Pressure Points is a new blog, primarily about the Middle East but with a special interest in democracy promotion and human rights issues more broadly.
Why start a new blog? There’s no escaping the element of vanity in any blog: it is written with the expectation that readers will appear. If you write it, they will come. We’ll see about that, but the purpose here is to discuss American human rights policy and events in the Middle East from a particular perspective: that we must use our own greatest strengths, defend our values and interests, and probe the weaknesses of our opponents in protecting our national security.
That perspective is built around the conviction that the promotion of democracy, including in the Middle East, is in the interest of the United States despite the many difficulties involved in such a policy; that the association of the United States with the cause of human rights strengthens our foreign policy and should be viewed as a fundamental goal rather than an inconvenience or problem; that Iran, rather than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is now the most consequential problem in the Middle East; and that despite the widespread and sometimes violent criticism of Israel in the region and beyond it, the close association between the United States and the State of Israel remains very much in our own national interest.
The heart of what appears here will seem familiar to anyone who recalls the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush foreign policies. I served in both those administrations. Though I disagreed with some of the policies that each followed, both presidents had at least two great things right: they believed in building and using American power, and they believed that America should promote and defend liberty. So do I, and Pressure Points will reflect those beliefs.