Publications

AFTER RUSSIAN democratic leader Boris Nemtsov was gunned down in Moscow last weekend, I posed this question at a Harvard Kennedy School conference: Is it possible that, in Vladimir Putin's highly controlled dictatorship, no one in the Russian government had anything to do with Nemtsov's murder?

We may never know the answer. Possible culprits range from Russia's security apparatus to one of the extreme nationalist movements emboldened by Putin's climate of fear and paranoia. In a cynical regime like Putin's, the last thing we should expect is for the truth to emerge. Indeed, Kremlin apologists pointed to all the usual suspects in the killing's aftermath — Chechen terrorists, the Ukrainian government, Russia's democratic opposition itself, and even the United States. The Kremlin knows what to do at a moment like this — bury the truth deep beneath the Russian tundra, where no one will ever find it.

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The group that calls itself the Islamic State (IS) can't abide competition even from the mute remains of its region's fabled past.

An equal opportunity destroyer, IS has gone beyond lopping off the heads of live perceived enemies to demolishing priceless artifacts from ancient Mesopotamia that had survived previous waves of conquest.

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For those of us old enough to recall the Vietnam War, fact and reality were obscured and mangled by successive White Houses anxious to reach the delusional "light at the end of the tunnel." Tragically, at the end of the tunnel lay a quagmire that consumed 58,000 American and countless Vietnamese lives. In the highly complex and complicated fight against the Islamic State (IS), are fact and reality similarly being distorted or ignored by the White House either because of lack of understanding of the conflict or other human error and misjudgment?

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Europe Should Press Moscow to Respect EU Rules—and Kyiv to End Gas Monopoly


In recent days, Russia has once more threatened the security of Europe’s gas supplies by announcing that it will refuse to pipe gas through Ukraine and will require that a southern alternative be built through Turkey. The European gas supply system has become a vital issue over the past year given Europe’s significant reliance on Russian imports and the conflict arising from Russia’s attacks on Ukraine. Europe depends on gas imports from Russia for approximately 30 percent of its requirements, of which about 40 percent are transported through Ukrainian pipelines.

For years, Europe has allowed Gazprom, the monopolistic Russian state gas supplier, to sell in Europe on terms that are highly anticompetitive and inconsistent with market principles. This has let Russia use gas exports as a weapon of intimidation, especially in Central and Eastern Europe.

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HE INVADED Crimea a year ago and then formally annexed it in a brazen, illegal act of aggression not seen in Europe since the Second World War. He sent thousands of Russian soldiers across the border to tilt the balance of Ukraine's civil war in favor of pro-Moscow separatists and then refused to own up to it in a Big Lie reminiscent of Stalin's days.

He gave rebels the sophisticated weapons that shot the Malaysian airliner out of the sky in July and have pulverized Ukrainian villages and towns.

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The Internet makes everyone neighbors in cyberspace, connected by a digital infrastructure that serves as the bedrock of their communities. But despite pockets of excellence, the neighborhood-watch system is broken. Not all kinds of sharing are equal, as many organizations involved in cyber defense are net consumers—not suppliers—of shareable cybersecurity information.

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'The Modern Mercenary' author McFate says contractors fill security vacuum left by departing troops


One of the biggest fallacies in Washington is that once the United States is done with private security contractors in Afghanistan and elsewhere they will simply pack their bags and head home, says Sean McFate.

In fact, these private armies go in search of new clients and conflicts.

As US and coalition troops withdraw from Afghanistan they are leaving behind a security vacuum that is being filled by private security contractors — an industry that has flourished since the Iraq war in 2003.

Some contractors may go to Iraq, while others are protecting international shipping in the pirate-infested waters off Africa.

“If the United States wants to be a global power with global presence all the time and be able to project power, but Americans themselves do not want to have to go to war, then it seems that contracting is not going to go away,” says McFate, a former US Army paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division who later worked with the private security firm DynCorp International.

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Friction between the United States and Israel is not uncommon.

On issues ranging from the 1956 Suez war to the expansion of settlements in the occupied West Bank, the leaders of the U.S. and Israel have often clashed in ways that reflected different perceptions of their national interests.

Still, there is something particularly disturbing and counterproductive about the current disagreement over Iran.

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To cling to current short-sighted policies and to help sustain dysfunctional states in the Middle East for the sake of short-term security would condemn the region to poverty and further instability, which threaten to have negative consequences for US interests.

pdfRead the Issue Brief (PDF)

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This morning, a legend and giant in journalism died. There will be no more like him. Arnaud de Borchgrave would have been eighty-nine this Fall. And his career was the stuff of Hollywood movies not the least of which was marrying his stunning and glamorous wife Alexandra with more than enough of the "right stuff" to keep pace with her formidable and much admired husband and his extraordinary wit and sense of humor.

Born to Belgium aristocrats in Brussels in 1926, his parents were Countess Audrey Dorothy Louise Townshend, daughter of Major General Sir Charles Vere Ferrers Townshend, KGB, DSO, and Belgian Count Baudouin de Borchgrave d'Altena, head ofBelgium's military intelligence for the government-in-exile during World War II. De Borchgrave would renounce his title in 1951 for American citizenship.

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