August 2, 2016

US Celebrates Unprecedented Expansion of Global War on Terror
The US announced a new target country in the War on Terror, as airstrikes rained down on Sirte, Libya. The target was ISIS and heavy casualties were reported in the initial aftermath, though it’s not clear whether any were civilians.

It’s not the US’s first rebound with Libya after the 2011 US-led NATO intervention dramatically destabilized the country. It also won’t be the last, as Libya remains in abject chaos and ISIS has had a foothold for some time.

The problem of Libya has not been a major theme of the 2016 political cycle so far. Donald Trump has seemed reluctant to focus on it, perhaps for fear of appearing too “soft” on foreign policy. And given that Hillary Clinton was a major proponent of this clearly disastrous war, she would like to keep the conversation on just about anything else. The (limited) good news is that Hillary’s vulnerability on the issue may make President Obama exercise some restraint in Libya prior to the election, if only to avoid drawing any extra attention to the debacle.

For more on this story, check out this analysis from The Intercept.

US Prepares to Give Largest Aid Package in History to Country That Clearly Doesn’t Need It
It’s been reported that the US is about to seal the deal on $4.1 billion dollar annual aid package to the country of Israel, which would be the largest ever.

Whatever your thoughts on foreign aid generally, it ought to seem strange that the US would give so much money to a developed country that’s more prosperous than the US itself, by some measures. It also seems odd to give money to a country whose sitting prime minister won reelection by playing on racist sentiments towards Arabs in Israel and openly declaring that a two-state solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict–the US’s preferred solution, for better or worsewould never occur on his watch.Indeed, it would be difficult for Prime Minister Netanyahu to express his contempt for President Obama and the US government more clearly than that, and he has certainly tried his best.

No matter, all of that appears to be water under the bridge, however, and it’s back to business as usual on foreign aid. And for Israel, business as usual means being the largest recipient of US aid money, even though they have long been self-sufficient.

For more on this, check out this article, also from The Intercept.

Trump / Khizr Khan Controversy Continues
Trump’s rude remarks about Khizr Khan continued to dominate the news cycle yesterday.  Khan’s son was a Muslim US soldier who died in the Iraq War, and his father gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention to condemn Donald Trump.

The story is focusing overwhelmingly on Trump’s offensive rhetorical retaliation against the family, and many high-ranking politicians, including President Obama, have spoken out against him. However, the story ought to reflect poorly on Hillary Clinton as well, given that she supported the war and thereby helped get Khan’s son killed.

For more on this story, check out our own article on the latest developments.

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