United States

  • United States Sanctions Seventeen Saudi Officials Over Khashoggi Murder

    The US Treasury Department on November 15 slapped sanctions on seventeen Saudi officials in response to the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

    The sanctioned Saudis include Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s trusted adviser, Saud al-Qahtani; senior aide Maher Mutreb; and Saudi counsel general in Istanbul, Mohammed al-Ootaibi.

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  • The Wake-Up Call

    “The security and wellbeing of the United States are at greater risk today than at any time in decades. America’s military superiority… has eroded to a dangerous degree. America’s ability to defend its allies, its partners, and its own vital interests is increasingly in doubt. If the nation does not act promptly to remedy these circumstances, the consequences will be grave.”

    The above warning is the opening of the National Defense Strategy Commission’s report, which was released on November 13. The Commission—of which I was a member—was established by the 2017 Defense Authorization Act to independently assess the state of the nation’s defense as well as to review the Department of Defense’s (DOD) January 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS).

    In our report, we note that many of the skills necessary to conduct military operations have atrophied and that the United States’ edge in technologies that underpin US military superiority is eroding or has disappeared. We add that these trends are undermining both our ability to deter adversaries and the confidence of US allies, increasing the likelihood of military conflict. 

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  • The World Has Come Full Circle—And Taken a Turn For The Worse

    The guns of war at last fell silent at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. The Great War was over. The Armistice took effect. The war had lasted more than four years; it had caused the death of close to ten million combatants and more than half as many civilians. An entire generation of European youth, supported by comrades from the United States and around the world, had met the fate foreseen by the young New Yorker Alan Seeger, who had enlisted in the French Foreign Legion even before the formation of the American Expeditionary Force: “I have a rendezvous with death / At some disputed barricade /... It may be he shall take my hand / And lead me into some dark land / And close my eyes and quench my breath.” Seeger was killed in action on July 4, 1916.

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  • One Hundred Years of American Grand Strategy

    On November 11, 1918, World War One, the Great War, ended. Amid the chaos that followed—revolution, the fall of empires, and rise of nations—the United States attempted to build a rules-based world which favored freedom. American power had won the war, and President Woodrow Wilson was trying to shape a peace along the lines of what we now call a rules-based or “liberal” world order. Wilson’s Fourteen Points, presented the previous January, challenged the imperial, balance-of-power system of the European powers (on both sides) which had started the war, and at the same time took on Lenin’s revolutionary alternative. Wilson’s ideas were a rough draft of American Grand Strategy in what has been called the American Century.

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  • Skripal and Beyond: The Post-Election Russia Sanctions Landscape

    The US State Department made an important, if expected, announcement to Congress on November 6 that it was unable to certify that Russia had met the conditions in the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBW Act) necessary to stave off a second round of sanctions. The notification drew relatively little domestic coverage—coming, as it did, during the fever pitch of the US midterm elections—but it did garner an angry statement from the Republican chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ed Royce, denouncing the department’s apparent lack of a timetable for imposing the next round of sanctions.

    Add Royce’s reaction to the draft bills that were simmering before the midterms recess, unease over the potential for another meeting between US President Donald J. Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and what is sure to be a swift reaction to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ resignation on November 7, and the Trump administration did not get even twenty-four hours from the close of the midterm polls before letting Russia jump right back into the national conscience as a hot-button issue.

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  • How Will the Outcome of the Midterms Affect Trump's Policy Options?

    Democrats captured the House of Representatives while Republicans strengthened their Senate majority in the US midterm elections on November 6.

    We asked our analysts what they believe are the policy implications of this outcome. Here’s what they had to say*:

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  • Will Missionary’s Death Be a Tipping Point for US Position on Cameroon Crisis?

    Charles Trumann Wesco, an American missionary from Indiana who moved to the Republic of Cameroon with his wife and eight children just two weeks ago, was killed on October 30 after being caught in cross-fire between Cameroonian security forces and separatist fighters.

    Wesco and his family were living in the suburbs of Bamenda, a large city in Cameroon’s Northwest Region that has been at the center of the country’s Anglophone crisis over the last two years.

    Wesco’s death came just one week after Cameroon’s president, Paul Biya, who has ruled the country with an autocrat’s grip since 1982, was reelected for a seventh term in an election marred by allegations of voter fraud, apathy, and, in places, outright fear.  

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  • US Midterms’ World Impact

    Seldom have America's midterm elections been watched so closely across the globe.
    The reasons are clear enough: what impact they'll have on the competitive attractiveness of US democracy around the world, what clues they will provide about the durability of the Trump administration and its foreign policies and – hardest to calculate – the impact they will have on the populist and nationalist momentum globally.

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  • This is What a Post-Mattis Pentagon Will Look Like

    If US President Donald J. Trump moves to replace Secretary of Defense James Mattis after the midterm elections in November, as he has signaled his want to do, the effect will be significant for government decision-making at home and for our defense activities abroad. 

    A post-Mattis Department of Defense (DoD) will align more closely with the president’s worldview and act accordingly. We can expect more muscular and high-risk military posturing,  alliances coming under new strain, and the United States’ reputation for unilateralism deepening.

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  • To Combat Russian Subs, NATO Allies are Teaming up to Develop Naval Drones

    NATO: [O]n Wednesday (3 October 2018), Defence Ministers from thirteen NATO Allies signed a declaration of intent to cooperate on the introduction of Maritime Unmanned Systems.
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