The Common Good

Blog Posts By David Cortright

Posted by David Cortright 34 weeks 2 days ago
The nuclear agreement with Iran is a triumph of diplomacy. It stops the expansion of Iran’s nuclear program, rolls back some of its most worrisome elements, establishes more rigorous monitoring to guard against cheating, and suspends some sanctions on the Iranian people.If implemented, this agreement will significantly reduce the potential nuclear threat from Iran and enhance the security of Israel and other states in the region. Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama deserve credit for supporting the diplomatic effort.The agreement includes a commitment from the U.S. and its allies to “not impose new nuclear-related sanctions for six months.” This means that the U.S. Senate must defer any further sanctions measures to allow compliance to proceed. 
Posted by David Cortright 1 year 20 weeks ago
We’re approaching the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq — an appropriate time to reflect upon the antiwar ferment that gripped the globe at that time.Virtually the entire world opposed the U.S.-led invasion. Feb. 15, 2003 was the largest single day of antiwar protest in history. An estimated 10 million people demonstrated against the war in hundreds of cities on every continent — more than a million in London and hundreds of thousands in Barcelona, Rome, Sydney, Berlin, and New York.
Posted by David Cortright 1 year 46 weeks ago
The United States has surpassed all records in global arms sales — a whopping $66.3 billion in armaments sold last year.Most of the weapons went to Persian Gulf nations, although India also bought more than $4 billion in military equipment. U.S. arms sales in 2011 were triple the previous year’s level and the highest annual total ever recorded.The U.S. is once again the world’s number-one arms proliferator, accounting for 75 percent of global arms sales. Word of this dubious distinction comes as our leaders claim to support and have been working at the United Nations to negotiate a global Arms Trade Treaty.The report makes a mockery of the UN negotiations and our government’s presumed commitment to control the arms trade.
Posted by David Cortright 2 years 32 weeks ago
Initial results from Egypt’s first round of elections produced an unexpectedly large showing for Islamists. The Freedom and Justice Party of the Muslim Brotherhood gained approximately 37 percent of the seats selected from political party lists, in line with predictions. The real shocker was the 24 percent vote obtained by the al-Nur party of the Salafi movement. The Salafis are extreme conservatives who favor restrictions on the role of women and Saudi-style controls on public morality. Liberal-left parties in the various party blocs gained about 37 percent. The results are very preliminary, with two more rounds of voting still ahead.
Posted by David Cortright 2 years 33 weeks ago
The huge throng filled the entire Square and was reminiscent of the historic mass mobilizations in February that brought down the Mubarak dictatorship. The rally was announced as a ‘million man march’ and was backed of a broad cross section of Egyptian activist groups, from liberal secularists to conservative Islamists. The Muslim Brotherhood did not support the march, although many of its youth members joined the crowd. The rally had a positive and hopeful spirit, in sharp contrast to the earlier violent clashes, which we witnessed on November 20.The atmosphere in the Square on Friday was almost festive. We saw families with children, vendors selling food and drinks, face-painting on children (and thanks to a group of laughing teenagers, painted hands) and everywhere we saw the red, white, and black stripes of the Egyptian flag. It was a diverse crowd, young and old, women and men, middle class and the very poor. We were welcomed and greeted warmly by many.The crowd was friendly but determined in its commitment to fulfill the promise of the revolution. There were no speeches, but constant chanting rose from groups throughout the Square, all with a similar message: Military rule must end.
Posted by David Cortright 2 years 34 weeks ago
As we gazed in shock at the battle below, Dr. Nadia quietly stepped back from the balcony.We turned and saw her sitting alone in her office, hanging her head, shaking it from side to side in dejection. She had just said that the continued clashes were harming the revolution, that unknown forces were at work among the activists and in the military to undermine the revolution and prevent the transition to democracy.No good can come from this, she said. Little could she have imagined that her words would be so quickly and horribly confirmed.
Posted by David Cortright 2 years 37 weeks ago
During interviews with more than a dozen Afghan women leaders, researchers, international aid workers and former Afghan government officials, we learned of persistent dangers and threats to the country's future.Afghan women face continuing repression. They are witnessing the erosion of previous gains as Taliban control spreads in the countryside and reactionary warlord influence increases within the Kabul regime. The government's own security forces are often responsible for violations of women's rights. Check back in a few days for a more detailed account of what we learned. The withdrawal of foreign forces will produce an economic crisis for the government of Afghanistan, which remains almost completely dependent financially on the U.S. and other foreign governments, especially to pay for its huge 300,000-person security forces. I wrote about this funding failure in an earlier post. A new security agreement between Kabul and Washington is likely to call for the continued presence of U.S. military forces in the country beyond the 2014 transition deadline. This is seen as necessary to provide security for Kabul, but it could also have the effect of prolonging the insurgency and impeding prospects for reconciliation.It was clear from what we heard that maintaining security requires more than deploying a large number of troops.
Posted by David Cortright 3 years 11 weeks ago
Posted by David Cortright 3 years 18 weeks ago
Posted by David Cortright 4 years 9 weeks ago
Posted by David Cortright 4 years 15 weeks ago
Posted by David Cortright 6 years 42 weeks ago
International solidarity and support for the Burmese democracy movement is growing, as evidenced in the imposition of new economic sanctions against the military regime. The European Union and the U.S. government have announced additional measures to isolate the dictators. The democracy movement has supported the imposition of these international sanctions as an effective means of pressuring the Burmese government, as