Outside Publications

Outside Publications

Securing the Sinai MFO Without a U.S. Drawdown

In the wake of a June 9 jihadist rocket attack on the Multinational Force of Observers (MFO) and other dangerous incidents, the U.S. government is reviewing the future of its military deployment in the Sinai Peninsula. While Washington does not appear to have any near-term plans to substantially alter, let alone end, its MFO deployment, the ongoing deliberations about force protection have led some outside the government -- including the New York Times -- to call for a U.S.

Book Review: Gaidar’s Revolution

Alexei Golovkov had a problem with the portrait of Lenin in his office. Golovkov, a top official in Boris Yeltsin’s presidential administration from 1991-1993, thought the Lenin portrait was out of place in post-Communist Russia, so he took it off the wall and set it in the back room of his office. The next day a new Lenin portrait appeared. He took that one down, too, only to find a third portrait the following morning. “What’s this?” he asked an assistant.

Black Swans and Pink Flamingos: Five Principles for Force Design

What key lessons should U.S. policymakers and defense planners take away from the last 14 years of conflict? How relevant is the recent past? What does our strategic and operational performance suggest we need to retain as core competencies? These are critical questions for the design of tomorrow’s U.S. military. Being rigorously critical about our campaigns is a healthy and necessary intellectual exercise.

Trump immigration plan sensible, realistic

Donald Trump’s immigration program is realistic and sensible, and it makes him a serious presidential candidate

India's Achilles' Heel

On July 27, three gunmen in military fatigues marched into a police station in Gurdaspur, an urban district in the Indian border state of Punjab. After an 11-hour gun battle, all three terrorists were killed—but so were nine civilians and police personnel. The state had not seen any significant terrorist violence since the 1980s, when a vicious ethno-religious insurgency between Sikhs and Hindus ended.

Should the United States Negotiate with Terrorists?

In July, President Obama dropped a policy bombshell, announcing that the U.S. government would communicate and negotiate with hostage takers—many of whom today happen to be terrorists. Negotiating with terrorists over kidnappings remains a tactical exchange, one that does not significantly alter the broader conflict between the two parties.

US 'not neutral' in South China Sea? A rebuttal

The recent article by Mark J. Valencia ("The issue of US 'neutrality' in South China Sea disputes"; Aug 11) complains that the United States is subtly taking sides in the South China Sea disputes. Senior US officials - most recently Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel on July 21 - have stated that the United States does not take sides in the disputes, and that the US is "neutral when it comes to adherence to international law".

Al Qaeda After Omar

Last month’s announcement of the death of the Taliban leader Mullah Omar occasioned a barrage of commentary about the implications for the Taliban and the ongoing Afghan peace talks. But his final departure from the scene could have a momentous impact on the jihadi movement as well, strengthening ISIS and further diminishing al Qaeda.

Egyptian patriotism, Sisi and the shades over Suez

As I write this on the eve of a deservedly great celebration, I pray that when the sun comes up from Sinai, east of Suez on this day, 20,000 of Egypt’s security and armed forces will suffice, that this spectacular day will pass peacefully. I take note of those Shakespearian Shades that will allegorically be present: Khedive Ismail, Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat. Shades overshadowed on this day by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Focusing on the Bigger Picture

Any negotiation can be looked at in two different ways. First, there is the immediate deal and how it is reached. The focus is on who won and who lost, and whether the deal is one-sided or reasonably balanced. The questions are how shrewd were the negotiators, could they have gotten more, or were they hoodwinked into giving up too much? Call this focus “the art of the deal.”