On my recent trip to Russia, I spent an hour with Mikhail Gorbachev. I told him that in the West we are grateful that he and President Ronald Reagan defied Cold War orthodoxy to significantly reduce our countries’ nuclear arms. And I asked him whether there was a moment in his life when he’d realized that he might shape history.

He paused a moment and then recounted how as a young man, he had watched a film on the devastation that would occur with nuclear war. He and the other young officials in the room looked at each other in shock as the film concluded.

Gorbachev recalled...Read more

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If you had five minutes to speak before the secretary of Defense, what would you say?

At this point, I’m sure, if Gen. James Mattis is reading this, he is probably muttering to himself: “Here we go again.”

You see, every time I run into the secretary of Defense, I try my best to make the point that we’ve been at war too long in too many places.

Gen. Mattis, as well as the head of NATO, the head of the UN, and virtually every voice of reason in the foreign policy world, acknowledges that there is no military solution to the unending Afghan War.

For that matter,...Read more

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Clear evidence concerning the bias of multiple, high-ranking current and former intelligence community officials should make us think twice about letting retired intelligence officials keep access to classified information, especially if they become talking heads on television after leaving public service.

There is a great danger that vital, secret details may be revealed on television, even inadvertently.

John Brennan is no stranger to this problem.

In 2012, John Brennan leaked...Read more

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Whether or not to expand NATO is a question that deserves debate. Would it help or hurt U.S. national security?

Does adding countries such as Albania and Montenegro increase our security or ensnare us in possible regional disputes? Are we willing to risk war with Russia by including countries that already are mired in military conflict with Russia?

To understand what NATO expansion does to our relations with Russia, one must at least be aware of Russia’s perspective. Such awareness does not mean we agree with their point of view, but rather that we are aware our actions lead...Read more

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Once upon a time, there were fiscally conservative Republicans. It is said that when Republicans are out of power, they are the conservative party, but when Republicans are in the majority, there is no conservative party.
 
Virtually every Republican you meet travels home and tells the local Rotary how they are for balancing the budget. 
 
Yet, in Washington, the majority of Republicans recently voted to bust the budget caps on spending, allowing a deficit this year that will exceed $1 trillion.
 
This spring, the House of Representatives voted on a...Read more

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We know that in the early 2000s, Gina Haspel’s CIA was rendering accused terrorists to unfathomable torture in Syria, as well as Egypt and Jordan. And we know that in 2005, Haspel herself was busy ordering the destruction of evidence of her involvement in the waterboarding of prisoners.

What we don’t know is if she was involved in sending Maher Arar, a Canadian engineer, to Syria, where he was tortured by Bashar Assad—the same Assad now condemned for gassing his own people; the same Assad the CIA has been trying to depose for the past six years.

Did Haspel...Read more

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In the near future, Congress will debate a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). I use the word “debate” lightly. So far, no hearings have been scheduled, and no testimony is likely to be heard unless something changes. That’s a shame, because this is a serious matter, and this is a deeply flawed AUMF.

For some time now, Congress has abdicated its responsibility to declare war. The status quo is that we are at war anywhere and anytime the president says so.

So Congress—in a very Congress way of doing things—has a “solution.” Instead of reclaiming its...Read more

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Over the past several days, there has been an increasingly granular debate about the degree of Gina Haspel’s participation in the torturing of detainees at the CIA’s Thailand “black site,” with neocons going out of their way to try to defend the president’s choice to run the agency in the wake of Mike Pompeo’s departure for Foggy Bottom.

Some details may be disputed, but it remains true that Haspel ran a secret center in Thailand where prisoners were tortured.

There is no question that during her career, Haspel...Read more

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Since President Trump took office, our country finally seems to be heading in the right direction. In just the past year, the American people have seen enormous tax cuts, more judges appointed who take the Constitution seriously, relief from the massive regulatory state, and an economy rapidly gaining strength and offering greater opportunities for those seeking to turn their dreams into reality.

But when it comes to our place on the world stage, we are at a crossroads. We can continue to build on our recent successes by reaffirming America’s role as a trusted, powerful nation...Read more

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The neocons have been so completely and regularly wrong for decades now that it’s almost unimaginable to believe they would ever be in a position to advise a president again – let alone to wield the kind of power they will have if they lead some of our nation’s most powerful institutions.

Yet the past week has brought such a resurgence of this failed ideology that you would be forgiven for thinking we had time-traveled back to 2003.

Since President Trump took office, we have removed unnecessary and overzealous regulations from the American people’s backs, cut taxes,...Read more

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