2014

Barack Obama and the Will to Fight

The Obama administration has admitted that it misjudged the extremists who set up the Islamic State in chunks of territory torn from Iraq and Syria. The director of national intelligence, James Clapper, confessed that his analysts underestimated the “will to fight” of the jihadists. He also linked it to intelligence failures of the past, such as similar… Continue reading Barack Obama and the Will to Fight

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Divorce, European Style

“All happy families are alike,” Leo Tolstoy wrote at the beginning of Anna Karenina. “Each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Imagine, as Lenin liked to do, that a country is a marriage of different nationalities. Lenin believed, and he enshrined this principle in the Soviet constitution, that if the federal family was unhappy… Continue reading Divorce, European Style

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Starting Over Again in Croatia

The wars in former Yugoslavia led to an enormous displacement of people. Even before the war broke in Bosnia, nearly 300,000 refugees from that multi-confessional region flooded into Croatia. As the wars spread and the refugee flow increased, the Bosniaks – Bosnians from a Muslim background – usually treated Croatia as a transit point to… Continue reading Starting Over Again in Croatia

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The Three-War Doctrine

U.S. troops have left Iraq and are leaving Afghanistan. The “war on terrorism” now seems so last decade. U.S. military spending has leveled off, and the Pentagon is looking at some fairly serious reductions after 2015. Last month, President Obama finally pulled the various threads of his foreign policy approach into a “doctrine” that emphasizes incremental diplomacy… Continue reading The Three-War Doctrine

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Reasons to be Cheerful

The beginning of a new year is when optimism courses through the blood. Even in the foreign policy realm of dreary realism and apocalyptic musings, January is when pundits and policymakers entertain temporarily vaulted hopes that wars can be stopped, deals negotiated, reputations salvaged, and the planet saved. This year, though it marks the 100th anniversary… Continue reading Reasons to be Cheerful

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2013

Slovenia’s Gradualist Transition

When it came to the transition from Communism to capitalism, Poland led the way with its rapid, “shock therapy” approach. This “overnight” strategy was designed to reduce inflation, stabilize the economy, and eliminate opportunities for insiders to make money by taking advantage of large differences between state-subsidized and free-market prices. On the other end of… Continue reading Slovenia’s Gradualist Transition

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