February 29th, 2012
04:00 PM ET

Stanger: Apologies matter

Editor's Note: Allison Stanger is Russell Leng ’60 Professor of International Politics and Economics and Chair of the Political Science Department at Middlebury College Middlebury College. She is the author of One Nation Under Contract: The Outsourcing of American Power and the Future of Foreign Policy.

By Allison Stanger - Special to CNN

My last blog post was about the necessity of an apology, and this piece begins with one.  I apologize to anyone who read my argument as somehow blaming American forces for the atrocities that a rogue Afghan officer committed in response to the accidental burning of Qurans by U.S. troops.

I have nothing but the utmost respect and appreciation for the daily sacrifices that U.S. taxpayers and the U.S. military have made and continue to make for the Afghan people. I am also fully aware of the dangerous environment in which our troops presently operate and that burning is the sole secure means for disposing of trash in contemporary Afghanistan. FULL POST

February 26th, 2012
08:48 AM ET

Stanger: The U.S. should never be burning books

Editor's Note: Allison Stanger is Russell Leng ’60 Professor of International Politics and Economics and Chair of the Political Science Department at Middlebury College Middlebury College. She is the author of One Nation Under Contract: The Outsourcing of American Power and the Future of Foreign Policy.

By Allison Stanger - Special to CNN

President Obama’s apology to Afghan President Hamid Karzai for the U.S. military burning Qurans at Bagram Air Field, the largest NATO base in Afghanistan, has prompted a fierce reaction. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich called the apology “an outrage.”

Our Commander in Chief was courageous to apologize in an election year for an outrageous violation of American values that happened on his watch. But the debate that focuses only on whether it is right or wrong to burn Qurans or whether the Afghan people are justified in responding with rioting misses the larger question: What were American forces doing burning books of any kind in Afghanistan, let alone Islam’s most sacred text? FULL POST

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Topics: Afghanistan
November 12th, 2011
01:00 PM ET

Stanger: No transparency, no smart government

Editor's Note:Allison Stanger is Russell Leng ’60 Professor of International Politics and Economics and Chair of the Political Science Department at Middlebury College Middlebury College. She is the author of One Nation Under Contract: The Outsourcing of American Power and the Future of Foreign Policy.

By Allison Stanger - Special to CNN

Former President Bill Clinton’s compelling new book, Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy, just came out this week.  Trust in government is at a record low of 15% and Congress’ approval rating has plummeted to single digits. Convincing voters that government is actually capable of once again serving ordinary Americans is a tough sell, even for a man of Clinton’s superhuman persuasive powers.

Both the Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party Movements are skeptical of the claim that government can be smart when the political system has been captured by moneyed interests.  In response, the Obama administration maintains that we can somehow restore America to greatness while tolerating politics as usual, even though candidate Obama once promised he would “change the way Washington works.”  Small wonder the electorate is starting to tune out.

There is a better way.  The crony capitalism that has fueled inequality and systematically undermined the social contract thrives in the shadows.  Rather than railing at the rich, which many Americans have misinterpreted as mocking the American dream, the White House should instead refocus on the imperative of openness for democracy. FULL POST

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Topics: Governance
October 26th, 2011
08:49 PM ET

Stanger: Why big versus small government misses the point

Editor's Note:Allison Stanger is Russell Leng ’60 Professor of International Politics and Economics and Chair of the Political Science Department at Middlebury College Middlebury College. She is the author of One Nation Under Contract: The Outsourcing of American Power and the Future of Foreign Policy.

By Allison Stanger - Special to CNN

The Occupy Wall Street movement has sparked diverse reactions  – applause, disdain and much in between.  But what strikes me as most interesting is what is not being said by anyone: No one is arguing that the system isn’t broken.

Republicans claim we can get the country back on track by budget cuts that continue to starve government; when government is itself the problem, the solution is to fund less of it.  Democrats argue that repairing our nation’s dysfunction must start by reining in business to prevent a repeat of the financial crash of 2008. But the debate over whether big business or big government is the real enemy misses the real crux of the matter: the big government versus big business narrative is history.  The interests of big business and big government increasingly intersect in ways that effectively make them one and the same.  Both have an interest in maintaining the status quo, because the status quo serves the interests of both Wall Street and Washington elites. FULL POST

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Topics: Economy • Protests • United States
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