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

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

Carrots and Sticks Making Sense of the Past Week in Syria

The developments surrounding Syria and chemical weapons over the past week demonstrate two things. First, the use of force and the pursuit of diplomatic solutions are not mutually exclusive. The term ‘coercive diplomacy’ has real meaning. And second, the United … Continue reading

How We Go to War Looking At the War Powers Resolution

With the country’s attention on developments in Syria, the Fog Of Policy returns from a summer hiatus with a look at how this country goes to war. Continue reading

In Syria, Time for the United States to Act

Back at the end of May, when I last wrote about the mess in Syria, our options were bad and getting worse. Things have hardly improved since then. Even so, if Assad has used chemical weapons, then that fact should … Continue reading

Building Democracy Egypt, the Arab Spring, and What the West Forgot

The events in Egypt over the past weeks have been tragic, but they shouldn’t be surprising. What’s happening in Egypt today isn’t so different than what happened in Iraq a decade ago. Iraq exposed as fantasy the neo-conservative notion that you could export liberal democracy by exporting the formal institutions of the democratic state; Egypt is merely reaffirming that lesson. Continue reading

Notes from Across the Ocean The 5 Things I Learned about America by Living Abroad

There’s an old story about a man who travels far and wide in search of a treasure, only to discover that what he was looking for was back home the whole time. It’s a cute little story and it’s not … Continue reading

Holding Back the State At the Intersection of National Security and the Leviathan

Last Friday’s unscheduled post touched on some of the issues brought up by the recent revelations about the government’s enhanced surveillance programs. The news that the government has, for years, been collecting information on all of our email, phone calls, … Continue reading

The Syria Paradox Why the United States Can't and Must Intervene

On April 28th, Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) appeared on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’ and provided the country with a fine example of either ignorance or what I have elsewhere called ‘the politics of performance’ – which is a polite partial synonym for … Continue reading