In virtually all previous confirmation hearings, there were no probing questions on CIA transgressions or the purpose, role, and even necessity of the CIA in the post-Cold War world. It is essential that the committee and the American public get some idea of Burns’ impressions on these important matters, particularly in view of his distinguished career and his thoughtful writings. What can be done to improve the production of strategic intelligence? What is the proper role for covert action in the 21st century? What can be done to improve oversight at the CIA and to ensure cooperation with congressional oversight?
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Meet Our New “Secretary Of State”…Nancy Pelosi
In any event, Pelosi’s travel to the world’s worst trouble spots creates significant confusion regarding official U.S. policies and politics. In flexing the flabby diplomatic muscles of the U.S. Congress, Pelosi is engaging the international community without any obvious coordination with the White House or the Department of State. The notion that anyone from the House of Representatives could have an impact on U.S. foreign policy or diplomacy is particularly ludicrous. Unfortunately, her trips seemingly amount to a last hurrah.
The Dangerous Civilian-Military Chasm In America
One of the greatest weaknesses of presidential leadership over the past 60 years has been the lack of presidential experience in the military and the inability to control the military. Several weeks before his seminal Farewell Address, President Dwight D. Eisenhower told his senior advisers in the White House, “God help this country when someone sits in this chair who doesn’t know the military as well as I do.” His successors have been deferential to the military and too many of them have used military force to bolster their credentials. This has been a major factor in the expanded power of the military establishment.