The State of the Union: 15/02/15
As always, The Hippo Collective is proud to publish its weekly news bulletin on important political developments that are currently in The United States. We hope that you will find the Report informative and useful. Enjoy!
Jon Stewart Leaves the Daily Show:
The Report’s first story of particular note to US politics. On Tuesday of last week, Jon Stewart, anchor of ‘The Daily Show’, announced that he will depart from the show later this year. Details on exact dates have not been revealed but Stewart stated in his show ‘might be December, might be July.’ Stewart’s departure causes a significant change to the news landscape in the U.S. Since 1999, he was one of the most respected ‘news’ pundits whom was capable of attracting and educating disenchanted, young viewers.
While targeting politicians across both sides of the aisle, Stewart was an important personality in criticizing major policy decisions regardless of partisan considerations or reality, such as the U.S. 2003 War in Iraq as well as the government’s use of drone strikes. While Stewart claimed that his show was primarily and mainly a comedic program, intent on exploiting a myriad of political issues, anomalies and mistakes, whether he intended it or not, the anchor of ‘The Daily Show’ will forever be remembered as a great father of modern political satire and as an eloquent news anchor. Perhaps the most salient and useful idea to have originated during his tenure was that the news landscape in the U.S. really needs to reform its fundamental tenets. If a comedian is broadcasting the news and viewers consider him a more legitimate and relevant source, something must be going terribly wrong. In Stewart’s own words: ‘The only reason you mock something is when it doesn’t live up to the ideal…’ (Information from the New York Times)
Senate Confirms Ashton Carter as Pentagon Chief:
In a continuation of story previously written for The Hippo Collective, the United States’ Senate voted to confirm Ashton Carter as President Obama’s fourth Secretary of Defense. The vote saw a 93-5 split meaning that Carter currently possess strong bipartisan support. He enters office as the White House faces a number of foreign policy crises ranging from Russian aggression in the Ukraine to the spread of the Islamic State in the Middle-East. Facing charges that President Barack Obama has previously overly micromanaged Pentagon policies and processes, Carter respectfully suggested during his acceptance speech that ‘he may stray from some White House positions.’ While he has pledged to support the Administration’s efforts to close the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, he has also stated that he is “’very much inclined’ to supply some weapons” to rebels in Ukraine. This would contrast Obama’s intentions. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter will be faced with a number of challenges which pose imminent threats to US security and international peace. Now is not the time to shy away from bold and decisive action. (Information from Bloomberg Politics)
Obama requests permission to fight IS:
The US’ bombing campaign has been ongoing for the past 6 months in an effort to fight the Islamic State. What is perhaps surprising is that President Barack Obama has not yet received Congressional permission for the mission. The President sought to rectify this situation by requesting Congress to grant him the authorization for the use of military force. Obama’s plan would limit combat operations to three years and he has stated he is not planning on deploying ground troops. He has commented on the request by saying that “We need flexibility but we also have to be careful and deliberate.” US intervention over the past few months has sought to limit the Islamic State’s rapid advances in both Syria and Iraq as local security forces have not been adequately and successfully defending their territories and citizens. International concern has been raised by regional and international governments, non-governmental organizations and watchdogs that IS intends to commit war crimes, genocide and ethnic cleansing. Obama has faced sharp bipartisan criticism as members of Congress are weary of another lengthy, mired conflict in the Middle-East. When addressing the challenge posed by IS, the United States must do all in its power to ensure that civilians are not persecuted and harmed if it is to be a force for good in the world. This clearly includes the possible continuation and development of the current mission against IS.