Shadow Government

Obama's Executive Order on Immigration Makes It Harder to Promote Democracy Abroad

President Barack Obama might not have spent the last six years promoting democracy around the world the way George W. Bush did, but he certainly has made that support part of his foreign policy. His State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development have continued to emphasize democracy promotion in their policies and expenditures, just as Bill Clinton and Bush 43 did. True, he likes the democracy programs a lot less than either of them did, and has cut funding to them, but he has always stressed the United States vital role in modeling democracy. Now with his executive order covering illegal immigrants, Obama has arguably presented dictators with an excuse to ignore his rebukes and cajolings for their illiberal actions. He's modeling the opposite of what an exceptional nation like the United States should be modeling, and he's opened himself to the charges of hypocrisy that he and his party leveled at George W. Bush.

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What Happened to Immunity for U.S. Troops in Iraq?

President Obama's recent moves in Iraq seem to have violated the one thing on which virtually everyone inside and outside of both the Obama and the Bush administrations agreed upon -- that U.S. troops in Iraq required parliamentary-approved immunities. In light of the President's recent escalation of U.S. forces, what are the immunity protections for the 3,000 U.S. troops in Iraq? Why weren't those protections enough to provide for a stay-behind force in 2011? And why does it matter?

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No One Is Steering the United States' Fight Against Human Trafficking

Luis CdeBaca, the Ambassador-At-Large to Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP), has just stepped down. As we note in a recent op-ed, this leaves the State Department's anti-trafficking office without leadership, and imperils the progress the United States has helped make in calling attention to the problem of human trafficking. The TIP office, headed by the ambassador, we write,

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Mexico's Tipping Point

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is facing the most serious crisis of his presidency as widespread outrage over the disappearance and presumed murder of 43 students in the state of Guerrero in September has sparked a wave of national protests (full story here). Worsening the situation has been the government's perceived ineffective response to the tragedy, as well as Peña Nieto's decision to leave the country for the APEC Summit in China amidst the crisis, even as a separate scandal was unfolding surrounding the cancellation of multi-billion dollar construction bid won by a consortium allegedly linked to the president's $7 million mansion. It has all contributed to the image of a presidency under siege.

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