Policy Director @defpriorities. Former stopper. For restraint, pluralism, and the Celtics.

DC. Boston for sports and holidays.
Joined February 2017
You'd think "news analysis" asking if we're in a Cold War with China would consider what the Cold War was really about—the fate of Germany, to begin with—and whether a like conflict over a key territory exists today. Not this one. nytimes.com/2021/10/17/us/po…
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In the sense of dumb overreaction?
Incredible. This has all the elements of a Sputnik moment:
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Ben Friedman retweeted
Under the Constitution, too.
Interesting point by @RepElaineLuria: Under the War Powers and Taiwan Relations acts, the US president has no legal authority, without the express authorization of Congress, to use military force to defend Taiwan. washingtonpost.com/opinions/…
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It’s hard to believe Rep Luria really thinks China is aggressive enough to attack Taiwan and risk all out with the US now but would be cowed by the new authority for war against it she wants. If China is so undeterrable, US law can’t fix it. washingtonpost.com/opinions/…
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If the Times is so confident that Xi thinks he can be more assertive because US power “has faltered,” why not say how they know? Otherwise it sure seem to like the reporters are telling us what they think Chinese leaders should think and calling it fact. nytimes.com/2021/10/09/world…
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Am I wrong to see the subtext of Sullivan's comment here as we intend to maintain the old US defense policy, which is we maintain dominance via NATO and smother independent European efforts (aka strategic autonomy) to provide common defense? If so, bummer. politico.eu/article/jake-sul…
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Having a "small but symbolic" military presence in Taiwan seems idiotic. A handful of troops isn't likely to help Taiwan, as trainers or otherwise, but is likely to come out and enrage or at least embarrass China. wsj.com/articles/u-s-troops-…
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Civil war in Afghanistan may recur, but the fact that peace has broken out with the the Taliban's victory must be seen as a serious humanitarian gain. "Death has disappeared" a village iman says here. washingtonpost.com/world/asi…
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Good article, but if the "main risk" of declining GOP trust in the military "is growing skepticism of the military’s professional judgment," which sure seems reasonable post Afghanistan, maybe there's a silver lining? foreignaffairs.com/articles/…
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The White House should apply its logic on Afghanistan—long distance strikes are sufficient if necessary for counterterrorism—to Syria. The case is even better there given the capability and the fact that all remaining sides want to kill ISIS remnants. politico.com/newsletters/nat…
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Seems like every French security expert / bigwig is using the exact phrase “stab in the back” for this. I understand the anger but it’s weird how rote the anger sounds. theguardian.com/world/2021/s…
The world is a jungle. France has just been reminded this bitter truth by the way the US and the UK have stabbed her in the back in Australia. C’est la vie.
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Most of the foreign policy establishment and their media compadres assumed Biden didn’t mean it about getting out of Afghanistan, so when he did—and made the case for it so robustly that it endangered other wars—they were shocked and mortified. politico.com/news/magazine/2…
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-Culture: Viruses don't activate collective outrage, which magnifies our read on danger. -Institutions: The health-care industry, unlike the military-industrial complex, didn't need a new fear to justify its chunk of GDP. -Opportunism: Presidents can't use covid to start a war.
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Also there are perceptual or cognitive reasons to expect people to worry excessively about a menacing human organization and understate a disease that is only occasionally fatal. More on all this here: jstor.org/stable/23056915
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The most basic lesson from Afghanistan, I argue here amongst smart people's thoughts is don’t trust the national security establishment, which massively exaggerated the terrorist threat and then prescribed prolonged counterinsurgency to meet it. defensepriorities.org/sympos…
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People are criticizing this article because it’s bad title invites a debate about whether Biden is in his heart a realist or what. What I think should be emphasized instead is that Biden is doing some realist things because he’s good at politics—what the piece calls pragmatism.
Read @shifrinson and @stephenwertheim on how Biden’s early foreign policy decisions reflect a departure from his predecessors—and a shift toward a pragmatic realism that prizes the advancement of tangible U.S. interests. trib.al/KCjAoeu
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Realist policies (realpolitik) are winning or at least getting a fairer shake because they are getting more politically viable. That’s arguably a big shift, due less to who is president than the increasingly manifest limits of US power.
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A possible shift from unbalanced US hegemony or primacy—a circumstance conducive to idealistic foreign policy approaches like liberal internationalism and neoconservatism—towards realpolitik is what should be disquieting to a lot of Foreign Affairs readers.
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