The United States is not the only place possessed by populism, and this week the results from Iowa coincided with a new lurch toward the gutter in formerly sane Britain. The country once governed by Bill Clinton-imitating centrists is now beset by its own version of Trump-Cruzery: a xenophobic nativism that would divorce Britain from Europe in defiance of ordinary good sense.
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.
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.
President Obama has authorized ten times more drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, than his predecessor, George W. Bush. Micah Zenko argues that Obama’s embrace and vast expansion of drone strikes against militants and terrorists will be an enduring foreign policy legacy.
Matthew Waxman reviews Charlie Savage’s new book Power Wars: Inside Obama’s Post-9/11 Presidency. Waxman writes about the ways in which Savage explains the different styles, and yet remarkable continuity, in foreign policy between President Obama and his predecessor, President Bush. Waxman notes that Savage’s novel contribution is the way he not only demonstrates the surprising continuity in their two foreign policies but in explaining the cause of that continuity.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who was inaugurated May 29, is the antithesis of the stereotypical Nigerian politician: incorruptible, soft-spoken, self-effacing and deliberate. He embraces the nickname “Baba Go-Slow and Steady.” Buhari’s unhurried style has its downsides, however: It took him an unprecedented four months to name a solid but unextraordinary cabinet.
Sometimes an old story is scary enough to be news. In 1990, it turns out, the CIA re-analyzed Soviet reactions to a 1983 U.S. military exercise, known as “Able Archer,” and concluded that Soviet generals really believed the U.S. might be preparing a nuclear attack.
Micah Zenko discusses The Intercept’s “Drone Paper” Revelations and argues that the findings require a congressionally mandated investigation into the use of armed drones. Unfortunately, Zenko says, that is unlikely under the Obama administration.
The Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on Russia last week to address this question: How should we think about Russian actions in the Middle East and Europe? Having been invited to speak, I found that one theme of my testimony stirred up an argument—among other witnesses, senators, staff, and even (in follow-on e-mails) administration officials.
In April 2012, Barack Obama went to the Holocaust Museum to declare, in solemn tones, that the lessons of the Holocaust and other episodes of genocide must be learned — and under his leadership American would learn them. Never again! he said. And he called that day for establishing a new government body called the Atrocity Prevention Board.
The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
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