So what explains Obama's detachment or even apathy towards the instability and violence engulfing the region? And why is the second term president so restrained in the absence of reelection worries?
It is impossible to prove an alternative history, what would have happened had Biden's Boots Off the Ground strategy been followed. But I found that as far as can be determined, the U.S. -- and many millions of people in the Middle East -- would be much safer and better off if Biden's counsel was heeded.
At the least, Brown clearly wants to influence the politics of 2016, which prompts this discussion of his first three presidential campaigns, each of which was telling and intriguing in its own ways.
"Wars are a lot easier to get into than out of," Gates writes. Indeed! And the way to make wars much harder to get into is the requirement of an airtight premise, one worth dying for, one justifying the condolences to a dead soldier's family.
If Biden was wrong about advocating a rapid U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan (and Iraq) and Obama was wrong in adopting the Afghan escalation without believing it, then the only viable option left was evidently escalating and being excited about it.
Yes, Christie's presser was a 'tour de force performance' but was it based on implausible deniability? Clinton (Flowers) and Obama (Wright) adeptly skated by their prez campaign woes -- will Christie? Rich and Bob also debate if the Gates book helps/hurts Obama, Clinton, Biden.
Al-Jazeera's toned-down coverage is surprising and ironic in light of the current media landscape. Indeed, al-Jazeera America is launching at precisely the moment when cable news is cratering in the public imagination.
Killing by remote is antithetical to the stakes we want to set. It is antithetical to our beliefs about ourselves. And this isn't just a matter of empathy. It is a matter of policy.
Can the Europeans ever overcome their parochial defense thinking and construct a European defense capability? I believe they can, but it will take a dose of straight talk and tough medicine from Washington to point them in the right direction.
It wasn't a big weekend in movies except for the stunning if a tad overrated Gravity, but two noteworthy political figures had prominent roles. Unfortunately for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, it didn't prove to be a big box office weekend for either.
The British Parliament's rejection of an attack on Syria is a direct contrast -- and implicit challenge -- to the political war system of the United States. Now all eyes turn to Congress, where the bar has suddenly been raised.
Could President Obama's second term be marred by further revelations stemming from the NSA scandal?
Iran must know that until it rejects the false seductions of nuclear security, for us, all options but one must remain on the table. But Iranians should also be assured that we do not expect them to endure a nuclear double standard forever until the end of time.
The large bulk of oil consumption is from transportation, and as laid out in painful detail on SmartPlanet, the drop is not due to greater vehicle efficiency. So what is driving this drop?
Pentagon lawyers are seldom appreciated. And the good ones are rarely on stage or near the spotlight. Certainly that was the case on December 18, 2010, when the Senate and House, in dramatic fashion during a lame duck session, passed legislation that would end the Don't Ask, Don't Tell ban.