As the bright new Republican stars flame out – the likes of Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul – the presidential focus for 2016 will shift back to Jeb Bush as a choice broadly acceptable to the GOP, and you will need to know the Bush family’s real history.
The lethal-drone debate’s focus on the legality of killing Americans in al-Qaeda obscures the larger problem of waging war indiscriminately and thus creating new enemies. In that view, President Obama has stretched his legal authority past the breaking point, says Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland.
After the 9/11 attacks, the smart response might well have been to denounce the killings as a monstrous crime and treat al-Qaeda as outlaws to be brought to justice. But President Bush’s tough-guy response was to declare the crime a “war” and ensnare the U.S. in a conflict with no end, as Lawrence Davidson explains.
Many Americans are still shocked that Wall Street bankers who ruined the economy escaped any serious punishment from government regulators. But one problem is that many of those regulators, including the new choice to head the SEC, have been rotating through the golden revolving door, say Bill Moyers and Michael Winship.
Special Report: Newly available documents reveal how Ronald Reagan’s neocon aides cleared the way for Israeli arms sales to Iran in 1981, shortly after Iran freed 52 U.S. hostages whose captivity doomed Jimmy Carter’s reelection. The move also planted the seeds of the Iran-Contra scandal, reports Robert Parry.
In his State of the Union, President Obama vowed to continue the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan, much as he did in Iraq. But his reliance on lethal drone attacks to kill suspected terrorists has raised many other concerns, as Bill Moyers and Michael Winship note.
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.
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.
President Obama’s defenders note he ended the Iraq War, is drawing down forces in Afghanistan and has resisted a new war in Syria. In other words, they say drone attacks on al-Qaeda suspects have ratcheted down the levels of violence left behind by President Bush. But critics say the drone attacks are still war crimes.