The Skeptics

How Congress Abuses the Budget to Fund U.S. Wars

Congress’s shenanigans on the 2017 defense budget show why we should stop paying for wars with a special emergency fund—the Overseas Contingency Operations. OCO has become a font of bad policy: an escape hatch from fiscal discipline and Pentagon prioritization, a shield that prevents the public from appreciating military costs and a facilitator of war made by executive fiat.

Iran Got Rid of Its Nukes. Can America Get Rid of Its Sanctions?

On the day the Iran nuclear deal was signed a year ago, the New York Times editorialized that it was “potentially one of the most consequential accords in recent diplomatic history, with the ability not just to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon but also to reshape Middle East politics.” Much has been written about the nuclear agreement’s capacity to curb Iran’s nuclear weapons capability both by those who support the agre

Why Are More Troops Headed To Iraq?

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced Monday that the president had authorized the deployment of 560 U.S. troops to Iraq to aid in the looming assault to retake the city of Mosul. While it is possible these troops will provide tactical utility for Iraqi forces, the move exposes the Administration’s lack of strategic understanding and Congress’s continued abdication of its constitutional responsibilities.

Why the South China Sea Verdict Is Likely to Backfire

On July 12, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague issued a decision that could greatly impact the ongoing tensions in the South China Sea. Ruling on a case brought by the Philippines in 2013, the decision of the five-judge panel represented an emphatic victory for Manila’s position and a near total repudiation of China’s claims. In its most significant finding, the tribunal flatly rejected China’s argument that it enjoys historic rights over most of the South China Sea. Such a claim, the panel ruled, had no legal basis.