Robot-in-Chief

To: John Brennan, Langley HQ From: Operative 650, McMurdo Sound Re: Politics 2.0 Greetings from Antarctica. It’s not so bad here, as long as you like tinned peas and snow blindness. But seriously, thanks to several months of sunless winter, I’ve been able to learn Urdu, top my previous high score in Spider Solitaire, and catch up on my Netflix queue. I’m the only spook here among the...
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Obama’s Triple Crown

It was only a couple years ago that I was bemoaning Obama’s failure to fulfill his promise to resolve major confrontations in the world diplomatically. “Smart power,” in the Obama lexicon, had largely been window dressing on the same old exercise of hard power — the widespread drone strikes, the surge in Afghanistan, the intervention in Libya, the Special Forces operations in Africa and...
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Iran: Deal or No Deal?

The full-page ad in this week’s Washington Post portraying President Obama as history’s favorite whipping boy, Neville Chamberlain, was wrong in nearly every one of its many strident particulars. It was wrong in suggesting that a nuclear agreement with Iran is appeasement. It was wrong in comparing Iran with Nazi Germany. It was wrong to argue that Iran “has control over five Middle...
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The Retreatniks

The new talking point for the Republican Party — actually, it’s an old talking point in expensive new clothing — is “America is in retreat.” That’s the title of a recent book by Bret Stephens, a Wall Street Journal columnist who believes that he’s discovered a virus of “neo-isolationism” infecting the White House. His book is a full-throated defense of maintaining U.S. global...
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North Korea, Iran, and a Congress that Says No

Negotiators are rushing to meet an end-of-March deadline to reach a nuclear framework deal with Iran. The Obama administration and its P5+1 partners (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) are willing to lift economic sanctions as long as Iran agrees to substantially curb its nuclear program for at least 10 years. A few significant gaps—notably on proposed caps on...
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The 47 Republican Ronin

In traditional Japanese culture, a samurai without a master is known as a ronin. The most popular tale featuring these leaderless samurai is the 18th-century Chusingura. It tells of a feudal lord who must commit ritual suicide after assaulting the court official who had insulted him. Of the lord’s several hundred retainers, 47 loyal samurai plot their revenge on the haughty court official....
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