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Breaking: Hagel Out, Assad Next
Washington is abuzz with news that Chuck Hagel is out as President Obama's Secretary of Defense. The Secretary was said to have never meshed with the rest of Obama's foreign policy team, led by National Security Advisor Susan Rice and flanked by US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power and others. Differences over how to handle the rapidly-escalating US war in Syria and Iraq are said to be the breaking point.

24 November 2014read on...

Obama's Stealth Surge in Afghanistan
It is a pattern for President Obama: posing as a peacemaker who ends the wars of the previous administration, while expanding the US use of force in areas the Bush gang could not have even imagined.

22 November 2014read on...

Fmr. Bush National Security Advisor: Start WWIII With Russia!
Stephen Hadley, who served as National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush, believes that the United States should begin delivering lethal military equipment  to the US-backed government in Ukraine as that government moves ever-closer to another assault on eastern territories seeking independence.

22 November 2014read on...

Dennis Kucinich: Support for War and National Security State is Reason for Democrat Election Losses
Dennis Kucinich, the former Democratic United States House of Representatives member from Ohio and two-time presidential candidate, pins blame for Democrats’ 2014 midterm elections “debacle” on Democrat politicians in the last eight years advancing war and the national security state. Kucinich’s analysis is presented Thursday in a Common Dreams article by Deidre Fulton.

21 November 2014read on...

Ed Mullins Returns with More Marijuana Nonsense Talk
With the recent announcement of the particulars of the New York City Police Department policy change intended to reduce marijuana arrests, Sergeants Benevolent Association police union leader Ed Mullins, who previously lamented that reducing marijuana arrests in the city would be “clearly the beginning of the breakdown of a civilized society,” is back with more nonsense talk about marijuana.

18 November 2014read on...

Another US-Supported Group Goes Over to ISIS
Yet again a US-backed group in the Middle East/South Asia region has thrown in their lot with ISIS. Antiwar.com blog reports  that Jundallah, a terrorist organization based in southern Iran and western Pakistan which fights to overthrow the Iranian government, has pledged loyalty to ISIS and will back "any plans they have."

18 November 2014read on...

Ron Paul: Congress Approves ISIS War Funding While Ducking Vote on War Itself
Ron Paul said this weekend that he thinks Congress will continue to duck voting the ISIS War up or down while nevertheless voting for additional funding of the war. Paul’s prediction came during a conversation with Charles Goyette regarding the war and US foreign policy in Paul and Goyette’s most recent weekly podcast discussion.

16 November 2014read on...

Ron Paul: ‘The Militarism of Big Government is Coming to an End'
Ron Paul, speaking Saturday at a Ludwig von Mises Institute event in Costa Mesa, California, presented his optimistic prediction for the future of the movement to ensure respect peace and liberty in the United States and around the world. Paul, who is chairman and founder of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, both observes “a tremendous growth in the ideas of liberty” over the last thirty years and advises that “the militarism of big government is coming to an end.”

13 November 2014read on...

Obama Wants More Money for Syria Rebels
With the recent US election ensuring continued Congressional support for an interventionist foreign policy, President Obama has embarked on a foreign spending spree. First the president announced that US troop levels in Iraq would double to more than 3,000 – and that he’s “never gonna say never” to additional troops – and then he announced that he would seek nearly $6 billion to continue funding Iraq War 3.0 and Syria war 1.5.

12 November 2014read on...

Success? US Plans to Evacuate Embassy in Yemen
On September 10, President Obama addressed the nation on his plans to "downgrade and ultimately destroy" ISIS. What had begun just weeks earlier as a humanitarian rescue mission to save a religious minority in Iraq purportedly threatened by ISIS had crept into a full-fledged US war against ISIS in Iraq.

11 November 2014read on...

Peace and Prosperity

Obama's Second Term Foreign Policy: A Full Tank or Running on Empty?


Stephen Walt

At the Ron Paul Institute, our job is to look critically at US foreign policy and point out the disasters of successive interventionist and empire-building administrations. But asked to more clearly define what this Administration is really up to thus far in its second term -- what are its goals, what values does it seek to convey worldwide, what are its motivations -- we often feel at a profound loss.

What does the president want to see happen in Egypt? Syria? What happens next in Afghanistan, Obama's "good war"? Russia re-set?

We non-interventionists are not alone in our confusion. Our cousins the realists are also scratching their heads. Even as they tend to support more government action overseas than we, they would like to at least have some idea what the end-goals might be.

One of the realist school's most consistently cogent personages, Harvard Professor Stephen Walt, joins us in our perplexity. He wonders in his Foreign Policy column today whether the Administration is just plain out of gas:
On Egypt, U.S. policy is neither hard-nosed realist nor a principled defense of democracy. Indeed, I can't quite figure out what the U.S. policy is except that the Egyptian generals are still going to get the customary U.S. baksheesh and the United States will do its best to nudge them into something it can plausibly defend as kinda, sorta democratic. On Syria, I'm glad the United States hasn't gone the Full McCain (defined as a blindfolded dive into a shark-infested pool), but it would be nice if someone explained to the world what U.S. policy is. On Iran, the arrival of a new, more moderate president -- something the administration was positively panting for back in 2009 -- seems to have elicited the most timid of policy responses. Instead of a serious diplomatic initiative, Americans just get to hear more lectures from Prime Minister-Who-Cries-Wolf Netanyahu, who seems to think the United States owes his country another Middle East war. (And while I'm at it, when did CBS News' Bob Schieffer forget how to ask serious questions? If he plans on retiring anytime soon, a second career hosting paid infomercials beckons).

Maybe I'm being too harsh. The transatlantic trade talks seem to have survived Edward Snowden's revelations about National Security Agency spying in Europe, though it will be a long slog before a deal is reached. Despite the sequester, the U.S. military (especially the Special Forces) is busy partnering with foreign militaries around the world. (But am I the only person worrying that the most extensive U.S. connection to a lot of countries seems to be through their generals?). The foreign-policy bureaucracy in Washington is still busy churning out talking points for the next set of summit(s), principals' meetings, or visits from foreign dignitaries. Of course, the vast, top-secret intelligence and counterterrorism empire created after the 9/11 attacks is continuing to burn up $billions, collect gazilla-bytes of data, and Keep Us Safe against a wildly overstated threat.



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