Tag Archives | Iran

The Middle Finger to History

The years between the collapse of the Soviet Union and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, became known as the “Holiday from History,” a period in which America thought it could withdraw from the burdens of engagement with the world and focus on the pursuit of domestic prosperity and other really important issues like […]

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Ten Ways Obama Has Failed as President

A poll released last week had some pretty bad news for congressional Democrats heading into the midterm elections. But buried in the poll numbers was a figure that just might constitute an even more important turning point. Respondents were asked: “On balance, do you feel that Obama’s presidency so far has been more of a […]

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Strategy or Fantasy?

President Obama has finally come up with a strategy against the self-styled “Islamic State” in Iraq and Syria. Better late than never—and there is much in this strategy that is correct, if the administration is actually willing to face up to the reality of what its strategy will require. Which we have very good reason […]

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If You Are Not Using the Presidency, Do You Mind If We Borrow It?

President Lincoln once said to an over-cautious general, “If you are not using the army, I should like to borrow it for a short while.” After yesterday’s press conference, I think we might need to say, to our disengaged, apathetic commander-in-chief: if you’re not using the presidency, would you mind if we borrowed it? When […]

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The Paradox of the Non-Interventionists

A rigorously non-interventionist foreign policy poses a basic paradox. The worse the rest of the world looks, the more the anti-interventionists can say there are no good options to choose from, and we should just stay home and keep out of trouble. But the worse the world looks, the more intervention is actually necessary to […]

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Why Rand Paul Can’t Be President

Rand Paul is one of the most promising new Republican politicians, with impeccable small-government credentials, a fanatical grassroots following, and the charisma to appeal to mainstream voters and even, potentially, to reach across party lines. So it’s an awful shame that he can’t be president. Senator Paul cannot be president because of his disastrous approach […]

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Wish-Fulfilling Prophecy

Democrats predicted that the war in Iraq was unwinnable, Harry Reid said it was already lost, and Senator Obama declared that President Bush’s “surge” wouldn’t work. And now here we are in 2014, and by golly it looks as if they were right: Iraq is a total disaster. An al-Qaeda splinter group, the Islamic State […]

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The Paradox of Pacifism

Over the past few weeks, the foreign policy anti-interventionists—a coalition of cynical establishment “realists,” blame-America-first leftists, and libertarian millennials disillusioned by the Iraq War—have given us a lot of excellent advice about the potential costs of getting involved in the conflict over Ukraine, about the dangers of escalation, about the virtue of caution. Somehow they […]

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All the Wrong Allies

Top Stories of the Year: #2 At the end of last year, I concluded that foreign policy in 2012 had been “less a story about what is happening than a story about what is not happening—and what is not going to happen.” Barack Obama is committed, on principle, to being a spectator rather than an […]

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Observations of a Bystander

Writing about foreign policy these days is an exercise in frustration, because the United States is in the unusual and unnecessary position of being a bystander to world events. The reason is that President Obama is deeply committed to a policy of inaction, or more accurately, action so halting and reluctant as to be nearly […]

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