FROM Peter Feaver
Is US diplomacy under friendly fire? After six months of the Trump Administration, America's professional diplomats are reportedly "desperate" for a foreign policy — or even for something to do. They complain that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has walled himself off from the diplomatic corps and that he's being walled off from the White House. Ambassadorships and other important jobs are going unfilled, and budget cuts may add to the hollowing out of a veteran staff already depleted by resignations. What's at stake for America's interests — and American values — around the world?
The Donald Gets "Presidential," Hillary Spreads the Love After yesterday's sweeping primary victories, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are both acting like they're not just front-runners any more. This morning, Trump delivered his first prepared address on foreign policy, telling voters, "America first will be the major and over-riding theme of my administration." And Hillary Clinton is focused on holding the Democratic Party together by reminding voters, "There's much more that unites us than divides us." Bernie Sanders is already talking about influencing the party platform. Ted Cruz and John Kasich still won't concede that the "Never Trump" movement may never happen.
The Last Debate: Foreign Policy, with Just Two Weeks Remaining In last night's final debate , it wasn't the challenger who went on the offensive as much as the incumbent. President Obama called Mitt Romney "wrong and reckless," and tried to associate him with policies of the past. Romney said US influence is "receding" around the world, but blamed the economy. On foreign affairs, he was all about peace, in both style and content, but he did not offer policies much different from those of Obama. Was he intimidated, inexperienced or reassuring voters he would not be a warmonger? Was Obama aggressive out of desperation? Did the world learn much last night about how the US might deal with crucial issues over the next four years?
Is the War in Iraq Really Over? In last night's speech from the Oval Office, President Obama said it's time to "turn the page" from Iraq to Afghanistan…and the economy, but 50,000 American troops remain in Iraq. Sectarian violence could break out again. The President did not say "mission accomplished," so what comes next? After seven years, at a cost of almost a trillion dollars, what has the US achieved? What do Iraqis think, and how does the US look now in the eyes of the rest of the world? Will President Obama be remembered for ending the war in Iraq or for sinking the country deeper into Afghanistan?
The New Geography of Top Secret America The Washington Post has run an investigative series this week on the dramatic growth of the US intelligence community since September 11. The paper reports it is now so massive that "its effectiveness is impossible to determine." Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the Post it's a challenge even for the Director of National Intelligence to comprehend it. Peter Feaver, Professor of Political Science at Duke University, formerly served on the National Security Council of Presidents Clinton and Bush.
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.