Sarwar Kashmeri

Commentator

Sarwar Kashmeri of Reading Vermont is an adjunct professor of political science at Norwich University and author of NATO 2.0: Reboot or Delete.  He holds a degree in Aerospace Engineering, and specializes in international business and national security.

My latest strategy for achieving greater political peace of mind is to think Cassini. Not Oleg Cassini, the famous fashion designer, but Cassini the space probe, launched in 1997 to explore the planet Saturn.

There I was, among a dozen people invited last week to attend a national security presentation by a group preparing to brief security officials in Washington DC. We’d been invited to the presentation to ask questions, offer guidance on the content and style of the briefing prior to their Washington appearance.

Kashmeri: Trust

Dec 13, 2016

Since the election of Mr. Trump, I’ve heard from many friends that they’re still upset and angry about the November surprise; many are afraid they’re witnessing the beginning of the end of American democracy.

So it’s finally just days before we stop debating and vote. Good thing I’ve finally settled on three issues that will help me make my choice.

The existential threat facing America today is not from Russia, which has a smaller defense budget than France and a crumbling economy, but from the continuing cleavage in America between blacks and whites, between the haves and have nots, between those who understand the importance of America's democratic institutions and those who want to tear the fabric of America apart by shredding the compact that has held this Republic together for two centuries.

Vermonters who live around Burlington Airport may notice a flurry of military aircraft and helicopters this week as they transport a number of senior military officers to Norwich University to celebrate the Centennial of the Reserve Officers Training Program, or ROTC.

If the campaign promises for more aggressive use of the U.S. military, especially in the Middle East, do come to pass, they will certainly damage the nation’s military - the one American institution that really works.

In his remarks at the Islamic Society of Baltimore a few days ago, President Obama pointed out that Islam and Muslims are not newcomers at all. They’ve been a part of America for almost as long as the country itself has existed.

Seventy years ago this month, documents that effectively brought an end to World War II were signed in a formal ceremony in Tokyo Bay aboard the battleship USS Missouri.

Call me cynical, but I wonder how the media might have described the co-pilot of the Lufthansa Airbus that was deliberately flown into the Alps to kill all 150 passengers aboard if the name of the pilot had been Ahmed or Muhammed instead of Andreas.

President Obama has come in for a lot of criticism for not attending the solidarity rally in Paris that followed the terrible murders of journalists, policemen and other innocent French men and women by French terrorists. By not being seen, arm in arm with other world leaders the President’s critics say he showed disrespect for the French and that he damaged U.S. leadership.

My immediate reaction to the barbarous murder of the journalists at the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo – like that of many others - was 'I am Charlie.'

And I added my name to the Twitter hashtag ‘Je suis Charlie’ to show my solidarity with the French.

Events this fall in Ferguson, Missouri, have vividly brought home to American living rooms the realization that police departments in many jurisdictions have become highly militarized, and instead of looking like the friendly neighborhood policeman, now resemble units of the Army’s 101st Airborne parachuted into the center of Afghanistan to find and kill the Taliban.

Recently, I picked up my local daily paper and read that Mr. Paul Bremer had spoken at a fundraiser for a small, local library. Bremer, you may remember, was the former U.S. Administrator for Iraq.

I know it’s been said by many that printed books are heading for extinction, that digital-editions fulfill all the function that their printed cousins do, but a recent experience leads me to conclude otherwise.

My wife and I were visiting my brother and his family at their B&B in Canada, when I found myself wide awake one morning at an unusually early hour and decided to make myself a cup of tea and find something to read.

What should we make of the news that Edward Snowden came in second place for TIME Magazine's Person of the Year, losing out only to Pope Francis?

For leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the press, Snowden is a hero to some and a traitor to others. His action has fueled debates over government surveillance, national security and information privacy. Currently, he’s been granted asylum in Russia.

Henry Kissinger used to quip that if he wanted to call Europe, what number should he use? Well he should have tried to call America during the recent government shutdown. If he had (as I did to express my frustration) he’d have heard a polite recording from the White House switchboard.

“Hello, you've reached the Executive Office of the President. We apologize, but due to the lapse in Federal funding, we are unable to take your call. Once funding is restored our operations will resume. Please call back at that time.”

Before beginning their medical practice doctors take the Hippocratic Oath which includes the famous injunction to first do no harm. I’m beginning to think it might not be a bad idea to add a version of the Hippocratic Oath to the swearing in of incoming politicians.

Some years ago while still a resident of New York I received a fund-raising letter from then Governor Mario Cuomo that began with the salutation: Dear Fellow Italian-American...

Margaret Thatcher’s death removes from the world’s stage a remarkable human being. She rose from humble beginnings in a society ridden with class and gender bias to become the longest serving British prime minister of the 20th Century.

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