FROM Robert Zarate
The Pentagon, 'Sequester' and National Security In August, when the White House and Congress failed to agree on taxes and spending, they compromised on what's called "sequester." That means an automatic 10 percent across-the-board cut in domestic spending and in the Pentagon, effective on the first day of next year. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says that would be "a disaster" for the Pentagon. How much defense spending does the United States really need? How much can it reasonably afford? Will it really happen or will the White House and Congress kick the can down the road once again?
The Pentagon, 'Sequester' and National Security The US plans to spend more on defense next year than the next 17 countries combined. So why is Washington so worried about an automatic 10 percent cut? That's part of what's called "sequester," the deal made by both parties in August, when they failed to agree on an overall federal budget. Now, facing a deadline at the end of this year, Democrats and Republicans call it, "unthinkable," "devastating" and "deeply destructive." Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says that would be "a disaster" for the Pentagon. Republican John McCain agrees, and so do both President Obama and Mitt Romney. Why, at a time when the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are winding down and many Americans tell pollsters the US can't afford to be the "world's policeman?" Would the US suddenly be weaker? What about jobs? Is this the political club that could finally knock financial sense into the "military-industrial complex?"
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?
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
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?