Dispensing With Indispensability: The US Failed To Improve the World

The conceit that America is "the indispensable nation" has been a core assumption of US policymakers for at least the last thirty years. The idea of American indispensability has served as an excuse for the US to interfere in many other countries’ internal affairs and to wage illegal wars in the name of "maintaining" international … Continue reading “Dispensing With Indispensability: The US Failed To Improve the World”

Attacking Iran Would Be a Crime

The US government has made a habit of threatening other countries with military attack if they fail to do what Washington wants, and in some cases the other country finds itself under attack even when it has complied. Iraq disarmed and ended its unconventional weapons programs, and then it was invaded anyway in the name … Continue reading “Attacking Iran Would Be a Crime”

Biden’s Unforced Taiwan Error

The US is not obliged to defend Taiwan, and because of that China hawks have been agitating for at least the last year to make an explicit security guarantee to protect Taiwan against attack. Last week, President Biden made another unforced error when he affirmed that the US has a "commitment" to defend Taiwan when … Continue reading “Biden’s Unforced Taiwan Error”

Sanctions Are an Inherently Indiscriminate Weapon

The Biden administration concluded its very long review of US sanctions policy this week, and the results were woefully inadequate. Judging from the review and the administration’s record so far, there isn’t much reason to expect a significant change in the frequent use of broad sanctions. The sanctions review has dragged on all year, and … Continue reading “Sanctions Are an Inherently Indiscriminate Weapon”

Abandoning Yemen to War Criminals

The United Nations body responsible for monitoring and recording human rights abuses effectively abandoned the people of Yemen last week. In a 21-18 vote with seven abstentions, the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) refused to extend the mandate of an independent investigation into war crimes committed by all sides in Yemen. Since its establishment in … Continue reading “Abandoning Yemen to War Criminals”

The Bankruptcy of ‘Great Power Competition’

A militarized rivalry between the US and China will be costly and dangerous for all concerned, but the people most likely to suffer from it will be found in the countries that the two major powers choose to turn into their battlefields. The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union split Europe … Continue reading “The Bankruptcy of ‘Great Power Competition’”

Remembering the Crime of War

The effort to make war more humane has had the regrettable and foreseeable effect of making war more tolerable and therefore much easier to perpetuate. Along the way, the focus on how wars are fought has distracted us from the even more important questions of whether to fight them and for how long. This is … Continue reading “Remembering the Crime of War”

Don’t Forget About Yemen

The war on Yemen has not ended, and unfortunately neither has U.S. backing for the Saudi coalition. As Bruce Riedel and Annelle Sheline explain in their recent analysis for Brookings, Biden has failed to cut off support for Saudi coalition offensive operations as he said he would: "As long as the US materially and rhetorically … Continue reading “Don’t Forget About Yemen”

Shut Down the Drone War

The August 29 U.S. drone strike in Kabul that killed ten civilians, including seven children, demonstrates the bankruptcy of the war on terror. Like many other drone strikes, the strike in Kabul targeted innocent people and achieved nothing except to blow up civilians that had the misfortune to be in the vicinity. According to two … Continue reading “Shut Down the Drone War”

How the US Lost in Afghanistan

The U.S. fought the war in Afghanistan for almost twenty years, but for that entire time the political and military leaders never knew what they were doing and had no clear idea of what they were trying to achieve. To make matters worse, the US government knew almost nothing about Afghanistan and its politics at … Continue reading “How the US Lost in Afghanistan”