As the controversy continues about secret drone strikes and leaked legal documents, Obama promised in his State of the Union address last week to work with Congress to make the drone program, now shrouded in secret, more transparent.
But the problem is that a tipping point has already been reached, and it’s not just a matter of playing nice with Congress. A veil of official semi-silence surrounds these new technologies, the policy that guides them and their growing use in what can only be described as not-so-covert operations. When crucial information does come out, it’s most often through leaks to the press.
It is time for a new approach. And all that is required of the President is to do the thing that he does perhaps best of all: to speak.
Obama has a unique opportunity — in fact, an urgent obligation — to create a new doctrine, unveiled in a major presidential speech, for the use and deployment of these new tools of war.
[The resignation of assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs Wess Mitchell] is surprising news, which seems to have caught everyone off guard. He doesn’t appear to have shared this news with his ambassadors, who were in Washington last week for a global chiefs of mission conference. His deputy is also slated to retire soon, which raises question of near term leadership on European policy at a time of challenges there.
[Wess] Mitchell was a strong supporter of NATO, particularly in Eastern Europe where he will be sorely missed. His departure comes follows the resignation of senior Pentagon officials – Robert Karem and Tom Goffus – working on NATO along with Secretary Mattis. Without this pro-alliance caucus, NATO is now more vulnerable than at any time since the beginning of the Trump administration.