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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

The U.S. and China Should Not Risk War Over a "Damn Fool Thing" in the South China Sea

(45) Comments | Posted July 4, 2015 | 1:35 PM

The U.S. and China disagree on a long list of issues. That's not particularly serious. After all, America and Europe hold different views on many topics. However, the territorial controversies in the South China Sea (and further north) risk swallowing the entire bilateral relationship.

Contrasting Chinese and American perspectives...

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Why Both Erdoganism and Kemalism May Finally Be Dead in Turkey

(19) Comments | Posted June 27, 2015 | 9:31 AM

Two years ago, protestors took over the streets of Istanbul, Turkey's first city. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan beat them down and last year was elected president. His critics feared his plan to invest the largely ceremonial post with Putin-like authority. Three weeks ago, however, Turkish voters revoked his party's...

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U.S. Should Talk to North Korea's Kim Jong-un

(21) Comments | Posted June 26, 2015 | 10:21 PM

Secretary of State John Kerry recently visited Seoul. The main agenda item: what to do about North Korea. As usual, no one knows what is going on in Pyongyang. Its internal politics appears to be bloodier than usual. Ironically, this might provide an opportunity for Washington to initiate talks over...

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Confronting China Over Other Nations' Territorial Disputes: Not in America's Interest

(59) Comments | Posted June 22, 2015 | 9:24 AM

The rising nation was full of self-confidence and determined to expand. Its neighbor refused to negotiate a bitter territorial dispute, convinced there was no legitimate issue to discuss. The new entrant to the international order also challenged the world's greatest global power, which was forced to decide whether war could...

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Put Harriet Tubman on America's Currency

(6) Comments | Posted June 19, 2015 | 6:40 AM

Washington's latest symbolic battle is looming. America's money celebrates its early political leaders, white males all. There's now a campaign to provide for greater currency diversity. The group Women on 20s held a poll on what woman should be added: the victor was famed antislavery activist Harriet Tubman, who narrowly...

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Selfish Gulf States Demand Special Privileges, Undermine U.S. Interests

(49) Comments | Posted June 13, 2015 | 11:01 PM

Washington's determination to defend much of the globe has made the U.S. an international sucker, especially vulnerable to manipulation by supposed friends. Even America's closest and oldest allies are never satisfied, always demanding greater "reassurance" from their protector, whether formal security agreements, new arms transfers, additional troop deployments, or other...

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Japan's New Defense Guidelines Encourage U.S. Confrontation with China

(51) Comments | Posted June 9, 2015 | 8:17 AM

Japan has always been Washington's number one Asian ally. That was demonstrated with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's trip to Washington, highlighted by a speech to Congress. Unfortunately, the relationship increases the likelihood of a confrontation between the U.S. and China.

World War II ended 70 years ago, but Tokyo's...

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Why Join the Military With a Reckless (Meaning Republican) Commander-In-Chief?

(326) Comments | Posted June 6, 2015 | 7:56 AM

Former governor and presidential candidate Michael Huckabee issued a clarion call for young Americans not to join the military if he or virtually any Republican wins the presidency in 2016. Well, that's not exactly what he said. But it was the obvious implication of his remarks.

Huckabee declared: "I'd wait...

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The Washington That Never Says No: Saudi Arabia Borrows U.S. Military to Kill Yemenis

(14) Comments | Posted June 6, 2015 | 5:33 AM

Apparently incapable of resisting the temptation to meddle in the Middle East, the Obama administration remains part of Saudi Arabia's ten-member "coalition" against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Said Secretary of State John Kerry: "We're not going to step away from our alliances and our friendships." The administration is providing intelligence,...

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Ronald Reagan Was No Neocon: Peace Through Strength Did Not Mean War at Any Price

(7) Comments | Posted May 18, 2015 | 7:58 AM

Alzheimer's robbed Ronald Reagan of his memory. Now Republican neocons are trying to steal his foreign policy legacy. A de facto peacenik who was horrified by the prospect of needless war, Reagan likely would have been appalled by the aggressive posturing of most of the Republicans currently seeking the White...

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Washington Should Take War Off the Table Against Iran: Americans not Anointed to Kill at Will

(136) Comments | Posted May 15, 2015 | 8:13 AM

America's Secretary of State is a lot like a carpenter who only has a hammer. To him, every problem looks like a nail to be struck. Only the military is Secretary John Kerry's hammer, with war Washington's universal panacea for any international problem.

When should a country loose the dogs...

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People Must Respond to the Humanitarian Crisis In Syria: No Time to Wait for Governments

(11) Comments | Posted May 8, 2015 | 11:32 AM

KUWAIT CITY, KUWAIT -- Seventy-eight nations, plus 40 non-governmental organizations, recently gathered to raise money for the relief of Syrian refugees. Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah opened the Third International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria with a plea for funds.

Security was heavy in Kuwait, though in...

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Washington Should Make Foreign Policy for Americans, Not Liberals Overseas

(15) Comments | Posted May 4, 2015 | 10:12 PM

Americans typically vote on economic issues. But they can't escape the world. Foreign policy has a way of unexpectedly intruding in people's lives.

Unfortunately, Washington's actions abroad affect the size and power of Washington at home. "War is the health of the state," declared social critic Randolph Bourne.


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Keep the U.S. Military Home: Washington Is a Bigger Threat to Mideast Stability Than Iran

(59) Comments | Posted May 1, 2015 | 9:13 AM

The Obama administration's decision to negotiate with Tehran triggered near hysteria among U.S. politicians and pundits who advocate perpetual war in the Middle East. One complaint is that the talks were not broad enough. They did not address Iran's malign intervention throughout the Middle East.

These critics denounced Tehran's imperial...

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Allies Are Not Like Facebook Friends: US Should Drop Useless and Dangerous Alliances

(54) Comments | Posted April 25, 2015 | 10:04 AM

If America ends up at war, it almost certainly will be on behalf of one ally or another. Washington collects allies like most people collect Facebook "friends." The vast majority of U.S. allies are security liabilities, tripwires for conflict and war.

Perhaps even worse, American officials constantly abase themselves, determined...

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Protect Religious Liberty: Christians and Other Minority Faiths Face Violent Attacks in Middle East and Beyond

(26) Comments | Posted April 20, 2015 | 1:05 PM

Religious persecution did not end with Nero and the Roman Empire. In fact, punishment of and hostility toward people of faith is increasing. The group Open Doors recently released its latest World Watch List, warning: "This year, the threshold was higher for a country to make the list, indicating that...

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Conclude the Nuclear Deal With Iran: Failure Is Not an Option

(159) Comments | Posted April 12, 2015 | 9:09 PM

Iran has been one of Washington's chief antagonists for nearly four decades. But a broad deal to keep Tehran from building nuclear weapons has been reached. Alas, any accord will face significant opposition. Some Americans -- including many Republican members of Congress--fear peace more than war.

Yet Tehran, though an...

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Chinese Government Should Protect Religious Liberty to Promote Desire for Social Peace

(4) Comments | Posted April 7, 2015 | 9:51 AM

Christianity is thriving in China. There probably are more religious believers than Communist Party members. The government is unsure how to respond.

Beijing's sensitivities to religion are well-known. It sees religion as offering a competitive world view to the Party. The latter fears many Christians, especially Catholics, have loyalties beyond...

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Administration Should Speed, Not Slow, Military Withdrawal From Afghanistan

(16) Comments | Posted April 5, 2015 | 5:39 AM

America has been at war in Afghanistan for more than 13 years, as long as the Civil War, Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II and Korean War combined. U.S. troop levels peaked at 140,000 in 2010. More than 2,200 Americans died in a conflict reflecting little more than purposeless...

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American People Should Hold War Lobby Accountable for Libya Debacle

(181) Comments | Posted March 29, 2015 | 2:32 PM

Will America ever again be at peace? A new war always seems to start before the last one ends. The U.S. is bombing targets in Syria and sending troops back into Iraq. Yet Washington's involvement in Afghanistan persists as the administration slows the withdrawal of American forces.

Worse, pressure is...

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