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Analysis + Opinion

April 24, 2008

The divestment trap

John TirmanBoston Globe

The bill on Beacon Hill would remove all state pension funds from investments in Iran's energy industry as a means of punishing Iran for bad behavior.

Analysis + Opinion

April 3, 2008

Don't 'pull an Iraq' in Afghanistan

Benjamin H. FriedmanChristian Science Monitor

Massive state-building efforts are not a good use of tax dollars.

Analysis + Opinion

March 3, 2008

How to end the US-Iran standoff

William Luers, Thomas Pickering and James WalshInternational Herald Tribune

Continuing to try to sanction Iran has made life difficult for some Iranians but will not coerce Iran to change its commitment to a nuclear program. 

Analysis + Opinion

January 19, 2008

The murky toll of the Iraq war

John TirmanBoston Globe

Add to that other numbers that fill in our understanding even more - such as the scale of the flow of refugees or the women widowed by the war - and we have useful information.

Analysis + Opinion

December 7, 2007

Why believe it this time?

Jim WalshBoston Globe

This week's release of the new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran has renewed debate about American policy toward the Islamic Republic, but it also raises important questions about the state of US intelligence. Having been so wrong about weapons of mass destruction in the past, is it credible now?

Analysis + Opinion

December 5, 2007

The politics of chicken littleism


It is prudent to prepare for dangers. But it is also prudent to consider the costs of excessive prudence. This holds true for both the environment and national security.

Analysis + Opinion

November 23, 2007

Violence in Iraq

Barry PosenNew York Times

“U.S. Says Attacks in Iraq Fell to the Level of Early Last Year” (front page, Nov. 19) reports that according to the United States military, violence is down significantly in Iraq and lists some reasons. Two reasons are conspicuous by their absence.

Analysis + Opinion

October 30, 2007

An inspiration against nuclear arms

John TirmanBoston Globe

In 1980, she invented the call to freeze the nuclear arms race, and this simple but compelling idea - essentially, a moratorium on new nuclear weapons as a prelude to gradual disarmament - became the rallying cry for millions of people sickened by the rush to develop and deploy new nuclear weapons and missiles, space weapons, stealth bombers, and all the other expensive, provocative gadgets of the arms industry.

Analysis + Opinion

September 2, 2007

The rogue that plays by the rules

Edward S. SteinfeldWashington Post

As many Americans understand the country, China is trouble for its own people and all the rest of us. Its government is hell-bent on development but provides none of the checks expected of a healthy market system: a free press, an independent judiciary, meaningful property rights and a real legislature. Institutionally deficient and stuck in the past, China is unprepared to deal with the future and to work within the rules of fair play that bind the world's most advanced economies -- or so the conventional wisdom suggests.

Analysis + Opinion

August 18, 2007

The caste system- India's apartheid?

Balakrishnan RajagopalThe Hindu

Having taken a principled stand in foreign policy against racial discrimination and apartheid, India should not hide behind a false sense of Third World sovereignty in discussing the real problems of how to effectively end caste discrimination in a complex society.

Analysis + Opinion

August 14, 2007

A new Cold War with Iran?

John TirmanBoston Globe

The "war of ideas" is different as well. Soviet communism was a highly imperfect version of what Karl Marx intended, but Marxism generally appealed to hundreds of millions of the downtrodden worldwide, regardless of culture. Shia Islam, the ideology of Iran, appeals only to a small segment of the Muslim world, and not beyond; even in Iran, its militancy is not obviously popular.

Analysis + Opinion

August 7, 2007

The more muscular Japan

Richard J. SamuelsBoston Globe

While many nations are breathing a collective sigh of relief after North Korea's official commitment to move forward on disabling its nuclear facilities, one country is still holding its breath: Japan. 

Analysis + Opinion

July 18, 2007

More troops for what?

Benjamin FriedmanForeign Policy

Hoping to sound tough on terror, U.S politicians and pundits of all political stripes are calling for a massive expansion of the U.S. military. But adding more troops has nothing to do with fighting terrorism, and would merely serve the same failed strategy that gave us Iraq.

Analysis + Opinion

May 28, 2007

'24' on the brain

Kelly M. GreenhillLos Angeles Times

Torture is a staple on the popular show. Are Americans able to separate fact from fiction?

Analysis + Opinion

April 19, 2007

The risks of staying vs. leaving Iraq

Barry PosenBoston Globe

Supporters of the war in Iraq, including most recently Senator John McCain, tell us that a series of awful consequences will certainly result if US forces disengage. This argument is offered with great confidence. Yet the costs of disengagement are less certain than is often argued, and the United States can reduce the risks that these costs will arise - and limit their consequences if they do.

Analysis + Opinion

April 2, 2007

No to Africa command

Harvey Sapolsky and Benjamin Friedman Defense News

The Pentagon's proposal to establish a U.S. Africa Command as part of the U.S. command structure is a mistake. Creating an organization with the express mission of bringing stability to that sadly unstable continent flies in the face of the limits of state-building lessons that the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq teach. 

Analysis + Opinion

February 21, 2007

Many hidden costs line national security path

Cindy WilliamsKansas City Star

The $625 billion Defense Department budget President Bush sent Congress this month for fiscal year 2008 (which begins this October) is significantly larger after adjusting for inflation than any U.S. military budget since World War II. Even more staggering is the Pentagon’s plan to spend $2.8 trillion during the five years from 2008 to 2012. Unfortunately, the most striking thing about this enormous budget is that it falls far short of the true costs of the current national security path.

Analysis + Opinion

January 10, 2007

Surge could push troops to breaking point

Cindy WilliamsBoston Globe

The Bush administration's proposal to send an additional 20,000 troops to join the 152,000 already in Iraq is unlikely to bring significant improvement to the situation in Iraq, but it is certain to further damage the already beleaguered US ground forces.

Analysis + Opinion

December 31, 2006

In Iraq, the losses Americans don't see

John TirmanNewsday

We focus so much on the deaths of our troops that we don't understand the suffering of Iraqis.

Analysis + Opinion

October 15, 2006

Generations have been decimated; who will be left to rebuild the nation?

Barbara BodinePittsburgh Post-Gazette

We will never know the full civilian toll of the Iraq War. Two years ago a Johns Hopkins University public health study concluded that something like 100,000 civilians had been killed in the first 18 months of the Iraq War, more than half of them women and children and most as a result of coalition action.