The Sorrows of Egypt: A Tale of Two Men
Back to the Bazaar
Freedom and Justice in the Modern Middle East
Adrift on the Nile
The Limits of the Opposition in Egypt
Is El Baradei Egypt's Hero?
Mohamed El Baradei and the Chance for Reform
Morning in Tunisia
The Frustrations of the Arab World Boil Over
Letter From Cairo
The People's Military in Egypt?
The U.S.-Egyptian Breakup
Washington's Limited Options in Cairo
The Muslim Brotherhood After Mubarak
What the Brotherhood Is and How it Will Shape the Future
Egypt's Democratic Mirage
How Cairo’s Authoritarian Regime Is Adapting to Preserve Itself
Overcoming Fear and Anxiety in Tel Aviv
How Israel Can Turn Egypt's Unrest Into an Opportunity
Mubarakism Without Mubarak
Why Egypt’s Military Will Not Embrace Democracy
Postcolonial Time Disorder
Egypt and the Middle East, Stuck in the Past
Egypt's Constitutional Ghosts
Deciding the Terms of Cairo’s Democratic Transition
A Tunisian Solution for Egypt’s Military
Why Egypt's Military Will Not Be Able to Govern
The Fall of the Pharaoh
How Hosni Mubarak’s Reign Came to an End
The Black Swan of Cairo
How Suppressing Volatility Makes the World Less Predictable and More Dangerous
Green Movement 2.0?
How U.S. Support Could Lead the Opposition to Victory
Letter From Sana’a
Saleh on the Edge
Bahrain’s Shia Question
What the United States Gets Wrong About Sectarianism
Rage Comes to Baghdad
Will Iraq's Recent Protests Lead to Revolt?
The Sturdy House That Assad Built
Why Damascus Is Not Cairo
Rageless in Riyadh
Why the Al Saud Dynasty Will Remain
Syria's Assad No Longer in Vogue
What Everyone Got Wrong About Bashar al-Assad
Meanwhile in the Maghreb
Have Algeria and Morocco Avoided North Africa’s Unrest?
Bahrain's Base Politics
The Arab Spring and America’s Military Bases
Let Them Eat Bread
How Food Subsidies Prevent (and Provoke) Revolutions in the Middle East
Libya's Terra Incognita
Who and What Will Follow Qaddafi?
What Intervention Looks Like
How the West Can Aid the Libyan Rebels
The Folly of Protection
Is Intervention Against Qaddafi’s Regime Legal and Legitimate?
To the Shores of Tripoli
Why Operation Odyssey Dawn Should Not Stop At Benghazi
A New Lease on Life for Humanitarianism
How Operation Odyssey Dawn Will Revive RtoP
The Mythology of Intervention
Debating the Lessons of History in Libya
Flight of the Valkyries?
What Gender Does and Doesn’t Tell Us About Operation Odyssey Dawn
Winning Ugly in Libya
What the United States Should Learn From Its War in Kosovo
Demystifying the Arab Spring
Parsing the Differences Between Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya
Understanding the Revolutions of 2011
Weakness and Resilience in Middle Eastern Autocracies
The Heirs of Nasser
Who Will Benefit From the Second Arab Revolution?
The Rise of the Islamists
How Islamists Will Change Politics, and Vice Versa
Terrorism After the Revolutions
How Secular Uprisings Could Help (or Hurt) Jihadists
Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama decided to send fighter planes to Libya in an effort to protect civilians from the predations of Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi. In doing so, he sided with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs Samantha Power, and UN Ambassador Susan Rice over Counterterrorism Chief John Brennan, National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
As a result, commentators are falling over themselves to explain the “gender divide” among Obama’s staff, particularly the apparently astonishing fact that several key pro-intervention voices came from women. The Daily Beast’s John Avlon claimed that the bellicosity of female presidential advisers was historically unprecedented. Invoking the dual hawk-dove/woman-man dichotomy in The New York Times, Maureen Dowd called the presence of strong female politicians “mythological.” The Nation’s Robert Dreyfuss, meanwhile, perhaps captured the pundits’ astonishment the best, writing, “We’d like to think that women in power would somehow be less pro-war, but...”
These discussions reveal far more about gender misconceptions among foreign policy journalists than about the preferences or influence of Obama’s female foreign policy staff. Avlon, Dowd, Dreyfuss, and others apparently subscribe to the classic gender myth that women are generally more diplomatic and opposed to war than men. This myth is widespread in the foreign policy establishment. Indeed, Francis Fukuyama, Swanee Hunt, and Isobel Coleman have all made the case for women’s inherent pacifism in Foreign Affairs in recent years. In other forums, so have a variety of nongovernmental organizations, the United Nations Security Council, and some feminist international relations theorists, such as Betty Reardon and Sara Ruddick, who argue that women’s maternal impulses translate into a greater reluctance to solve problems through armed violence.
But the wider scholarship on gender and international affairs -- to say nothing of the historical record -- provides plenty of evidence that thoroughly refutes the association between women and peace. In 2003, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pushed
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