In President Obama’s first term, he built a national security “team of rivals” and got mouse-trapped into a dubious Afghan War escalation. For his second term, he’s opted for people who share his views on more restrained military power and faces criticism for “group think,” says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Exclusive: The neocons and their Republican allies bloodied former Sen. Chuck Hagel with ugly smears, but he won Senate approval to become Defense Secretary. The neocons’ failure to exercise this “veto” now stands as a sign of their diminished standing with the Obama administration, writes Robert Parry.
Exclusive: Behind today’s fight over government spending is a bigger struggle for U.S. democracy’s future, pitting the traditional white-ruled country against a new multicultural nation, or the Right’s Real America against Other America. To win, Real America must make Other America fail, says Robert Parry.
As the U.S. and other world powers resume talks with Iran on its nuclear program, key questions relate to U.S.-sponsored sanctions, how effective they’ve been and when they might be eased. But there’s also doubt they can be sustained, write Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett.
The neocons have lost ground within the Executive Branch, but continue to wield great influence in Congress and Washington opinion circles. That sway is revealed in the framing of debates on President George W. Bush’s power to torture and President Obama’s use of lethal drones, notes ex-FBI agent Coleen Rowley.
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.
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.
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.