For the past 40 years, incoming presidents have typically made the choice of director of the Central Intelligence Agency their last selection. These choices have been mediocre for the most part, which helps to explain the current crisis of credibility and integrity that confronts the CIA. President-elect Joe Biden has made his last major selection in naming former deputy secretary of state William Burns to be CIA director. This is a sterling choice that should receive unanimous support from the U.S. Senate.
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American Exceptionalism: Our Gun Culture at Home and Abroad
There is an insidious and unspoken connection between our gun culture at home and abroad. U.S. politicians and pundits believe that huge defense budgets provide international security for the United States, and many Americans believe that personal weapons provide safety at home. We don’t question the use of deadly weaponry in unnecessary wars overseas; Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan are the most recent examples. At home, there are more guns than people — 120 guns for every 100 people. The United States is exceptional because some of the same weapons designed for war are available to teenagers fighting their personal demons.
The United States Specializes in Exaggerating the Threat
Every day we gather evidence of the pathetic performance of the Russian military in Ukraine. There was the inability to deal with Ukraine’s primitive air defense; the loss of the flag ship of the Black Sea Fleet; the sadistic behavior of a ground force that lacks any sense of discipline or professionalism; the loss of general officers; and the near total breakdown in logistical support for the invasion force. The head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, Major General Bulanov, dismissed the Russian invasion force as a “horde of people with weapons.”