Last week Senator Rand Paul gave a speech on foreign policy at the Center for the National Interest, touting something he called "conservative realism." Paul has been at pains to differentiate himself from isolationism. He rightly noted that the "war on terror is not over, and American cannot disengage from the world." He reiterated his support for the decision to go to war in Afghanistan in 2001 (to be fair, it takes no political courage whatsoever to say this) and also for airstrikes against the Islamic State (IS).
Forty days. That's the timespan between September 3 and October 14 that North Korea's Kim Jong Un vanished from public sight. Speculation ran rampant outside North Korea as to his whereabouts, ranging from illness to a potential coup. One of the wilder theories attributed his disappearance to Swiss cheese-related health issues. Meanwhile, the country's state-controlled media explained Kim's absence as a product of "discomfort." This incident exemplified the murkiness that surrounds information in North Korea.
The debate over whether it is proper for senior military officers to resign in protest continues to bubble along. I made my case for a highly restrictive norm, one that would leave almost no room for resignation in protest. I was rebutting those (see here and here) who were urging a norm that would greatly expand the practice. Now, partly in response to my own post, two other distinguished commentators have weighed in with what might be considered a middle ground option. I have great respect for both of these commentators and so I take their arguments seriously but, in the end, I think they muddy the waters. If anything, the case they make for a middle ground makes me even more convinced of the need for the bright line I propose in my original article.
The last two decades made obvious a life's-not-fair fact: Big countries can get away with bad economic policy. Size matters to investors, global corporations, and entrepreneurs because a winning payout is large and can justify the costs of bureaucracy, compliance, and corruption.
Facing a complex and difficult task in negotiating an agreement with Iran on the nuclear issue, the Obama administration is beginning to leak what many observers have long understood -- that it sees no point in trying to obtain Congressional approval for any nuclear deal with Iran.