President Obama

Why Is Obama Ready to Fold in Budget Talks?

October 29, 2013

President Obama’s opening position in forthcoming budget negotiations includes a commitment to cut into the two major social-safety nets, Social Security and Medicare.


In Defense of Drones

October 24, 2013

Amnesty International has just issued a report that is highly critical of the use of drones by the United States. Its main concern is the great number of civilian casualties that these strikes cause – the so-called collateral damage. There is considerable disagreement among observers about the extent of these casualties. Amnesty International relies on local people, who are keen to call attention to them. Whatever the actual number, though, they deserve careful consideration.

President Obama and President Xi Jinping

MAR or War?

October 17, 2013

In a recent post for The Diplomat, Michael Haas describes my suggestion that the U.S. and China draw on Mutually Assured Restraint (MAR) to avoid falling into the Thucydides Trap, as “constructive” but subject to major criticism.

President Rouhani

Iran Opening: Keep It Simple

October 15, 2013

Will someone explain why they consider the policy issues raised by Iran’s recent move much of an issue, a subject that needs much deliberating? Unlike Syria, where it is difficult to know with whom to side, and Egypt—where no one seems to have any good suggestions– the situation with Iran seems abundantly clear.

Daniel Kahneman

A Proposal for Humble Decision Making

October 11, 2013

In his 2011 best-selling book, Thinking Fast and Slow, Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman summarizes the findings of Behavioral Economics, which show that people cannot make rational decisions. Our brains are hardwired to process information poorly and draw wrong conclusions.

Supreme Court at dusk

Will the Court Pull All Stops?

October 07, 2013

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether the core, remaining limits on campaign contributions — the individual caps — should be struck down in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission. Given the Court’s conservative majority and that the same Roberts Court recently put an end to caps on what corporations and labor unions can donate (in Citizens United) — one should expect the worst: allowing those with deep pockets to use unlimited amounts of money to sway politicians.