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  • Commentary posted March 30, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Learn from Iraq: don’t abandon Afghanistan

    Former secretary of state, national security adviser and Nobel Peace Prize winner Henry Kissinger is, by all measures, a foreign policy heavy weight. At a recent black-tie dinner, he stood—stoop-shouldered and peering imperiously over his signature thick, black-frame glasses—and remarked: “Unilateral withdrawal is not victory.” Whom could he have been talking…

  • Commentary posted March 17, 2014 by Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D. Qualified ambassador applicants need not apply

    ”I’m no real expert on China.” Sobering words to hear from the man nominated by President Obama to be U.S. ambassador to China. That’s what Sen. Max Baucus said during his confirmation hearing in January when asked some detailed questions about U.S.-China policy. At least Mr. Baucus had actually been to China. Not all of President Obama’s nominees for ambassadorships…

  • Commentary posted March 8, 2014 by Nile Gardiner, Ph.D. The crisis in Ukraine — America can be deferential no more

    The Obama administration's Russian reset, designed by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was premised on the idea of Russia as a partner with the United States. Hand in hand, the former rivals would address the major international crises of the day. This initiative will be remembered as one of the biggest foreign policy follies of the modern era — a staggeringly…

  • Commentary posted February 19, 2014 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. Hypocritical NGOs like to blame US while turning blind eye to terror

    The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) is an ambiguous, inherently flawed treaty. It’s also the creation of liberal non-governmental organizations (NGOs) whose attitude is simple: blame America first. When Secretary of State John Kerry signed the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on September 25, he paid tribute to these NGOs, groups like Amnesty International and Oxfam. They were,…

  • Commentary posted February 12, 2014 by Rebeccah Heinrichs Obama Turns a Blind Eye to the Russian Rogue State

    News reports that Moscow has almost certainly violated the INF Treaty governing intermediate-range nuclear missiles should come as no surprise to anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the subject. Russia has cheated on practically every single arms control treaty with the U.S., with the possible exception of the New START Treaty, which has not yet been fully…

  • Commentary posted February 6, 2014 by Peter Brookes Syria a failure for U.S.

    In a now widely reported private meeting with U.S. lawmakers at a Munich security conference last weekend, Secretary of State John Kerry told them the administration’s policies toward the bloody Syrian civil war weren’t cutting it. That’s a striking admission on the part of our chief diplomat. I agree with Kerry that things are going horribly for our interests in Syria,…

  • Commentary posted February 5, 2014 by Kim R. Holmes, Ph.D. U.S. needs to stand firm against Chinese aggression

    China’s rise has the Obama administration looking as uncertain as the proverbial deer in the headlights. Caught between the unappealing alternatives of embracing or containing China, it largely chooses inaction. Its famous “pivot” to Asia has stalled — a casualty of Secretary of State John F. Kerry’s near obsession with the Middle East. There has been little meaningful…

  • Issue Brief posted April 9, 2013 by Dean Cheng Kerry’s First Visit to Asia: Where Is the Pivot?

    While testifying before Congress regarding his nomination to be Secretary of State, then-Senator John Kerry indicated that he was uncomfortable with the Administration’s “pivot to Asia” and indicated that, in his view, this was neither necessary nor wise. Whether then-Senator Kerry was enunciating a new position is unclear, as Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter…

  • Backgrounder posted March 12, 2013 by Scott G Erickson, Jessica Zuckerman, Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D. Lessons from Benghazi: Investigation Leaves Important Questions Unanswered

    When armed terrorists stormed the United States Special Mission compound in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, killing Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, it was not the first such breach of a U.S. diplomatic installation. In fact, it was one of four such attacks that occurred over the course of the week in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, and Libya. This…

  • Issue Brief posted February 28, 2013 by James Phillips Kerry Offers More Aid but Still Lacks Sound Strategy on Syria

    Secretary of State John Kerry has embarked on his first official trip abroad, traveling to the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar. Although NATO and European issues have been featured prominently in Kerry’s early stops, much of his agenda will focus on containing the destabilizing spillover effects of…

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  • WebMemo posted June 28, 2011 by Helle C. Dale, Jessica Zuckerman U.S. Must Improve Internet Freedom Outreach Effort

    More than 2 billion people worldwide now have some degree of access to the Internet, a figure that has doubled over the past five years. Yet while the Internet is emerging as an increasingly powerful tool for political activism, governments around the world are also becoming more expert at controlling electronic communication. As part of the U.S. effort to defend…

  • WebMemo posted March 22, 2010 by Helle C. Dale Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communications Review: Key Issues for Congressional Oversight

    How the U.S. government communicates with the world—explaining policies, presenting facts about American life and values, promoting the national interest by helping foreign audiences understand America—is a matter of no small importance. During the Cold War, for example, engagement in the war of ideas through the United States Information Agency was a critical…

  • Backgrounder posted March 12, 2013 by Scott G Erickson, Jessica Zuckerman, Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D. Lessons from Benghazi: Investigation Leaves Important Questions Unanswered

    When armed terrorists stormed the United States Special Mission compound in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, killing Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, it was not the first such breach of a U.S. diplomatic installation. In fact, it was one of four such attacks that occurred over the course of the week in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, and Libya. This…

  • Testimony posted November 15, 2012 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Learning from Benghazi: Rethinking Preparedness and Response for Security of U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions in High-Risk Scenarios

    Testimony before Committee on Foreign Affairs United States House of Representatives November 15, 2012 My name is Dr. James Jay Carafano. I am the Deputy Director of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies and Director of the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign…

  • Issue Brief posted November 14, 2012 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Morgan Lorraine Roach Lessons from Benghazi: Rethinking U.S. Diplomatic Security

    Understanding what was behind the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. facility in Benghazi and the tragic results is vital for preparing for future security threats to embassies, consulates, and diplomatic missions. The attack in Benghazi reveals a terrorist attack profile that the U.S. is likely to see again. If the U.S. is to learn the lessons of this…

  • Lecture posted July 24, 2012 by The Honorable Patrick Meehan Boko Haram: An Overlooked Threat to U.S. Security

    Abstract: Since 2009, the jihadist insurgency in Nigeria known as Boko Haram has been escalating its attacks across the country, targeting security forces, politicians, and civilians. Assuming that Boko Haram will refrain from targeting U.S. interests in Nigeria (a country of strategic significance) or in the U.S. homeland is a dangerous gamble—as was the case with other…

  • Commentary posted February 6, 2014 by Peter Brookes Syria a failure for U.S.

    In a now widely reported private meeting with U.S. lawmakers at a Munich security conference last weekend, Secretary of State John Kerry told them the administration’s policies toward the bloody Syrian civil war weren’t cutting it. That’s a striking admission on the part of our chief diplomat. I agree with Kerry that things are going horribly for our interests in Syria,…

  • WebMemo posted May 4, 2011 by Jena Baker McNeill, Paul Rosenzweig Combating Passport Fraud: The Right Steps for the State Department

    The Department of State is currently seeking public comment on its proposal to create a new biographical questionnaire for U.S. passport applicants. Reforms in the passport-issuance process are indeed necessary to prevent the misuse of passports by criminals and terrorists. However, the proposed questionnaire goes too far in requesting that all passport applicants fill…

  • WebMemo posted February 3, 2012 by Helle C. Dale Fill the Public Diplomacy Leadership Vacuum

    The U.S. government’s public diplomacy institutions are running on autopilot. While other nations, such as China, are ramping up public diplomacy and soft-power capabilities, the attention of the political leaders in this country is focused elsewhere: the budget deficit, the economy, the presidential election, etc. The effect is that the people who should be advocating…

  • Issue Brief posted August 3, 2012 by Morgan Lorraine Roach Sudan and South Sudan: Failed Talks Require New Strategy

    Today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton travels to South Sudan as part of her two-week tour of Africa. During her visit she will meet with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and discuss the country’s ongoing crisis with Sudan. Clinton’s visit takes place a day after the two countries failed to meet the deadline imposed by the United Nations Security Council Resolution…

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  • Issue Brief posted April 9, 2013 by Dean Cheng Kerry’s First Visit to Asia: Where Is the Pivot?

    While testifying before Congress regarding his nomination to be Secretary of State, then-Senator John Kerry indicated that he was uncomfortable with the Administration’s “pivot to Asia” and indicated that, in his view, this was neither necessary nor wise. Whether then-Senator Kerry was enunciating a new position is unclear, as Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter…

  • Backgrounder posted March 12, 2013 by Scott G Erickson, Jessica Zuckerman, Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D. Lessons from Benghazi: Investigation Leaves Important Questions Unanswered

    When armed terrorists stormed the United States Special Mission compound in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, killing Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, it was not the first such breach of a U.S. diplomatic installation. In fact, it was one of four such attacks that occurred over the course of the week in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, and Libya. This…

  • Issue Brief posted February 28, 2013 by James Phillips Kerry Offers More Aid but Still Lacks Sound Strategy on Syria

    Secretary of State John Kerry has embarked on his first official trip abroad, traveling to the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar. Although NATO and European issues have been featured prominently in Kerry’s early stops, much of his agenda will focus on containing the destabilizing spillover effects of…

  • Issue Brief posted February 21, 2013 by Luke Coffey, Nile Gardiner, Ph.D., Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. John Kerry’s Grand Tour: Priorities for Europe

    From February 24 to March 6, John Kerry will make his first trip overseas since being appointed U.S. Secretary of State. During this period, he will be visiting the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar. The Obama Administration has too often taken America’s relations with Europe for granted. Secretary…

  • Issue Brief posted January 9, 2013 by Nile Gardiner, Ph.D., Luke Coffey, Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. Hagel, Kerry, and Brennan Senate Confirmation Hearings: U.S. Policy on Europe

    In the coming weeks, the United States Senate will begin the confirmation process for three key Administration positions: Senator John Kerry (D–MA) for Secretary of State, former Senator Chuck Hagel (R–NE) for Secretary of Defense, and White House Chief Counterterrorism Advisor John Brennan for Director of the CIA. All three have been prominent backers of President…

  • Issue Brief posted November 14, 2012 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Morgan Lorraine Roach Lessons from Benghazi: Rethinking U.S. Diplomatic Security

    Understanding what was behind the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. facility in Benghazi and the tragic results is vital for preparing for future security threats to embassies, consulates, and diplomatic missions. The attack in Benghazi reveals a terrorist attack profile that the U.S. is likely to see again. If the U.S. is to learn the lessons of this…

  • Issue Brief posted September 20, 2012 by Baker Spring, Michaela Dodge The Folly of the State Department’s Assessment of U.S. Arms Control Compliance

    The State Department recently released its 2012 report, Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments, or Annual Compliance Report. It informs Congress and the public about how the United States and other countries are fulfilling their multilateral and bilateral treaty obligations regarding arms control and…

  • Issue Brief posted September 11, 2012 by Baker Spring, Michaela Dodge Annual Compliance Report: Lack of Clarity Damaging to U.S. Security

    The State Department’s August 2012 report on Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments (the so-called Annual Compliance Report) is an exercise in ambiguity which illustrates the difficulties involved in judging other countries’ compliance with multilateral and bilateral treaties related to weapons of mass…

  • Issue Brief posted August 31, 2012 by Baker Spring, Michaela Dodge International Security Advisory Board’s Misplaced Focus a Cause for Concern

    The U.S. and its allies face many grave dangers today, including the spread of ballistic missiles and nuclear know-how. The International Security Advisory Board (ISAB), designed to provide independent analysis and advisement regarding such issues for the Secretary of State, recently published a report titled “Mutual Assured Stability: Essential Components and Near Term…

  • Issue Brief posted August 3, 2012 by Morgan Lorraine Roach Sudan and South Sudan: Failed Talks Require New Strategy

    Today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton travels to South Sudan as part of her two-week tour of Africa. During her visit she will meet with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and discuss the country’s ongoing crisis with Sudan. Clinton’s visit takes place a day after the two countries failed to meet the deadline imposed by the United Nations Security Council Resolution…

Find more work on Department of State
Find more work on Department of State