1:35 PM, Nov 24, 2014 • By THOMAS DONNELLY
The resignation of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel creates a golden opportunity for the new Republican majority in the Congress: not only will the hearings on Hagel’s replacement be a natural venue for reviewing the defense reductions and many retreats of the Obama years, but they provide a forum for Republicans to begin to chart a positive alternative.
That is critical for America and for the party’s prospects in 2016. Only lately – and thanks to Obama’s serial weakness on issues from Syria to Iraq to Ukraine and even China – has the Republican party reclaimed its traditional advantage as the party of peace through strength. No doubt we’ll hear plenty of criticism of Obama’s no-boots-on-the-ground-ever conduct of the ISIS war, but will we hear Republicans advancing a theory of victory? Both the Congress and the prospective defense secretary will rend garments and gnash teeth on the pernicious effects of sequestration, but will the Republicans – whose job it is to frame a budget resolution that reflects the opposition party’s priorities – be so bold as to advance a solution to the underlying problem posed by the limits imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act?
The confirmation hearings will also naturally focus on Sen. John McCain, in line to take the gavel as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. McCain has a unique position as a voice of American strength in the world, but how he will behave as committee chair and as a steward of the defense establishment is an uncertain prospect. To oversimplify only slightly, McCain has never met a foe he wasn’t willing to fight but has never met a weapons program he didn’t want to cut. McCain should realize that the armed forces have been so gutted by recent reductions that they are no longer capable of executing even the watered-down Obama defense strategy, let alone fulfilling the actual security needs of our time, in Europe, in the Middle East and in East Asia. And McCain’s “reformist” tendencies have been a skirt for Senate majority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell and other less-than-hawkish Republicans to hide behind. If the Republican Congress is to accomplish anything of serious purpose on defense, McCain must take a leading role, arguing without hesitation that rearmament is now more important than reform.
Despite the White House spin that the president was unsatisfied – the New York Times, almost laughably, pins the blame for the failing anti-ISIS strategy on the outgoing secretary – the need to replace Hagel comes at an unfortunate time. On a crass political level, it knocks the president’s immigration ploy out of the headlines. But it also recalls the underlying and ongoing narrative of Obama weakness, of which Chuck Hagel was a symbol. Indeed, given how Hagel loyally stuck to the White House line both on defense budget and war-related matters, he may be hard to replace.
But Obama’s weakness is not the same thing as a Republican strength. With two years still to go in the president’s term, there are limits to what Congress can do beyond saying no to Obama. But the Congress can – and is in fact constitutionally obligated to – adequately provide for America’s armed forces. The bipartisan National Defense Panel (which included former Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy, one of those frequently mentioned as a Hagel replacement) has already charted a path to do so by returning to the defense spending levels charted in 2011, under the last budget prepared by then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates. By using the panel report as a benchmark, Sen. McCain and the Republican congressional leadership can frame the upcoming hearings not simply as a referendum on Obama, but as measuring stick for the next president.
12:05 PM, Nov 24, 2014 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
Today we learned that it has been impossible to reach an agreement with Iran over its nuclear weapons program. Even a short "framework" agreement or one-pager was beyond reach. And this, despite the extension of the talks from the original deadline last spring.
8:40 AM, Nov 24, 2014 • By LEE SMITH
The deadline for the Joint Plan of Action ended it seems without a final agreement between the P5+1 and Iran over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. It’s not yet clear what happens next.
Dec 1, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 12 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
The New York Times editorial board took a break this past week from its usual practice of blaming Israel for being the cause of assaults against her. On Wednesday, after the terror attack on Jews praying in a synagogue in Jerusalem, the Times editors ruminated:
Dec 1, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 12 • By LEE SMITH
As we go to press, the White House has reportedly offered Iran a deal regarding its nuclear program, a framework agreement with details to be worked out in the coming months. However, even as the interim agreement is set to expire November 24, it seems the Iranians have not responded to the Obama administration’s offer. And why would they? The White House has made it clear it wants a deal more than the Islamic Republic does. Under the circumstances, why wouldn’t Tehran wait to see how many more U.S. concessions it can extract?
Hosted by Michael Graham.3:00 PM, Nov 18, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with Lee Smith on the Jerusalem Synagogue attack.
12:03 PM, Nov 18, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
After a Palestinian terror attack that killed four in Israel, President Barack Obama is calling for both sides to be calm. "Too many Israelis have died; too many Palestinians have died. At this difficult time I think it's important for both Palestinians and Israelis to try to work together to lower tensions and reject violence," said President Obama, according to the White House pool report.
Here's the full report:
4:50 PM, Nov 17, 2014 • By TZVI KAHN
How to explain America’s failure, after 20 years of efforts, to impose genuinely crippling sanctions on Iran? Start with the penchant of the executive branch—from Presidents Clinton to Obama—for excluding Congress from the process.
3:01 PM, Nov 17, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
At the American Enterprise Institute, Amir Toumaj writes on the Iranian government's "Economy of Resistance" and the internal disagreement in Tehran over how to best implement it. Toumaj explains how relaxing economic sanctions would give President Hassan Rouhani the ability to protect the country against any future possible sanctions:
11:27 AM, Nov 15, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama appeared to criticize Australian prime minister Tony Abbott for closing borders to Austrlia due to concern over Ebola.
4:49 PM, Nov 14, 2014 • By CAITLIN POLING and RACHEL HOFF
Exit polls from last week’s midterm elections challenged the conventional “it’s the economy, stupid” wisdom, as the number of voters who said the economy was the most important issue fell
8:33 AM, Nov 14, 2014 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
What follows is the document written by Jason Beale -- a pseudonym for a longtime U.S. military and intelligence interrogator with extensive knowledge of the enhanced interrogation techniques used by the CIA on some high-value detainees. Those techniques are scrutinized a forthcoming report prepared by the Democratic staff of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Nov 24, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 11 • By LEE SMITH
It's not clear when (or whether) the Obama White House will conclude a final agreement with Iran over its nuclear program. The extended deadline for the interim deal known as the Joint Plan of Action is set to expire November 24. And the president very much wants a deal that would cement his foreign policy legacy. On the other hand, there are still gaps on key issues, like how many centrifuges Iran gets to keep.
The enhanced techniques work. Nov 24, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 11 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
The Central Intelligence Agency repeatedly tortured suspected terrorists, regularly lied about it to Congress and the White House, and, for all the pain and trouble this caused the agency and the United States, didn’t end up extracting a single piece of valuable information not readily available by other means.