Tag: War

Imposing Costs on Russia: How About a Food Embargo? »

President Obama has threatened to impose costs on Russia for their intervention in Ukraine, but so far, his involvement has been high on rhetoric but low on action. Here’s a proposal that ought to hit Russia where it hurts: impose a food embargo on them. Americans and Europeans of a certain age can remember...
Read More »

Orwellian Language: Peace Abroad; War at Home »

Governments often misuse language to build emotional and patriotic support for their policies. This Orwellian use of language is clearly evident in the way that US government policy uses the words “war” and “peace.” Everyone is well aware of the US military invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Initiated during the Bush administration and continued...
Read More »

The War on Poverty and the War on Drugs »

As an apparently war-minded people, Americans (or at least, our American political leaders) have been comfortable framing parts of the domestic policy agenda as wars for decades. Two of the most prominent have been the War on Poverty and the War on Drugs. Despite the similarity in their names, there is an important difference...
Read More »

A Hundred Years of War »

One hundred years ago today, Austria-Hungary fired the first shots of World War I, sparking its conflict with Serbia. Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb, had assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Mutual defense agreements ensured that the political clash did not remain regional. Austria-Hungary got support from Germany, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria. Serbia found allies...
Read More »

A Hell of a Pinpoint Operation »

Secretary of State John Kerry was right to call Israel’s Operation Protective Edge against Hamas “a hell of a pinpoint operation” in an apparently private comment that had the hallmark of a diplomatic move aimed at putting pressure on Tel Aviv. Except that he was referring ironically to the military aspect of the operation,...
Read More »

The Veterans’ Administration Has Been a Disaster Since Its Inception »

In her modern, exceptional biography of President Calvin Coolidge, Amity Shlaes (Coolidge, HarperCollins, 2013) documents the very blemished history of today’s U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), illustrating the trite, but nevertheless very true old saw that the more things change the more they remain the same. That department of the federal government, now...
Read More »

New Insights into Iraq »

The Sunni extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which originated as al Qaeda in Iraq in a response to the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq during the George W. Bush administration, now occupies much of northern Iraq and has been said to threaten Baghdad and the Shi’i government of Nouri...
Read More »

Enemies of Enemies »

The Obama administration is considering working with the Iranian government to deal with the full-blown horrors currently plaguing Iraq. As a non-interventionist, I’m committed to opposing such an approach. If I were a pragmatic realist or a utilitarian I’d be tempted to agree that such an alliance would be the lesser of evils, although...
Read More »

Is the NDAA Notification Requirement Unconstitutional? »

If Obama is right about the NDAA, he should start releasing far more prisoners from Guantánamo. A firestorm has erupted over the Obama administration’s release of five Guantánamo captives in exchange for the Taliban’s release of American soldier Bowe Bergdahl. Putting aside all the rest of the strategic, moral, and practical arguments, I want...
Read More »

In Defense of Edward Snowden Against John Kerry’s Slanderous Attacks »

“The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naïve and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to...
Read More »