Digital: JAN 14, 2016
Print: FEB 2016
Ever since the end of the Cold War, pundits and self-styled sages have predicted that isolationism would emerge as a potent force in the Republican Party. Those expectations were heightened after the early disasters of the Iraq War, which gave rise to a powerful anti-interventionist tide that swept Barack Obama into the White House. In 2012, the Texas congressman Ron Paul emerged as the standard-bearer for this new GOP isolationism with a grassroots presidential campaign that raised an astonishing $38 million from small donors. After 2012, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky took the baton from his father, and in October 2014, Time put Rand on its cover with the question: “Can he fix what ails the GOP?” Little more than a year later, we know the answer is no. Whatever ailments the Republican Party may have, Rand Paul isn’t going to fix them. His 2016 presidential bid never reached takeoff speed.
JAN 12, 2016
Last week the Defense Department announced a couple of significant appointments: Gen. Joseph Votel, head of Special Operations Command, or SOCOM, would become head of United States Central Command, in charge of all military operations in the Middle East. Lt. Gen. Raymond “Tony” Thomas, head of the Joint Special Operations Command (composed of the Army's Delta Force, Navy SEALs and other “Tier 1” forces) would gain an extra star and replace Votel as overall head of special operations.
Thomas thus becomes the third Joint Special Operations commander in a row to ascend to lead SOCOM and Votel becomes the latest special ops veteran elevated to a senior command, following the precedent set by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who went from Joint Special Operations Command to director of the Pentagon's Joint Staff to command in Afghanistan.
DEC 10, 2015
The Obama administration’s decision to send the Joint Special Operations Command into battle against the Islamic State is a small step toward getting rid of the counterproductive prohibition on “boots on the ground” — really a prohibition on U.S. troops going into combat — that has hindered attempts to defeat the terrorist state. The Special Operations task force that apparently will be stationed in Irbil in northern Iraq will not, by itself, be a game-changer. But it will be a real help, especially in gathering intelligence about the Islamic State.
Wars aren’t won simply by bombing the enemy, yet this delusion has bipartisan, multinational support.
DEC 8, 2015
Ever since the dawn of the air age more than a century ago, military strategists have been prone to the delusion that bombing by itself can win wars.
Today the air-power fantasy is that dropping enough bombs on Islamic State jihadists will get the job done in Iraq and Syria. The approach is a bipartisan, indeed multinational, daydream, shared by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, and now by Britain and France as well.
Military history offers little justification for such faith.
Prepared statement by
Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow for National Security Studies
Council on Foreign Relations
Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
United States House of Representatives
1st Session, 114th Congress
DEC. 2, 2015
Hearing on “The Paris Attacks: A Strategic Shift by ISIS?”
Chairman Poe, Ranking Member Keating, members of the subcommittee:
Thank you for inviting me here to testify about the most pressing national security threat that we face—the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq, a.k.a. ISIS or ISIL. The recent terrorist attack in Paris which killed 129 people, along with other attacks from Sharm al-Sheikh to Beirut to Tunis, demonstrate this group’s range and murderous effectiveness. ISIS is spawning “provinces” from Libya to Afghanistan to Nigeria. That ISIS is now threatening to attack the United States should cause us great concern. Mass-casualty attacks such as the one in Paris (or earlier in Mumbai) are easy to carry out and hard to stop. We are every bit as vulnerable as France.
NOV 17, 2015
"It cannot be an American fight," Hillary Clinton said of ISIS. She is wrong. It is an American fight, one that will not succeed without American leadership.
Far from being “contained” — as President Obama said in an interview that aired the morning of the Paris attacks — ISIS is using its operational base in Iraq and Syria to mount an increasingly dangerous terrorist offensive. In the past few weeks alone, the group has been tied to attacks in Paris, Sharm el-Sheikh, Beirut and Baghdad. Like previous totalitarian movements, ISIS, if left undefeated, will continue to expand its reign of terror.