Politics and Strategy

Article

North Korea's H-bomb and the Costs of American Indifference

Author: Scott A. Snyder
Washington Examiner

The White House moved quickly to debunk North Korea's exaggerated claim that a Jan. 5 "artificial earthquake" at the site where Pyongyang had conducted three previous nuclear tests was a breakthrough detonation of a hydrogen bomb. The size of the blast was similar to that of North Korea's January 2013 test and had a yield thousands of times lower than the yield expected of a hydrogen blast. But in downplaying North Korea's claim so as not to feed Kim Jong-un's cravings for international attention, the Obama administration risks underplaying the growing danger posed by North Korea's unchecked efforts to develop nuclear and missile capabilities needed to threaten a nuclear strike on the United States.

 

See more in North Korea; United States; Proliferation; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Article

Obama's New Dance With Iran

Authors: Philip H. Gordon and Richard Nephew
Politico Magazine

In Politico, Philip Gordon and Richard Nephew argue that the implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement makes the world safer and buys valuable time. Now the United States must ensure its enforcement; prevent Iran from destabilizing actions in the region; and cautiously explore the possibility of a new and more constructive relationship.

See more in Iran; United States; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Article

Nigeria: Buhari’s 2016 Budget Continues Use of Secretive ‘Security Votes’

Author: Matthew Page
African Arguments

Under President Muhammadu Buhari, the fight against corruption in Nigeria has unquestionably turned a corner. Shortly after taking office in May, he vowed to “plug revenue leakages”, made sweeping changes in the notoriously corrupt Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and took steps to tighten control over public spending.

 

See more in Nigeria; Presidents and Chiefs of State; Budget, Debt, and Deficits

Article

A Modestly Humbled Obama

Author: Max Boot
Commentary

In the State of the Union, President Obama offered a welcome rebuke to the pessimism and Muslim-bashing of so many Republican candidates. But in his discussion of foreign policy he used tired rhetorical tricks to defend his record on Iran, Syria, and ISIS, and to attack strawman arguments on nation-building and military interventions.

 

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Primary Sources

Remarks by Secretary Kerry on the U.S. Foreign Policy Agenda for 2016

Secretary of State John Kerry spoke at the National Defense University about the Obama administration's foreign policy agenda. The main focus of his speech included strategy for defeating the self-proclaimed Islamic State, addressing the humanitarian crisis in Syria, integrating screened refugees, and beginning implementation of several agreements, including the Iran nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), the Paris climate change agreement, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

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Primary Sources

President Obama: State of the Union Address

The State of the Union is a speech given annually by the president to Congress, in which the president outlines the current condition of the United States and national priorities for the coming year, based on the U.S. Constitution, Article Two, Section Three. President Obama has delivered his State of the Union Address speeches on January 27, 2010, January 25, 2011, January 24, 2012, February 12, 2013, January 28, 2014, January 20, 2015, and January 12, 2016.

See more in United States; Grand Strategy