Afghanistan Escalators Need to Provide Strategic Rationale

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(Photo credit: Army.mil’s photostream) Max Boot, Frederick Kagan, and Kimberly Kagan argue in today’s New York Times that we cannot afford to “lose” Afghanistan and suggest a number of tactical changes to our operations there. Their argument contains three major flaws. First, the authors fail to place the war in Afghanistan in the context of the United States’ overall national security strategy. Strategy is about priorities and trade offs. Pouring more troops, money, and political capital into Afghanistan means fewer…

Guest Post by Meri Lugo: When START Stops

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(Photo Credit: United States State Department) Meri Lugo is a research intern at the New America Foundation/American Strategy Program. When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov last week, the prospect of negotiating a bilateral arms control agreement to replace the 1991 START treaty, was reportedly high on the list of discussion topics. Admirably, Clinton announced that the two countries would have a START follow-on before the treaty’s expiration in December 2009. That might be…

Guest Post by Katherine Tiedemann: Admiral Mullen’s Priorities

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Katherine Tiedemann is a program associate at the New America Foundation. Last night I attended an event sponsored by Young Professionals in Foreign Policy featuring Admiral Michael Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (apologies for the poor picture quality–the iPhone camera is still woefully lacking). The conference room was packed, and you could hear a pin drop when Admiral Mullen entered the room. He touched on many different topics, but I want to highlight what he said…

Cuba: Obama’s “Relaxation Measures” Tippy-Toe in Right Direction, Sort Of. . .

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I haven’t had time yet to digest the Obama administration’s “relaxation” of restrictions in US-Cuba relations. I’m on a boat — and sailing in the vicinity of Cuba tomorrow, though in Curacao today. But I will say that the Obama team needs to prepare for an onslaught of frustration and anger regarding anything that designates certain “ethnic categories” of Americans. Relaxing Cuban-American travel is discriminatory against other Americans. We have had too much law and too many norms that didn’t…

Guest Post by Amjad Atallah: The Fight for the Primacy of US National Security Interests Continues ……

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This is a guest post by Amjad Atallah, co-director of the New America Foundation/Middle East Task Force. Charles (Chas) Freeman withdrew his candidacy yesterday for the post of chairman of the National Intelligence Council. This development sets up a worrying trend that will need to be reversed at the highest levels of government. David Rothkopf over at Foreign Policy put it best: Further, those who celebrate keeping out Freeman or any others whose views do not align with theirs or…

Perspectives and Context on U.S.-Syria Negotations

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(Photo credit: Eric Molly’s photostream) President Obama’s decision to reopen negotiations with the Syrians is about much more than bilateral relations between the two countries. Syria’s cooperation is integral to initiating game-changing policies toward Iran and to achieving progress on the Israeli-Palestinian track. As someone who knows little about Syrian politics and history, I have been consulting analysis from a variety of sources in order to understand Syria’s role in the region and what negotiations might be able to accomplish….

Checking In From the Caribbean

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Thanks to my fellow TWN posters for covering the blog while I am on a vacation out of the United States. I have stopped in Haiti, sailed by Cuba — where I really wanted to stop — and am in the Dominican Republic today. I just got word that Chas Freeman has resigned as Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, yielding to the attacks on him. This is unfortunate news as it is going to yield a new, long-running battle…

The London Summit: Bold Re-Think or Small Steps?

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The London Summit takes place on April 2nd. While this will mark Barack Obama’s first global summit as president of the United States, the meeting hasn’t received much attention in the US – in sharp contrast to much of the rest of the world, which is highly focused on the event and collectively hopeful that it will result in some dramatic fix for the global economic crisis. This meeting was scheduled back in November, 2008 as a follow up to…

Energy and Finance Highlight Europe’s Divisions

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(Photo credit: G.hostbuster’s photostream) Following the Russia-Ukraine gas disagreement last December, European leaders promised to diversify their natural gas supply away from Russia in order to prevent politically motivated shortages in the future. German President Angela Merkel said that Russia’s actions would have consequences and European Commission Chief Jose Manuel Barroso called the crisis “unacceptable.” Recent events, however, suggest that Russia will continue to divide and conquer European gas markets in a way similar to how toxic financial products continue…