Ivan Eland: The problem is that the U.S. goal in Afghanistan—although President Obama has reduced it from George W. Bush’s instituting democracy to merely stabilizing the country—is still too ambitious.
Ivan Eland: Threatening more sanctions, however, will likely be an unproductive approach to getting Iran to end its nuclear program. When assessing human psychology, experts say that negative reinforcement is scarring.
Ivan Eland: Assange is either a modern-day Job or there is an orchestrated campaign (presumably) by the U.S. government to compel his Web site to desist in its publication of classified U.S. government documents and diplomatic cables.
Ivan Eland: The United States could undermine Chinese support for North Korea by giving South Korea five years notice that it will abrogate the U.S.-South Korean security alliance.
Ivan Eland: Denying Obama a victory—even if it’s good for the country—is very irresponsible. And on balance, the New START Treaty is good for the country.
Ivan Eland: Outrageous fondling by government employees has caused a rising tide of public outrage and may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Ivan Eland: Although Bush can’t change his domestic catastrophes, such as the federal response to Hurricane Katrina or the horrendous financial crisis and the $700 billion Wall Street bailout, if Iraq and Afghanistan eventually reach some stability, he may be regarded as the man who threw out the despotic regimes of Saddam Hussein and the Taliban.
Ivan Eland: In the wake of the death of the man responsible for most of President John F. Kennedy’s soaring public phrases, a reassessment is needed of the Kennedy administration, which has been consistently overrated by the media and public.
Ivan Eland: Yet although the presence of conscription does not seem to prevent U.S. entry into questionable wars—for example, the Korean and Vietnam Wars—it does seem to create a peace lobby to end such debacles.
Ivan Eland: In both Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States has been blinded by desired TV images of having the locals sport blue thumbs—emphasizing democratic elections versus an increased appreciation for individual rights.
Ivan Eland: If it weren’t for the latest salacious bureau-gossip, the book would be rather boring—and tragic. Boring, not because the issues are uninteresting or because Woodward is a bad writer, but because the author records a dysfunctional White House internal decision-making process in which meeting after meeting features the same reasonable questions about the U.S. war in Afghanistan but in which nobody ever has very good answers to them.
Ivan Eland: Why has this reverence for the military arisen and become patriotic when it runs counter to the nation’s founders’ suspicions of large standing armies and foreign military adventures? A skeptic would attribute the excessive exaltation to guilt.
Ivan Eland: Although David Petraeus, the top American commander in Afghanistan, recently peddled the notion that senior Taliban chieftains had made contact with senior Afghan government officials about the possibility of starting reconciliation talks, such talk of peace in our time is likely to be hype.