“It needs to be a wake-up call about a broken institution that’s letting down the American people.” So said John Kerry in a fit of frustration after the Senate voted against ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
This was the sort of pro-forma vote that would have passed with broad bipartisan support a decade or so ago – a symbolic signing on to a UN treaty that aimed to raise international standards on the treatment of the disabled, not to some dizzying new height but to the level the US achieved more than 20 years ago under President George H W Bush.
America, it was hoped, would add its weight to the push to extend disability rights around the world. Read More…
After Hillary Clinton and Colin Powell, Can a White Man Be Named Secretary of State? – The Telegraph
It has been 20 years since the grey figure of Warren Christopher was named Bill Clinton’s first head of the State Department.
In his wake has proceeded a colourful series of successful appointees – Madeline Albright, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and the current globetrotting occupant of the office, Hillary Clinton – who broke the monochromatic mould of the office first held by Thomas Jefferson in George Washington’s cabinet.
But the popular Mrs Clinton has long announced her desire to retire after the end of President Obama’s first term, having visited more than 100 countries over the past four years. Most Democrats hope that she will run again for president in 2016, giving her a near lock on the nomination if – and it is a big if – she decides to run. Read More…
Petraeus affair: Why ‘Resolute’ Obama Is the Right Man to Guide America Through the Storm – The Telegraph
One week after President Obama’s triumphant re-election, a Pandora’s Box of problems spilled out onto his Oval Office desk. Some were unexpected, others long-slumbering and suddenly screaming – all portending a challenging second term.
Among the unexpected was the affair between CIA Director General David Petraeus and his biographer Paula Broadwell, turning an exemplary modern military career into a tawdry Real Housewives of Tampa episode.
The tragedy here was not just familial but national. Petraeus was close to an indispensible man, with commanding knowledge of the military and intelligence communities. Moreover, news of the affair overlapped with continued congressional investigations into the Benghazi attack and the CIA’s role in Libya. Read More…
They Failed to ‘Buy’ the US Election in 2012: Will Conservative Donors Ever Open Their Wallets Again? – The Telegraph
An unprecedented amount of money was spent in the 2012 election — some $6 billion in total. But the real slumbering scandal was how much of that was an infusion of cash from Super PACs – supposedly independent “political action committees” exercising their right to free speech on the election – and of so-called “dark money” into the campaign.
Thanks to a combination of the Supreme Court’s controversial “Citizens United” decision and an abuse of tax-exempt status by political groups allegedly dedicated to “social welfare” despite party affiliations, corporations and unions could flood the airwaves with negative advertisements without disclosing their names.
Republicans had a huge advantage, aided by the almost pathological hatred of Obama felt by many big-money boys, who see him as a socialist despite a doubling of the US stock market since March 2009, soon after his watch began. Read More…
It is depressing but true that foreign policy rarely has much impact on American elections. This one indisputable area of a president’s responsibility affects millions, if not billions, of people around the world, yet to the 200,000 pivotal swing voters in states like Ohio, Colorado and Florida, it is barely an afterthought.
But the world does not stop for presidential elections and explosive events keep intruding on the campaign – from the embassy assault in Libya to increased “green on blue” attacks in Afghanistan; and from continuing slaughter in Syria to Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapon.
All this international instability offers an opportunity for Mitt Romney to bash President Barack Obama as hell-bent on weakening the United States. But what would a Romney-Ryan administration actually do differently when it comes to foreign affairs? Read More…