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" As Obama prepares to begin the last year of his presidency, he stands in an unusual position on the national stage: He is the rationalist, a creature of intellect rather than emotion. "
" This is a universal human dream - that brains, not brawn, will rule - and the fact that America has the world's finest institutions of higher education may be our greatest single national asset. "
" The revival of the U.S. financial system after the crash of 2008 is arguably the Obama administration's biggest domestic policy success. "
" U.S. adversaries exploit power gaps. It's easier for Russia to invade Ukraine with irregular forces out of uniform, the so-called 'little green men,' than to send a conventional army that would challenge NATO. "
" Movies have a way of distilling moments in our culture, and 'Gravity' may be the defining film for the lost-in-space year of 2013: Nothing works. "
" Russia isn't likely to have any more military success in Syria and Iraq than has the United States. "
" The value of catastrophic events is that they can help people face up to problems that are otherwise impossible to address. "
" It's fashionable with the Sarah Palin set to attack Harvard and treat its graduates as elitists. But if you spend any time on campus, you see students drawn from all over the world - an astonishing number these days with roots in Asia - whose chief assets are brainpower and hard work. "
" Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, arguably President Obama's best Cabinet appointment, has been leading a quiet revolution in clean-energy technology. Innovation is transforming this industry, costs are plummeting and entrepreneurs are devising radical new systems that create American jobs - in addition to protecting the planet. "
" Big mistakes were made in Benghazi, and people should be held accountable. But the brave officers who staff American posts in crisis zones know how dangerous the work is. "
" It's easier for China to assert its maritime power by creating artificial islands in the South China Sea than by defying the U.S. Pacific Fleet with an aircraft carrier. "
" It's a genuine dilemma for governments, deciding how much information to share in this threat-filled era. "
" Europeans don't like to talk about intelligence, and they often pretend their countries don't spy. "
" Maybe it's the spy novelist in me looking for a future plot, but I hope the U.S. and its allies are thinking how to operate 'unconventionally' in Iraq and Syria in ways that undermine the Islamic State. "
" World War II provides a string of celebrated cases of deception and manipulation. "
" Russia is emerging as an essential diplomatic and security partner for the U.S. in Syria, despite the Obama administration's opposition to Moscow's support for President Bashar al-Assad. "
" Self-proclaimed saviors and other outliers come and go throughout our political history. Occasionally, they're successful; most times, they're not. But the system has rebalanced toward the basic principles of tolerance, freedom and democracy that were set forth by the Founders. "
" A world in which there are no secrets that can be protected at all is going to be a pretty dangerous world. "
" 2011 is one of those years that historians are likely to look back on as a 'hinge.' And the truth, at once frightening and exhilarating, is that we don't know yet which way the door will swing. "
" If you want better behavior from bankers, then make their financial incentives more like those in the hedge-fund world - where managers have 'skin in the game,' and their net worth is tied to their long-term performance. "
" Make the financial industry pay for its mistakes. That's the idea behind the best of the Obama administration's reform proposals: If banks issue securities backed by mortgages, say, then require them to hold some of that paper so that they will bear some of the losses. "
" Empty political space will be filled by extremists unless the United States and its allies build strong local forces that can suppress terrorist groups and warlords both. When the U.S. creates such local forces, it must be persistent. If it withdraws from these efforts, as America did in Iraq in 2011, it invites mayhem. "
" If you walk into the front hallway of the CIA, you will see, on your left, a statue of William 'Wild Bill' Donovan. Bill Donovan was the person who created the OSS, the Office of Strategic Services, which was America's spy agency during World War II and then kind of morphed into what's now the CIA. "
" Journalists couldn't do their jobs overseas without taking risks, and the same is true for diplomats and intelligence officers. "
" The attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi has become a political football in the presidential campaign, with all the grandstanding and misinformation that entails. "
" Chinese experts noted that the U.S. economy has rebounded from the 2008 crash more strongly than some analysts here had expected, while China's own growth is slowing after several decades of rocket-ship acceleration. "
" The truth is, as you know, people like us look at what's happening in the world, and then we project it forward. We think, 'If I know A and B, then I've got to know that C and D are coming,' and that's kind of the way it's been with my fiction. "
" Paradoxically, the United States' determination to protect its troops can be self-defeating. Allies and adversaries see U.S. forces living in secure compounds, eating fancy chow and minimizing their exposure to potential terrorist assaults. "
" Images sometimes capture particular periods in history. The unreachable green light, beckoning from across the bay in 'The Great Gatsby,' has become a symbol of the yearning of America in the 1920s. "
" President Obama was right to ban torture, but the public must understand that this decision carries a potential cost in lost information. That's what makes it a moral choice. "
" The worm of paranoia begins to eat into even the hardest adversary. "