The National Defense Panel originally was established by the Congress to provide a nonpartisan evaluation of the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). The members of the 2014 panel, chaired by former Secretary of Defense William Perry and retired General John Abizaid pulled no punches in their assessment of the 2014 QDR. Their language bordered on the harsh, and their critique of the Obama administration's policies lacked all subtlety.
President Barack Obama took a big gamble in recommitting U.S. forces into combat in Iraq's civil war. I think he made the right choice, and so do the American people (so far). Despite being told over and over again by pundits that they must oppose all uses of American military power because they are "war weary," ordinary Americans somehow seem to have overcome their collective fatigue to support Obama's airstrikes, albeit with obvious limits (see here and here). Those and other polls indicate that the public holds Obama's overall handling of foreign policy and Iraq in very low esteem, but they support the use of military power to confront a threat that Obama's attorney general has described as "more frightening than anything [he has] seen as attorney general."
The crisis of more than 70,000 children surging toward the United States has been partially caused by the "pull" of porous U.S. borders and signals from the United States that are close to "amnesty on arrival." But it has also been fueled by the major "push" of increasingly serious problems in three Central American countries -- El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras -- that the United States must confront. To do so effectively, it needs to deploy a sustained, large, and long-term assistance and security program modeled on Plan Colombia.
In ordering the air strikes against the Islamic State (formerly called the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham), President Barack Obama made a painful concession that he tried mightily to avoid.
Is the new alignment between Russia and China a threat to the United States? Aimed at further hamstringing the U.S.-led neoliberal order, the emerging relationship appears to have factored into the current entropy in U.S. foreign policy -- Moscow and Beijing have not been this close in half a century.