All Content

Wed, Apr 15, 2020

“Disaster Diplomacy” and the US response to COVID-19

Global efforts to engage in "disaster diplomacy" during the COVID-19 virus have not met with much success. This failure has as much to do with the nature of the virus as it does with the nature of the response. Getting disaster diplomacy right requires alignment of ends, means, and interests. Otherwise, it risks being perceived as exploitive or ineffective.

New Atlanticist by C. Anthony Pfaff

Coronavirus Politics & Diplomacy

Thu, Apr 9, 2020

Third time’s the charm for a new Iraqi PM?

“Iraq needs a prime minister with a mandate from the parliament and the people," Thomas Warrick says, "and al-Kadhimi represents the best chance in a long time for an Iraqi leader who understand the needs of the people for honest, competent, and responsive government."

New Atlanticist by Atlantic Council

Democratic Transitions Iraq

Fri, Mar 20, 2020

Amid COVID-19, Iraq remains US-Iran battleground

Americans have been killed once again during attacks on Iraqi bases, and a series of strikes have been made by US forces and Iranian proxies within Iraq, with no immediate sign that the hostilities will abate anytime soon. Iran is trying to force a US withdrawal, and the United States is trying to protect its interests and reinforce its red lines. Caught in the middle once again, Iraq is simultaneously confronting a security crisis, a health emergency, and an economic free fall—all without the benefit of a functioning government in Baghdad.

New Atlanticist by Atlantic Council

Conflict Coronavirus

Dr. Tony Pfaff is currently a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Iraq Initiative and the research professor for the Military Profession and Ethic at the Strategic Studies Institute (SSI), U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, PA.

A retired Army colonel and Foreign Area Officer (FAO) for the Middle East and North Africa, Dr. Pfaff recently served as Director for Iraq on the National Security Council Staff. His last active duty posting was Senior Army and Military Advisor to the State Department from 2013-2016, where he served on the Policy Planning Staff advising on cyber, regional military affairs, the Arab Gulf Region, Iran, and security sector assistance reform. Prior to taking the State Department position, he served as the Defense Attaché in Baghdad, the Chief of International Military Affairs for US Army Central Command, and as the Defense Attaché in Kuwait.

He served twice in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, once as the Deputy J2 for a Joint Special Operations Task Force and as the Senior Military Advisor for the Civilian Police Assistance Training Team. He also served as the Senior Intelligence Officer on the Iraq Intelligence Working Group and as a UN observer along the Iraq-Kuwait border. Prior to becoming a FAO, Dr. Pfaff served on the faculty at West Point as an assistant professor of Philosophy. As a company grade Army officer, he deployed to Operation DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM with 82nd Airborne Division and participated in Operation ABLE SENTRY with the 1st Armored Division.

Dr. Pfaff has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and economics from Washington and Lee University, where he graduated cum laude with honors in philosophy; a master’s degree in philosophy from Stanford University, with a concentration in the history and philosophy of science and where received a graduate fellowship at the Center for Conflict and Negotiation; a master’s in national resource management from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, where he was a distinguished graduate; and a doctorate in philosophy from Georgetown University.

Dr. Pfaff has authored more than twenty articles in professional and scholarly publications including, Proxy War Ethics, in the Journal of National Security Law and Policy; “A Crisis of Norms: Fighting Irregular Wars Well,” in Transformations of Warfare in the Contemporary World (Temple, 2016); “The Ethics of Complex Contingencies,” and “Officership and Character,” in The Future of the Army Profession, 2nd Ed (McGraw Hill, 2005), “Toward an Ethics of Detention and Interrogation: Consent and Limits,” in Philosophy and Public Policy Quarterly (2005); and “Aligning Means and Ends: Towards a New Way of War” (2011) and “Officership: Character, Leadership, and Ethical Decision Making” (2005) in Military Review; and “The Ethics of Espionage,” in the Journal of Military Ethics (2003). He has also published a number of monographs with SSI including “Resolving Ethical Challenges in an Era of Persistent Conflict,” (2011), “Development and Reform of the Iraqi Police Forces” (2008), and “Peacekeeping and the Just War Tradition” (2000).