Foreign Policy

What to Make of Barack Obama?

Exclusive: In his Second Inaugural Address, President Obama offered a powerful rejoinder to the Right by arguing that progressive reform fits firmly within the Founders’ vision of a strong country advancing the “general Welfare” and securing “Blessings of Liberty.” But does his rhetoric reflect the real Obama, asks Robert Parry.

Making ‘Lethal Drones’ Routine

Seeking consistent standards for using lethal drones, the Obama administration is drafting a manual to govern when such attacks can be unleashed. But the secret guidelines carry other risks, including the acceptance of assassination as a routine part of U.S. foreign policy, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

New Hope for a Second Term

President Obama’s Second Inaugural Address surprised some pundits with his strong messages on climate change, immigration reform, gun safety and other social issues. But whether real action follows will depend on a shift in public consciousness, says Robert F. Dodge.

Looking Before a Leap into Africa

The Obama administration is pushing back against pressure to jump into a new “counterterrorism” conflict in northern Africa, with some officials saying an overreaction to unrest in Mali and Algeria could make matters worse. There’s also the danger of over-interpreting isolated events, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

The Moral Torment of Leon Panetta

Exclusive: Leon Panetta returned to government in 2009 amid hopes he could cleanse the CIA where torture and politicized intelligence had brought the U.S. to new lows in world respect. Yet, after four years at CIA and Defense, it is Panetta who departs morally compromised, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Dulling Down Dr. King’s Message

In life, Martin Luther King Jr. was often demeaned for his radical vision of peace and justice – and not just by crude racists and warmongers but by well-spoken members of the elite. Then, in death, King became a national icon but with his sharpest criticisms dulled down or forgotten, writes Gary G. Kohls.

The Iraq War ‘Surge’ Myth Returns

Exclusive: To win Senate approval as Defense Secretary, former Sen. Chuck Hagel likely will be forced to bow before Official Washington’s cherished myth of the Iraq War’s “successful surge.” To tell the more nuanced truth would open Hagel to another round of neocon attacks, writes Robert Parry.

Mali and the Lure of Intervention

Partly as a spillover from the U.S.-backed ouster of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, armed Islamists have asserted control of sparsely populated northern Mali, causing France to dispatch soldiers to the region. But does this new conflict affect U.S. interests, asks ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

The Depressing ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

Exclusive: Director Kathryn Bigelow – in both Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker – presents stories of heroic Americans operating in a world of either apathetic or crazy Muslims, with little explanation of the whys behind the conflicts. This lack of context makes her films vacuous and depressing, writes Robert Parry.

Hit Movies Miss Mideast Realities

Oscar buzz is humming about two movies recounting real-life chapters of U.S. policy in the Middle East – the get-bin-Laden film “Zero Dark Thirty” and the escape-Iran drama “Argo.” But neither provides an in-depth examination of the reality behind the events, writes Winslow Myers.