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This week’s front page editor

Clare Sambrook

Clare Sambrook, investigative journalist, co-edits Shine a Light.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

When America’s hyperpower status was challenged by 9/11, the response was the Bush Doctrine. Will it now make the world safe for America? Charles Pena says ‘no’ and makes a clarion call for the US to return to its tradition of putting the homeland first. Philip Bobbitt responds with a passionate justification of America’s need for legitimate pre-emption that can ensure global safety from weapons of mass destruction that can escape into terrorist hands. Their clash brings to the fore Washington’s military, legal, moral and international strategy. What should it now be?

After the torture report—rebalancing the scales of justice

In the voluminous responses to the long-awaited US Senate committee report on torture by the CIA, the essence of what must follow—prosecutions, not pardons—has been buried.

Secret prisons, disappearances and torture

In a ruling described by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch as “landmark”, the European Court of Human Rights has passed excoriating judgment on the US “war on terror” following the attacks of 2001.

Rethinking the origins of 9/11

As 2013 came to an end ‘9/11’ continued to cast a violent shadow in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet the US response betrayed a failure to understand its origin.

Democracy bites

The Bad Democracy award for October – the last before openDemocracy's grand poll for the year's worst democrat – became the object of Hungarian passion and the target of the country's hackers, reports Tom Burgis.

Bush's security strategy: defend the nation, change the world

The United States's linkage of pre-emption and failed states reflects a shift of rhetoric that leaves untouched the freedom to wage endless war, says Mariano Aguirre.

Rumsfeld v Powell: beyond good and evil

Donald Rumsfeld is the neo-conservative architect of war, Colin Powell the cuddly multilateralist. Right? Wrong. Behind the caricature is a titanic Washington struggle far more complicated and interesting.

Part 5: Networks of power and freedom

Part 5 of The new information ecosystem: networks of power and freedom

The end of isolationism

Charles Peña, Philip Bobbitt, and John Hulsman and Eric Hamilton alike view America’s good as the world’s gold standard. The age of cosmic debt, climate change, and terror demands a larger vision. The United States needs clarity of mind, public diplomacy, humility – and friends.

A realist security strategy for the United States

What should a National Security Strategy for the United States in the 21st century look like? Two Heritage Foundation analysts see twin dangers in Charles Pena’s focus on homeland security and Philip Bobbitt’s emphasis on alliance-building: isolationism and internationalism. The challenge for the US is to avoid both neglect and overstretch, and to pursue a realist foreign policy that can ensure its global hegemony for centuries to come.

United States security for a new world: a reply to Charles Pena

The US’s national security document of 2002 is a partial answer to the global challenges of terrorism and weapons proliferation. Charles Pena’s critique, by contrast, recommends a disengagement from the world that would entail even greater danger for the homeland. The real US need is to articulate a strategic doctrine that puts military pre-emption in the service of wise politics, alliance-building, and – eventually – a new understanding of international law.

World or homeland? US National Security Strategy in the 21st century

A year after 9/11, the Bush administration articulated a new security doctrine that committed the country to worldwide military intervention in pursuit of democracy. This strange fruit of Wilsonian idealism and neo-conservative ambition is triply misconceived: it will guarantee damaging over-extension of resources, fuel bitter resentment of the United States, and abandon homeland security to the chimera of global control. It is not empire that the US needs, but modesty.
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