President Obama seems determined to maintain a smile and bonhomie during his three-day trip to Israel, but the optics obscure deeper problems in the U.S.-Israeli relationship as Obama remains under pressure to bend U.S. policies in ways favored by Prime Minister Netanyahu, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.
Official Washington had a good laugh at flamboyant basketball star Dennis Rodman for befriending North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and for suggesting the U.S. also has extensive prisons and commits human rights abuses. The media derision silenced Rodman, but his perspective deserved more respect, says Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland.
Exclusive: After a messy confirmation — which asked new questions about drone assassinations and old questions about enhanced interrogations — John Brennan has taken over at CIA. But his past may not be so easily forgotten in a world looking for accountability, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
In recent decades, Watergate reporter Bob Woodward has blundered in fawning books on Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and President George W. Bush – and now finds a threat in a routine exchange with a White House official. But overlooked is his war-mongering, says William Boardman.
There was a time in America when someone like Ramsey Clark could be Attorney General and assert the power of the federal government on the side of civil rights, but that now seems like ancient history, as Clark reflects on the past and present with Dennis J. Bernstein.
Even as the Obama administration inches toward a compromise with Iran over its nuclear program, U.S. officials keep up the tough talk to appease Official Washington’s hardliners. But wishful thinking about Iran’s vulnerabilities could raise the risk of conflict, say Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett.
Some neocons hope they softened up new Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during his bruising confirmation fight. But ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern suggests in these proposed “talking points” that Hagel stick to his principled reputation as someone who tells it like it is, regardless of political pressures.
Modest but real progress appears to have been made at the latest round of talks on Iran’s nuclear program, but that didn’t stop congressional war hawks in thrall to the Israel Lobby from seeking more sanctions and proposing a green light for an Israeli attack on Iran, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.
Despite the Iraq debacle, neocons remain in the driver’s seat setting official U.S. attitudes toward Iran, mixing worst-case assumptions with unrelenting hostility. But national security experts Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett have stood up to this neocon-driven conventional wisdom, says Gareth Porter at Inter Press Service.
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.