The Bergdahl Scandal is a New Low in US Politics

America got back its last POW in a trade that saw five Taliban fighters released from GITMO – and the country quickly shifted into scandal mode. Sometimes in a fight, the most relevant question isn’t who’s right and who’s wrong, but rather, “How in the world did we end up fighting like this?” Continue reading

The CIA Spying on Congress is Big News, Right?

On Tuesday, Sen. Feinstein accused the CIA of spying on Congress and of interfering with a congressional investigation. The details would make for a taut political thriller. But that’s not the news, not really. The news is that Congress has lost the ability to oversee this country’s clandestine operations. Continue reading

In Crimea, America Faces a Foreign Policy Puzzle

What’s happening in Ukraine is an example of the new sort of challenge: the rise of regional powers that cannot challenge the US globally, but that can do much to thwart American regional interests. The real threat to isn’t that we’ll be unable to prevent every setback; it’s that we won’t recognize the need to clearly and publicly distinguish between those actions that will invite a full-throttled American response and those that won’t. That could lead to dangerous miscalculations. Continue reading

Why the Special Relationship with Israel Should Make Americans Uncomfortable

It’s easy to see Israel as America’s cultural or political facsimile in the Levant. With the same values and the same interests, we’re told that there should be no space between the United States and Israel. And we shouldn’t be surprised if Israelis encourage that misunderstanding. Here’s why you should be more skeptical. Continue reading

What to Do about the Leaker Hero to Some and Traitor to Others, Mr. Snowden Should Go to Prison

There has been no short supply of either defenders or critics of NSA-contractor-turned-leaker Edward Snowden. While some argue for clemency others insist that Mr. Snowden must be punished; both sides are correct. Mr. Snowden should go to prison, but not for leaking that the NSA was spying on Americans. Continue reading

The Deep State What the President Doesn’t Know

In the world of politics, many of us are used to thinking about governing as the sort of thing that is done by elected officials; in reality, much of public policy is crafted by non-partisan career bureaucrats like the good folks who staff most of the State Department or, for that matter, the FBI or the EPA. If you’re conspiracy-minded, you don’t have a difficult time imagining secret cabals plotting against your interests. How should Americans assess the dangers? Continue reading

In Syria, Time for the United States to Act

Back at the end of May, when I last wrote about the mess in Syria, our options were bad and getting worse. Things have hardly improved since then. Even so, if Assad has used chemical weapons, then that fact should … Continue reading

Sen. Chambliss on Meet the Press Don’t Worry, Stay Quiet.

I really don’t mean to pick on Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA). The last time I took his comments on Meet the Press as a point of departure for a post, I was bewildered at his seeming lack of historical memory. … Continue reading

Holding Back the State At the Intersection of National Security and the Leviathan

Last Friday’s unscheduled post touched on some of the issues brought up by the recent revelations about the government’s enhanced surveillance programs. The news that the government has, for years, been collecting information on all of our email, phone calls, … Continue reading