Tag Archive for Barack Obama

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The Oil-Crash Diplomatic Mirage

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the U.S. Ambassador's residence in Rome, Italy, on Dec. 14, 2014. (State Department photo)

Official Washington’s latest “group think” is that the drop in oil prices will bring Russia and Iran to their knees ready to do whatever the U.S. demands. But this analysis is a miscalculation that could cause President Obama to miss diplomatic opportunities to resolve disputes, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

A ‘Cordial Rivalry’ for US and Iran?

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. (Iranian government photo)

America’s neocons remain dug in against normalizing U.S. relations with Iran — as Israel’s hardline leadership still places Iran at the top of its enemies list — but Iranian leaders appear willing to transform decades of anti-U.S. hostility into a “cordial rivalry,” writes Trita Parsi.

The Islamic State Stumbles

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative.

Last summer, there was widespread hysteria across Official Washington over the seemingly unstoppable expansion of the brutal Islamic State – and handwringing over President Obama’s limited military response – but the jihadist momentum now shows signs of stalling, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Udall Urged to Disclose Full Torture Report

Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colorado.

Sen. Mark Udall has called for the full release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on torture. However, as a still-sitting member of Congress, he has a constitutional protection to read most of the still-secret report on the Senate floor — and a group of intelligence veterans urges him to do just that.

New Pressure to Stop Iran Nuke Accord

President Barack Obama talks with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran during a phone call in the Oval Office, Sept. 27, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The economic pain, being inflicted on Iran and Russia by the Saudi-induced oil-price drop, has fueled a new surge in Official Washington’s “tough-guy-ism” and thus may hurt chances for successful negotiations, especially an agreement to constrain Iran’s nuclear program, as Gareth Porter reports.

Neocons Link Cuba Opening to Iran Deal

President Barack Obama talks with Ricardo Zuniga, National Security Council's Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs, after the President delivered a statement on Cuba, in the Oval Office, Dec. 17, 2014. National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice watches from the doorway. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: Neocons are hoping that by raising the political cost of President Obama’s diplomatic opening to Cuba, they can scare him away from reaching a final agreement with Iran over its nuclear program and thus keep alive their Mideast “regime change” agenda, as Andrés Cala explains.

Will ‘New Obama’ Bring Hope for Change?

President Barack Obama runs onto a stage in Rockville, Maryland, Oct. 3, 2013 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama has finally shown glimmers of the leader that many Americans thought they saw in 2008, as he displays some boldness in ending U.S. hostility toward Cuba and acting on global warming. But it remains unclear if this “new Obama” will offer more reasons to hope for change, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Dividing the CIA in Two

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper talks with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, with John Brennan and other national security aides present. (Photo credit: Office of Director of National Intelligence)

When created in 1947, the CIA was meant to coordinate objective intelligence and thus avert some future Pearl Harbor attack, but its secondary role – engaging in covert operations – came to corrupt its independence, a problem that must now be addressed, says ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman.

The ‘Exceptionalism’ of US Torture

George W. Bush taking the presidential oath of office on Jan. 20, 2001. (White House photo)

Americans like to think of themselves as the ultimate “good guys” and anyone who gets in their way as a “bad guy.” Under this theory of U.S. “exceptionalism,” whatever “we” do must be moral or at least morally defensible, from sponsoring coups around the world to torture, as William Blum describes.

Torture’s Time for Accountability

President Barack Obama holds a press conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. Dec. 19, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Exclusive: America’s reputation for cognitive dissonance is being tested by the Senate report documenting the U.S. government’s torture of detainees and the fact that nothing is happening to those responsible. Ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern says the nation must choose between crossing the Delaware or the Rubicon.