WASHINGTON - At his first press briefing after the beheading of American James Foley, President Barack Obama stunned the assembled when he admitted that he had no strategy in Syria for confronting the Islamic State. Yet it was not nearly the most egregious, or consequential, thing he said.
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is highly exercised about "inversion," the practice by which an American corporation acquires a foreign company and moves its headquarters out of the U.S. to benefit from lower tax rates abroad.
WASHINGTON - Baghdad called President Barack Obama's bluff and he came through. He had refused to provide air support to Iraqi government forces until the Iraqis got rid of their divisive sectarian prime minister.
"Great nations need organizing principles, and 'Don't do stupid stuff' is not an organizing principle." - Hillary Clinton, The Atlantic, Aug. 10
WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama is impatient. Congress won't act on immigration, he says, and therefore he will. The White House is coy as to exactly what the president will do. But the leaks point to an executive order essentially legalizing an enormous new class of illegal immigrants, perhaps up to 5 million people.
WASHINGTON - John Kerry is upset by heavy criticism from Israelis - left, right and center - of his recent cease-fire diplomacy.
WASHINGTON - The president's demeanor is worrying a lot of people. From the immigration crisis on the Mexican border to the Islamic State rising in Mesopotamia, Barack Obama seems totally detached. When he does interrupt his endless rounds of golf, fundraising and photo ops, it's for some affectless, mechanical, almost forced public statement.
WASHINGTON - Israel accepts an Egyptian-proposed Gaza cease-fire; Hamas keeps firing.
WASHINGTON - As is his wont, Barack President Obama is treating the border crisis - more than 50,000 unaccompanied children crossing illegally - as a public relations problem. Where to photo op and where not. He still hasn't enunciated a policy. He may not even have one.
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court this week admonished the Environmental Protection Agency for overreaching in regulating greenhouse gases. The Clean Air Act covers polluters that emit 250 tons per year (or in some cases, 100 tons). This standard makes no sense if applied to greenhouse gases. Thousands of establishments from elementary schools to grocery stores would be, absurdly, covered. So the EPA arbitrarily chose 100,000 tons as the carbon dioxide threshold.
WASHINGTON - Yes, it is true that there was no al-Qaida in Iraq when George W. Bush took office. But it is equally true that there was essentially no al-Qaida in Iraq remaining when Barack Obama took office.
WASHINGTON - Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord. And although retribution shall surely come in the fullness of time, a ballplayer can only wait so long.
WASHINGTON - What is it with Susan Rice and the Sunday morning talk shows?
WASHINGTON - It is fitting that the day before President Barack Obama gives his grand West Point address defending the wisdom and prudence of his foreign policy, his government should be urging Americans to evacuate Libya.
WASHINGTON - On Wednesday, it finally happened - the pivot to Asia. No, not the United States. It was Russia that turned East.
While Iran's march toward a nuclear bomb has provoked a major clash between the White House and Congress, Iran's march toward conventional domination of the Arab world has been largely overlooked.
Last Sunday, at the great Paris rally, the whole world was Charlie. By Tuesday, the veneer of solidarity was exposed as tissue thin. It began dissolving as soon as the real, remaining Charlie Hebdo put out its post-massacre issue featuring a Muhammad cover that, as The New York Times put it, "reignited the debate pitting free speech against religious sensitivities."
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