Julian Zelizer

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This week President Barack Obama is in Cuba, the first commander in chief to visit the country since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. When Coolidge arrived in Cuba, The Saturday Evening Post's Beverly Smith Jr. later recalled, "The crowds were tremendous and enthusiastic. They cheered themselves hoarse for Presidente Coolidge. They pushed close to his car, blowing kisses, and throwing flowers."

During the late 1950s, that kind of trip would become politically impossible. Cuba became a focal point of U.S. foreign policy, a key element of a global political struggle with the Soviet Union.

Fidel Castro waged a guerilla war against Fulgencio Batista, the U.S.-backed…  Seguir leyendo »

After 20 months of negotiations, a deal has been announced over Iran's nuclear program. But is it a good deal? And if so, for whom? CNN asked a range of contributors for their take on what it means, and what to expect next. The views expressed are the writers' own.

The deal of the century -- for Iran

There's no question the Obama administration got what it wanted out of this deal: a slower, smaller Iranian nuclear program more easily monitored and constrained for at least a decade. No chance now of a pre-emptive Israeli strike, and no need for an American one.…  Seguir leyendo »

CNN Opinion asked a range of contributors to assess the impact of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress. The opinions expressed in these commentaries are theirs.

Obama administration fumbled

The Obama administration effectively has had a six-week public tantrum as it tried to stop Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from addressing a joint meeting of Congress. Now we know why. Netanyahu destroyed the administration's argument in favor of signing a nuclear deal with Iran.

We've continuously heard from the Obama administration that no deal is better than a bad deal. Anyone watching Netanyahu's speech with even the slightest objectivity was, at the very least, left questioning whether this is that bad deal.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Barack Obama has sent a letter to Congress requesting a resolution that will grant him authority to use military force against ISIS. In an effort to placate opponents of military intervention in both parties, the administration has hedged the request by including language that restricts "enduring offensive ground forces" and limits any intervention to three years. He sent a letter with the request promising Congress that he would not authorize "long-term, large scale ground combat operations" as occurred in Iraq or Afghanistan. With that language, he then does ask for authorization to use ground troops.

There is no reason not to take Obama at his word with what would be the first authorization for the use of force since 2002 when President George W.…  Seguir leyendo »

American democracy faces a very real threat. The power of money is overwhelming the power of average voters to influence government decisions. While this is an old lament in politics, social scientists are now finding very concrete proof about the damage being done.

The problem revolves around the way in which we fund our political campaigns. Opponents of campaign finance reform are having a field day. Over the past few years, they have watched with delight as the political parties and Supreme Court have slowly eviscerated the Watergate-era campaign finance reforms.

When the Supreme Court issued decisions citing constitutional barriers to the regulation of campaign finance and independent organizations have figured out new ways to influence politicians, opponents of reform proclaim that the system is better off.…  Seguir leyendo »

Somewhere in Texas, former President George W. Bush is smiling.

Although some Democrats are pleased that taxes will now go up on the wealthiest Americans, the recent deal to avert the fiscal cliff entrenches, rather than dismantles, one of Bush's signature legacies -- income tax cuts. Ninety-nine percent of American households were protected from tax increases, aside from the expiration of the reduced rate for the payroll tax.

In the final deal, Congress and President Barack Obama agreed to preserve most of the Bush tax cuts, including exemptions on the estate tax.

When Bush started his term in 2001, many of his critics dismissed him as a lightweight, the son of a former president who won office as result of his family's political fortune and a controversial decision by the Supreme Court on the 2000 election.…  Seguir leyendo »