State Department

Searching for the Not-So-Holy Grail

The State Department has put together a nifty guide for North African agents of fortune and influence (not to mention border guards) if they think they’ve come across some of the thousands of surface-to-air missiles purportedly pilfered during Libya’s recent unpleasantness. Given Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s surprise visit to …

On Turbanicide

Interesting take on last week’s assassination of Burhanuddin Rabbani in Afghanistan, relayed by someone calling himself KabulHipster, via U.S. Army Capt. Crispin Burke:

After Rabbani’s assassination, CJCS Mike Mullen testified before the Senate for the last time, and pretty much threw the ISI and their Haqqani connections under

“Does Mutual U.S.-China Economic Dependence Rule Out War?”


Continuing our discussion this week on China, we’re tackling a corollary of Tom Friedman’s McDonald’s Rulecountries with McDonald’s restaurants generally don’t wage war on one another — as we weigh the impact of economic ties between Beijing and Washington. Does the immense commerce between the two nations reduce the …

Afghanistan 2.0

Some old-timers speak of deja vu all over again: just as Afghanistan became the Soviet Union’s Vietnam, it could also become America’s. Tuesday’s complex attack on the U.S. embassy in Kabul — reputed to be a safer place — raises anew questions about the scope of the decade-old U.S. war in Afghanistan, and its chances for success.

Mercenary Army (cont.)

So plans are floating around the Pentagon — with the apparent blessing of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta — that call for a U.S. military force of only between 3,000 and 4,000 troops in Iraq starting next year. Under the existing deal with the Iraqi government — the one we helped install — all U.S. troops must be out by New Year’s …

Who Is Terry A. Hogan?

Adam Zagorin, a former TIME correspondent who has covered the dark corners of the post-9/11 world, is asking that question because that’s the name behind more than a dozen U.S. extraordinary renditions — seizing suspected terrorists around the world and flying them where they could be encouraged to tell what they knew. Yet while the …

Smarter National-Security Spending: What a Concept

The nation’s approach to national security is warped by the way the different pieces of it — military, diplomatic, economic, development — are funded. Washington is a series of funnels and tubes — congressional committees, Pentagon rice bowls (a way of saying I’m keeping what’s mine!), and institutional inertia. It keeps the money …

The Democratization of Destruction

Andrew Krepinevich, one of the most solid thinkers to come out of the Army in the past generation, has a thought-provoking – and foreboding – piece in the latest issue of Foreign Policy. In it, he suggests that the rules of military might are changing, and not in ways that favor the U.S. and the rest of what we might call “the …

“Gaddafi’s Days Are Numbered”

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told us something we’d been waiting to hear Tuesday: “Gaddafi’s days are numbered,” he said of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi during a session with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at National Defense University.

But then we started flipping through the pages of our notebook, backwards through time …

“Why Did It Take the U.S. So Long to Recognize the Libyan Rebels?”

After five months of bombing the government of Muammar Gadaffi, the U.S. finally recognized Libya’s rebel forces. Was this the right decision, and, if so — why did it take so long? Paul Hughes, a retired Army colonel now with the U.S. Institute of Peace, and Andrew Exum, a Center for a New American Security fellow who has led …

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