Putin and Obama’s ‘Weakness’

Now that the Ukraine has blown up and Putin has sent troops into Crimea, the right is having a grand old time blaming it all on Obama being "weak" on foreign policy and thus making Putin feel "emboldened" that he could do it. Sarah Palin is even claiming to be a prophet, with Fox News pushing that idea far and wide: … [Read more...]

Really, John Kerry?

The Academy Awards were Sunday night and the award for best actor really should have gone to John Kerry for managing to deliver this line about the Russian invasion of Crimea without busting a gut laughing.“You just don’t invade another country on phony pretext in order to assert your interests. This is an act of aggression that is completely trumped up in terms of its pretext. It’s really 19th century behavior in the 21st century.”Gulf of Tonkin, anyone? Iraqi WMDs? For crying out loud, … [Read more...]

Putin is the One Showing Weakness

As the right fires up its mantra machine and chooses "Putin is exploiting Obama's weakness to invade the Ukraine" as its collective response to the situation there, Zack Beauchamp argues, correctly I think, that the one who is showing weakness here is Putin. … [Read more...]

Gates: Obama Just Not Enthusiastic Enough

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, a Republican that President Obama asked to stay on in that position after the 2008 election, has a new book out that apparently makes some rather incoherent criticisms of the president. Greg Jaffe has a review of the book in the Washington Post. One of the odd positions he evidently takes is that while Obama was right in his decisions about the war in Afghanistan, he just wasn't sufficiently enthusiastic about it. … [Read more...]

Afghanistan Likely to Turn Ugly When We Leave

The American intelligence community has apparently now concluded what anyone with even a modest understanding of history and human nature could -- and did -- predict back in 2001: That when the American occupation of Afghanistan ends this year, it's likely to descend into civil war and chaos. … [Read more...]

John Bolton’s Macho Foreign Policy

John Bolton, the far-right's go-to guy on foreign policy, has a list of President Obama's foreign policy "failures" that reveals much about the right-wing view of that subject. The psychological roots of that view, it seems to me, are found in typical American male psychology. … [Read more...]

Iran and the Many Forms of Envy

George Will has a refreshingly sensible column about the recent and tentative agreement with Iran over nuclear power and weapons, taking to task those neo-conservative critics who are right in pointing out the weaknesses of the agreement but entirely wrong about there being a better alternative. … [Read more...]

Can Congress Stop the Iran Agreement?

There's been a fairly furious reaction to the Obama administration's ongoing negotiations with Iran over nuclear power in some circles. The Republicans are pretty much universally opposed to it and many prominent Democrats, folks like Charles Schumer who are strongly beholden to the Israel lobby, are as well. Rosa Brooks says that the recently announced agreement is "not great, but it's not chopped liver, either. After a decade of impasse and insults on both sides, it's a small but genuine … [Read more...]

Conservative Foreign Policy: Chicken Hawks and Chicken Littles

The predictable conservative reaction to the Obama administration's negotiations with Iran reminds us yet again that right wing rhetoric never really changes. Just like we are always on the verge of being taken over by the UN or China and perpetually at risk of being overrun by immigrants (fear and xenophobia being their primary currency), every single negotiated settlement to any foreign policy problem is the death of the country as well. … [Read more...]

Deal Reached Over Iranian Nuclear Power

In a very big breakthrough, the Obama administration has brokered a deal between Iran, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia to curb Iran's nuclear weapons program while partially lifting the sanctions that have caused such damage to that country. … [Read more...]

The Limits of National Hypocrisy

Andrew Sullivan quotes an article from Henry Farrell and Martha Finnemore in Foreign Affairs magazine (the article is subscription only, so I can't read the context and there's no point in linking to it) making the argument that national hypocrisy is necessary, at least within some limits: … [Read more...]

Syria Chemical Weapons Deal Proceeding Well

I think President Obama got pretty lucky in Syria when his saber rattling ended up being backed down by an unexpected agreement to destroy Syria's chemical weapons with the help of Russia and other countries. But apparently the inspections and beginning stages of destruction of those weapons and means to produce them are going well. … [Read more...]