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National Security

Hold the Obituary: Is the U.S. Really in Decline?

In the second installment of our recap of the Wilson Center May 2015 Alumni Conference, we hear from an a-list panel of analysts addressing the question, “Is the U.S. in decline?” From the China challenge to the “rise of the rest,” America’s place in the world is being questioned from within and without. Is the American Century truly over and are its best days in history’s rear view mirror? That’s the focus of this edition of REWIND.

How Supplying Sunni Tribes Could Backfire on the U.S.

The possibility that the Obama administration is considering supplying military assistance directly to Sunni tribes in Anbar underscores a central challenge in Washington’s approach to Iraq,  Syria, and the Middle East generally. I call it the “one person’s floor is another person’s ceiling” problem.

Middle East Realities That Challenge Obama’s Nuclear Deal With Iran

The emerging Iran deal that the Obama administration contends is comprehensive and definitive contains so many uncertainties, including those regarding Iran’s future nuclear weapons aspirations, that it might well turn out to be an extended interim accord.

This underscores an issue with a few things Secretary of State John Kerry recently said while defending the Iran deal–remarks that I presume he’d like to take back:

The Iran Nuclear Deal and the Role of the US Congress

As progress continues toward finalizing a deal on Iran’s nuclear program, the United States Congress is moving forward with legislation that will further define and assert its role in the negotiations. Some have suggested that partisanship is in play, while others believe that the process of checks and balances is operating as it should. To gain insight and historical context, we spoke with Congress expert Don Wolfensberger. That’s the focus of this edition of Wilson Center NOW

What’s Undermining Obama’s Camp David Summit

The last time there was really good news from a Camp David summit  was 1978, when Jimmy Carter brought together Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin and laid the basis for the Egypt-Israel peace treaty. The 2000 Camp David summit at which Bill Clinton tried to do the same with Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat didn’t have a happy ending.

And the Camp David summit President Barack Obama is hosting to allay Gulf allies’ concerns over a nuclear deal with Iran isn’t likely to measure up either.

3 Reasons to Be Skeptical of Seymour Hersh’s Account of the Bin Laden Raid

Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh published an article Sunday about the 2011 raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan that immediately went viral, crashing the London Review of Books Web site.

Among its striking claims: Bin Laden was a “prisoner” of the Pakistani intelligence service in his Abbottabad compound since 2006; the United States learned of Bin Laden’s whereabouts through a former Pakistani intelligence officer; Saudi Arabia was “financing Bin Laden’s upkeep”; and Pakistan’s military helped Washington plan the raid.

Inside ISIS: Hassan Hassan on the “Army of Terror”

How is ISIS best understood? Is it a terror group like al-Qaeda or something different? Is it truly a religious group or does is simply use Islam for its own purposes? And if ISIS can be defeated, how long will it take and what would victory look like? Hassan Hassan, co-author of ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror, provides us with a revealing look inside the world’s most dangerous terrorist organization.  Book link:

U.S. Decline or the Rise of the Rest: Is The American Century Over?

In his new book, Is the American Century Over?, world renowned foreign policy analyst, Joseph Nye, tackles that big question and concludes that theories of U.S. decline may be premature. He argues that while America’s super power status is being challenged by the “rise of the rest” and other realities, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we are entering a post-American world. And Wilson Center President Jane Harman proposes that it might be more accurate to think of America as the “indispensable partner” instead of as the “indispensable nation.”

Four Ways Congress Can Improve the Iran Nuclear Deal

The last thing the United States needs is 535 legislators micromanaging its Iran policy. But having worked at the State Department for more than two decades, I know I don’t want Foggy Bottom controlling a 10- to 15-year deal with Iran. Here are four ways Congress could play a credible role on the Iran deal.