The Disturbing Legal Legacy Obama is Leaving for Trump

Many Americans just don’t seem to mind if the president kills people, even U.S. citizens, as long as they’re told the people being killed are terrorists. “Americans are very pragmatic as to how a president exercises his War Powers,” writes Charles Dunlap, executive director of Duke’s Center on Law, Ethics and National Security. “(T)hey are less concerned about the technical legal basis as they are about success against authentic threats.”

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Flaws in The New Intelligence Report on Russia

The country’s leading expert on Russian media, Duke professor emeritus Ellen Mickiewicz, asks why the Office of the Director of National Intelligence takes at face value the Russian state media channel RT’s own estimate of its viewership at “550 million people worldwide and 85 million in the US.” That estimate, says Mickiewicz, “is wholly imaginary. It refers to potential audience: Households that can receive a signal—if and only if—they bother to turn it on.”

Read More in The Nation

Global Health Advice for Trump Administration

Nationalism and isolationism that marked the president-elect’s campaign are a concern if they continue, says one faculty member, Gavin Yamey, professor of the practice of global health. “Those of us working in global health will need to pay very close attention to whether the U.S. starts retreating from its impressive record on global health research and development,” Yamey says.

Read More at DGHI

Don’t Change the ‘No-Ransom’ Policy

“Until it can be persuasively demonstrated that the interests of the American people as a whole are served, we shouldn’t be expecting any initiative to cut a deal with terrorists to end well,” writes law professor Charlie Dunlap, in response to a “60 Minutes” story on U.S. policies when Americans are held hostage by terrorists.

Read More in Lawfire

U.S. Sidelined as Putin Calls Shots on Syria Cease-Fire

President Obama’s aides say what’s important is that the violence stops. But the president’s critics say his hesitation to use force has led others to fill a power vacuum in the Middle East. Bruce Jentleson, a Sanford School professor and former State Department official, says Obama “over-learned the lessons of Iraq.”

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Now, America, You Know How Chileans Felt

“The United States cannot in good faith decry what has been done to its decent citizens until it is ready to face what it did so often to the equally decent citizens of other nations. And it must firmly resolve never to engage in such imperious activities again,” writes Ariel Dorfman, professor emeritus of literature, on reports that Russia interfered in the U.S. election. “If ever there was a time for America to look at itself in the mirror, if ever there was a time of reckoning and accountability, it is now.”

Read More in The New York Times