Senior writer for Newsweek; former Senior Editor of Defense and Foreign Policy at CQ Roll Call
Senior writer for Newsweek; former Senior Editor of Defense and Foreign Policy at CQ Roll Call
Black Sites and Dark Days for the CIA In the first years after 911, the CIA allowed the torture of detainees and lied to the Bush Administration and Congress about the intelligence it produced. That's according to a massive 6,000-page report of the CIA's so-called “enhanced interrogation program” released today by the Senate Intelligence Committee, chaired by California Democrat, Dianne Feinstein. Congress is divided over the content and the impact of today's release. While some Republicans claim torture of prisoners “saved American lives,” others warn today's report will produce a backlash overseas.
Obama's Foreign Policy President Obama has announced the most comprehensive U.S. sanctions against Russia since the Cold War. The move by the U.S. and other Western leaders came after Crimeans voted to separate from the Ukraine and join Russia. We discuss whether the sanctions will have any effect on the situation and what it says about the state of Obama’s foreign policy.
Momentum Picks Up on Russian Syrian Arms Proposal Yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry made a rhetorical suggestion that Syria might turn over chemical weapons to international control. Sizing the moment, Russia made a formal proposal, and Syria got on board. President Obama said it could be a breakthrough, but is still pushing for Congress to authorize force. Today before a House committee, Kerry credited the "credible use of force" for bringing Syria to acknowledge that he has chemical weapons and "our determination to hold Assad accountable that has motivated others to even talk about a real and credible international action that might have an impact. Jonathan Broder is senior editor at CQ Roll Call .
Obama Urges Presses for Passage of START Treaty President Obama today surrounded himself with former secretaries of state and defense of both political parties—all backing his claim that the START treaty with Russia is “a national imperative” that must be ratified by the Senate as soon as possible
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?
In Afghanistan, More War or Reconciliation? Congress is likely to give the President $33 billion more to support his "surge" in Afghanistan. But a prime Republican supporter, Richard Lugar of Indiana, says the mission lacks " clarity " or "a clear definition of success." Democrat John Kerry is suggesting analogies to the war in Vietnam. The President of the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haass, says "continued or increased involvement" in Afghanistan is not worth America's " investment of blood and treasure ."
Reconciliation and the Taliban: Is Obama Revising Afghanistan Plan? Congress is likely to give the President $33 billion more to support his " surge " in Afghanistan. But a prime Republican supporter, Richard Lugar of Indiana, says the mission lacks "clarity" or " a clear definition of success ." Democrat John Kerry is suggesting analogies to the war in Vietnam. The President of the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haass, says "continued or increased involvement" in Afghanistan is not worth America's " investment of blood and treasure ." General David Patraeus is still committed to full-fledged counterinsurgency, but is under increased pressure to deliver, even before the end of this year. Should the US cut back sooner rather than later? Is it time to deal with the Taliban? We get a progress report on America's longest war.
Global Recession and Insecurity The World Bank says the global economy will shrink this year for the first time since the 1940’s. Falling demand in the West has led to the sharpest drop in world trade in 80 years. Millions of jobs are disappearing in developing countries. US intelligence agencies say political instability is becoming a greater threat to national security than international terrorism.
Anarchy in Gaza Pushes Unity Government to the Brink After last year's disastrous invasion of Lebanon , Israel says it will not be dragged into a land-invasion of Gaza, but it did strike three times from the air today after Hamas fired rockets into the Israeli city of Sderot. Hamas warns that suicide bombs may be next. Meantime, deadly shoot-outs between Hamas and Fatah have left more than 40 people dead and the two Palestinian factions have all but destroyed their "unity government." Can Israel stay out of what may become civil war? What about US assistance to Fatah and its regional efforts at peace?
Israeli Prime Minister Ready to Talk Peace Today, while Hamas and Fatah are shooting at one another in Gaza, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is in Jordan, where he's invited 22 Arab leaders to convene with Israel -- without prior conditions -- on the latest Saudi Arabian peace plan. Is it a breakthrough? Defense and foreign policy editor Jonathan Broderis author of Congressional Quarterly 's latest cover story on Israel's left, right and center.
Robert Gates Promises 'Fresh Eyes' at the Pentagon At his Senate confirmation hearing today to replace Donald Rumsfeld , former CIA Director Robert Gates was asked a crucial question by Democrat Carl Levin of Michigan, whether America was winning the war in Iraq. Answering "no," he said there will be no easy answers if he's confirmed as Secretary of Defense . It's expected that Gates will be confirmed, but he's still controversial. Does he have the background to run the world's most sophisticated military establishment? Will he "speak truth to power," or tell the President what he wants to hear?
General Abizaid Recommends Maintaining Troop Levels in Iraq For the first time since Donald Rumsfeld's resignation as Secretary of Defense, America's top general in Iraq appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee . Arizona Republican John McCain said yesterday's brazen kidnapping of workers from a government building means more American troops are needed in Baghdad.
Does Big Money Make America Safer? After four hours of debate about terrorism, Secretary Rumsfeld and the war in Iraq, the Senate passed a $470 defense bill yesterday without a single dissenting vote. If Congress does nothing else between now and election day, it will have passed more military spending than the rest of the world combined. It's a post/911 election year, after all, with wars going on in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the Pentagon has admitted for years that it can't keep track of its money. So who knows if more and more dollars really add up to greater protection? Does Congress exercise the oversight it's supposed to? Are pet projects taking resources away from American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan? (An extended version of this discussion was originally aired earlier today on To the Point.)
Senate Passes Record Defense Budget, but Are We Safer? After hours of impassioned debate about terrorism, Secretary Rumsfeld and the war in Iraq, the Senate passed the defense-spending bill yesterday by a vote of 98-to-nothing. Congress is about to do the same. The legislation's $500 billion provides for more military spending than the rest of the world combined. In a post-9/11 election year--with wars going on in Iraq and Afghanistan--no politician in either party wants to be labeled "anti-defense." The Pentagon has admitted it can't keep track of all of that money. So who knows if bigger spending really means greater protection? Are threats to America changing faster than the military can get ready to meet them? Does Congress focus on oversight or pet projects?
GOP 'Nukes' the Senate filibuster on SCOTUS nominees Senate Democrats today blocked Judge Neil Gorsuch's appointment to the US Supreme Court… but just for the moment. The Republican majority has changed the rules to force a likely confirmation as soon as tomorrow.
Nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula slowly coming to a head North Korea did not conduct a nuclear test this weekend, but it did show apparent progress in developing a missile that that could strike the United States. The Trump Administration says it has lost its "strategic patience." We hear what that might -- or might not -- mean for North Korea, China and the prospects for diplomacy.
Will the march for science politicize objective research? Protesters are gathering all over the country for tomorrow's Earth Day March for Science. Since President Trump has proposed massive cuts in basic scientific research, will the movement be perceived as partisan politics — whether scientists themselves like it or not?
The US gets deeper into Middle East wars. What's the endgame? President Trump welcomed Egypt's President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi to the White House today… just one of the changes in America's approach to the Middle East since Barack Obama left office. We hear about that and the escalation of warfare as well as civilian casualties.