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  • Issue Brief posted October 6, 2014 by James Phillips The Rise of Al-Qaeda’s Khorasan Group: What It Means for U.S. National Security

    The air strikes against Islamist terrorist groups in Syria that the U.S. launched on September 22 included strikes against a group that few Americans had heard about before: the Khorasan group. Although sometimes mistakenly characterized as a new terrorist group, Khorasan is a new tentacle of an old organization—the al-Qaeda high-command or core group. The rise of the…

  • Commentary posted September 8, 2014 by Kim R. Holmes, Ph.D. A Really Bad Bargain: A U.S.-Iranian "Strategic Relationship"

    One of the lessons of statecraft is that mistakes tend to compound themselves. Good options disappear and bad ones proliferate. The hole is dug deeper because desperation convinces you to contemplate options that would never have been considered in better times. This is what I fear may happen next in Iraq. Because we have so few good options, the Obama administration may…

  • Commentary posted July 8, 2014 by Jim Talent Over the Brink

    What is happening in Iraq now has a nightmarish quality. Three years ago, the United States had defeated al-Qaeda in Iraq and set up a fledgling democracy in Iraq. I understand those who believe that Prime Minister Maliki could never have been trusted and Iraq would never have become a real democracy. But the United States didn’t need a democracy in Iraq, or even a…

  • Commentary posted May 4, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Obama's 'process' diplomacy plants seeds for future wars

    Washington would coax Yugoslav strongman Josip Broz Tito away from the Kremlin, tearing a hole in the Iron Curtain without firing a shot. At least, that was the plan. But, after a bit covert diplomacy, some secret missions and even some public gestures, the U.S. gave up. It turned out that Tito's "non-aligned" movement, billed as an effort to build a coalition of…

  • Issue Brief posted March 27, 2014 by James Phillips Obama’s Saudi Summit: Focus on Iran, Syria, Egypt, and Terrorism

    President Barack Obama will meet with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah on Friday amid mounting reports of acute Saudi disillusionment with Obama’s foreign policy. The Saudis, like other Middle Eastern allies including Israel, are concerned that Obama cannot be trusted to safeguard their national interests in the face of Iran’s military buildup, the political turbulence of the…

  • Commentary posted March 9, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Ukraine crisis will make Iran's mullahs more interested in nuclear weapons

    They called it the Lisbon Protocol. In 1991, the U.S. and Russia agreed to historic reductions in nuclear weapons. But there was a hitch: Russia didn't exactly own all of its nukes. When the Soviet Union collapsed, lots of them were left in the former vassal states of Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Under the protocol, all the nukes from these countries would be…

  • Commentary posted February 24, 2014 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. Of Mullahs and Lawyers

    In a recently leaked private phone call, an EU foreign policy official, Helga Schmid, grumbled to the EU’s ambassador to Kiev that it was “very annoying” that the United States had criticized the EU for being “too soft” to impose sanctions on Ukraine. Criticism may be annoying, but EU softness is a fact of life, and the transatlantic trouble over sanctions goes beyond…

  • Commentary posted February 14, 2014 by Peter Brookes Iran’s navy on Valentine’s ‘tour’

    Just as Team Obama tries to make us feel all warm and fuzzy about relations with Iran due to perceived “progress” on the interim (but not nearly final) nuclear deal, Tehran goes and blows it with some, shall we say, “hateful” acts. So much for Valentine’s Day. For instance, after the United States and others started releasing frozen Iranian assets as part of the new…

  • Issue Brief posted January 14, 2014 by Nile Gardiner, Ph.D., Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D., James Phillips Top Five Foreign Policy Priorities for 2014

    The United States faces mounting challenges abroad in 2014. With weak leadership from the White House over the past five years, the U.S. has been confronted and all too often sidelined by America’s adversaries and strategic competitors. The Obama Administration’s “leading from behind” strategy has been a spectacular failure that has led to confusion among traditional U.S.…

  • Commentary posted January 13, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. No Clock is Ticking

    Too many in Washington seem to regard the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran as an episode of the once-popular TV show 24. They think the clock starts counting down on January 20, and then we’ll wait breathlessly for six months to find out whether the West has successfully sidetracked Iran’s nuclear-weapons program. That might happen in Hollywood. But in the real world, six…

  • Commentary posted December 29, 2013 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. 'Black swans' to watch out for in 2014

    Americans will die on American soil in large numbers. So predicted the Hart-Rudman Commission seven months before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. No commissioner felt good about it getting it right. But the purpose of identifying "black swan" events before they happen is to give our leaders a chance to prevent them. Here are some black swans that threaten to nest next…

  • Commentary posted December 6, 2013 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. President Obama flunks 'Make a Deal 101'

    In "Let's Make a Deal", audience members trade one prize for a chance at winning a better one, but take the risk of getting only a worthless Zonk. The pressure is on to take the gamble. This makes a great game show, but in reality it's a terrible way to negotiate. Good agreements aren't driven by a desperate need to deal. As the Obama administration has illustrated…

  • Commentary posted November 24, 2013 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Munich II

    No, that’s not a facile, partisan jab. What just went down in Geneva is, in fact, a replay of the greatest diplomatic tragedy of the 20th century. The Munich deal rested on the ridiculous notion that Hitler could be satiated. The new pact builds on the equally ludicrous idea that Iran would give up the means to build a nuclear weapon that will serve as the tip of its…

  • Issue Brief posted November 5, 2013 by James Phillips Greater Iraqi–American Cooperation Needed on Counterterrorism, Syria, and Iran

    Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki came to Washington last week in search of greater U.S. security assistance in battling the al-Qaeda-led insurgency that increasingly threatens Iraq's internal security as well as regional stability in the oil-rich Persian Gulf. The United States shares Maliki's goal of defeating al-Qaeda's franchise in Iraq, which has expanded into…

  • Backgrounder posted November 4, 2013 by Bruce Klingner Time to Get North Korean Sanctions Right

    Responding to North Korea’s third nuclear test in 2013, President Barack Obama declared that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program was a “threat to the U.S. national security and to international peace and security.”[1] The U.N. Security Council similarly warned that North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats posed “a clear threat to international peace and security.”[2]…