The CIA Director Should Not be Part of the Policy Process
Presidents typically announce controversial personnel and policy decisions on a Friday to ensure that the Saturday papers, which are not widely read, are charged with informing the general public. This was the case this past Friday, when President Joe Biden appointed CIA director William Burns to the Cabinet. President Harry S. Truman, who created the CIA in 1947, favored the depoliticization of the agency and its directors, which is why he initially chose professional military officers to be the director of central intelligence. No CIA director was appointed to the cabinet until the Reagan administration several decades later.
A Grain Airlift for Ukraine
Russia and Ukraine are two of the largest exporters of grain in the world. Russia is the largest exporter, responsible for nearly 25 percent of global exports of wheat, and it obviously benefits from the absence of competition from Ukraine. Ukraine is responsible for nearly ten percent of grain exports.
The Strange Rehabilitation of Elliott Abrams
Democratic presidents have a way of reaching out to undeserving Republicans to protect their domestic flanks on the right. Bill Clinton appointed James Woolsey to be the director of the Central Intelligence Agency in 1993 in order to gain standing among national security conservatives. Barack Obama retained Robert Gates as secretary of defense in 2009…
The Institutionalization of the New Cold War
The first Cold War was relatively easy for the United States to manage. The twelve founding members of NATO were compatible in terms of policies and processes; and the perception of the threat was shared. In Cold War 2.0, the United States will not be as dominant; the alliance will be divided between the western and eastern members of the alliance; and the perception of the threat will vary due to domestic politics and geographic proximity to Russia. The current difficulties and debates over Ukraine membership; future relations with Russia; and appropriate levels of defense spending are already creating tensions within the alliance.