Historical Lessons Warn Against Modern US Foreign Policy

This writer has recently published a book which examines the cultural origins of a certain American outlook that, since the Second World War, has inspired generally unsuccessful military interventions into non-Western countries, the most dramatic of them being the defeat in Vietnam followed by the genocide in Cambodia. This American outlook subsequently inspired the 2001-2003 … Continue reading “Historical Lessons Warn Against Modern US Foreign Policy”

Newest National Security Strategy an Elaboration of the Old

The Obama administration has at last issued its own National Security Strategy, a 52-page document that takes the place of the strategy statements published by the George W. Bush administration, beginning in 2002, notable for their belligerence in proclaiming America’s policy priority to be the “defeat” of “terrorism,” their assertion of unilateral pursuit of American … Continue reading “Newest National Security Strategy an Elaboration of the Old”

Mac Bundy Said He Was ‘All Wrong’

Lessons in Disaster: McGeorge Bundy and the Path to War in Vietnam By Gordon M. Goldstein Holt, 300 pp., $16.00 (paper) The debate over foreign policy that culminated in President Barack Obama’s address to the nation on December 1, 2009, concerns a war that began with the attack of a mainly Saudi Arabian group of politically radicalized Muslim men on New York and Washington, targets symbolic of … Continue reading “Mac Bundy Said He Was ‘All Wrong’”

Obama’s New Security Strategy Looks Much Like the Old One

President Barack Obama’s speech to the West Point graduating class last Saturday was meant to convey a “new” American national security strategy, less evident in his words than in the manner in which the White House pitched the speech to the press, the press following official inspiration. The “new” strategy emphasizes cooperation with allies and … Continue reading “Obama’s New Security Strategy Looks Much Like the Old One”

What Next for NATO?

The European Union doesn’t know where it stands at this moment. NATO thinks it knows and is gambling. Has the EU a future, or has disintegration set in? The behavior of the Germans under the conservative Merkel government is taken by many to signal that the end, if not nigh, is foreordained. Germany in this … Continue reading “What Next for NATO?”

The NATO Nuisance

Large and firmly implanted bureaucratic organizations are almost impossible to kill, even when they have no reason to continue to exist, as NATO has not since the Soviet Union, communism, and the Warsaw Pact all collapsed. There is no equivalent to driving a stake into the heart of a bureaucracy, whose impulse to live is … Continue reading “The NATO Nuisance”

Obama’s Nuclear-Weapons Conference Fatally Flawed Before It Began

The meeting on nuclear security convoked by Barack Obama this week was meant to prevent nuclear proliferation. This is a worthy cause, but – while I am writing before the meeting closes – I would assume that it will at best produce empty promises, as the meeting itself is fatally flawed. Its conceptual basis is … Continue reading “Obama’s Nuclear-Weapons Conference Fatally Flawed Before It Began”

As Iraq Threatens to Come Apart, US Problems in Afghanistan Mount

Washington once again finds itself dangerously entangled with the hostile policies, nationalistic interests and supporters, and personal ambitions of a foreign figure whom it counted on to serve American interests. This time it is in Afghanistan, the latest in what, alas, must be described as America’s quasi-imperial foreign military adventures. This is a country to … Continue reading “As Iraq Threatens to Come Apart, US Problems in Afghanistan Mount”

Is There a Mideast Solution?

DOHA, Qatar – Internationally speaking, there are only two subjects to talk about in the Middle East. These are Israel, the Palestinians, and the Americans; and Iran and Israel. The two subjects dominated the annual meeting here of the Institute for Mediterranean Political Studies, a group of senior or retired European, American, and Middle Eastern … Continue reading “Is There a Mideast Solution?”