Foreign Policy

The Anti-Empirical Empire

New York Times graphic based on data from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

In many ways, America has become the anti-empirical empire, a superpower where many political leaders divorce themselves from facts. Few examples are more glaring or dangerous than the continued denial of global warming despite the latest evidence of impending catastrophe, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

The West’s Help to Islamic Jihadists

In Afghanistan, U.S. Army Pfc. Sean Serritelli provides security outside Combat Outpost Charkh on Aug. 23, 2012. (Photo credit: Spc. Alexandra Campo)

Though Western leaders now lock arms in disgust over Islamic fundamentalism, the West’s actions – from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama – have often promoted the interests of jihadists from Afghanistan in the 1980s to Iraq in the 2000s to Libya and Syria in the 2010s, as William Blum recalls.

The CIA’s Prosecutorial Defense

Jose Rodriguez, former director of operations for the Central Intelligence Agency.

In the trial of alleged CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling, the U.S. government appears more intent on burnishing the CIA’s tarnished reputation than proving Sterling’s guilt. The defendant almost looks to be collateral damage in this PR process, as Norman Solomon observes.

How Propaganda Conquers Democracy

President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the situation in Ukraine, on the South Lawn of the White House, July 29, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

In recent decades, the U.S. propaganda system has grown more and more sophisticated in the art of “perception management,” now enlisting not only government PR specialists but careerist journalists and aspiring bloggers to push deceptions on the public, a crisis in democracy that Nicolas J S Davies explores.

The Danger of an MH-17 ‘Cold Case’

A Malaysia Airways' Boeing 777 like the one that crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. (Photo credit: Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland)

Exclusive: The Obama administration continues to drag its feet on releasing U.S. intelligence evidence on who shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 six months ago, a failure that has given the guilty parties time to scatter and has created a new breeding ground for conspiracy theories, writes Robert Parry.

Risky Blowback from Russian Sanctions

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses a crowd on May 9, 2014, celebrating the 69th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Crimean port city of  Sevastopol from the Nazis. (Russian government photo)

Today’s American foreign policy “elite” rarely thinks through the dangerous consequences of its “tough-guy” actions, including its new plan to provoke economic and political chaos in nuclear-armed Russia, a “strategy” that is also spreading pain and disorder to Europe, as Jonathan Marshall explains.

The Battle over Dr. King’s Message

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1964, a powerful example of how dissenters have addressed injustice in America and given meaning to democracy.

From the Archive: Martin Luther King Day is a rare moment in American life when people reflect – even if only briefly – on the ideals that guided Dr. King’s life and led to his death. Thus, the struggle over his message is intense, pitting a bland conventional view against a radical call for profound change,…

Cameron Calls Out Iran-Talk Saboteurs

President Barack Obama greets Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom prior to a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office, Jan. 16, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

As U.S. neocons and other hardliners keep trying to sabotage Iranian nuclear talks, British Prime Minister Cameron is the latest world leader to call them out on their sophistry about how threatening additional pain on Iran would help negotiations, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar describes.

Hypocrisy on Parade in Paris

Singer James Taylor performs "You've Got a Friend" onstage in Paris on Jan. 16, 2015, during a tribute to the victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre. On the left is Secretary of State John Kerry. (U.S. State Department photo)

At the Paris procession honoring the victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, world leaders locked arms in defense of free speech – although many of the participants including the French have been busy cracking down on freedom of expression, notes Michael Winship.

The Syrian Ambassador’s Complaint

Bashar al-Ja'afari, Syria's Ambassador to the United Nations.

The Western news media calls itself “objective,” but many foreign crises are reported in a biased way, fawning over one side and hammering the other. To provide a sense of the “other side” in the Syrian civil war, we are reposting an interview with Syria’s UN ambassador by Eva Bartlett for a Lebanese newspaper.