Foreign Policy

Surveillance State Takes Offense

President Obama proclaims his love of “transparency” but has an odd idea what the word means. He generally defines it as sharing some information with Congress and the Courts but keeping the public in the dark and punishing those who ask too many questions, as William Blum explains.

Feinstein’s Phony Excuse for NSA Spying

After 9/11, the excuse for missing clues was too much data – trying to sip from a fire hose – but with the priority now excusing NSA spying, the metaphor is for more data – you can’t find a needle in a haystack without a haystack – a shift ex-FBI agent Coleen Rowley dissects.

How Shutdown Hurts National Security

The Republican-induced shutdown of the federal government underscores the Right’s populist contempt for the nation’s democratic institutions. But the fiasco also has undercut America’s standing in the world and thus undermines U.S. security and global leadership, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Israel’s Lost Clout

The Israeli government and the neocons have long felt they can dictate U.S. policy in the Mideast, including demands for military strikes against “enemies.” But President Obama’s push for diplomacy on Syria and Iran may be challenging that longstanding reality, writes Lawrence Davidson.

Comparing Obama to Kissinger

Neocons and other war hawks criticized President Obama for not launching a military assault on Syria, but his decision to apply coercive diplomacy instead fits with many other U.S. precedents and showed a much defter touch than heavy-handed tactics used by Henry Kissinger, writes ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman.

Brazil’s Challenge to US Dominance

Exclusive: Brazil’s President Rousseff lashed out at U.S. spying during her UN speech, but there was a deeper message – the days when South America was Washington’s compliant “backyard” are over. The U.S. government now has the choice of forging a more equal relationship with the region or facing damaging isolation, writes Andrés Cala.

NYTimes Again Ignores Israel’s Nukes

Exclusive: The U.S. news media’s bias in favor of Israel and against Israel’s enemies represents a journalistic failure to honestly inform the American people about issues that can lead to war. A glaring example is the double standard applied to Israel’s rogue nuclear arsenal, notes Robert Parry.

Losing Control of Nukes

Politics and propaganda continue to color how the world views the existential issue of nuclear weapons. Some nations are treated as if they are entitled to have nukes while others aren’t. Yet, the risks from use in an accident or in desperation would seem to apply to all nations, as Winslow Myers notes.

Poisoning the US-Iran Detente

Israel, Saudi Arabia and other enemies of Iran hope to poison improved U.S.-Iranian relations by blocking sanctions relief for Iran, even at the cost of losing new restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program, an emerging dilemma assessed by ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Syrian Rebels Embrace al-Qaeda

Exclusive: The leading Syrian rebel groups have declared their intent to transform Syria into a Taliban-style state that would collaborate with al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in the heart of the Middle East. This lifting of the veil presents President Obama with an even trickier policy dilemma, reports Robert Parry.