International Security News

America's Shocking Ignorance of Afghanistan

Jun 05, 2015
"The basic debate regarding whether U.S. efforts in the country should be focused on counter-insurgency or counter-terrorism has always framed the Afghan state as incidental to Western aims and efforts. Why? A basic ignorance about Afghanistan and a profound unwillingness on the part of policymakers to address this intellectual illiteracy lie at the core of any answer," writes Benjamin Hopkins.

De Souza Discusses Demographic Resilience in Latest SAIS Review of International Affairs

Jun 02, 2015
In the latest edition of the Review of International Affairs, Roger-Mark De Souza examines the ways in which demographic trends influence security considerations, highlighting some key considerations in light of the reality of climate change and drawing policy implications for the security, humanitarian, and development communities. De Souza suggests that when countries find ways to harness population dynamics they enhance their “demographic resilience” and find ways to plan for the shocks and stresses associated with climate change that may increase their conflict potential.

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

May 30, 2015
"If the U.S. opens an assistance conduit to the tribes, it could have major consequences among Shiites: It could weaken Mr. Abadi in the eyes of his Shiite constituency; it could undermine the premise of central government the U.S. is trying to support; it could even lead Iran to more aggressively push their Shiite militias in Iraq, further weakening the idea of centralized authority," writes Aaron David Miller.

A Warning in Iran’s Closed-Door Trial of Reporter Jason Rezaian

May 26, 2015
"The ministry, aided by a pliant judiciary, may be trying to make an example of Mr. Rezaian. His experience serves as a warning to other Iranians or dual nationals who work for foreign news agencies in Iran or universities and think tanks abroad. The message? Such Iranians should not feel free, or safe, to travel between Iran and the U.S. or Europe," writes Haleh Esfandiari

Obama's Arab Security Strategy: An Old Doctrine Gets Put to the Test in Yemen

May 18, 2015
"Yemen couldn’t be a worse place to put the American Gulf security plan to the test. It is a certified failed state with an impeccable record of sucking outside powers into a treacherous tribal quicksand," writes David Ottaway.

No Simple Answers to Questions About U.S. Leadership

May 18, 2015
"We are entering an era of difficult international transitions; and changing times require new thinking — not only by the Obama administration but by the presidential aspirants who wish to lead this country in a troubled time," writes Haleh Esfandiari.

How Durable is the China-Russia ‘friendship?’

May 13, 2015
China and Russia have options to forge an essentially cooperative relationship. However, limits to their partnership could grow over time given the two nations’ differing trajectories and historical grievances.

The Iran Nuclear Deal and the Role of the US Congress

May 13, 2015
On this edition of Wilson Center NOW, Congress expert Donald Wolfensberger describes the role of Congress in the Iran nuclear negotiations.

What’s Undermining Obama’s Camp David Summit

May 12, 2015
"Regardless of the reason for King Salman’s absence, the optics are terrible for the U.S. Once again, a Middle East leader is publicly saying no to a U.S. president on something important (earlier members of that club include Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, the Palestinian Authority’s Mahmoud Abbas, and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad)," writes Aaron David Miller.

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

May 11, 2015
"Mr. Hersh is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who has broken major stories, including the My Lai massacre in Vietnam and Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. This account purports to explain an elaborate conspiracy theory, and-–as I have written previously-–such stories sometimes contain elements of truth. Still, the issues of sourcing and substance suggest taking Mr. Hersh’s account with a healthy dose of salt," writes Michael Kugelman.