The United States failed to build a lasting state in Afghanistan. Although the mission was not doomed from the start, early miscalculations and critical mistakes made success unlikely.
Aug 30, 2021 Foreign Affairs
As Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld repeatedly resisted U.S. military participation in nation-building–type operations. Even as the United States terminates the last of those nation-building missions, that in Afghanistan, it is worth reflecting on these experiences.
Jul 6, 2021 The Hill
The result of a U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan will be a blow to American credibility and a weakening of deterrence and the value of American reassurance elsewhere. It will also result in an increased terrorist threat emanating from the Afghan region, and the distinct possibility of a necessary return there one day under worse conditions.
Apr 26, 2021 The Hill
American efforts to speed up plodding Afghan peace talks seem unlikely to produce results fast enough to facilitate a withdrawal of remaining American and NATO forces by May 1. But the initiative could prove beneficial if it impels the two Afghan sides to at least begin engaging on the principles upon which an expanded government should operate.
Mar 16, 2021 The Hill
The timetable set out in the Afghan peace agreement was always unrealistically ambitious. If the Biden administration postpones the May withdrawal of U.S. troops, then this could provide the two Afghan sides more time to address core issues that must be resolved if any settlement is to stick.
Feb 9, 2021 The Hill
As President-elect Biden fills out his foreign policy team he might wish to reach out to a few foreign affairs professionals who sat out the Trump administration in order to fill positions in fields where some degree of bipartisanship remains a possibility. These areas might include relations with allies and with the two major U.S. competitors, Russia and China.
Jan 19, 2021 The Hill
Throughout the 55 years following World War II, successive U.S. administrations racked up major foreign policy successes at an average rate of about once a year. Since 2001, the pace of foreign policy achievement has fallen to once every four years. The result has been a lost generation in American foreign policy.
Sep 15, 2020 The Hill
Tensions between the United States and Iran reached a boiling point in January 2020, when Iranian-backed forces attacked U.S. military and diplomatic facilities on Iraqi soil, and the United States retaliated. Policymakers and experts again asked: Why are we in Iraq? What would happen if we left, and why would it matter?
Jun 5, 2020 Rudaw
The COVID-19 pandemic should lead to a further strengthening of the national and international response capacity. The alternative of erecting barriers and closing America off to the world would leave it more vulnerable to the next big shock.
Apr 1, 2020 USA Today
The United States and the Taliban signed a preliminary peace deal in February, aimed at ending nearly 19 years of war in Afghanistan and calling for the United States to gradually withdraw its troops. But talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government called for in the agreement and scheduled to begin on March 10 did not happen. What happens now?
Mar 16, 2020 Foreign Affairs
It has taken 10 years to reach the brink of a first substantial step in toward peace in Afghanistan. Much could still go wrong. Can the Taliban and the Afghan government come together to jointly govern the country?
Feb 27, 2020 The Hill
Last year was an eventful one in China, with U.S.–China trade tensions escalating, protests in Hong Kong reaching a crisis point, and President Xi Jinping further consolidating power. What might the rest of the world expect from China in 2020?
Jan 3, 2020 The Hill
The Washington Post series “The Afghanistan Papers” charges that “senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign.” As someone who was both an occasional participant in and frequent critic of the Bush and Obama administrations' Afghan policy deliberations, James Dobbins finds this charge considerably exaggerated.
Dec 17, 2019 The Hill
French President Macron's remark about the brain death of NATO was provoked by President Trump's October 6 decision, since modified, to pull all U.S. troops out of Syria. Macron is right to wonder how Trump would respond to any threat to European security. But he is wrong to attribute this uncertainty to diminishing support for the alliance among all Americans.
Dec 3, 2019 Inside Sources
What is it like to work in the White House during an impeachment? RAND's Ambassador James Dobbins was special assistant to the president on the National Security Council staff during the Clinton impeachment. Here, he shares insights on the experience.
Oct 23, 2019 United Press International
Without an orderly process for its national security decisions, the Trump administration has defaulted to the worst option regarding Syria. The sudden withdrawal of U.S. forces has left an opening for Russia to exploit. It also left the Kurds, a U.S. partner, to fend off a Turkish assault.
Oct 21, 2019 Fox News
Core qualities of statesmanship and statecraft have been notably lacking in charting the U.S. administration's Syria end game. This has compounded the unavoidable costs of withdrawal with charges of betrayal and a retreat under fire.
Oct 18, 2019 The Hill
There are several key reasons why current U.S. policy toward China may not help advance America's competitiveness or enlist much support abroad. Most notably, the administration has yet to explain what it ultimately hopes to accomplish.
Sep 23, 2019 The National Interest
After two decades of setbacks abroad, it's time to ask whether the decline in American influence is irreversible. Ultimately, neither China nor Russia is responsible for these difficulties. Washington's failures have been self-inflicted, the result of flawed policy rather than any decisive shift in the global balance of power.
Sep 4, 2019 The Wall Street Journal
If it becomes evident that Maduro isn't about to fall, then the Trump administration should revisit its sanctions and rescind those that weigh most heavily on the Venezuelan people, while targeting and isolating the regime.
Jun 24, 2019 Foreign Affairs
Politics loves its historical analogies and today, perhaps, there is no more common a comparison to the Trump presidency than the Reagan administration. Reagan's tenure was marked by his successful competition with the Soviet Union. Does Reagan provide a blueprint for triumphing over modern Russia?
May 13, 2019 Lawfare
The China–Russia relationship is indeed growing across military, economic, and political dimensions. But it is still more anchored in shared grievances than in common visions. Both countries contest U.S. interests, but in different ways. Washington should treat them as separate strategic challenges.
Apr 18, 2019 The Diplomat
For American policymakers, economic sanctions are too often the soft choice between doing nothing and taking effective but risky or expensive action. Yet, before they inflict years, perhaps decades of impoverishment and worse on entire populations, they should ask if their efforts are likely to succeed and are worth punishing an entire people.
Apr 15, 2019 The Hill
Terrorism has become an internet-enabled abuse—incited, propagated, and sometimes organized and concealed by online activity. Who should be held accountable for abusive content, the author or the publisher? And what role should the government play in regulating it?
Mar 20, 2019 The Hill
So far, both Presidents Obama and Trump have chosen “not to lose” in Afghanistan. As time goes on and the American public's patience grows shorter, this choice becomes more difficult.
Mar 11, 2019 The Hill
The Trump administration has reportedly offered to withdraw forces from Afghanistan if the Taliban stops fighting and opens negotiations with the government. If the Taliban agrees to a cease-fire and wider negotiations, it will be an accomplishment to celebrate. But it will be only the first step on a long and difficult road to peace.
Mar 1, 2019 The Wall Street Journal
President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un might agree at their summit this week in Hanoi, Vietnam, to declare an end to the Korean War. Since this conflict stopped 66 years ago, what would be the practical impact of such declaration?
Feb 28, 2019 USA Today
Washington's strategy in Syria has been to impose costs on the Syrian government by diplomatic ostracism and economic sanctions. This punitive approach is morally satisfying and politically expedient, but as a practical matter it just helps perpetuate the conflict and sustain Assad's dependency on Iran.
Jan 9, 2019 Reuters
The Trump administration has taken steps that represent a significant retreat from the norm-based, world order that the United States has championed since 1945. If this shift continues, what might be the impact?
Jan 8, 2019 The Wall Street Journal
There is a consensus that the U.S. is engaged in an intensifying strategic competition with China. It's less clear what relationship the U.S. should seek and can plausibly achieve with its competitor. An inability to classify China along the ally-to-adversary continuum limits, if not precludes, America's ability to formulate a coherent strategy.
Dec 31, 2018 The Hill
President Trump's desire to withdraw from Syria is consistent with his and his predecessor's national strategies, but the manner in which the decision has been taken is highly counterproductive. Unless modified it could have disastrous consequences, says James Dobbins.
Dec 26, 2018 Reuters
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to not seek re-election may signal an end to two key features of post-WWII Europe.
Oct 31, 2018 The Hill
Following the killing of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the United States needs to, at minimum, return toward a distinctly American policy toward the Middle East, one which can be distinguished from that of its local partners.
Oct 23, 2018 The Hill
Even if America bails on the international order there is plenty of evidence that Europe, China, Japan, and the rest of the developed world will maintain existing multilateral structures and build new ones. The order will survive but may become less liberal, less democratic, and perhaps less peaceful.
Aug 23, 2018 The Wall Street Journal
The First Amendment protects the rights of companies such as Facebook and YouTube to publish what they choose. Arguing against this right could lead to government regulation over digital media. It could also further degrade the reliability of online information.
Aug 10, 2018 The Hill
Mike Pompeo's speech in May signaled a desire for regime change in Iran, but the U.S. will have to change its approach to shape a positive outcome. This could involve targeting sanctions more narrowly rather than seeking to impoverish the general population. And lifting the ban on Iranian visitors to the U.S. would be a good start.
Aug 2, 2018 USA Today
European defense spending has been rising since 2014. NATO's two percent of GDP target for defense spending is a goal, not a commitment, and indeed a goal to be reached by 2024, not a standard allies have already failed to meet.
Jul 13, 2018 Inside Sources
This is the third time the United States and North Korea have started down a path toward denuclearization and normalization of relations. The difference now is that Trump and Kim have committed themselves earlier on in the process and more publicly than their predecessors did.
Jun 13, 2018 Reuters
Even were it to disgorge the parts of Ukraine that it seized in 2014, Russia still would not qualify for reentry into the G8. An aspirational case for Russian membership might be made, but only if Russia's leadership aspires to democratic government and an open free market economy. At the moment there is no sign of such an aspiration.
Jun 13, 2018 USA Today
President Trump canceled his June 12 meeting with Kim Jong-un but left the door open for a future one. Successful diplomacy will require tending and fostering U.S. relations with China, Japan, and South Korea while forging an entirely new relationship with North Korea.
May 25, 2018 The Hill
Abandoning the nuclear agreement with Iran isolates the United States, reneges on an American commitment, adds to the risk of a trade war with U.S. allies and a hot war with Iran, and diminishes the prospects of an agreement to eliminate the North Korean threat.
May 9, 2018 Reuters
U.S. forces will soon withdraw from Syria, and the U.S. State Department put a hold on further stabilization assistance to areas liberated from the Islamic State. The U.S. and its partners should offer stabilization and reconstruction help, particularly in regions where much of the damage was the result of American-supported military operations.
Apr 9, 2018 Al-Monitor
Verifiable denuclearization is an impossible goal, not just because Kim Jong Un may not agree, but because such a deal couldn't be fully verified if he did. But this doesn't mean there is no deal worth making for America.
Mar 12, 2018 The Hill
In mid-January, President Trump threatened to withdraw from the Iran agreement if Europe does not “fix” it within four months. There are viable steps Europe could take to address Trump's concerns about the deal — on missile development, inspections, and sunset clauses. However, if the U.S. withdraws, Europe could still work with other international powers to keep the deal alive.
Mar 12, 2018 Reuters
European Union member states have a method for dealing with unsatisfactory referendums, called a do-over. A Brexit do-over would be complicated—all 27 other EU members would have to agree—but since Britain leaving is also disadvantageous for the rest of the EU, they have incentives to welcome back the prodigal.
Mar 6, 2018 U.S. News & World Report
With one of China's top officials arriving in Washington for trade talks, this might not be the best time to impose additional tariffs on Chinese exports, as the Trump administration has been threatening.
Feb 28, 2018 The Hill
Since 1976, the United States and South Korea have scheduled large-scale joint military exercises each year. Postponing the exercises this year has led to some signs that North Korea might be open to diplomacy. Delaying the exercises further could lead to direct talks between Washington and Pyongyang.
Feb 23, 2018 The Hill
The current spate of North-South Korean diplomacy could be short-lived, giving way to resumed tensions and mounting fears of war. It seems possible, however, that South Korean President Moon Jae-in will succeed in brokering direct talks between Pyongyang and Washington.
Feb 22, 2018 Reuters
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson proposed to suppress any ISIS resurgence in Syria, oust Bashar al Assad, reduce Iranian influence, continue to back a Kurdish-dominated enclave, and reassure Turkey. It's important to understand why such an “all of the above” approach would not be workable.
Feb 1, 2018 Newsweek
Kim Jong Un's recent proposal for talks with South Korea is by no means unprecedented. And while the overture could somewhat ease tensions in the region, there is no reason to believe that Kim is ready to give up his nuclear arsenal.
Jan 12, 2018 U.S. News & World Report
The U.S. and others have a major interest in ending the Syrian civil war, helping the millions of displaced Syrians, and preventing the re-emergence of the Islamic State. But they are naturally reluctant to assist rebuilding a country run by Assad and supported by Russia and Iran. What are their options?
Nov 3, 2017 The Washington Post
The Iran deal has stretched the time needed to produce a nuclear weapon from three to at least 12 months and has established the strongest inspections system ever negotiated. Walking away from the agreement now will only isolate the U.S. and provide Iran an easy excuse to join North Korea on the road toward nuclear weapons.
Oct 23, 2017 St. Louis Post-Dispatch
President Trump has signaled that he is likely to decline to certify that Iran is adhering to its nuclear deal commitments. The alternatives to the agreement are clear: Iran will develop nuclear weapons, the U.S. will go to war to prevent this, or both.
Oct 16, 2017 U.S. News & World Report
The president has embraced a national security establishment strategy for Afghanistan with a veneer that does not alter its essence. The result is likely to disappoint some of his supporters and to be criticized by his opponents, but it will also secure a measure of bipartisan support.
Aug 22, 2017 The Hill
A U.S. policy of unremitting hostility toward Russia won't command domestic support or secure European backing. Neither will a policy of comprehensive collaboration. Washington needs to confront Moscow where necessary and cooperate where possible.
Aug 6, 2017 U.S. News & World Report
Isolationism is a recurring temptation of American foreign policy. Responding to new and unforeseen challenges, however, the United States has repeatedly resisted that temptation and risen to the demands of global leadership. Is it different today?
Aug 1, 2017 The Wall Street Journal
The Trump administration faces the choice of losing quickly by withdrawing from Afghanistan; losing slowly by maintaining America's current, inadequate commitment; or not losing by increasing that commitment enough to maintain a stalemate on the battlefield.
Jun 23, 2017 The Cipher Brief
Sixty-four years ago, the Korean War was suspended by a cease-fire. A peace treaty was never signed. Standing ready to formally end this old war may be the key to dismantling North Korea's nuclear program without starting a new one.
Jun 8, 2017 New York Times
The internet is being used for harmful, unethical, and illegal purposes. Examples include incitement and recruitment by terrorists, cyber bullying, and malicious fake news. Americans say they are unhappy with the tone of the online discourse, but are reluctant to consider potential remedies.
Mar 23, 2017 Inside Sources
The collapse of the so-called caliphate won't eliminate ISIS or similar groups. In the short term, the threat of ISIS-related attacks on the West may even grow.
Mar 13, 2017 Fortune
If confirmed as secretary of state, Rex Tillerson will face a broad array of challenges. One may be to lend the administration consistency, while closing at least some of the deals that President-elect Trump has promised.
Dec 24, 2016 U.S. News & World Report
In the 20th century the United States created and expanded a world order that has provided security and prosperity, and it has borne much of the cost for sustaining it. Can that liberal global order be updated rather than jettisoned?
Nov 14, 2016 Newsweek
As the right of the UK voters to decide on EU membership should be respected, so should their right to change their minds. There is no reason to regard their choice to leave as irreversible.
Jul 7, 2016 USA Today
The United States needs to pursue policies designed to preclude regional hegemony and create a balance of power in the Middle East, while also expressing support for human rights and engaging Iran diplomatically.
Jun 17, 2016 Washington Post
The United States and its NATO allies have been scaling back their military commitment in Afghanistan. The Taliban, in response, have been scaling up their operations, inflicting unprecedented heavy casualties on Afghan government forces and gaining increased control over much of the countryside.
Apr 21, 2016 The Cipher Brief
Foreign and security policy will play a significant role in the run-up to the November U.S. presidential election. The campaign offers voters a wide spectrum of responses to the challenges of militant Islamism, ties with China and Russia, dealings with rogue states like North Korea, and free trade.
Feb 4, 2016 U.S. News & World Report
Sustained and intensified U.S. pressure on Pakistan offers the only viable path to advancing the Afghan reconciliation process in a way that does not turn Afghanistan into a launching pad for terrorism and extremism.
Jan 11, 2016 Newsweek
To reach peace in Syria, the International Syria Support Group should concentrate on securing an immediate cease-fire and arranging for its enforcement, followed by further negotiations on the shape of a reconstituted Syrian state.
Dec 18, 2015 Washington Post
The Islamic State will never join in any settlement. Peace in Syria therefore requires that everyone else stop fighting each other and join in suppressing the Islamic State.
Nov 1, 2015 USA Today
If the next U.S. administration were to conclude that perpetuating the Israeli-Palestinian status quo for another eight years was unacceptable or unachievable, it might begin speaking of the one-state solution not as its preferred outcome, but as one more acceptable than no solution at all.
Aug 18, 2015 U.S. News & World Report
Deterring Russia, channeling growing Chinese power, and working with others to dismantle the Islamic State are daunting challenges, but not greater than rebuilding post-World War II Europe, containing the Soviet Union, ending the Cold War, and promoting democratic governance throughout much of the modern world.
Jul 22, 2015 Foreign Policy
Afghan President Ghani's main mission in coming to Washington is to change the American view of Afghanistan, not so much inside the Obama administration as on Capitol Hill. This view remains a mostly negative one, formed by a seemingly endless war, high levels of government corruption, and repeated expressions of rank ingratitude on the part of Ghani's predecessor.
Mar 23, 2015 Politico
With Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's first official visit to the United States set to begin Sunday, a trio of RAND researchers discuss what to expect after the president and his chief executive officer, Abdullah Abdullah, arrive in Washington.
Mar 20, 2015
Given that many questions of fact regarding the CIA's program of enhanced interrogation techniques can probably never be conclusively answered, the real issue comes down to a value judgment: whether inflicting physical pain on prisoners is an acceptable means of reducing the risk of terrorist attacks.
Dec 12, 2014 U.S. News & World Report
Since 2011, the United States, the Afghan government, and the Taliban have engaged in intermittent and often indirect talks about peace negotiations. It may be stalemate on the battlefield that eventually forces the parties to break this stalemate over the shape of a peace process.
Nov 14, 2014 The Mark News
There are legitimate questions about how to best go about preventing ISIL from consolidating its control over Iraq and Levant. But this is very different from arguing that ISIL is not a threat and that the United States therefore should stand aside as it does so.
Oct 3, 2014 The Hill
The main difference between the immediate post-Cold War decade and the post-9/11 era as regards the variety of international challenges is that during that earlier period these challenges were faced and dealt with seriatim, rather than allowed to accumulate.
Aug 19, 2014 U.S. News & World Report
The post-Vietnam “never again” attitude led to a severe atrophy of the U.S. military's counterinsurgency skills and it is quite possible that the U.S. military will go through a similar phase of unlearning over the next several years, writes James Dobbins.
Mar 14, 2013 Foreign Policy
The longer this war drags on, the more radicalised become the insurgents, the more brutalised the population, the more inflamed the sectarian passions, and the more destabilised neighbouring societies, writes James Dobbins.
Dec 7, 2012 Financial Times
The steady growth of China's military power raises important questions about the role that the next U.S. president should play in either containing China, cooperating with China, or trying to strike a balance between containment and cooperation, write James Dobbins and Roger Cliff.
Nov 6, 2012 The Orange County Register
Today American public opinion is much less divided on international issues than it was four years ago. The two presidential candidates are much closer in their expressed views than were Obama and McCain, writes James Dobbins.
Nov 6, 2012 Foreign Policy
However one characterizes the strategic communications of the early Obama administration, there can be little doubt that by calibrating his messages more to foreign audiences, he increased regard for America around the globe, as confirmed in numerous opinion polls, writes James Dobbins.
Oct 26, 2012 Foreign Policy
Emphasizing human rights will demonstrate to the Iranian people that the U.S. cares for their future. Threats of military action and war will only convince the Iranian opposition that America is a hostile power that supports regime change for its own narrow purposes, write James Dobbins and Alireza Nader.
Aug 23, 2012 Foreign Affairs
While China's overall military capabilities will not equal those of the United States anytime soon, it will more quickly achieve local superiority in its immediate neighborhood, first in and around Taiwan and then at somewhat greater distances, writes James Dobbins.
Aug 14, 2012 The Diplomat
Well-meant advice and promises of postwar aid will mean much less in forging a relationship with the eventual rulers of Syria than decisive assistance now, writes James Dobbins.
Aug 9, 2012 NYTimes.com
The United States' ability to shape future events in Syria will only be as great as the support it gives the rebels in their fight to topple Assad, writes James Dobbins.
Aug 9, 2012 Foreign Policy
What is important for the U.S. government to do at this stage is forge relationships with those likely to next govern Syria. The United States should up its assistance to the rebels, providing military assets needed for success that only the United States possesses in adequate number.
Aug 1, 2012
Absent further developments or revelations, history will judge Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state as solid if unspectacular, writes James Dobbins.
Jun 21, 2012 Foreign Policy
On-the-job training is a necessary element of the American presidency, but so should be learning from the accomplishments, as well as the mistakes, of one's predecessor, writes James Dobbins.
May 2, 2012 U.S. News & World Report, Debate Club
Essential to any Israeli government decision to bomb Iran is confidence that whatever advice Washington might provide before the attack, the U.S. administration will feel bound to help Israel cope with the consequences of its action, writes James Dobbins.
Mar 5, 2012 U.S. News & World Report, Debate Club
If the Syrian opposition clearly asks for American help, if the rest of the Arab world supports such a military intervention, and if America's European allies prove ready to join in—and indeed lead—such an effort, the United States should contribute those military assets which only it can provide, writes James Dobbins.
Feb 14, 2012 U.S. News & World Report, Debate Club
The Vietnam negotiations arose from a U.S. initiative, in response to domestic political imperatives and over repeated objections from the Saigon regime. By contrast, the incipient Afghan process has its roots in that society, not ours, writes James Dobbins.
Jan 13, 2012 The Washington Post
For all its bluster, the Iranian regime is more vulnerable than at any time in its 32-year history. Internally, Iran is constrained by deep political divisions, civil strife and a woeful economy, write Alireza Nader and James Dobbins.
Jan 6, 2012 NYTimes.com on January 5, 2012 and in International Herald Tribune
By refusing to face more squarely the probability that Iran will eventually acquire a nuclear weapons capability, the American and Israeli governments actually reduce their ability to dissuade Iran from crossing that threshold, writes James Dobbins.
Dec 2, 2011 Public Service Europe
Reaction to a strike against Iran among neighboring populations would be almost uniformly hostile. The sympathy thereby aroused for Iran would make containment of Iranian influence much more difficult for Israel, for the U.S., and for the Arab regimes currently allied with Washington, writes James Dobbins.
Nov 16, 2011 U.S. News & World Report, Debate Club
Multiple polls commissioned by independent news and other organizations consistently reveal an Afghan population that sees improvement in its well-being, has a favorable view of its government and is optimistic about its future, writes James Dobbins.
Sep 29, 2011 Reuters blog, The Great Debate
If Libya is to have a chance of replacing Qaddafi with something better, the United States, its allies, and the rest of the international community will need to pivot very quickly from the rather straightforward requirements of war fighting to taking seriously the complex and demanding tasks of peace building, write James Dobbins and Frederic Wehrey.
Aug 23, 2011 Foreign Affairs
Afghans in general are much more optimistic about their future than we Americans are about ours, write James Dobbins and Craig Charney.
Apr 1, 2011 The Washington Post
We have learned over the past couple of decades that it is deceptively easy for the world's only superpower to topple objectionable regimes—but a good deal harder to replace them with something better, writes James Dobbins.
Mar 15, 2011 RAND.org and GlobalSecurity.org
One can legitimately argue for reducing the United States' commitment to the Afghan war, but it makes no sense to denigrate the tactics and techniques best designed to counter an insurgency, writes James Dobbins.
Oct 26, 2010 Foreign Affairs
It is not enough to raise stronger buildings. What Haiti truly needs is a more resilient and effective government, write James Dobbins and Laurel Miller.
Aug 23, 2010 Los Angeles Times
By replacing Gen. Stanley McChrystal with Gen. David Petraeus, U.S. President Barack Obama has treated the most recent symptom of his Afghan malaise—an insubordinate, or at least indiscreet, general. He has not, however, addressed the underlying malady, writes James Dobbins.
Jun 25, 2010 ForeignPolicy.com
President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan wants to talk to the Taliban, and that's going to be a thorny issue for President Obama when the two leaders meet on Wednesday, writes James Dobbins.
May 12, 2010 International Herald Tribune
Reflecting changes in the American approach to counterinsurgency, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen recently enunciated a new and apparently more restrained doctrine for the use of armed force. But is this really a repudiation of the so-called Powell Doctrine, asks James Dobbins.
Mar 17, 2010 Proceedings, a magazine of the U.S. Naval Institute
The latest disaster to befall Haiti creates the opportunity to combine bipartisan accord on Haiti in Washington with keen and perhaps sustained American public interest, writes James Dobbins.
Jan 17, 2010 New York Times
In 2007 in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus and Amb. Ryan Crocker set a model for civil-military collaboration: They never let daylight show between their positions. General McChrystal and Ambassador Karl Eikenberry have diverged from this model, writes James Dobbins.
Nov 13, 2009 Foreign Policy
The last thing Karzai, NATO, and the United States can afford is the emergence of a renewed northern alliance, writes James Dobbins.
Nov 4, 2009 Foreign Affairs
Now that U.S. involvement in Iraq has begun to require fewer resources, Afghanistan is the new focus of American and European anti-war sentiment, and increasingly Obama's critics are drawing on the analogy of Vietnam, writes James Dobbins.
Oct 8, 2009 The Huffington Post
Critics of the Bush administration missile defense plans for Central Europe have charged that the United States would be deploying defenses that did not work against a threat that did not exist, writes James Dobbins.
Sep 21, 2009 International Herald Tribune
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has described the upcoming high-level conference on Afghanistan at The Hague as a "big-tent meeting, with all the parties who have a stake and an interest in Afghanistan." With the situation in that country growing more precarious by the day, those attending this meeting must also think big, write Karl F. Inderfurth and James Dobbins.
Mar 26, 2009 International Herald Tribune
If the dominant imperative is to stop Iran from getting the bomb, every month counts. Perhaps the simplest -- and certainly the quickest -- way to launch a dialogue with Iran, and the one least likely to play unhelpfully into the upcoming Iranian election, would be to simply stop not talking to Tehran, writes James Dobbins.
Mar 3, 2009 The Washington Post
Opponents of war with Iran who take their stand on the grounds that Washington should talk to Tehran first are in danger of finding themselves trapped within a broadening national consensus that could lead to an unwinnable war, writes James Dobbins.
Jun 30, 2008 International Herald Tribune
Diplomatic wrangling over Kosovo's declaration of independence this week has created a good deal of misunderstanding about the U.N. Security Council Resolution that defines that society's current status and future evolution, writes James Dobbins.
Feb 25, 2008 Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
George W. Bush may leave a positive foreign policy legacy after all. A year ago this would have seemed difficult to credit... [Y]et over this period, Bush has put in place a series of more pragmatic policies from which even a Democratic successor will have a hard time moving away, writes James Dobbins.
Jan 17, 2008 International Herald Tribune
We're involved too deeply in Iraq and Afghanistan to exit suddenly without fixing our mess.
Oct 14, 2007 Los Angeles Times
The Bush administration has acknowledged that Israel attacked Syria last week, but has not given any indication that the United States sought to prevent it, or discourage a repetition, writes James Dobbins.
Sep 20, 2007 International Herald Tribune
Are the Sunnis Changing Sides, in the International Herald Tribune
Aug 17, 2007 International Herald Tribune
How to Talk to Iran, in Washingtonpost.com
Jul 22, 2007 The Washington Post
Published commentary by RAND staff: Who Lost Iraq?
Apr 16, 2007 International Herald Tribune
Published commentary by RAND staff: My Enemy's Enemy, in International Herald Tribune.
Feb 27, 2007 International Herald Tribune
Published commentary by RAND staff: A Bad Plan for the Middle East, in International Herald Tribune.
Jan 17, 2007 International Herald Tribune
Published commentary by RAND staff: America Needs to Pick Its Fights Carefully, in International Herald Tribune.
Aug 13, 2006