John Isaacs

Articles by John Isaacs

23 February 2012

Strategic revelation

John Isaacs

One of the time-honored traditions for influencing debates in Washington, DC, is to leak confidential information to the press. The Pentagon Papers, Watergate, Valerie Plame, Wikileaks, are just a few examples of use of the tactic. By exposing classified or private information, a strategic leaker can then rise in high dudgeon to head off the "appalling" policy being considered, or divulge actions that those in the government were not yet ready to publicize.

29 November 2010

What the 2010 elections mean for national security issues

John Isaacs

It goes without saying that the mid-term elections were a disaster for Democrats: Republicans took control of the House of Representatives -- winning over 60 seats -- and also picked up six Senate seats.  The Senate will remain in Democratic hands, while the House will have new leadership and committee chairs.

These results will likely produce gridlock in Congress for the next two years on most domestic issues -- but national security issues might produce mixed results.

29 March 2010

START follow-on: The Senate calculus

John Isaacs

At long last, the United States and Russia are on the verge of signing a new treaty that reduces the countries' nuclear arsenals. The treaty, a follow-on to the landmark 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), has been 95 percent complete for months, at least according to many U.S. and Russian officials, but disagreements over missile defense and verification procedures delayed the process. The result of these difficult negotiations will now face what could be equally tortuous consideration by the U.S. Senate.

24 February 2010

The Obama disarmament paradox: A rebuttal

John Isaacs

Greg Mello's recent Bulletin article "The Obama Disarmament Paradox" distorts the Obama administration's nuclear agenda by making unjustified assumptions that discredit President Barack Obama's historic commitment to seek a nuclear-weapon-free world. Obama has committed to such a goal several times--both before and after his election in November 2008. But Mello calls that a "vague aspiration" rather than a commitment. Yet the evidence he provides to support his assertion isn't persuasive.

23 June 2009

Will the Senate support new nuclear arms reductions?

John IsaacsKingston Reif

President Barack Obama has an ambitious agenda on nuclear weapons issues that will take a long time to implement. For example, the earliest the Senate is likely to vote again on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is 2010. Likewise, a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty is at least three years away. Ditto for the president's goal of safeguarding all vulnerable nuclear weapons and nuclear materials worldwide. And then there is his most ambitious goal of all--a nuclear-weapon-free world, which even he has suggested probably won't take place in his lifetime.

15 April 2009

A strategy for achieving Senate approval of the CTBT

John Isaacs

On April 5, speaking in Prague, President Barack Obama delivered his first public commitment to seek the Senate's advice and consent for ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. He told his audience: "To achieve a global ban on nuclear testing, my administration will immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty [CTBT]." He added, "After more than five decades of talks, it is time for the testing of nuclear weapons to finally be banned."

17 March 2009

Congress and President Obama's national security agenda

John Isaacs

A key bellwether vote in the new Congress came on February 13 when only three Senate Republicans broke ranks from their party and voted with Democrats for President Barack Obama's $787 billion stimulus bill.

If support from three Senate Republicans seems sparse, try comparing it to the House of Representatives, where not a single Republican voted in favor of the stimulus. This opening salvo was followed by subsequent unified Republican opposition to an expansion of health care for children, an employment discrimination measure, and a housing foreclosure bill.

1 July 2005
As domestic issues handcuff Republicans, Democrats sense an opportunity for electoral gains.
1 May 2005
If a half-trillion dollar military budget lands on Capitol Hill and no one seems to hear, does it make a sound? You bet.