What comes next?

Foreign policy's post-Obama pivot

Washington - President Obama has been chafing for months at the notion that he's a lame-duck president. That's one reason he took the offensive in the run-up to the State of the Union address. His aides insist that Obama plays his best in the fourth quarter of the game, and they want him to finish strong... weiter




Counterterrorism

The wrong response to Charlie Hebdo1

Washington - In the days after the deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, France declared "war" on terrorism, 10,000 French paramilitary police took to the streets and U.S. conservatives chided President Obama for not leading this new war against jihadists. Sorry, but this war-on-terror mobilization is the wrong response to the Charlie... weiter




energy industry

Learning from the oil market

Washington - The recent plunge of oil prices to below $50 a barrel offers the same lessons as previous sharp fluctuations: Energy markets work and politicians who try to steer them almost always get it wrong. It's ironic that, amid this demonstration of the inexorable power of supply and demand, Congress is beginning its debate on the symbolic... weiter





American foreign-policy

A U.S.-China 'reset'?

Beijing -  This year began with some Chinese and American foreign-policy analysts looking back a century to World War I and wondering if confrontation was inevitable between a rising power and a dominant one. But now there has been progress on climate, trade and security issues and what seems a modest "reset" of the Sino-American relationship... weiter




CIA torture

An honest public accounting

Washington - A CIA medical officer who was assigned to monitor the interrogation of an al-Qaeda operative named Abu Zubaida sent a message to his superiors on Aug. 4, 2002, the day the CIA first used the technique known as "waterboarding." He hauntingly titled his cable: "So it begins." "Longest time with the cloth over his face so far has been 17... weiter




Islamic State

Paranoia as a weapon

Washington - The worm of paranoia begins to eat into even the hardest adversary. An example is a Twitter post last week displaying an Islamic State leaflet offering a $5,000 reward for information about "crusaders' agents" in the ranks. Maybe Western spies are secretly burrowing into the Islamic State right now... weiter





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