Foreign Policy

A Tale of Two Cynics: Nixon and Obama

President Richard Nixon’s historic gamble with Mainland China turned out well. When he was elected in 1968, it was an out-of-control society and regime, subverting its neighbors and condemning the United States. Today we have a similar regional foe — Iran. Will President Obama be in Tehran a year from now, celebrating the start of a similar moderation by the world’s Read More ›

Obama’s Iran Deal: The SALT Precedents

President Obama’s decision to avoid congressional scrutiny of his emerging nuclear deal with Iran led 47 GOP senators to write a letter warning Iran – and the president – that the Senate expects to be consulted.  A subsequent bipartisan letter signed by 367 members of the House of Representatives also urged the president to consult Congress.  A look at major Read More ›

House Chamber Details with Car of History Clock Benjamin Henry Latrobe's preliminary sketch of the Car of History clock appears in the center of this drawing of the principal entrance to the then House chamber, now National Statuary Hall. 1815 Library of Congress
From Architect of the Capitol @flickr (Public Domain)

Obama’s 1930s: We’re at 1937

Many pundits have drawn parallels between the last decade and the 1930s. Though the precise sequence of events eight decades ago is not being repeated, the kinds of events that transpired in the years 1933 to 1937 have been repeated in broad brushstroke during the Obama years. And events of 1938 to 1941 appear on the horizon as increasingly likely Read More ›

Guest: President Obama must press for human rights

President Obama concluded visits with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and King Salman of Saudi Arabia with predictable news media queries about whether he had raised specific human-rights cases with his hosts. The president spoke in general terms about human-rights issues when in India and acknowledged he had not raised specific cases in either country, including that of the Read More ›

The Great Obama Retreat

Just before he was elected president in 2008, Barack Obama declared, “We are just five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” He may not succeed in his aim to transform the domestic landscape. Instead his legacy may be a different transformation entirely: a tectonic shift in America’s position in the world, diminishing America’s status abroad to Read More ›

Faust’s Networks: Why the Sony Kill Is Not the Last

Modern societies run on a set of networks whose hardware and software represent a modern technology Faustian bargain: achieve unparalleled efficiencies of economic cost and social interconnection at the price of equally unparalleled exposure to several forms of catastrophic “cascade” failure. Specifically, the hardware and software infrastructures that enable prosperous modern life in advanced societies are relatively simple—and hence increasingly Read More ›

Who Are We At War With, and Who Is A Threat?

We in the West have been coming to wrong conclusions in answering the above questions. Our “war” confusion is that we aren’t necessarily at war with countries and/or terror groups whose leaders have declared war on us. Thus the Islamic Republic of Iran established in February 1979 by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini has avowedly been at war with the West Read More ›

O’s Russia “RESET” Fantasy

Why “reset” is a superficial, even puerile, idea…. Team Obama has viewed Russia through the faux lens of “reset”: So when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greeted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva Friday before sitting down to their working dinner, she was all smiles when she presented him a small green box with a ribbon. Lavrov opened it Read More ›

Baltics Next for Putin?

Tsar Vlad the Bad may have more in mind…. Ukraine’s Ill Wind.  Begin with President Obama’s flaccid remarks re Ukraine, ISO common ground with Vladimir Putin, delivered yesterday, announcing sanctions so weak the WaPo editors ridiculed them–“…we’ll know that the president’s calibrations are adequate when they cause Russia’s markets to plunge rather than rally.”  They led Russia’s deputy PM to Read More ›

Panama 100 Years Later

Begin with one of the most famous (to some, infamous) quotations from a generation ago: California Republican Senator S. I. Hayakawa (served 1977-83) said during the election preceding the 1977 signing of the Panama Canal Treaty, “We should keep the Panama Canal. After all, we stole it fair and square.” Yet in 1978 the senator would help shepherd the treaty Read More ›