President Obama, like every other leader on Earth, is still going to be looking out for national and economic interests. States don't cease to be states overnight just because they get a great visionary as their new president.
Sanctions did indeed help to bring Iran to the negotiating table. But sanctions did not stop the advance of Iran's nuclear program. Negotiations have done that, and it is in our interest not to deny ourselves the chance to achieve a long-term, comprehensive solution that would deny Iran a nuclear weapon.
I worry about Zimbabweans. They bend, they bend, they bend, they bend - where do the people break? How long can they go on scrounging for food in garbage dumps and using the moisture from sewage drains to plant vegetables?
It is a false choice to tell Israel that it has to choose between peace on the one hand and security on the other. The United Nations would not ask any other country to make that choice, and it should not ask it of Israel.
We no longer live in an era in which foreign policymakers can claim to serve their nations' interests treating what happens to people in other countries as an afterthought... What happens to people in other countries matters. It matters to the welfare of our own nations and our own citizens.
I have only so many foreign-language neurons. When I learned Spanish, that displaced whatever Irish was left, and then I learned German, and that displaced the Spanish, and when I learned Serbo-Croatian, that displaced the German. So I'm a bit of a muddle.
As even a democracy like the United States has shown, waging war can benefit a leader in several ways: it can rally citizens around the flag, it can distract them from bleak economic times, and it can enrich a country's elites.
There are something like 300 anti-genocide chapters on college campuses around the country. It's bigger than the anti-apartheid movement. There are something like 500 high school chapters devoted to stopping the genocide in Darfur. Evangelicals have joined it. Jewish groups have joined it.
The economic dynamic in Zimbabwe is perversely robust: while ordinary people suffer, black-market dealers and people with foreign bank accounts prosper, making them powerful stakeholders in the perpetuation of devastating economic policies.
I've been a war reporter and a human rights defender. A professor and a columnist. A diplomat and - by far most thrillingly - a mother. And what I've learned from all these experiences is that any change worth making is going to be hard. Period.
Western governments have generally tried to contain genocide by appeasing its architects. But the sad record of the last century shows that the walls the United States tries to build around genocidal societies almost inevitably shatter.
I think Obama is right when he talks about the rule of law as a cornerstone of what the United States should stand for. That can encompass our elected officials' adherence to law and our country's return to the Geneva Conventions.
I would like to put forward a simple thesis that should no longer be at all controversial: it is now objectively the case that our national interests are increasingly affected not just by what happens between states, but also by how people are treated within states.
Citizens victimized by genocide or abandoned by the international community do not make good neighbors, as their thirst for vengeance, their irredentism and their acceptance of violence as a means of generating change can turn them into future threats.
Americans have long trusted the views of Democrats on the environment, the economy, education, and health care, but national security is the one matter about which Republicans have maintained what political scientists call 'issue ownership.'
Influence is best measured not only by military hardware and GDP, but also by other people's perceptions that we, the United States, are using our power legitimately. That belief - that we are acting in the interests of the global commons and in accordance with the rule of law - is what the military would call a 'force multiplier.'
I got into journalism not to be a journalist but to try to change American foreign policy. I'm a corny person. I was a dreamer predating my journalistic life, so I got into journalism as a means to try to change the world.
At the U.N., I routinely encounter countries that do not want to impose sanctions or even to enforce those already on the books. The hard-line sanctions skeptics have their own self-interested reasons for opposing sanctions, but they ground their opposition in claims that America uses sanctions to inflict punishment for punishment's sake.
When I became director of CIA, it was just clear to me intuitively, without a whole lot of science behind it, that we had expanded rapidly and inefficiently. So I arbitrarily picked a number, 10 percent, and I said over the next 12 months, we are going to reduce our reliance on contractors by 10 percent.