We're now six years and counting into Barack Obama's presidency, and I have to tell you: That hopey-changey stuff is working out great! Of course, I say that as someone who reads the news and pays attention to the President's accomplishments.
President Obama made history when he removed Cuba from the list of countries that are sponsors of terrorism, but not for the reason one might think. The list really has more to do with domestic politics and foreign policy objectives that have had little to do with terrorism.
War on drugs. War on poverty. War in Afghanistan. War in Iraq. War on terror. The biggest mistake in American policy, foreign and domestic, is looking at everything as war. When a war mentality takes over, it chooses the weapons and tactics for you.
A flood of desperate refugees from across the Mediterranean and the related surge of indignant fringe parties, including now from iconic, self-satisfied Denmark, are battering the discredited political establishment in Europe. Writing from London, Mark Leonard argues that the contest in Europe today is not between right and left; it is a revolt of the left behind masses against the "cosmopolitan" and "metrosexual" elites. Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, says in an interview that what Europe needs is "pragmatic solutions, not big debates" when resolving the Greek financial crisis. (continued)
In recent White House "debates" over a disastrously deteriorating situation in Iraq, President Obama's top military officials were dragging their feet on the question of what more the U.S. should do.
The Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery have placed on view a relic from ancient Palmyra in Syria. In addition, the galleries are displaying images of 18th century engravings and 19th century photographs from its archives.
Sorry, Washington -- you probably can't put Iraq back together again. Certainly, the kinetic effects of more bombing won't repair the damage done to the Iraqi nation since the US invaded in 2003.
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has complained that Iraqi National Army soldiers have demonstrated "no will to fight" against the Islamic State (IS); the fall of Ramadi was their fault. American soldiers attached to Iraqi units might be needed to "stiffen their spines."
If the United States would tone down its policy in the Middle East and the broader Islamic world, radical Islamists would not go away -- they have always been there -- but they would be far less likely to attack U.S. targets -- as the example of Lebanon indicates.
The fact is, Kobani and Tikrit notwithstanding, on a worldwide basis, the United States is losing the war against Islamic State. The only thing worse than losing a war is losing it without even realizing it.
As China establishes a new infrastructure investment bank for Asia and builds out the new Silk Road trading route westward to Turkey, the U.S. Congress is balking at trade agreements and retreating from the very global institutions that have been the pillars of the American-led order. The European project is unraveling as Greece is poised on the brink of default and an exit from the euro. No doubt President Obama's proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership needs some fixing once on the "fast-track," notably concerning the weight it gives to corporate prerogatives. But something more is going on. In Europe, too, there is mounting opposition to the proposed trans-Atlantic trade pact with the U.S., as well as the rise of anti-foreigner and anti-EU parties. Is the West abandoning globalization and the post-war integration of Europe, a mutiny against what has provided its bounty? (continued)
The Afghan security forces are no longer bound to limit their night time raids and to not use heavy weapons in fighting the Taliban insurgency.
For more than a decade and at very considerable expense, the United States has been attempting to create an Iraqi government that governs and an Iraqi army that fights; the results of those efforts speak for themselves: they have failed abysmally.
The military strategies of the United States and its regional allies focused on bombing campaigns, support for local militias, and inherently weak military forces to fight potential ground battles, have failed to defeat rebel forces in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya.
As one of its barbarous tactics in its war of terror, the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) threatens, loots and destroys symbols of world civilization: museums and libraries; churches, mosques and synagogues; and treasured archaeological artifacts and sites.
The Obama Administration's announcement that it is sending several hundred additional advisors to Iraq is consistent with America's failed policy in the country.