We Have a Defense Secretary. But Will He Be Allowed to Lead?

I applaud the nomination of Ashton Carter to be secretary of defense. He is hyper-smart, passionate about defense and national security policy, knows the Pentagon like the back of his hand, is tough and assertive, and he will be a forceful participant in debates about foreign, defense and national security policy. He is, in short, …

I Pity the Fool Who Becomes the Next Secretary of Defense

More evidence--as though any were needed--that while Chuck Hagel is leaving the Pentagon, bad governance practices designed and implemented by the Obama White House will remain. And those practices have been around for a while: On a trip to Afghanistan during President Barack Obama's first term, Defense Secretary Robert Gates was stunned to find a …

Chuck Hagel Is Leaving, But Problems with the Obama Administration’s National Security Apparatus Will Remain

Let there be absolutely no doubt that Chuck Hagel was at best, an inconsequential secretary of defense, and at worst, a terrible one. But while we ought to be relieved that Hagel has been shown the door, we also ought to be concerned that a completely dysfunctional national security apparatus will remain long after Hagel …

I Told You So (Chuck Hagel Edition)

Chuck Hagel was never cut out to be secretary of defense. I wrote as much. Repeatedly (just scroll down, and you will see). Hagel was selected because he was deemed the ideal secretary of defense to preside over declining Pentagon budgets and a declining American presence on the world stage, and astonishingly enough, he was also …

Wasn’t the Obama Administration Supposed to Improve the Conduct of American Foreign Policy?

I could swear that was the promise back in 2008. I could also swear that the president claimed to have delivered on that promise when he ran for re-election. And yet . . . When President Obama, after months of equivocation over how to respond to the takeover of parts of Iraq and Syria by …

When Even the New York Times Editorial Board Pans an Obama Speech . . .

Boy, I guess that foreign policy address given yesterday really didn't go over well: President Obama and his aides heralded his commencement speech at the United States Military Academy at West Point on Wednesday as a big moment, when he would lay out his foreign policy vision for the remainder of his term and refute his …

The Obama Doctrine and How It Is Lacking

President Obama offered his foreign policy vision at West Point today. David Rothkopf finds a great deal to dislike about it (the critique is long and thorough, so I wouldn't do justice to it by excerpting; you should just read the whole thing). Additionally Admiral James Stavridis points out that for all of the talk about cooperation …

In Which I Am Disappointed. Again. (China Policy Edition)

I had hoped that the Obama administration would put the kibosh on efforts on the part of the Chinese to expand their air defense zone. I had hoped that the administration would be both firm and adroit with the Chinese, and that the administration would cause the Chinese to believe that they could retreat from any …

Devastating Criticism for the Obama Administration on Syria

From two of the administration's former defense secretaries, and from its former acting director of Central Intelligence: President Obama’s first two defense secretaries publicly questioned the administration’s handling of the Syrian crisis on Tuesday night and expressed skepticism about whether Russia can broker a deal to remove Syria’s chemical weapons. In a joint appearance in …