Obama Administration

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The State Department’s Ukraine Fiasco

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry addresses Yale University graduates on Class Day in New Haven, Connecticut, on May 18, 2014. Kerry himself is a 1966 Yale graduate. (State Department photo)

Exclusive: The State Department’s handling of the Ukraine crisis may go down as a textbook diplomatic fiasco, doing nothing to advance genuine U.S. interests while disrupting cooperation with Moscow and pushing Russia and China back together, reports Robert Parry.

America’s Death-Penalty Fellow Travelers

Amnesty International's graphic showing the countries that extensively use the death penalty.

An inconvenient truth about America’s use of capital punishment is that it puts the U.S. in company with unappealing authoritarian states, like China, Iran and Saudi Arabia, while creating a divide from modern democratic societies in Europe and the Americas, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

The Proud Message of Utah Phillips

U Utah Phillips, labor activist and songwriter.

It is often forgotten that the path to the Great American Middle Class was forged in large part by labor activists and social reformers during the first six decades of the last century, a struggle that left behind a proud culture of music and stories that can inspire the present, as Richard L. Fricker recalls.

Jesus Mandate: Peace and Stewardship

Jesus as portrayed in stained glass as the Good Shepherd.

Modern biblical scholarship has enabled critically thinking Christians to understand what the historical Jesus actually said and what was tacked on later to serve the interests of Rome and early church leaders, but those original messages remain politically inconvenient today, writes Rev. Howard Bess.

Reasons for Intellectual Conformity

President Woodrow Wilson.

In theory, many people hail the idea of independent thinking and praise the courage of speaking truth to power. In practice, however, the pressure of “group think” and the penalties inflicted on dissidents usually force people into line even when they know better, as Lawrence Davidson notes.

Libyan ‘Regime Change’ Worsened Chaos

Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi shortly before he was murdered on Oct. 20, 2011.

In 2011, a coalition of U.S. neocons and “humanitarian” war hawks pushed for and got a military intervention in Libya with the goal of eliminating Muammar Gaddafi, but the ouster and murder of Gaddafi has only led to worse chaos and more death in Libya, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Why Iran Wants Its Own Nuclear Fuel

Iranian women attending a speech by Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. (Iranian government photo)

Iran’s insistence on having its own capability to enrich uranium for its nuclear reactors stems from its bitter experience when forced to rely on outside suppliers that were susceptible to international political pressures, Gareth Porter reports for Inter Press Service.

Chastened Saudis Look to Iran Detente

Prince Bandar bin Sultan, former Saudi ambassador to the United States and now the ex-chief of Saudi intelligence.

Exclusive: Last year, Saudi intelligence chief Bandar bin Sultan was swaggering around the world boasting of Saudi influence over radical jihadists from Syria to Chechnya and collaborating with Israel against Iran. But Bandar is gone and the Saudis may be retrenching, writes Andres Cala.

Can the Surveillance State Be Stopped?

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden speaking in Moscow on Oct. 9, 2013. (From a video posted by WikiLeaks)

Despite the public furor over NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations about U.S. government surveillance, the process rolls on unabated with few prospects of significant reform, writes Danny Schechter.

Saudi-Iran Thaw Troubles the Neocons

Saud al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister.

Neocons and other hardliners are still fanning the flames of confrontation with Iran, but the recent thawing of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia is making the hawks’ work more difficult, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.