A basic tenet of “tough-guy-ism” is that throwing around U.S. military and economic muscle is the way to advance American global power. A corollary is that sensitivity toward world opinion is for sissies. But the reality is that the U.S. government undermines America’s influence with this arrogance, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.
The Republican Party that emerged from Vietnam and Watergate was determined to obliterate the lessons learned, and the Democrats veered between timidity and complicity as those lessons were unlearned. Now, the key lessons are more reminiscence than real, as Michael Winship laments.
As minor African despots are dragged before the International Criminal Court, ex-President George W. Bush remains free, despite having committed major war crimes like torture and aggressive war. With the blood of hundreds of thousands on his hands, he will now celebrate his presidential library, Coleen Rowley notes.
After signaling a willingness last year to undertake serious negotiations on Iran and Syria, President Obama appears to have slid back into the default U.S. position of “tough-guy-ism.” Obama’s retreat to that neocon-favored posture could bring chaos to the Mideast, warns Adil E. Shamoo.
After the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. intelligence community threw extraordinary resources into the hunt for al-Qaeda terrorists, so much so that some experts fear a possible new blindness to other threats, a dilemma addressed by ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
President Obama warns that “all options are on the table” regarding a possible attack against Iran, though there’s no credible evidence that it’s building a nuclear bomb. By contrast, Israel maintains an undeclared nuclear arsenal and the U.S. has thousands of nukes with no specific plans to get rid of them, Nat Parry notes.
Rather than making serious efforts at peace settlements, President Obama is skating toward possible U.S. involvement in two more Middle Eastern wars, with Syria and Iran. And ex-Vice President Cheney has no regrets about the Iraq War. Such attitudes ignore a core principle of all major religions, writes Winslow Myers.
Like an overeager suitor, President Obama professed his love for and lavished praise on Israel during a three-day visit, causing some Israelis to blush at his fawning rhetoric and promises of endless fidelity. But Obama on bended knee failed to note a malodorous reality, says Lawrence Davidson.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper calls cyber-attacks a top national security concern, but these U.S. alarms sound hypocritical after the joint U.S.-Israeli cyber-sabotage of Iran’s nuclear industry, as Dutch computer expert Arjen Kamphuis explains.
President Obama’s repetitious warning to Iran that “all options are on the table” carries with it the implicit threat of a nuclear strike against a non-nuclear state, a violation of previously declared principles and a provocation that encourages Iran to build an atomic bomb, as Tad Daley explains.