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Torture, Zero Dark Thirty, and the Need to Confront the Past

Torture, Zero Dark Thirty, and the Need to Confront the Past

Prompted by the release of the Hollywood film “Zero Dark Thirty,” the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a conservative Washington think tank, hosted a panel a few weeks back on the subject of “enhanced interrogation techniques” (EITs). The panelists were three high-ranking officials of the Central Intelligence Agency from the administration of George W. Bush. Gen. Michael […]

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Superpower Status, Deficits, and a Cup o’ Joe

Superpower Status, Deficits, and a Cup o’ Joe

Since in the summer of 2010, Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at that time, has argued that the national debt constitutes “the most significant threat to our national security.” As he elaborated, it became clear that his real concern was the strength of the U.S. economy, the basis for […]

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Benghazi, Adequate Security, and Reporting What You Know before You Know It

Benghazi, Adequate Security, and Reporting What You Know before You Know It

Hillary Clinton’s testimony before Congress the other week brought the country’s attention back to the Benghazi attack of Sept. 11, 2012. It is a topic that I find fascinating, less for what it says about U.S. foreign policy than for what it says about domestic politics and the processes of perception and interpretation. In this […]

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Confusion in Benghazi

Confusion in Benghazi

With the election behind us and David Petraeus having testified in closed House and Senate hearings, we may hope for a more measured and less emotional examination of the events in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012. In a previous post, I looked at some of the background behind the issue of post security. In […]

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Security in Benghazi

Security in Benghazi

  There seem to be two enduring issues surrounding the attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012. The one that has received the most attention is the election-year hysteria over a supposed administration effort to cover up the fact of an attack. I shall return to that one at […]

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The United Nations and the “Paranoid Style”

The United Nations and the “Paranoid Style”

As historian Richard Hofstadter pointed out in his classic 1964 essay “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” U.S. history has featured recurring waves of conspiracy theories. Sometimes they have become prominent; sometimes they abide below the surface. Nineteenth-century versions saw threats that were vague and ill-defined (Illuminati, Masons, Papists, Monarchists); more recent ones have depicted […]

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The Return of the Russian-Georgian War

The Return of the Russian-Georgian War

Four years after the Russian-Georgian war of 2008, the event is back in the news, in Russia if not here. Moreover, it appears to be tied to a power struggle, and the news also resurrects old questions about exactly how that war started. Understanding the precise order of events is key to understanding the war, […]

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Syria and the Resignation of Kofi Annan

Syria and the Resignation of Kofi Annan

Kofi Annan, on August 2, resigned as joint special envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League for Syria, effective as of the end of the month. He had been assigned the difficult task — a “mission impossible,” as he himself put it — of negotiating a peaceful solution to the current crisis in […]

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Syria at the Boiling Point

Syria at the Boiling Point

Syria appears to be reaching a boiling point. A series of significant events and trends have emerged in the past month. Heavy fighting has erupted in Damascus, the capital, and Aleppo, the largest city — both places of privilege and, until now, stability in Bashar al-Assad’s Syria. High-level officials have begun to defect. These have […]

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An Afghan Pharmaceutical Empire?

An Afghan Pharmaceutical Empire?

With the United States and NATO making plans to draw down most of their troops over the next few years, Afghanistan faces a precarious future. While the military situation has improved, insurgency continues; the government’s authority extends little beyond the capital; foreign aid accounts for 80 percent of the national budget; and the country’s principal cash […]

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U.S. Counter-Piracy Policy

U.S. Counter-Piracy Policy

  Andrew J. Shapiro, the Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, has been making the rounds lately, speaking on the subject of pirates (not the intellectual-property kind, the old-fashioned kind). Addressing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce one week and the Center for American Progress the next, he adjusts his emphasis just a tad (a […]

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Iran’s Nuclear Program and the Rumbling of Wardrums

Iran’s Nuclear Program and the Rumbling of Wardrums

The rising tensions over the Iranian nuclear program presents an opportunity to review just what the program’s status is. There has been controversy over assessments of the program for years, with the U.S. intelligence community arguing (since the National Intelligence Estimate published in late 2007) that Iran worked on developing a nuclear weapon prior to […]

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Obama Administration Weighs Options in Syria

Obama Administration Weighs Options in Syria

With pressure rising to undertake some sort of action to assist the besieged rebels in Libya, the Obama administration has begun drawing up options. It appears that no final decision has been made as of yet. So far, the options do not include the use of military force, the establishment of a no-fly zone, or […]

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Why Syria Is Not Libya

Why Syria Is Not Libya

Many commentators have raised the apparent inconsistency between the Obama administration’s participation in a multilateral intervention in Libya’s civil war and the lack of any comparable undertaking—so far, at least—in Syria. Inconsistency in international relations is nothing new (or necessarily alarming), yet the issue is worth examining. While there are striking similarities, especially on a […]

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Civilian Contractors at Sea

Civilian Contractors at Sea

Over the course of the past decade, thousands of civilian contractors, including armed security personnel, have passed through Iraq and Afghanistan. Even though the United States has pulled it troops out of Iraq and is in the process of drawing down in Afghanistan, large numbers of contractors remain in those countries. Still, the number of […]

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About the Author

Scott Monje
Scott Monje

Scott C. Monje, Ph.D., is senior editor of the Encyclopedia Americana (Grolier Online) and author of The Central Intelligence Agency: A Documentary History. He has taught classes on international, comparative, and U.S. politics at Rutgers University, New York University (SCPS), and Purchase College, SUNY.

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