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All Things Pass

Will ISIS be able to consolidate and hold the territory it’s taken in Iraq?

From Der Spiegel

I do not know when the last time I saw a more masterful job of rationalization than occurs in this article from Der Spiegel with the alarming title “War in Europe?”, about the crisis in Ukraine. Here’s a sample: Prominent German political scientist Herfried Münkler uses his theories of “heroic” and “postheroic” societies to describe […]

GOP Foreign Policy Positions Expose Their Claim To Be A Party Of Limited Government As A Lie

The GOP claims to be a party that favors limited government, but its foreign policy positions reveal this to be little more than a lie.

Foreign Policy At The GOP Debate: Lots Of Sound Bites, Little Substance

If you’re interested in knowing how the candidates would handle a foreign policy crisis, last night’s debate was mostly unhelpful.

The “Responsibility To Protect” Doctrine After Libya

What does the apparent outcome of the war in Libya mean for the so-called “Responsibility To Protect” doctrine?

Republican Party Politics And The Isolationist Canard

A few Republicans have picked up on John McCain’s criticism of critics of the Libya mission as being “isolationist.”

Republicans At A Foreign Policy Crossroads

For the first time since the end of World War II, the GOP is wrestling with two diametrically opposed visions of foreign affairs.

A Political Opening For Non-Interventionism

The American public is increasingly skeptical of foreign adventurism. Why aren’t our political candidates reflecting that?

They Make a Desert . . .

. . . and call it peace. The Chinese have called for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula: North Korean ally China on Tuesday called for restraint amid rising tensions on the Korean peninsula, but again declined to endorse Seoul’s claim that Pyongyang sunk one of its warships. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said […]

Europe’s Nadir?

“It is more than a little ironic that NATO has committed itself to defining a new strategic concept at precisely the moment the transatlantic relationship counts for less than at any time since the 1930s.”  So begins an FT op-ed by CFR president Richard Haass. I assess this argument in “Goodbye to Europe?,” a lengthy […]

Deporting Illegal Aliens: A Lot of Buses

Foreign Policy editor Preeti Aroon highlights this factoid from the latest FP Quiz: If the United States deported all its illegal immigrants at once, how long would the bus convoy be? a) 18 miles b) 180 miles c) 1,800 miles Answer: C, 1,800. To deport the 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States en […]

Pseudo Experts

Jonathan Chait contends that “Real budget wonks who circulate among genuine experts often fail to understand the degree to which the public debate is driven by pure hacks.”  Further, “The same basic phenomenon can be seen is debates over climate change, supply-side economics, and other issues. You have a whole ideological movement that, to a […]

OTB Radio — Tonight at 5:30 Eastern

The next episode of OTB Radio, our BlogTalkRadio program, will record and air live from 5:30-6:30 Eastern. Dave Schuler and I will be joined by a special guest, Dr.  John Arquilla, co- author of the classic book Networks and Netwars. We’ll be talking about his new Foreign Policy essay, “The New Rules of War” and […]

Liz Cheney, Defense Expert

David Keane, the president of the American Conservative Union, just introduced Liz Cheney as “one of the nation’s foremost experts in national security affairs” or something akin to that. Now, Cheney is a bright woman and has held some appointed foreign policy positions in the previous administration. The one where her father was vice president. […]

SOTU Formulas: Obama vs. Bush

Cato’s Ted DeHaven juxtaposes quotes from President Obama’s first State of the Union address with several from his predecessor. With President Obama’s repeated attempts to draw distinctions between himself from his predecessor—and a widespread belief that he and Bush are polar opposites in nearly every way—it’s actually startling how similar the two men are. And […]

US Government a Joke in Europe?

In his years in Washington reporting for The Scotsman, Alex Massie developed an appreciation for many things this country has to offer, such as college football.  But, as he explains in a piece for Foreign Policy, our Congress was decidedly not amongst them. His piece is subtitled “Viewed from across the pond, the U.S. Congress […]

Euro-Blogging at New Atlanticist

I’ve got two new pieces up at my day blog, both involving the EU. “Obstacles to a European Foreign Policy” riffs off Charlemagne‘s suggestion that “most EU countries do not really have foreign policies. They have neighbourhood policies, which may or may not drag them into some nasty spats that make little sense to outsiders.”  […]

Obama the Superhero

Taegan Goddard wonders whether it’s “time for Obama to get angry” with recalcitrant bankers and Senate opponents alike.  He cites Mark Murray‘s observation that “If there is one thing that both yesterday’s meeting with the bankers and today’s meeting with Senate Democrats have in common, it’s that they’re situations where some might argue that it’s […]

Europe’s New Leadership in Perspective

My latest for Foreign Policy, “The Eurocrats Europe Needs,” is up.   It attempts to bring some perspective to the negative reactions — my own included! — that accompanied the selection of  Herman Van Rompuy and Catherine Ashton as president and high representative for foreign policy, respectively, of the EU. Many had hoped for a kind […]

Obama’s Bow: A Lasting Image?

Peggy Noonan takes a harsh view of the way Obama’s first year has unfolded. In a presidency, a picture or photograph becomes iconic only when it seems to express something people already think. When Gerald Ford was spoofed for being physically clumsy, it took off. The picture of Ford losing his footing and tumbling as […]

Obama Frustrates Europe on Climate Change

“Obama Has Failed the World on Climate Change,” blares a Spiegel op-ed by Christian Schwägerl.  The essay is another data point in the growing notion that the new American president’s aura is fading on the other side of the Atlantic. But, as I argue in my New Atlanticist essay “Obama Disappoints Europe Ahead of Copenhagen,” […]

Obama’s Europe Neglect Could Bring Bush Nostalgia

My first piece for ForeignPolicy.com, “Europe’s Obama Fatigue,” is online. Despite George W. Bush’s defiant “you’re with us or you’re against us” public stance, he actively solicited advice and input from his NATO partners. Obama, by contrast, is saying all the right things in public about transatlantic relations and NATO but adopting a high-handed policy and […]

A Case for Humility in Afghanistan?

Stephen Coll, president of the New America Foundation, has an article in Foreign Policy making the case for more humble objectives in Afghanistan. In the article he criticizes both the counter-insurgency strategy advocated by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of U. S. forces in Afghanistan: To succeed, counterinsurgency approaches require deep, supple, and adaptive understanding […]

Jim Jones, Republican Whipping Boy

Michael Goldfarb wrote a piece for the Weekly Standard blog with the provocative title “Rent-a-General Jim Jones,” arguing that the man who spent four decades serving his country as an officer in the Marine Corps, rising to Commandant and then Supreme Allied Commander, is a partisan stooge for the Obama administration. A friend emails to […]

Mark Lippert Leaves NSC for SEALs

Now here’s something you don’t see every day:  Mark Lippert, chief of staff of the National Security Council and a close friend of President Obama, has decided to leave the administration to return to active duty in the Navy.  George Stephanopoulos reports: When Barack Obama came to the Senate, Mark Lippert — a veteran Senate […]

Does Foreign Policy Community Love War?

Glenn Greenwald revisits an old debate, arguing that “Our war-loving Foreign Policy Community hasn’t gone anywhere.” Building off of Marc Lynch‘s blog post yesterday pointing out that General McCrystal’s strategic review calling for more troops in Afghanistan was written by “a dozen smart (mostly) think-tankers,” Greenwald writes,”What would a group of people like that ever […]

Profound Changes in U.S. Foreign Policy?

Author David Rothkopf (who served as a deputy undersecretary of commerce under Bill Clinton) argues in the Sunday Washington Post that, while the commentariet is distracted by Hillary Clinton’s celebrity, the new secretary of state is “overseeing what may be the most profound changes in U.S. foreign policy in two decades — a transformation that […]

Dick Cheney’s Tell-All Book

Dick Cheney is breaking the mold on how recently-departed vice presidents act. First, he immediately went into attack mode against President Obama. Now, he’s going after President Bush, too. Bart Gelman for WaPo: Cheney’s disappointment with the former president surfaced recently in one of the informal conversations he is holding to discuss the book with […]

The Recipe for Tyranny

I’m a skilled amateur chef and, indeed, one of the many (many) jobs I’ve held over the years is that I’ve worked as a cook. Given that background I can say with confidence that it’s very disconcerting when the recipe you’ve got in hand lists an ingredient that’s not mentioned in the preparational steps. This […]

Bush’s Third Term

My first piece for The National Interest, “Bush’s Third Term,” is now up.  It catalogs the remarkable continuity  between Barack Obama’s foreign policy and that of his predecessor. The closer: Through some combination of political calculation and genuine misunderstanding, Obama campaigned against a caricature of Bush’s foreign policy. Early in Bush’s second term, he began quietly […]

Bush on Nation Building

In a sidebar on the Iraq War casualty predictions post, regular commenter Odograph observes, “I think ‘Bush was famously against nation-building’ is a retroactive political claim.” Not at all.  While it’s hard to imagine in hindsight, Candidate Bush ran against nation building and promised a “more humble foreign policy.” Remember, Realist Condi Rice was his […]

Dan Drezner Tries to Explain

When he was teaching in Barcelona last week Dan had a certain amount of difficulty explaining to his students that it’s not always about us and sometimes even when it is about us it’s not about us: Going forward, the persistence of anti-Americanism in the age of Obama might have nothing to do with the […]

Friedman the Scholar

Thomas Friedman begins his latest column thusly: Twenty years ago, I wrote a book about the Middle East, and recently I was thinking of updating it with a new introduction. It was going to be very simple — just one page, indeed just one line: “Nothing has changed.” It took me two days covering the […]

The “Obama Era of American Retrenchment”?

A president’s public statements on foreign policy have a number of audiences and can serve a variety of different functions. He may be speaking to the government of a prospective adversary or that country’s people, he may be be speaking to the governments or people of our allies, and, most importantly, he will be speaking […]

Obama Vindicates Bush?

Charles Krauthammer contends that the remarkable continuity between the Obama foreign policy and the Bush foreign policy he campaigned against so vociferously is an example of “the genius of democracy” through which “a national consensus is forged and a new legitimacy established.”  As a result, “The Bush policies in the war on terror won’t have […]

Obama Doctrine

Clive Crook, Thomas Barnett, Dan Drezner and even Barack Obama give their thoughts on what an Obama Doctrine for American foreign policy might be.   Over at New Atlanticist, I argue in “Obama Doctrine: Style But No Substance?” that, There’s good reason to be skeptical of the degree to which Obama’s foreign policy is actually new, […]

Stand and Deliver!

In his column this morning Tom Friedman bemoans the plight of diplomacy in the modern age of piracy: A secretary of state can broker deals only when other states or parties are ready or able to make them. In the cold war, an age of great powers, grand bargains and reasonably solid client states, there […]

Poll: Attack North Korea!

An overwhelming majority of Americans want to go to war with North Korea over Sunday’s missile test/satellite launch, a new Rasmussen poll finds. Fifty-seven percent (57%) of U.S. voters nationwide favor a military response to eliminate North Korea’s missile launching capability. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that just 15% of voters oppose […]

Afghanistan Plan Conference Call

Denis McDonough, deputy assistant to the president in charge of strategic communications for the National Security Council, and Caitlin Hayden, director of communications at NSC, held a conference call this afternoon, organized by the White House, to discuss the plan with invited bloggers. Uncharacteristically, I managed to get in the first question and some follow-ups: […]

Chas Freeman Withdraws (Updated)

President Barack Obama’s nominee for the position of chairman of the National Intelligence Council, Charles (Chas) Freeman, who has been praised by some for his foreign policy realism and criticized by others for his ties to the KSA and China, has withdraw his name from nomination: Another top Obama administration appointee pulled the plug today […]

Rick Moran Show

I’ll be appearing from 8-9 Eastern this evening on The Rick Moran Show to talk about the Obama administration’s foreign policy. To join in the conversation, call in at  (718) 664-9764.

Obama Foreign Policy: It Takes Two To Tango

Stephen Green (who I learned at CPAC is, despite the Vodkapundit moniker, an ecumenical drinker who will gladly coif a Sam Adams or a Bombay Sapphire martini with a twist — especially if someone else is paying) has an amusing commentary on Obama’s foreign policy to date: “I wanna talk!” said the President of the […]

Democrats Face Civil War!

Via Glenn Reynolds, I see that Paul Kotkin has written an interesting essay on an “internal civil war” [Is there another kind? -ed.] looming within the Democratic Party: This is the Democratic Party’s moment, its power now greater than any time since the mid-1960s. But do not expect smooth sailing. The party is a fractious […]

Obama Ends Major Combat Operations in Iraq

Given that OTB got started during the run-up to the Iraq War and that my commentary on that subject was what first got me noticed by some major blogs, it’s perhaps ironic that I’ve hardly written about the subject lately.  Partly, it’s a function of my now doing most of my foreign policy blogging at […]

From the Archives

Looking for the Colonel Jessup discussion I referenced in my last post, I came across the post “GOOD MOVIE, WRONG LESSON,” written on January 31, 2003 and imported over from the original blogspot site (unfortunately, owing to then-existing vagaries, sans comments).  It was the fourth substantive post and fifth total post ever on the site, […]

OTB Radio – Tonight at 7 Eastern

The next episode of OTB Radio, our BlogTalkRadio program, will record and air live tonight from 7-8 Eastern. Dave Schuler will co-host and Steve Verdon will try to join us to talk about the the stimulus, auto bailouts, and related issues.  We’ll also toss in some domestic politics, like the Roland Burris mess, and foreign […]

Obama Backers Denied Jobs

In my New Atlanticist piece “Obama Advisors Stiffed on Administration Jobs,” I tackle the hurt feelings of the preponderance of the 300 Obama foreign policy advisors who didn’t get administration jobs for their efforts.  The conclusion: It’s worth noting, too, that most senior level political appointments, especially in technocratic fields like foreign- and national security-policymaking, […]

What’s Hillary Clinton’s Role?

In “Hillary Clinton’s Job Description,” I consider the steady stream of data pointing to an obvious conclusion: there’s not much left for new Secretary of State to do. Clinton is a shrewd insider in the games of Washington and one presumes that she considered the possibility that her erstwhile opponent for the presidency was shunting […]

Chuck Hagel New Atlantic Council Chairman

As of this morning, Senator Chuck Hagel is the chairman of Atlantic Council of the United States. Hagel, who served two terms representing Nebraska from 1997 to 2009, received the Atlantic Council’s Distinguished International Leadership Award in 2004. His breadth of experience, knowledge of foreign policy, and commitment to transatlantic relations provide the basis for […]

Obama’s National Security Council Reboot

A front page story in today’s WaPo describes in detail President Obama’s ambitious plans for reorganizing the National Security Council and the entire process of decision-making in that realm.  In my New Atlanticist piece “Obama to Run Foreign Policy From White House,” I assess the changes and explain why they will be almost impossible to […]

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