Analysis + Opinion | Older

The frontier and the gun are deeply encoded in the nation’s DNA, writes John Tirman. (Diana Feil/Unsplash)

Analysis + Opinion

July 27, 2018

The origins of America's gun obsession

John TirmanWBUR

John Tirman writes in an opinion piece that Sacha Baron Cohen's Who Is America? “kinderguardian” ruse reveals the extent of America’s gun culture. It’s a wellspring from the earliest times of colonial America, nourishing the country’s entire history.

Arba'een Pilgrimage - Iranian People- Shia Muslim. By Mostafameraji, from Wikimedia Commons

Analysis + Opinion

July 25, 2018

Authoritarian nostalgia among Iraqi youth

Marsin AlshamaryWar on the Rocks

PhD candidate Marsin Alshamary discusses the roots and repercussions.

Featured image credit: fuji mount pagoda japan mountain by oadtz. Public domain via Pixabay.

Analysis + Opinion

July 22, 2018

Japan’s pivot in Asia

Richard J. Samuels and Corey WallaceOUPblog

In Tokyo, apprehension regarding how the different trajectories of China and the US might affect Japan—muted somewhat by the Obama administration’s reassurances of a US “pivot” to Asia—is more apparent than ever.

 A Japanese destroyer at Sagami Bay, Japan, October 2015.

Analysis + Opinion

July 16, 2018

A new military strategy for Japan

Eric Heginbotham and Richard SamuelsForeign Affairs

Japan's current military strategy, which relies on forward defense, is outdated. An active denial strategy would improve deterrence and mitigate crisis instability, says Eric Heginbotham and Richard Samuels.

 An increasingly harsh approach to dissent has created a ‘climate of fear,’ says Audrey Li Photo: AFP/Wang Zhao

Analysis + Opinion

July 6, 2018

More and more, overseas Chinese fear the long arm of Beijing

Audrey Jiajia LiInkstone

When Audrey Jiajia Li was invited to host a panel at a conference in Singapore, she didn’t expect to be shouted at for being too negative on China. But it’s part of a disturbing trend of Chinese being unable to speak their mind overseas, she says.

President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shake hands on June 12 following their summit in Singapore. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Analysis + Opinion

June 30, 2018

There are signs North Korea is still working on its nuclear program. Here’s why ‘denuclearization’ is so problematic.

Jane Vaynman and Vipin NarangThe Washington Post

There are signs that North Korea is continuing to improve and expand infrastructure at key nuclear-weapons-related sites, including multiple suspected clandestine sites, and a strategy to deceive the United States about them. And it has yet to raze the Sohae missile test site, as Trump claimed Kim promised to do in Singapore.

Analysis + Opinion

June 12, 2018

What just happened? Experts break it down


Vipin Narang tells CNN that the Singapore summit showed why Kim Jong Un pursued nuclear weapons in the first place. Although he might have declared his nuclear weapons force completed in November 2017, it only achieved political completion when he sat down with the President of the United States as an equal.

Vipin Narang

Analysis + Opinion

June 12, 2018

North Korea is a nuclear power. Get used to it.

Vipin Narang and Ankit PandaThe New York Times

North Korea has arrived as a nuclear power, and there is no going back. Once the reality-show theatrics of the Singapore summit meeting subside, we are left with the reality that North Korea was just recognized as a de facto nuclear weapons power.

Sandia National Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.

Analysis + Opinion

May 17, 2018

Calm down, folks: Enemies still fear US military tech innovation

Harvey M. Sapolsky and Eugene Gholz Defense One

Where most countries focus on one or two areas, America has a huge, well-funded R&D infrastructure that pushes the envelope everywhere. Panting warnings that the US is falling dangerously behind our opponents in the race for military innovation are commonplace.

Analysis + Opinion

May 11, 2018

Between two Caesars: The Christians of northern Iraq

Roger Petersen and Matthew CancianProvidence

A brief account describing the formation and fragmentation of self-defense forces (militias) within the Christian population of the Nineveh Plains. Traces the development of their post-2003 self-defense force, the crisis of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) attack, and the current fractured state of Christian forces in the area.

Legal Complex, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Photo by Pfc. Elizabeth Fournier Joint Task Force Guantanamo Public Affairs.

Analysis + Opinion

May 8, 2018

The future of the US military commissions: legal and policy issues

James E. Baker and Laura DickinsonJust Security

The ongoing operation of the US military commissions at Guantanamo Bay has posed significant challenges for multiple US administrations.  

President Trump told French President Emmanuel Macron last month that he would probably leave the Iran deal. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

Analysis + Opinion

May 4, 2018

Trump thinks his North Korea strategy will work on Iran. He’s wrong on both.

Colin H. Kahl and Vipin NarangThe Washington Post

On April 24, French president Emmanuel Macron walked into the Oval Office with one overriding mission: persuade President Trump not to ditch the Iran nuclear deal.

US Capital Building

Analysis + Opinion

March 27, 2018

Keep the Iran deal — 10 good reasons why

A bipartisan group of 118 American national security leaders, including CIS scholars, issued a statement outlining ten reasons why President Trump should keep the Iran nuclear deal. 

President Trump Image Credit: U.S. Department of Defense

Analysis + Opinion

March 15, 2018

The Trump-Kim Summit and the truth about North Korean denuclearization

Ankit Panda and Vipin NarangThe Diplomat

In a stunning and unexpected move, President Donald Trump announced last week that he will meet with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un — setting the stage for the first-ever presidential-level US-North Korea summit.

Map of Japan and ROK

Analysis + Opinion

March 1, 2018

With friends like these: Japan-ROK cooperation and US policy

Eric Heginbotham and Richard SamuelsThe ASAN Forum

Although they share a common ally, history and politics keep Japan and South Korea at arm’s length and severely limit their defense cooperation.​

 Jacob Zuma arrives to announce his resignation in Pretoria, February 2018.

Analysis + Opinion

February 20, 2018

South Africa's healthy Democracy: Why Zuma's resignation is a good sign

Daniel de Kadt, Evan Lieberman, and Philip MartinForeign Affairs

Democracy in South Africa is in tatters. Or at least that’s the widespread view following President Jacob Zuma’s forced resignation on February 14, which ended his almost-nine-year tenure in office.

Nuclear missiles

Analysis + Opinion

February 13, 2018

What can we learn from North Korea’s successful nuclearization?

Nicholas L. Miller and Vipin NarangThe Texas National Security Review

According to most theories of nuclear proliferation, North Korea did not stand much of a chance of successfully acquiring nuclear weapons. Yet here we are, staring down an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)-sized barrel of the world’s 10th nuclear weapons power.

 Nobuhiro Kubo / Reuters - The Malabar exercises, Okinawa, June 2016

Analysis + Opinion

February 13, 2018

The rise of illiberal hegemony

Barry R. PosenForeign Affairs

Is US hegemony of any kind sustainable, and if not, what policy should replace it? Trump turns out to be as good at avoiding that question as those he has condemned.

Jim Walsh

Analysis + Opinion

February 12, 2018

Why North Korea and Iran get accused of nuclear collusion

Jim Walsh Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist

At first glance, it would seem that Iran-North Korea military or even nuclear cooperation makes “sense.” Both nations face the United States as an adversary, and both have been subject to US and international sanctions.

John Tirman

Analysis + Opinion

February 6, 2018

An adolescent's foreign policy

John TirmanHelsinki Times

If there’s one thing President Donald Trump demonstrated in his first year in the White House, it is a penchant for disruption. Not the disruption we hear so much about in the tech industry or as a tool of innovation, but just sheer destructiveness.