians living in peace, gainfully employed, with access to quality medical care and reason to believe tomorrow will be brighter than today, you're denounced as anti-Palestinian.
If, by contrast, you prefer that Palestinians remain impoverished and on the dole of America and other "donor nations," hating their next-door neighbor and bequeathing that hatred to their children, viewing themselves as victims while aspiring to "martyrdom" in an endless war, you get to call yourself a champion of the Palestinian cause.
I share this observation with you because last week PepsiCo announced plans to buy SodaStream for $3.2 billion. Perhaps I need to explain.
Pollsters at the Pew Research Center recently asked an intriguing question: Who is the "most important partner for American foreign policy?"
Unsurprisingly, Great Britain was the top choice. What Winston Churchill called "the special relationship" endures.
But look a little harder and you may be startled. In second place: China.
Perhaps those polled were confused. Perhaps they thought they were being asked which foreign nation is "most important." Because if they do regard China as America's "partner" — much less an important one — they're misinformed.
Last week, the European Union issued a statement on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the nuclear weapons deal concluded with Iran's rulers, from which President Trump withdrew three months ago.
"The JCPOA is working and delivering on its goal, namely to ensure that the Iranian programme remains exclusively peaceful as confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 11 consecutive reports," the statement asserted. "It is a key element of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture, crucial for the security of Europe, the region, and the entire world. We expect Iran to continue to fully implement all of its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA."