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?"
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.
White House flip flops: NATO, Syria and China In less than 100 days, President Trump has contradicted himself on a host of foreign policy issues — Syria, NATO, China and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Is it a strength — or a weakness — for the United States when the world of power politics never knows what to expect?
Trump's ethical conflicts pile up as transparency diminishes President Trump's refusal to reveal his income tax returns is just one example of a lack of transparency that could be hiding conflicts of interest. Other conflicts are already obvious from his appointments. And he's being sued for using his job to increase his profits.