USAID Should Become the Department of Nation-Building

Washington’s top development agency needs to focus on building governments, not democracies, in chaotic foreign countries.

BY MAX BOOT AND MICHAEL MIKLAUCIC

Foreign Policy

JUN 22, 2016

Nation-building abroad has become a neuralgic term in American politics ever since it became associated with the lengthy and costly wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Opposition to it is one of the few things that Barack Obama and Donald Trump can agree on. Both believe that “nation-building begins at home,” as the president so often says.

Read more: USAID Should Become the Department of Nation-Building

Reconfiguring USAID for State-Building

Policy Innovation Memorandum No. 57

BY MAX BOOT AND MICHAEL MIKLAUCIC

Council on Foreign Relations

JUN 2016

Nation-building abroad has become a neuralgic term in American politics. Opposition to nation-building abroad is one of the few things that President Barack Obama and Donald Trump can agree on. And yet, at the same time that U.S. leaders proclaim their opposition to nation-building, they acknowledge that failing states pose a serious threat to American interests. As Obama said in his 2016 State of the Union address, "Even without ISIL … instability will continue for decades in many parts of the world—in the Middle East, in Afghanistan, parts of Pakistan, in parts of Central America, in Africa, and Asia. Some of these places may become safe havens for new terrorist networks. Others will just fall victim to ethnic conflict, or famine, feeding the next wave of refugees. The world will look to us to help solve these problems."

Read more: Reconfiguring USAID for State-Building

Why Brexit alarms Britain’s Baltic allies

Washington Post

JUN 20, 2016

The world is transfixed by Britain’s referendum Thursday over whether to stay in the European Union. Some of the most interested and anxious spectators of the “Brexit” debate are in the Baltic republics, where I recently spent a week meeting with political and military leaders as part of a delegation from the Jamestown Foundation.

Read more: Why Brexit alarms Britain’s Baltic allies

After Orlando, a Long War

To stop future terrorist attacks, we need solutions from all sides: better security and surveillance at home, a vigorous fight abroad and the support of Muslim moderates everywhere

Wall Street Journal

JUN 17, 2016

The massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando—the worst act of terrorism on American soil since the attacks of 9/11—had barely ended when the debate over its significance began. As usual, the political class divided into competing camps, with liberals predictably claiming that the real issue is gun control and conservatives just as predictably claiming that the real issue is radical Islam. There wasn’t even agreement over whether this was a hate crime or an act of terrorism. (Why couldn’t it be both?)

Faced with the cacophony of competing sound bites, it is tempting to throw one’s hands up in despair and simply bemoan the debased state of political discourse. But we don’t have that luxury, because terrorism remains a real and growing danger. So how should we combat it? By adopting the best ideas from the left and the right on how to improve security at home and by going after terrorists abroad. In dealing with such a complex threat, no part of the political spectrum has a monopoly on the truth.

Read more: After Orlando, a Long War

Under Russia's Shadow

The Baltic republics prepare for the worst

The Weekly Standard

JUN 27, 2016

Tallinn, Estonia

In the 20th century, few nations suffered as much as the Baltic republics—Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Their brief taste of freedom, made possible by the collapse of the Russian Empire in 1917-1918, was snuffed out in 1940 when Russian armies marched back in, this time under the banner of the commissars rather than the czars. When the German Army invaded the following year, many Balts saw them as liberators. But the cruel nature of Nazi rule soon became apparent. The Germans carried out genocide against the substantial Jewish population, a project in which some Balts unfortunately assisted. The return of the Red Army in 1944 brought no respite, with the Communists shipping tens of thousands of people to the Gulag. In all, more than a million people were killed in the Baltic states during World War II, representing nearly 20 percent of the prewar population of 5.4 million.

Read more: Under Russia's Shadow

Donald Trump's lies are flatly disqualifying

He repeats falsehoods over and over again even after he's called on them

New York Daily News

MAY 11, 2016

It’s hard to decide what is the most disturbing part of Donald Trump’s candidacy. His racism, sexism and nativism? His crudity, boastfulness and boorishness? His incessant flip-flopping? His threats against critics and incitement of violence against demonstrators?

Read more: Donald Trump's lies are flatly disqualifying

“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

Other Books