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Comment, Nov/Dec 2014
Richard K. Betts

After a decade-plus of war, the lessons for the United States are clear: fight fewer, more traditional wars and fight them more decisively. Above all, avoid getting entangled in the politics of chaotic countries.

Snapshot,
Lionel Beehner

To justify possible attacks on ISIS in Syria, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry invoked the right to hot pursuit -- an old maritime precept. But using this rationale would put Washington on a slippery legal slope. 

Comment, Nov/Dec 2014
Daniel Byman and Jeremy Shapiro

ISIS' army has attracted a stream of Western volunteers, but there is no reason to panic about their return home. Some may come back as terrorists, but the danger has been exaggerated, and the United States and the EU know how to handle such problems.

Snapshot,
Jytte Klausen

Not all Westerners return home from jihad abroad to take part in a violent attack. But many do, and they tend to become involved with extremely dangerous plans.

Snapshot,
Michael J. Koplow

The official view from Ankara might be sunny -- yet the clouds massing on the country’s border presage a domestic hurricane.

Snapshot,
Robin Simcox

There are still those in the West who regard using military force against ISIS as a mistake, believing that, with the beheadings of Western journalists, ISIS was hoping to provoke a showdown with the United States all along. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Snapshot,
Michael O'Hanlon

The most important part of U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent speech about Iraq and Syria wasn’t how many air strikes the United States will conduct and when -- the elements that have dominated much of the analysis of the event. Rather, it was his call to form, from scratch, an Iraqi National Guard.

Snapshot,
William McCants

Despite ISIS’ success in capturing jihadists’ imagination, the idea of an Islamic state has one fatal flaw: its physical incarnation makes it vulnerable to attack.

Snapshot,
Steven Simon

Despite the pandemonium in the Middle East, Sykes-Picot seems to be alive and well. That shouldn’t be surprising. Land borders settled via negotiation, especially when sealed by treaty, tend to be stable, even where relations between the neighboring states remain volatile or even hostile.

Snapshot,
Henri J. Barkey

Geography and realpolitik have been cruel to the Kurds. Divided among four countries, they have been easy prey for anyone willing to engage in mischief and machinations in the region -- and engage the United States has.

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