Beyond Labels

A 360° Discussion of Foreign, National and Local Policy Issues

Bergdahl & East Asia

On Monday, we’ll turn our attention to (at least) two topics recently in the news:

First, the developing story of the circumstances around the Beau Bergdahl prisoner exchange. There are numerous questions raised in the wake of the exchange, many voiced by members of both parties:

  1. Should the Administration have followed the law requiring 30 days’ notice before transferring any prisoners out of Guantanamo?
  2. Was this an appropriate “trade” (i.e., five Taliban for one soldier)? To what degree does this action send a signal that such trades will be contemplated in the future and, thereby, heighten the risk of future hostage-taking?
  3. Was the Administration’s “PR” appropriate in the context of the questions around the circumstances of Bergdahl’s service and his capture by the Taliban? Or should it have been less political and more muted?

Second, we’ll revisit the Asia-Pacific region, prompted by the recent security summit in Singapore at which, as The Diplomat (below) points out, a variety of “squabbles” were aired.

Questions for the group: How’s the “pivot” working for us now? And how should we think about the growing friendship between Russia and China?

The Diplomat article
BBC article

See you Monday!

Truth in Politics

Perhaps always an oxymoron, the “truth” seems to have left Washington, DC in recent years. With so-called “fact checkers” now doing a brisk business assessing our elected officials’ statements and many news organizations becoming less adversarial to (independent of?) our nation’s politicians, it has become quite difficult for ordinary citizens to understand the tradeoffs involved in today’s complex issues. Assessing these statements requires digging well beyond the “sound bite,” consulting a variety of publications and sources, to get an even somewhat balanced perspective.

Question for next week (May 19): To what degree should the American public accept “lies,” half-truths, glaring omissions and/or misdirection from their elected officials and government?

National “fact checking resources:”

See you next week!

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