James Dobbins

Response
James Dobbins and Alireza Nader

Washington might ultimately want a new government in Tehran, but the drive to topple the current one must come from inside the country. If and when Iranians take to the streets again on their own, the United States should express full support for their struggle, as it has done in elsewhere in the Middle East.

Snapshot
James Dobbins and Frederic Wehrey

With Qaddafi's ouster imminent, the West must plan for post-conflict stabilization and reconstruction.

Roundtable
Randy George and Dante Paradiso; James Dobbins

The U.S. mission in Afghanistan suffers from a lack of common objectives among U.S. agencies, argue Randy George and Dante Paradiso. What the war needs is a single commander to unite civilian and military efforts, they write. Not so, replies James Dobbins: Washington should be loath to move away from its tradition of civilian control of the armed forces.

Snapshot
James Dobbins

President Obama's advisers agree that the Taliban is an insurgency and that the United States has a real interest in stopping its return to power. Why, then, would some argue against using counterinsurgency, the strategy designed to fight such uprisings?

News & Events
Bronwyn Bruton, James Dobbins, Clare Lockhart, and Gideon Rose

A discussion on the the theory and practice of state building. Can and should the United States commit to building up institutions in weak states?

Video
Gideon Rose, James Dobbins, Clare Lockhart, Bronwyn Bruton

Every U.S. entry into a sovereign nation, whether an invasion, occupation, full military conflict, or humanitarian intervention, has unpredictable outcomes that require contingency planning.

Capsule Review
Mar/Apr
2010
Lawrence D. Freedman

These two books are distinct but complementary accounts of the months following the March 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, when the optimists saw their hopes for a new democracy dashed by violence and chaos.

Snapshot
James Dobbins

With the cancellation of Afghanistan's runoff election, Washington is left with Hamid Karzai as its partner in Kabul. How did Karzai come to power in the first place, and what might that say about his ability to rule?

Capsule Review
Nov/Dec
2009
Walter Russell Mead

This study of U.S. nation-building efforts in Germany, Japan, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq both challenges and confirms Churchill's approach, where winning the war first was the most important task.

Essay
Sep/Oct
2007
James Dobbins

The current debate over the United States' failures in Iraq needs to go beyond bumper-sticker conclusions -- no more preemption, no more democracy promotion, no more nation building -- and acrimonious finger-pointing. Only by carefully considering where U.S. leaders, institutions, and policies have been at fault can valuable lessons be learned and future debacles avoided.

Roundtable
Stephen Biddle, Larry Diamond, James Dobbins, and Leslie H. Gelb

In this special Web-only feature, Stephen Biddle, Larry Diamond, James Dobbins, and Leslie Gelb analyze the report of the Iraq Study Group and debate what should be done in Iraq.

Essay
Jul/Aug
2006
Larry Diamond, James Dobbins, Chaim Kaufmann, Leslie H. Gelb, and Stephen Biddle

Can anything -- international mediation, regional collaboration, decentralization, or constitutional negotiations -- save Iraq from a full-fledged civil war and the Bush administration from a foreign policy fiasco?

Essay
Jan/Feb
2005
James Dobbins

By losing the trust of the Iraqi people, the Bush administration has already lost the war. Moderate Iraqis can still win it, but only if they wean themselves from Washington and get support from elsewhere. To help them, the United States should reduce and ultimately eliminate its military presence, train Iraqis to beat the insurgency on their own, and rally Iran and European allies to the cause.