Americans Are Too Scared to Deal With Syria

From the beginning, the Syrian conflict has been a moral morass for America’s political establishment. Some of this is par-for-the-course in a country that hasn’t decided whether its foreign policy should be a reflection of its moral values or only … Continue reading

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

In the Wake of the Paris Attacks, the Power of Stories

Stories are how humans make sense of the world. It is perhaps our most distinctive trait. The terrorist attacks that shook Paris last Friday gave the world a stark reminder of the power of narrative. 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

Big Government, Small Government, and the Military

Republicans can all agree that centralized planning and government ruins innovation, destroys accountability, breeds corruption, engenders absurdity, and lowers performance. Except, of course, when they’re talking about the military. 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

Obama Pretends to Ask Congress to Approve Military Force

Last week, President Obama asked Congress to grant him explicit approval for military operations against the Islamic State. Even casual observers might find the request a bit odd, since the US has been carrying out a bombing campaign against ISIS … Continue reading

Torture Report Gives America a Second Chance

On Tuesday, after years of wrangling with their colleagues and with the Central Intelligence Agency, the Senate Democrats released a report that accuses the CIA of what legal scholars have largely agreed on: in the aftermath of 9/11, the United … 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