The Skeptics

Breaking Down the Pentagon Strategy Memo Debate

What do you call it when a government department or agency sends memos back and forth, elicits feedback from senior leadership about the best path forward, and plots strategy about the best way to deal with Congress on a particular issue impacting its work? To most, this wouldn’t sound like an especially controversial or unprecedented thing for a department or agency to do; Washington is the bureaucratic capital of the country, and this kind of internal strategizing happens every single day. Those on the outside looking in just aren’t privy to the details and the sausage-making.

5 Big Questions about Syria's Future

Secretary of State John Kerry looked downright exhausted as he stepped to the podium after an all-day negotiating session and revealed to the world that the United States and Russia finally came to an agreement on a comprehensive ceasefire regime for Syria. By the looks of Kerry, the new ceasefire for Syria is a big gamble that could either be Nobel Peace Prize worthy or another blunder by the United States that could unravel quickly and painfully.

Here's What Happens if Hillary Clinton Quits

Conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton’s health aside, her early departure from a 9/11 commemorating event at Ground Zero and video footage of her fainting spell don’t look good. The statement by her doctor that Hillary contracted pneumonia about a week ago and that she was advised to re-arrange her campaign schedule won’t help matters. “Faintgate” is going to inevitably be used by Clinton detractors as yet more evidence that she is unfit to govern.

Why America and China Today Are Like Pre–World War I Europe

In November 1912, a war between Serbia and Austria-Hungary nearly broke out over a question of small importance: whether Serbia would own an Adriatic port on the coast of Albania. Had Austria intervened to oppose Serbia’s imperialist objective, Russia would have entered the conflict on the side of her Serbian client. France and Britain would have followed Russia for the sake of their Entente; Germany, likewise, would have entered the arena on Austria’s side, eager to protect its only serious ally.

Should America Be More Willing to Go to War?

A couple of RAND Corporation scholars have discovered America’s problem vis-à-vis Russia: Washington isn’t willing to use its military as much. This has given Moscow an apparently unfair advantage in challenging America. Maybe Washington should reconsider its policy, they suggest.

Coming Soon: A European Union Army?

While the American news media were preoccupied with Donald Trump’s latest tweet or Hillary’s Clinton’s latest explanation for a scandal that barely passed the straight face test, a more important development took place in Europe that received scant attention.  The prime ministers of both Hungary and the Czech Republic urged the European Union to build its own army.  That is a very significant shift in attitude.

Dangerous Manichean Foreign Policy Narratives

A former Turkish diplomat told me that during a visit to the Pentagon after 9/11, a top official explained that the Bush Administration hoped Ankara would take steps towards strengthening political and military ties with New Delhi, as part of a process that could lead eventually to the establishment of an alliance between the three pro-Western democracies of India, Turkey and Israel.

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