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Doug Bandow
Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. He also is the Robert A. Taft Fellow at the American Conservative Defense Alliance and the Senior Fellow in International Religious Persecution at the Institute on Religion and Public Policy. He served as a Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan.

Previously a columnist for, a nationally syndicated columnist with Copley News Service, and editor of the monthly political magazine Inquiry, he has been widely published in such periodicals as Time, Newsweek, and Fortune, as well as leading newspapers including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post. He has written several books, including Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire (Xulon Press), The Korean Conundrum: America's Troubled Relations with North and South Korea (co-author, Palgrave/Macmillan), and Tripwire: Korea and U.S. Foreign Policy in a Changed World (Cato Institute).

Entries by Doug Bandow

Barack Obama Is Fourth President to Put Americans At Risk In Iraq: Let Those Threatened by the Islamic State Fight It

(134) Comments | Posted September 8, 2014 | 8:56 AM

President Barack Obama has become the fourth straight president to order military action in Iraq. His airstrikes have destroyed American military equipment captured from the U.S.-supplied Iraqi army, which a decade ago American forces defeated and disarmed.

The last president who didn't bomb Iraq, Ronald Reagan, acted as a...

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Instead of Bombing Syria to Fight the Islamic State, Let Syria and Others Battle Islamic Radicals

(60) Comments | Posted September 1, 2014 | 8:14 PM

Until now, President Barack Obama's foreign policy appeared to be based more on reason than emotion. In contrast to the easily excitable and often angry Sen. John McCain, for instance, the president did not suggest war was the answer to every international problem.

However, the rise of the Islamic State...

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(3) Comments | Posted August 11, 2014 | 4:34 AM


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Hold Pakistan Accountable for Its Blasphemous Oppression

(272) Comments | Posted August 5, 2014 | 9:03 PM

The world is aflame. Religious minorities are among those who suffer most from increasing conflict. Pakistan is one of the worst homes for non-Muslims. The U.S. government should designate that nation as a "Country of Particular Concern" for failing to protect religious liberty, the most basic right of conscience.


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Expansive Government Threatens Religious Liberty, the First Freedom

(58) Comments | Posted July 16, 2014 | 10:04 AM

The federal government has taken over ever larger swaths of American life, most recently health care. Obamacare demonstrates that as state dictates expand, religious liberties recede. The Supreme Court's ruling in the Hobby Lobby case was extremely narrow but also extremely important. Religious liberty is the first freedom and must...

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Iraq, Syria, and Today's Other Killfests: The Great War as the Tragic Gift that Keeps on Giving

(22) Comments | Posted July 8, 2014 | 8:04 AM

The conflict in Iraq started a century ago. One hundred years ago on June 28, to be exact. So did the civil war in Syria. Along with Russia's dismemberment of Ukraine. The bloody collapse of Yugoslavia. The disastrous Soviet experiment. And the enduring fight between Israelis and Palestinians.

All of...

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Barack Obama: A Foreign Policy That Fails by Trying to Do Too Much

(54) Comments | Posted July 2, 2014 | 8:20 AM

President Barack Obama enjoyed one of the prerogatives of his office when he spoke at West Point in May. There may be no better setting for a speech on foreign policy. But it wasn't easy for him to defend the incoherent mess representing his administration's dealings with the world. His...

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When Ideologues Take Over the Administrative State: Punishing Ivory Owners Rather Than Saving Elephants

(6) Comments | Posted July 1, 2014 | 9:13 AM

The Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking recently met again in Washington, D.C. as the administration prepares to turn millions of Americans into criminals and destroy potentially billions of dollars in property by administrative fiat. Yet doing so would likely result in more elephant killings. The campaign appears to be driven...

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America Should Stay Out of Iraq's Revived Killfest: Only Iraqis Can Save Their Country

(6) Comments | Posted June 30, 2014 | 8:35 AM

The uber-hawks and neocons like Richard Cheney who led America into the disastrous invasion of Iraq are campaigning for a repeat. If only the U.S. will go to war along the Euphrates a second time, they promise, everything will turn out well.

Americans should ignore these Sirens of Death. Attempting...

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Instead of Meddling Endlessly in the Mideast, Washington Should Stop Trying to Fix Iraq and Everywhere Else

(43) Comments | Posted June 24, 2014 | 11:49 AM

KILIS, TURKEY--Syria's civil war has washed over Turkey's border, flooding the latter with hundreds of thousands of refugees. The problems worsen daily, as the Obama administration contemplates expanded aid to the rebels. The Turkish government is urging Washington to intervene more actively to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Syrian refugees...

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Memorial Day Reminder of the Foolishness of War: 150 Years Ago Was Another Blood-Drenched Summer in the Civil War

(7) Comments | Posted May 31, 2014 | 4:24 PM

Memorial Day offers an annual remembrance of courage and sacrifice as well as the all-too-frequent foolish and counterproductive effusion of American blood. Most of the conflicts in which so many Americans died were fool's errands, wars which the U.S. should never have fought.

Few were as tragic or unnecessary as...

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Iran Should Demonstrate It Is Ready to Join the International Community by Ending Religious Persecution

(3) Comments | Posted April 22, 2014 | 9:59 AM

The United Nations Human Rights Council angered Iran by renewing the mandate of monitor Ahmed Shaheed, who has criticized Tehran's abuses. His work remains vital as long as Iran violates its citizens' most basic rights.

At the same time nuclear negotiations continue. Dealing with Tehran could turn into the Obama...

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Obama Administration Treats Antique Collectors and Dealers as Criminals: New Ivory Rules Also Put Elephants at Increased Risk

(2) Comments | Posted February 24, 2014 | 2:51 PM

The Obama administration is preparing to treat virtually every antique collector, dealer, and auctioneer in America -- and anyone else who happens to own a piece of ivory -- as a criminal. In the name of saving elephants, the administration is effectively banning the sale of any object containing any...

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Support for Egypt's New Pharaoh Sacrifices Security and Human Rights: U.S. Should Stay Out of Egyptian Disaster

(54) Comments | Posted January 24, 2014 | 9:03 AM

A new pharaoh is rising in Egypt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is preparing to grasp supreme power, most likely as the country's next president. He is posing as democracy's savior while his troops are detaining or killing those who oppose him. The arrests and shootings continued during last week's constitutional...

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Dennis Rodman May Be Crazy or a CIA Case Officer: In Either Case He Is Not Entirely Wrong About North Korea

(39) Comments | Posted January 10, 2014 | 7:46 AM

That Dennis Rodman is unconventional, even unbalanced, was evident when he played professional basketball. His athletic skills won him a lucrative contract, but his behavior suggested no interest in diplomatic protocol. What you see is what you get.

In fact, a couple of colleagues and I were speculating that he...

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What I Wanted from Santa: He Didn't Deliver World Peace or Political Civility Again!

(56) Comments | Posted December 25, 2013 | 12:36 AM

I don't expect very much from Santa Claus these days. I mean, he's been a disappointment over the years. My desires are few--power, money, and fame, that sort of thing--but he's yet to satisfy any of them. So I tried downgrading my requests to world peace and the end of...

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Time to Leave Afghanistan: Hamid Karzai Gives Washington a Welcome Shove

(201) Comments | Posted December 8, 2013 | 4:34 AM

The longest war in American history drags on, with Washington a captive of purposeless inertia. The Obama administration should bring all U.S. forces home from Afghanistan and turn the conflict over to the Afghans.

After Afghan-based terrorists orchestrated the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Washington invaded the Central Asian nation. The Bush...

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When Frenemies Get Angry with America: Tell the Saudi Royals to Pound Sand

(78) Comments | Posted November 8, 2013 | 7:27 AM

Saudi Arabia is angry with Washington. In Riyadh's view, the U.S. government isn't doing enough to support tyranny and war in the Middle East. Secretary of State John Kerry has attempted to pacify the angry royals. Instead, the Obama administration should tell America's foreign "friends" that Washington acts in the...

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Communist Party as Vampire: Back to the Future in the Czech Republic?

(11) Comments | Posted November 3, 2013 | 2:13 PM

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC--The Czech Republic is one of the most successful members of the former Soviet Empire. Dominated by the U.S.S.R. after the Red Army overran the country in the closing days of World War II, Prague was a freedom domino in 1989, joining its neighbors in overthrowing Communist rule....

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The World Is Entering a Devastating Chocolate Crisis: The Government Must Act to Save Us

(88) Comments | Posted November 1, 2013 | 7:35 AM

Attention in Washington recently focused on the government shutdown. But a far more important issue confronts America while the president and congressional leaders dither: rising chocolate prices. When will the government address this terrifying global crisis?

Chocolate comes from cocoa trees, which have been cultivated for thousands of years. The...

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