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  • Dec 29, 2014
  • Updated: 10:12pm

US Politics

Obama's imperialist presidency

President Barack Obama. Photo: AP

Many people around the world really liked Barack Obama when he was first elected US President in 2008. Smart, handsome and genuinely appealing, what was there not to like? But now people are having second thoughts.

Tuesday, 11 June, 2013, 1:43am 5 comments

Americans ill-served by the blinkered view of US dominance

Americans ill-served by the blinkered view of US dominance

The time has come to think the unthinkable: the era of American dominance in international affairs may well be coming to an end. As that moment approaches, the main question will be how well the US is prepared for it.

29 May 2013 - 6:16am 12 comments

Tea Party favourite Rand Paul chosen by US conservatives as choice for 2016 presidential nominee

Rand Paul addresses the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference, where an array of right-wing leaders spoke. Photo: AFP

Paul, popular among the younger conservatives who thronged to the Conservative Political Action Conference, on Saturday narrowly beat Senator Marco Rubio - also tipped to seek the White House - by 25 to 23 per cent in the CPAC Straw Poll.

18 Mar 2013 - 3:52am

US ambassador to UN Susan Rice tipped as national security adviser

Susan Rice, the "far and away" favourite. Photo: Reuters

US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice is set to become President Barack Obama's national security adviser after the disappointment of being forced out of contention for secretary of state, it is being reported.

12 Mar 2013 - 3:19am

Does China model herald a post-democratic future?

Xi Jinping. Photo: Reuters

The contrast between the mindless partisan fighting in Washington and the smooth way that the changing of the guard is now going on in China has emboldened some people to assert that we have seen the global future and it is the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.

9 Mar 2013 - 2:31am 2 comments

John Brennan finally confirmed as head of CIA

John Brennan, mastermind of the US drone programme. Photo: AFP

The US Senate has finally confirmed John Brennan as CIA director after the White House doused a fierce debate over the potential use of domestic drones that could have delayed filling the crucial post.

9 Mar 2013 - 2:49am

Holding back women only hobbles progress

US Secretary of State John Kerry. Photo: AFP

During my first week as the US secretary of state, I had the honour of meeting a group of courageous women from Burma. Two were former political prisoners, and although they had all endured incredible hardship in their lives, each of them was committed to moving forward - providing education and training to girls, finding jobs for the unemployed and advocating for greater participation in civil society. I have no doubt that they will continue to be powerful agents of change, bringing progress to their communities and their country in the years to come.

7 Mar 2013 - 2:35am

US Senator Mitch McConnell slams liberal group for criticising Asian wife

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo: AP

McConnell forcefully defended Chao, who was born in Taiwan and who moved to the US as an 8-year-old with her family aboard a freight ship.

3 Mar 2013 - 2:55pm 1 comment

America's high-stakes gamble on spending cuts

President Barack Obama and the House Speaker John Boehner, who failed to reach a deal to avoid the sequester. Photo: NYT

A decade of budget deficits run up in war and economic crisis has saddled the government with a US$16 trillion debt. Now the government is about to start cutting spending in some programmes, offering a first look at how the US people will react.

3 Mar 2013 - 5:49am

Barack Obama wants 'balanced approach' instead of sequester

U.S. President Barack Obama. Photo: Xinhua

US President Barack Obama yesterday urged Congress to replace automatic across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester with what he called "a balanced approach" combining "smart" cuts with reforms.

3 Mar 2013 - 6:30am

Attack on US Senator Mitch McConnell’s wife triggers China race row

Elaine Chao was labour secretary under former US president George W Bush. Photo: AFP

Aides to top Republican US Senator Mitch McConnell voiced outrage on Tuesday after a left-leaning group suggested that he supported China over the United States due to his Taiwan-born wife.

29 Aug 2013 - 4:13am

US Senate confirms Chuck Hagel as secretary of defence

Former US senator Chuck Hagel testifies at a hearing in Washington. He was confirmed 53-41. Photo: Xinhua

The US Senate finally confirmed Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defence on Tuesday, ending an acrimonious nominations process and handing President Barack Obama a boost as he fills his second-term cabinet.

29 Aug 2013 - 4:13am

Soft power doesn't Die Hard, it fades

America's power and promise always delivered first with an impressive bang, until reality sinks in. Photo: NYT

Hollywood's action movie franchises inevitably went downhill. Perhaps this is a stand-in metaphor for America's power and promise, always delivered first with an impressive bang, until reality sinks in. First-time readers of the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence felt that bang too, until they learned more about the reality of empire.

14 Feb 2013 - 1:29am 3 comments

Obama needs to find consensus in second term

US President Barack Obama. Photo: AP

A second-term US president's first state-of-the-union address after re-election is traditionally a rallying cry to unite the country behind a common goal and build a legacy on the foundations of the first term. President Barack Obama cited the clearing of the "rubble" of [financial] crisis as the foundation for a wider agenda that fleshed out the populist themes of his inauguration address. The item that people everywhere will empathise with, after the horror of a massacre of small schoolchildren, is the reform of gun controls. The one that matters to the world economy, however, is how to deal with a budget deficit and national debt without threatening growth and recovery.

14 Feb 2013 - 1:29am

A world without America as No 1

A world without America as No 1

Long before anyone else, former US president Bill Clinton saw that America would have to prepare for the time when it would no longer be the No 1 power in the world. In his 2003 Yale University address on "Global Challenges", he said: "If you believe that maintaining power and control and absolute freedom of movement and sovereignty is important to your country's future, there's nothing inconsistent in [the US continuing to behaving unilaterally].

14 Feb 2013 - 1:29am 6 comments