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Peace With Honor? On Afghanistan, it looks like neither
May 27th, 2014 by Warren Swil

Obama misses chance

to be brave, wise on

withdrawal of troops

President Obama speaks in the Rose Garden about Afghanistan on Tuesday.

President Obama missed an opportunity to demonstrate both courage and wisdom on Afghanistan on Tuesday.
“This is the year we will conclude our combat mission in Afghanistan,” he said.
One could almost hear an echo from the 1970s when Richard Nixon was talking about the US exit from Vietnam: “peace with honor.”
But, if combat is over, why are all the troops not coming home immediately?
The US has done everything it could to bring peace and stability to a region that has known little of either for a millennium.
How do you tell the last soldier killed in Afghanistan that he died for a mistake?


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OBAMA UNSCRIPTED: Careful, thoughtful foreign policy the right prescription

PRESIDENT RECOGNIZES LIMITS OF U.S. POWER IN MODERN WORLD
In a rare candid moment, President Obama revealed a thoughtful, realistic assessment of the US role in the modern world in unscripted remarks in the Philippines on April 28.
The punditocracy – both left and right – is wrong.
The president was absolutely correct in his assessment that thought leaders have failed to learn the lessons of the past decade as the US fought two disastrous and expensive wars with negative blowback for America and the world.


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Spying on friends, charities doesn’t deter terrorism

LATEST DISCLOSURES WEAKEN CASE FOR MASS SURVEILLANCE
Through his disclosures, Edward Snowden has not only gotten the attention of President Obama, but other world leaders and countless millions who use electronic communications.
He has attained what he said he wanted: a major public discussion at the highest levels about a hugely important issue.
Congratulations.
He deserves to be heralded as the most influential person of 2013.


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CAMERAS EVERYWHERE: Too many pictures are stifling memories

SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH BEGINS TO PROVIDE CREDIBLE EVIDENCE
A newly published scientific study concludes that, indeed, the act of taking a picture – supposedly to keep the memory of the moment – actually interferes with that very memory. It is weakened.
The research is a first step in a broader understanding that putting a four-inch screen between one’s eyes and reality is not the optimal way of recording a visual experience.
We should think twice, or three times perhaps, before mindlessly spoiling our reality


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Inequality moves to top of the agenda

DROP IN UNEMPLOYMENT RATE MASKS WIDESPREAD STAGNATION
Several seemingly unrelated recent developments have turned the spotlight on the vast and increasing inequality in America.
President Obama used his Dec. 4 speech to focus clearly on the issue.
He is absolutely correct. His leadership on this issue is both moral and political: it is the right thing to do and a smart move politically.
It is a winning issue on which the president may yet reclaim his legacy.


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SINGLE-PAYER: The ultimate solution to the healthcare mess

MEDICARE FOR ALL WOULD SOLVE THE PROBLEMS WITH OBAMACARE
With President Obama himself admitting that the enormously complicated Affordable Care Act is enormously flawed, the time has come to consider a much simpler, proven and effective remedy.
It is time to put back on the table a national health insurance proposal – Medicare for All – that has not been given a public airing.
Before the current disaster, Medicare for All may have had no chance of surviving the onslaught by the enormously powerful vested interests.
In view of the events of the past six weeks, however, the American people now deserve an open discussion of the most obvious solution.


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Secret trade pact could be bad for almost everyone (with video)

TRANS PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP ON FAST TRACK TO APPROVAL
A secret trade deal being negotiated among 12 Pacific Rim nations including the United States rose to a prominent place in the public eye with a mysterious editorial in The New York Times on Wednesday.
The very secrecy shrouding the talks must make everyone suspicious that something nefarious is taking place that is not in the public interest.
It is time for a robust debate on the issue. The headlong rush to finalize the deal is wrong-headed and dangerous before a full public airing of the issues at stake.


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VIOLENCE IN IRAQ: Dangerously close to civil war

US SHOULD NOT ADD FUEL TO INFERNO WITH WEAPONS AID
The country that America ‘broke’ in 2003 was back on top of the agenda at The white House.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was in the U.S. pleading for military aid.
But that is not the solution. The US cannot and should not add fuel to a raging inferno. It should use what little leverage it has left to urge the parties to find a peaceful, democratic solution involving devolution of power to autonomous regions.


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DIVIDE & CONQUER: Immigration reform could further split GOP

COALITION OF CONSERVATIVES, LIBERALS PUSHES FOR ACTION
The push by President Obama for comprehensive immigration reform got a boost on Tuesday when a large group descended on the Capitol to lobby Republicans on the issue.
Viewed in tactical terms, this could be seen as a stroke of genius by the president and his Democratic allies.
Only a cross-party coalition of almost all the Democrats and a few Republicans in the House of Representatives has any hope of accomplishing even modest reforms this year.
But in the process of moving forward, there is likely to be serious strain within the GOP. It could quite easily be a re-run of the acrimonious internecine warfare that erupted in the aftermath of the government shutdown.


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US foreign policy in shambles as blunders multiply

DECLINE OF AMERICAN INFLUENCE IN THE WORLD SPEEDS UP
The signs are everywhere that America’s foreign policy is in disarray. Allies are anxious; enemies are gleeful.
They all point to a surprising acceleration in the decline of U.S. influence everywhere, most particularly in the volatile Middle East.
Germany, France, Brazil and Mexico are disgusted with over-reach by American spy agencies. Israel and Saudi Arabia disagree on vital issues of Iran, Syria and Egypt.
Russia is harboring U.S. fugitive Edward Snowden, while China is threatening a de-Americanization of the world financial system.
Do we need any more evidence that American foreign policy is a shambles? That U.S. influence is on the decline – and dropping like a stone?
It is not too late. It should be made a top priority.


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