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Their Views

New face, fresh ideas

If the resignation of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel augurs a move by President Obama to shake up his national security team and reconsider his strategy in crisis areas such as Syria and Ukraine, then it will be welcomed. So far, there’s not much sign of it. Mr. Hagel has been a weak leader at the Pentagon who, at least in public, has been less of a force in policy discussions than some of the generals who report to him. But his thinly disguised dismissal came after reports that he had raised sensible questions about Mr. Obama’s overly constrained approach to fighting the Islamic State.

Talks on nuclear program rightly extended

It’s disappointing that negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program failed to produce a final agreement by Monday’s deadline. But the decision by Iran and six world powers to keep talking is vastly preferable to the alternative. A rupture in the negotiations would have freed Iran from its commitment — which the International Atomic Energy Agency says Tehran has honored — not to accelerate its efforts to develop nuclear energy while negotiations proceed.

U.S. is on the cyberwar offensive

With revelations that critical infrastructure in the U.S. has been under sustained attack, likely perpetrated by Russia, it’s easy to forget that we’re not merely a victim amid the waves of repeated cyberattacks.

Thanks, or something

WASHINGTON — Before the tryptophan in the turkey induces somnolence, give thanks for living in such an entertaining country. This year, for example, we learned that California’s Legislature includes 93 persons who seem never to have had sex. They enacted the “affirmative consent” law directing college administrators to tell students that sexual consent cannot be silence but must be “affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement” and “ongoing throughout a sexual activity.” Claremont McKenna College requires “all” — not “both,” which would discriminate against groups — participants in a sexual engagement to understand that withdrawal of consent can be any behavior conveying “that an individual is hesitant, confused, uncertain.”

The art of the deal

It has been a tumultuous November for the American political system. The Republican party swept to victory in the midterm elections, ousting the Democrats from control of the Senate in a result widely interpreted as voter repudiation of President Obama.

A nonpartisan director: Elmendorf is the type of CBO leader Congress needs

By its nature, the legislative process in Washington is political and partisan, and hence prone to error, bias and outright propaganda. The antidote is a common set of facts and objective analysis, provided by a source that everyone in Congress recognizes as an honest broker of information. For the past 40 years, that honest broker has been the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which is required by law to provide lawmakers with cost estimates and forecasts of government programs. The CBO’s budgetary impact “scores” are the gold standard against which politicians’ fiscal promises are measured.

Air bag safety delays

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is widening its crackdown on air bags at risk of exploding — potentially killing or maiming the people they are supposed to protect. This is another case in which it has taken years for the government and car companies to come to grips with the full scale of a deadly automotive defect, demonstrating again that the nation’s vehicle safety monitors aren’t doing a good enough job.

Bigger than immigration

Don’t let yourself get lost in the weeds. Don’t allow yourself to believe that opposition to President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration is only about that issue, the president’s tactics, or his lack of obsequiousness to his detractors.