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Leon Panetta, the current CIA chief and Obama’s chosen replacement for outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, avoided getting too specific on the the size of next month’s planned withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan today when he appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee for his confirmation hearing. Both Panetta and the president have indicated the pullout of troops would be “substantial,” a stark contrast in tone with Gates, who has repeatedly warned about a “rush to the exits.”

There’s almost no chance that Panetta’s nomination will get rejected–he did, after all, oversee the CIA operation that resulted in the death of Osama Bin Laden. [NYT]

 

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A scene from "Squid Game" on Netflix

Reprinted with permission from Responsible Statecraft

The Treasury Department's nine-page "2021 Sanctions Review" released on Monday makes vague recommendations for "calibrating sanctions to mitigate unintended economic, political, and humanitarian impact." Unfortunately, it offers few tangible policy suggestions on how to end the high humanitarian
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Mt.Rushmore

Reprinted with permission from Creators

In New York City, a statue of Thomas Jefferson has graced the City Council chamber for 100 years. This week, the Public Design Commission voted unanimously to remove it. "Jefferson embodies some of the most shameful parts of our country's history," explained Adrienne Adams, a councilwoman from Queens. Assemblyman Charles Barron went even further. Responding to a question about where the statue should go next, he was contemptuous: "I don't think it should go anywhere. I don't think it should exist."

When iconoclasts topple Jefferson, they seem to validate the argument advanced by defenders of Confederate monuments that there is no escape from the slippery slope. "First, they come for Nathan Bedford Forrest and then for Robert E. Lee. Where does it end? Is Jefferson next? Is George Washington?"

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