"[Keeping the phone metadata collection program] was the first in a series of decisions by Obama to institutionalize some of the most controversial national-security policies of the Bush Administration. Faced with a long list of policies to roll back…reining in the N.S.A.'s surveillance programs might have seemed like a low priority. As core members of Al Qaeda were killed, the danger shifted to terrorists who were less organized and more difficult to detect, making the use of the N.S.A.'s powerful surveillance tools even more seductive."
"To join a U.S.-Japanese anti-Chinese coalition would not only antagonize China, it would align Korea with its "ancient foe." Worse, the mutual U.S. alliances mean that nationalists and maximalists in Korea and Japan can make whatever outrageous claims they like about the other, yet face little geopolitical consequence. U.S. alliances are a form of "moral hazard" that ironically worsen the problem by reducing the incentives for rapprochement."