Sen. Rand Paul, a Tea Party favorite who will give one of two Republican responses to President Obama’s State of the Union, is deviating slightly from the GOP’s neocon orthodoxy and drawing criticism from the likes of neocon Robert Kagan. But any rethinking of tough-guy-ism is welcome, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Exclusive: The State of the Union offers President Obama a high-profile opportunity to finally close the deal with Iran over its nuclear program by accepting the need for U.S. concessions on sanctions, but there are doubts he will seize this Nixon-to-China moment, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern notes in this appeal.
President Obama has indicated that he wants a diplomatic breakthrough with Iran, especially limiting its nuclear program, but he has hesitated taking the kind of positive steps that President Nixon did in his opening to China more than four decades ago, Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett observe.
A key residual power of Washington’s neocons is their access to think-tank journals and influential op-ed pages to “controversialize” American analysts and writers who deviate from foreign policy orthodoxy. At such moments, history and honesty are cast aside for ideology and expediency, Nima Shirazi notes.
Ten years ago, President George W. Bush and his allies were putting the finishing touches on their unprovoked invasion of Iraq, a conflict that ultimately killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and left behind a devastated nation torn by sectarian violence and a possible civil war, as Adil E. Shamoo writes.
Exclusive: Though false intelligence was at the center of the disastrous Iraq War, CIA Director-to-be John Brennan played fast and loose on Iran’s nuclear program in his Senate testimony, a troubling sign he might undermine the principle of honest analysis just like his mentor, George Tenet, warns ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
America’s “tough-guy-ism” plays well at home, with politicians competing to see whose bluster is the most belligerent, but works less well with the targeted countries whose leaders have their own imperatives of politics and pride. President Obama is risking failure in Iran nuclear talks if he ignores this reality, say Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett.
Exclusive: CIA Director-designate John Brennan stumbled through less-than-challenging questions at his Senate confirmation hearing, struggling to square the circle of his past ties to abuses in the “war on terror” with his future promises to be a force for openness and reform, as ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman notes.
Americans have been sold on the promise of perfect security, whether protecting “the homeland” with gadgets of death or guarding “the homestead” with high-powered assault rifles firing 100-round magazines. But this “safety” is an illusion, making Americans less secure than if they engaged the world around them, as Phil Rockstroh observes.
Confirmation hearings for John Brennan to head the CIA will give Congress – and the American people – their first chance for some public airing of the secret drone program that has struck at suspected al-Qaeda terrorists, including U.S. citizens, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.