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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

American People Should Hold War Lobby Accountable for Libya Debacle

(53) 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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Russia and North Korea Play Nice: Vladimir Putin's Ukrainian Dance With Kim Jong-un

(4) Comments | Posted March 24, 2015 | 5:41 PM

Russia and North Korea make up the latest international odd couple. President Vladimir Putin reached out to one of the poorest and least predictable states on earth. So far the new Moscow-Pyongyang axis matters little. But Russia demonstrated that it can make Washington pay for confronting Moscow over Ukraine.


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American People Must Say No to Washington's Foolish Policy of Constant War

(191) Comments | Posted March 19, 2015 | 1:06 PM

American foreign policy is controlled by fools. What else can one conclude from the bipartisan demand that the U.S. intervene everywhere all the time, irrespective of consequences? No matter how disastrous the outcome, the War Lobby insists that the idea was sound. Any problems obviously result, it is claimed, from...

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Thailand Military Monopolizes Power, Crushes Liberty: Sadness, Not Happiness, Rules

(87) Comments | Posted March 19, 2015 | 9:02 AM

Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel recently urged Thailand's junta to return power to the Thai people and respect rather than suppress their liberties. The regime angrily denounced his "interference" which "negatively affected the reputation of the country."

General turned prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha proclaimed his fealty to democracy: "I'm...

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Congress Should Deny President Obama Authority for Perpetual War

(32) Comments | Posted March 3, 2015 | 5:22 AM

The Islamic State is evil. But that's no reason for America to go to war again in the Middle East. Or for Congress to approve years more of conflict.

The president requested formal legal authority to war against ISIS -- more than six months after dropping the first bomb on...

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7 Reasons the U.S. Should Stay Out of the Ukraine-Russia Fight

(226) Comments | Posted February 26, 2015 | 3:31 PM

The ceasefire between Ukraine and Russia appears to be holding, after Kiev's forces lost ground in a recent spate of fighting. Fortune could yet smile upon Ukraine, but as long as Russia is determined not to let the separatists fail, the former's efforts likely will be for naught. Only a...

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Six Allies Washington Should Dump From Its Lonely Hearts Club

(8) Comments | Posted February 26, 2015 | 9:27 AM

It's hard to get out of a bad relationship. The good times may be over and the once vibrant connection may be dead, but people just can't admit that it's time to say goodbye.

Countries have the same problem. Especially the U.S. Washington has spent decades collecting allies, like many...

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Conflict Flares in Myanmar as Reforms Slip Into Reverse

(4) Comments | Posted February 20, 2015 | 7:08 AM

WALLAY, BURMA--When foreign dignitaries visit Myanmar, still known as Burma in much of the West, they don't walk the rural hills over which the central government and assorted ethnic groups, such as the Karen, fought for decades. Like Wallay village, which required an extended boat ride through territory that could...

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Terrorist Killings Illustrate Why Japan Must Join the World and Defend Itself

(23) Comments | Posted February 16, 2015 | 5:59 PM

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been edging Japan into global affairs. And his country paid a price: the Islamic State murdered two Japanese hostages. The killers cited Tokyo's provision of $200 million in humanitarian aid to countries battling ISIS.

The double execution triggered a new debate in Japan over its...

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Angry Greeks Threaten to Halt European Juggernaut

(12) Comments | Posted February 10, 2015 | 10:25 AM

In 2009 the Lisbon Treaty was supposed to create a new Weltmacht, a strong European Union with a president and foreign minister. Finally the Europeans had the answer for Henry Kissinger, who sarcastically asked for Europe's phone number. But it's obvious that whoever answers the phone today doesn't represent Greece.

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Washington Should Stop Slobbering Over Saudi Arabia: Vicious Frenemy Makes World More Dangerous

(51) Comments | Posted February 6, 2015 | 6:52 AM

The king has died. Long live the king. Saudi Arabia today is a medieval system whose horrid human rights practices match its antiquated political system. After King Abdullah died King Salman ascended the throne. Official Washington breathed a sigh of relief at the swift and smooth transition. President Barack Obama...

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Solve North Korea Problem by Addressing China's Interests

(4) Comments | Posted February 3, 2015 | 7:47 AM

One of Washington's greatest policy failures is North Korea. Pyongyang's most recent provocation apparently was hacking Sony Pictures in retaliation for the movie The Interview. More fundamentally, despite manifold U.S. efforts to enforce nonproliferation the Democratic People's Republic of Korea remains determined to create a sizeable nuclear arsenal.

Successive administrations...

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The Charlie Hebdo Murders: An Attack on Religious Liberty, Not Free Expression

(81) Comments | Posted January 28, 2015 | 4:08 AM

The monstrous slaughter at the French magazine Charlie Hebdo brought hundreds of thousands of marchers and numerous world leaders onto the streets of Paris to support free expression. But the attacks really were not about freedom of speech. Rather, the killings demonstrated how the destructive phenomenon of religious persecution is...

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U.S. Loses by Treating Russia as an Enemy

(81) Comments | Posted January 20, 2015 | 3:22 PM

Congress long ago learned that public scrutiny makes it harder to pass bad bills. So in December, in the midst of negotiations to avoid another government shutdown, both houses of Congress rushed through new sanctions against Russia as part of the misnamed "Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014."

Indeed, the...

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Thailand's Military Dictators Extend Hold on Power

(27) Comments | Posted January 12, 2015 | 11:13 AM

BANGKOK, THAILAND -- Thailand's capital has lost none of its frenetic motion or relaxed informality. But it is a bit quieter of late, with last year's demonstrators dispersed by the military. However, the junta, which took power in May, is not leaving.

This year's planned elections always...

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After Decades of Conflict, Time to Engage North Korea's Kim Dynasty

(32) Comments | Posted January 10, 2015 | 10:02 AM

North Koreans have formally ended their three-year mourning period for Kim Jong-il. By custom his son, Kim Jong-un, and the country now are free to move forward without hindrance from the past. But no one knows how they will take advantage of their opportunity.

A small, poor nation, the Democratic...

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President Right to Normalize Relations With Cuba: Best Hope for Ending Repressive Regime

(8) Comments | Posted December 31, 2014 | 8:31 AM

The Obama administration hasn't had much foreign policy luck with the big issues: Islamic terrorism, Russian subversion of Ukraine, growing Chinese assertiveness, peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The jury is still out on Iran. President Barack Obama has made his greatest progress with two small countries, Burma and Cuba,...

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Making Enemies America Can't Afford: Congress Votes More Sanctions on Russia

(455) Comments | Posted December 30, 2014 | 2:38 AM

Congress long ago learned that public scrutiny makes it harder to pass bad bills. So in the midst of negotiations to avoid another government shut-down earlier this month both houses of Congress rammed through new sanctions against Russia as part of the misnamed "Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014."


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U.S. Should Close Bases on Okinawa: Bring Troops Home and Let Japanese Defend Japan

(199) Comments | Posted December 27, 2014 | 3:45 AM

The U.S. is over-burdened militarily and effectively bankrupt financially, but Washington is determined to preserve every base and deployment, no matter how archaic. Such as the many military facilities in Okinawa, which risks sinking under the plethora of American installations, runways, materiel, and personnel. No wonder the Okinawan people again...

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Lubyanka Runs the New Russia, Much Like the Old Soviet Union

(5) Comments | Posted December 26, 2014 | 6:50 PM

MOSCOW -- Red Square is one of the world's most iconic locales. Dominated by the Kremlin, St. Basil's Cathedral and GUM Department Store, the space looks little different than during Soviet times. While Lenin's mausoleum remains, any hint of menace is gone. Indeed, even during the worst of the U.S.S.R....

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