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  • Commentary posted January 25, 2016 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Grading Dictators: A Top Task for the next President

    It’s not easy being the shining city on the hill. The need to deal with dictatorships has bedeviled American foreign policy since the birth of the nation. Our track record in this arena is definitely mixed. Our most recent presidents have made a particularly poor job of it. George W. Bush inveighed against his Axis of Evil, but had some unsavory foreign friends as well.…

  • Commentary posted January 15, 2016 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. The Biggest Failure Obama Glossed Over In His State Of The Union

    President Obama made many reassuring remarks in last night’s State of the Union address. For example, he reminded the nation that he had assembled a coalition of over 60 countries to “stop the flow of terrorist fighters.” What he left out was that this coalition is weak and ineffective. It has completely failed to thwart one of the most powerful forces fueling…

  • Commentary posted January 6, 2016 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. New Year's Calendar Offers U.S. March of Mayhem

    Here is a 2016 “calendar” to keep you up at night. Don’t hold me to the dates, but if the next 12 months pass
without witnessing these unsettling moments, then America will be truly blessed. January. We know the date, for sure: Jan. 12. That’s when President Obama will deliver his last State of the Union Address. What’s not known is whether he’ll have anything new to say…

  • Commentary posted December 11, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Putin's Days Are Numbered

    The Administration seems to be of two minds regarding Vladimir Putin. One camp sees him as a Russian strongman we can work with. Another views him as a menace that, if ignored, will eventually fade away. Neither camp has been able to prevail, the result: policy paralysis, a stalemate unlikely to be broken until the next president moves into the Oval Office. The new…

  • Special Report posted December 9, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D., Dean Cheng, Luke Coffey, Lisa Curtis, Helle C. Dale, Michaela Dodge, David Inserra, Bruce Klingner, Daniel Kochis, Ryan Olson, James Phillips, Ana Quintana, Bryan Riley, Brian Slattery, William T. Wilson, Ph.D. U.S. Comprehensive Strategy Toward Russia

    Introduction Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. has not had a coherent, comprehensive strategy toward Russia. As the Russian invasion of Ukraine demonstrates, the U.S. has paid a price for this failure and, of course, many of Russia’s neighbors have paid far higher prices. At the core of the U.S. failure has been an unwillingness to assess the nature of the Russian…

  • Commentary posted December 3, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. If You Want Good Leaders, Make Sure They're Good Thinkers

    Here’s a thought. Perhaps part of the reason the world seems to have gone haywire for America is that our nation’s leaders don’t think as well as they used to—that all our great thinking is behind us. The best prescription for fixing that may lie in how we prepare generals, diplomats and policymakers to lead. Even during the Cold War, America’s best and brightest…

  • Commentary posted December 1, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. How To Stop Terrorist Travel

    After the rage and mourning over the Paris terrorist attacks came fears of another Paris—in another city. Nowhere has the debate about how to keep terrorists “over there” from coming over here been waged more vigorously than in the United States. That comes as no surprise. Few doubt that America is on the ISIS hit list. The good news is that the U.S. has a lot of…

  • Commentary posted November 24, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Why Defense Acquisition Has a Need for Speed

    Not since the heady days of the “revolution in military affairs” over a decade ago has reforming the Pentagon been such a central focus of Washington musings. Recently, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) kicked off a series of hearings looking at the roles and missions of the armed forces with an eye toward reducing overlap, duplication and…

  • Commentary posted November 23, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Put boots on the ground to snuff out Islamic State

    President Obama has no choice now. If he wants to defeat the Islamic State, he’ll have to become a real war leader. He may not like it, but putting troops on the ground is the surest way to win this war. That’s nothing new. Paris was horrific, but no game-changer. The game changed in 2014, when the Islamic State broke out from Syria, drove the Iraqi military from the…

  • Commentary posted November 20, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. After Paris: ISIS Makes a Big Bet

    ISIS, Russia, Iran and China all share a common concern: the United States. In short, it’s a problem. As conventional states, three of them have a view of how the world ought to be organized, but America stands in their way. They all also have the same idea—to win without fighting. Of the four, ISIS has shown it is the least risk-averse. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his…

  • Commentary posted November 18, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Arizona Takes Border Security Into Own Hands

    While the presidential candidates clash over how to handle illegal immigration and border security, Arizona is doing something about it. When Doug Ducey ran for governor, he made doing something about all the illegal activity on the border with Mexico a cornerstone of his campaign. Since taking office he has made a high-profiled effort to deliver. His latest move?…

  • Commentary posted November 4, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Can The Next President Afford To Follow Obama's Defense Spending Footsteps?

    Get ready for resurgence in planning the future of the American military. It’s long overdue. In fact, serious thinking about the “future force”—what America will need to assure national security in the face of foreseeable, emerging threats—has been largely lacking in the post-Reagan era. Thankfully, that seems to be changing. The Pentagon recently announced the…

  • Commentary posted November 3, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. The Obama Way of War: Special Ops, Syria and History

    No respectable historian will find much to admire in the president's legacy as foreign policy and national security leader. Still, they may well bicker for many years over why he does what he does. The White House recently announced special operations forces are going into harm's way in Syria. That choice may be one of the defining moments historians seize on to…

  • Commentary posted October 30, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Wake Up, America—Your Military Is Marginal

    The Heritage Foundation released its annual assessment on the state of the armed forces. The rating delivered by the 2016 Index of U.S. Military Strength is “marginal.” That might not be a bad grade for kindergarten kids to bring home. They have a couple of years before they have to apply to Harvard. But, that’s not much to show for a commander-in-chief after seven years…

  • Commentary posted October 27, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. O’s Afghan move a hopeful sign about America

    In response to what he called a “fragile” security situation in Afghanistan, President Obama recently announced plans to leave about 5,500 U.S. troops there when he leaves office. Yet more Americans paid attention to who was voted off “The Voice.” Many of us treat the battles in the birthplace of 9/11 like most other foreign policy issues — something for Washington to…