The case for cutting off aid to Egypt

A suspension of U.S. military assistance isn't likely to alter the Egyptian generals' behavior, but it might prevent terrorist blowback.

Los Angeles Times

August 22, 2013

Prominent commentators, including Leslie Gelb, John Bolton and Bret Stephens, are counseling the Obama administration to swallow its qualms about the military coup in Cairo and embrace the generals as the best alternative to the Muslim Brotherhood. This is what might be called the "son of a bitch" theory of international relations, after the apocryphal comment supposedly made by President Franklin D. Roosevelt about Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza: "He may be a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch."

Read more: The case for cutting off aid to Egypt

In Defense of Football

It's a rough, sometimes dangerous sport, but critics exaggerate football's risks

Wall Street Journal

August 16, 2013

The tang of fall is in the air, and every American knows what it portends: the sights and sounds of cleats digging into grass turf, of grunting linemen colliding shoulder pad to shoulder pad, of an oblong leather ball spinning through the air, high above the mortals below. Football season is almost upon us, and with it comes another season of controversy, prompting fresh claims of a crisis in the game.

Read more: In Defense of Football

Korea and the power of politics

North and South, on the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, couldn't be more different.

Los Angeles Times

July 28, 2013

SEOUL — Americans like to pretend that politics don't matter and to bemoan the slight differences between our political parties. These are luxuries we can afford as the world's richest and most stable country. But for much of the world, politics are a matter of life and death. That is particularly evident in South Korea, which this weekend celebrates the 60th anniversary of the armistice that ended the Korean War.

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Lessons from Chechnya’s Long History of Jihadism


July 2013

What do jihadists want? Simple: power. The power to impose their own extreme version of Shari’a law. But that is not what most Muslims want. For the most part they want the same things as non-Muslims: jobs, education, families, a higher standard of living, peace, and security. Therein lies both the power and the weakness of jihadist extremists: they are strong because they are motivated by religious certitude, but at the same time they are weak because their program is too austere to be popular when actually implemented even in traditional Muslim societies. If properly exploited by a skilled adversary, this weakness can turn out to be fatal.

Read more: Lessons from Chechnya’s Long History of Jihadism

Political Warfare

by Max Boot, Michael Doran

Council on Foreign Relations Policy Innovation Memorandum

June 2013

The United States is in a long-term struggle for influence in the Middle East with competitors such as Iran, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, and various Salafist organizations. All have their own differences, but they are united in promoting visions of society that are at odds with American interests and ideals. Yet the U.S. government lacks the tools to contest this struggle for “hearts and minds.” The armed forces and intelligence community are skilled at using drone strikes to eliminate the leaders of terrorist organizations. But the United States does not have a political strategy to capitalize on short-term gains achieved by air strikes. It is time to develop such a strategy and to call it by its rightful but long-neglected name: political warfare.

Read more: Political Warfare

Department of Dirty Tricks

Why the United States needs to sabotage, undermine, and expose its enemies in the Middle Max Boot, Michael Doran

June 28, 2013

"Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in." So said Michael Corleone in The Godfather, Part III. He was complaining about the impossibility of leaving the mafia behind, but the quote undoubtedly expresses the feelings of President Barack Obama as he contemplates the difficulty of extricating the United States from the Middle East. He is eager to pivot to Asia and sees bringing soldiers home from Iraq and Afghanistan as one of his most important legacies. Like the mafia, however, the Middle East has a way of pulling the United States back in. First in Afghanistan, then in Libya, and now in Syria, events on the ground and pressure from allies convinced a reluctant president to make new military commitments.

Read more: Department of Dirty Tricks

“Destined to be the classic account of what may be the oldest . . . hardest form of war.” —John Nagl, Wall Street Journal


"Enormous, brilliant and important…. Terrific… Astute… Boot’s Invisible Armies should be required reading in the White House and Pentagon." —Michael Korda, Daily Beast

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