Inconvenient Former Defense Secretaries

Robert Gates has already spoken out against the Obama administration's policy on combating ISIL, but you would expect those kinds of partisan potshots from a Republican, wouldn't you? I mean, it's not like any Democratic national security grandee would criticize the president's approach, right? Right? Oh: Two defense secretaries who previously served under President Obama are …

Let’s Please Stop Bragging about Our “Achievements” in Syria

During President Obama's address to the nation this past Wednesday, he said the following: Abroad, American leadership is the one constant in an uncertain world.  It is America that has the capacity and the will to mobilize the world against terrorists.  It is America that has rallied the world against Russian aggression, and in support of …

The Nation’s False and Dishonest Crimea Narrative

For those who believe that the recent annexation of Crimea by Russia might actually unite Americans of all ideological stripes in opposition to the thuggishness of the Putin regime, I give you this piece by editors of the Nation. It shows that even now, in the immediate aftermath of the annexation, while historical memories are still fresh, there are …

The State of Speechmaking about the State of the Union

Last night's State of the Union address was replete with platitudes, buzzwords, lame rhetorical tricks, and the same old same old. There was nothing, new, path-breaking or consequential that came out of it. Given former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs's admission that President Obama "stopped trying to change Washington years ago," I suppose that none of …

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 …

Mishandling the Syria Crisis

Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, makes the entirely sensible point that the Obama administration failed to respond to the crisis in Syria in an adroit manner. As Rogers points out, nothing is being done to prevent the Assad regime from continuing to slaughter the Syrian opposition via conventional weapons. I recognize that …

A Friendly Note to the Obama Administration

Not that you aren't aware of this, guys (at least, I hope that you are aware of this), but the Chinese are testing you. Try not to fail the test by actually allowing the Chinese to expand their air defense zone. Rather, inform the Chinese--quietly but firmly--that the United States will not recognize the expansion …

Spheres of Influence and Bubbles of Ignorance

Let's go over some of the fundamental tenets of the realist theory of international relations (I know that I have written them before, but I ask readers to indulge me so that I can set the table for the rest of this blog post). Realists generally believe the following:The world is fundamentally anarchic. There is …

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