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Russia Sanctions and Shifting Cuba Policy - McAdams and Taylor's Week in Review
President Obama has admitted that sanctions do not work, as he announced a major US policy shift toward Cuba. But he turned around and immediately signed a bill authorizing more sanctions on Russia. There is a big disconnect between rhetoric and actions in the US Administration. The sanctions bill is a huge boost for the US military industrial complex, a $350 million Christmas gift for the Beltway death dealers. Listen to RPI's Daniel McAdams and Jay Taylor discuss the main foreign policy events of the week below, or download the MP3 here.

20 December 2014read on...

Report: Afghanistan War Reaches $1 Trillion And Will Require Hundreds of Billions More
Despite the public pledge of President Obama to pull out of Afghanistan, we continue to spend huge amounts of money in the war and the Obama Administration has fought to keep U.S. troops in the country. Now an estimate from the Financial Times and independent researchers put the cost of the war at roughly $1 trillion with a commitment of hundreds of billions more in the coming years. There continues to be no serious debate over our ongoing losses both in personnel and money in this war.

15 December 2014read on...

New US Bill Arms Ukraine, Adds Sanctions — RPI's McAdams on RT
The House and Senate late last week passed legislation authorizing $350 million in US lethal aid to Ukraine and imposing a new round of sanctions on Russia. Co-author of the bill, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), claims the bill is in response to the "Russian invasion of Ukraine." RPI's Daniel McAdams appeared on RT over the weekend to discuss the new legislation as US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held a hastily-arranged meeting Sunday in Rome...

15 December 2014read on...

Meaning of Torture Report: Simply a Catharsis? - Daniel McAdams and Jay Taylor
What is the final meaning of the Senate's recent release of its report on CIA torture activities? We know that no one will be prosecuted, as they have already been given immunity by the president. We have no reason to believe the out-of-control CIA will have its wings clipped after release of the report. Just as the NSA did not cease, but rather increased, its spying on the rest of us after the Snowden revelations.

14 December 2014read on...

Rep. Walter Jones: Omnibus Bill? Are You Kidding? I Don't Even Know What's In It!
Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), an RPI Board Member, again demonstrates why he is one of the few exemplary Members of Congress left in the House. Asked by CNSNews whether he would be voting for the monstrous omnibus continuing resolution on the House this past week, he replied...

13 December 2014read on...

The US Must Purge Itself
CIA Director Brennan's self administered auto-de-fé fell flat.  He met with the president this morning and was evidently told to get his statement in line with the president's position "or else." The "else" is pretty clear. He could easily find himself doing the "Hagel Two Step."  As a result the gospel according to Brennan backed away from any real defense of the deeds of CIA in its tormented and torturing history since 9/11.

11 December 2014read on...

House Russia Bill, New SecDef, Hungary Regime Change: Foreign Policy Week in Review
RPI's Daniel McAdams joins Jay Taylor again to look back over the top foreign policy stories of the past week. Why is Ukraine naming a former State Department employee to head its finance ministry? Is Ukraine the 51st state? What about Congress flexing its muscles at Russia? What is the origin of the notion of "color revolution," and why does it seem Hungary is next on the US list for regime change?

7 December 2014read on...

The Anatomy of Regime Change
What do all regime change operations have in common? RPI Board Member John Laughland explains to the "World Public Forum – Dialogue of Civilizations" conference last month that all such interventions essentially include the criminal prosecution of the vanquished party. We have seen this most recently in Ukraine, Libya, Ivory Coast, against ISIS, and elsewhere.

6 December 2014read on...

State Spokesperson: 'Our Line is Ridiculous...'
Every time State Department spokespersons proclaim the Department position on critical trouble spots like Ukraine, Syria, Libya, Russia, we have the feeling they are shoveling a line of bovine excrement and well know it. And know we know it. And don't care.

5 December 2014read on...

What Would SecDef Ashton Carter Mean for the Military?
We know from RPI Chairman Ron Paul that President Obama's choice to be the next Defense Secretary, Ashton Carter, will mean no big changes in current US foreign and military policy.

4 December 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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