Who’s Afraid of Radical Islam?

Given a choice, most politicians prefer a symbolic fight to a substantive one. To see how, consider the fight over the term ‘radical Islam’. Even by the low standards typically set by American politicians, the argument stands out for its inanity. It’s worth asking: what are Americans so afraid of? Continue reading

The Road Not Taken – Obama’s Syrian Mistake

Obama came into office promising not to repeat the errors of the George W. Bush presidency, and by and large, he hasn’t. But he’s been so zealous in implementing the lessons of the Iraq War – “don’t do stupid stuff” – that he’s built his own trap by ignoring the fact that when you’re President of the United States, you don’t have the privilege of inaction. Continue reading

A Deal With Iran Gives the US the Most Options

Last week brought President Obama what he hopes will be a definitive breakthrough in his foreign policy: a negotiated deal with Iran that would deny that country a nuclear weapon as well as the key elements necessary for building a nuclear weapon, all while avoiding yet another war in the Middle East. The stakes, it should be clear, are dire. The options, however, remain murky. Continue reading

The Bergdahl Scandal is a New Low in US Politics

America got back its last POW in a trade that saw five Taliban fighters released from GITMO – and the country quickly shifted into scandal mode. Sometimes in a fight, the most relevant question isn’t who’s right and who’s wrong, but rather, “How in the world did we end up fighting like this?” Continue reading

In Crimea, America Faces a Foreign Policy Puzzle

What’s happening in Ukraine is an example of the new sort of challenge: the rise of regional powers that cannot challenge the US globally, but that can do much to thwart American regional interests. The real threat to isn’t that we’ll be unable to prevent every setback; it’s that we won’t recognize the need to clearly and publicly distinguish between those actions that will invite a full-throttled American response and those that won’t. That could lead to dangerous miscalculations. Continue reading

Spotlight: On North Korea, A Call to Action

The Armenian genocide, the Holocaust, the Khmer Rouge, the Rwandan genocide – in each of these cases the world stood by and did nothing while hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people, died in horrible and unnecessary ways. In … Continue reading

Why the Special Relationship with Israel Should Make Americans Uncomfortable

It’s easy to see Israel as America’s cultural or political facsimile in the Levant. With the same values and the same interests, we’re told that there should be no space between the United States and Israel. And we shouldn’t be surprised if Israelis encourage that misunderstanding. Here’s why you should be more skeptical. Continue reading

After More than a Century, Puerto Rico is Still a Colony – Should Americans Care?

More than a century after the Spanish-American War, Puerto Rico is still a colony of the United States. That’s 3.6 million Americans who can be drafted to fight in a war declared by a foreign legislature, and who can’t vote for the people who govern them. Care to venture what the Founders would have made of it? Continue reading

Giving at Home, Giving Abroad, and the Bind of Relative Need

The Fog Of Policy marks its 2014 return with a look at charitable giving and whether or not you should be giving most of your money (or at least most of your charitable donations) abroad. Come on in and learn a bit about Peter Singer, intuition pumps, and why the world is (again!) more complicated than they tell you. Continue reading