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

(77) Comments | Posted January 28, 2015 | 5:08 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

(80) Comments | Posted January 20, 2015 | 4:22 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 | 12:13 PM

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 | 11:02 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 | 9:31 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 | 3:38 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

(198) Comments | Posted December 27, 2014 | 4:45 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 | 7:50 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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President Obama Touts Partnership With Egypt's Military Regime: Yet Repression Continues Unabated

(1) Comments | Posted December 20, 2014 | 10:33 AM

CAIRO--Egypt's capital is crowded, busy, confused, and messy, like so many cities in poorer nations. Security isn't obvious, until you get close to a sensitive site, such as the Interior Ministry. Blocks away the street is closed. There are metal fences, concrete barriers, and barbed wire. Uniformed and plain clothes...

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Bury Lenin's Body: The Symbol of Communism Should No Longer Mock Humanity

(6) Comments | Posted December 13, 2014 | 8:46 AM

MOSCOW -- Red Square remains one of the globe's most iconic locales. Enter by walking past the statue of World War II general Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov on horseback. The Kremlin dominates on the right, GUM Department Store on the left, and St. Basil's Cathedral looms in front. Before the Kremlin...

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If China Aspires to Global Leadership, It Should Bury Mao

(10) Comments | Posted December 9, 2014 | 5:42 PM

Tiananmen Square symbolizes modern China. The space forever will be remembered as the focus of the mass demonstrations dispersed by brute military force in 1989. Today the square is peaceful -- but dominated by the ghost of Mao Zedong, likely the greatest mass murderer in history.

His portrait hangs...

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How to Lose to the Islamic State: Obama Administration Considers Deploying Troops to Iraq, Focusing on Assad in Syria

(55) Comments | Posted November 30, 2014 | 4:43 PM

In 2009 President Barack Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize before doing much of anything. Since then he has initiated two wars, first in Libya and now in Iraq and Syria, and escalated another, in Afghanistan. Alas, he has demonstrated that it is bad to start wars unnecessarily, but even...

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U.S. Should Talk to North Korea, Whoever Is in Charge

(7) Comments | Posted November 29, 2014 | 10:02 AM

Power is like quicksilver. It often slips through the fingers of those attempting to grasp it. Who is in power in North Korea? Maybe 31-year-old Kim Jong-un. Maybe not.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea continues its policy of mixing threats and entreaties. A high level delegation visited Seoul to...

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Paying for the Neocon Moment: Sacrificing Lives, Liberty, and Wealth for Nothing

(37) Comments | Posted November 24, 2014 | 9:59 PM

With President Barack Obama further tarnishing his Nobel Peace Prize by starting yet another Middle Eastern war, exuberant Neoconservatives claim their moment has arrived. And that was before Chuck Hagel, long the Neocon bête noire, was tossed underfoot. In fact, their moment has arrived, though not in the way they...

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Congress Should Reject War Authorization Against Islamic State: Tell President No to Stupid War

(15) Comments | Posted November 18, 2014 | 2:09 AM

President Barack Obama finally is obeying the law. He wants Congress to authorize military action against the Islamic State. That's what the Constitution requires.

Congress should respond as it was prepared to do when the president requested permission last year to bomb Syria. Capitol Hill should say no.

Barack Obama...

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End the International Drug War to Control the Afghan Narco-State

(3) Comments | Posted November 16, 2014 | 5:49 PM

The U.S. government has failed to stop the drug trade at home. Washington also has not created a competent, effective, and honest central government in Afghanistan. How effective will Kabul be in limiting opium production when American troops go home?

Not much.

A new report from the Office of the...

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Hawks Demand More Military Spending Than During Cold War: Stop Squandering 'Defense' Dollars on Other Nations

(85) Comments | Posted October 29, 2014 | 11:22 AM

America accounts for nearly 40 percent of the globe's military outlays, but Republican Party hawks believe that the federal government never spends enough on the Pentagon. The war lobby's mantra always is more, much more.

Yet the U.S. already devotes far more than it should to "defense," which today largely...

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Washington Must Recognize India as Another Great Power to Be

(21) Comments | Posted October 25, 2014 | 12:08 PM

Before becoming prime minister, India's Narendra Modi was barred from receiving a visa to visit the U.S. A rising leader in the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), he was tied to deadly sectarian violence. But now, backed by an overwhelming parliamentary majority, he leads one of Asia's most important...

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Between Autocracy and Democracy in Hong Kong: Is Compromise Possible?

(0) Comments | Posted October 24, 2014 | 6:55 PM

Hong Kong is part of China, but enjoys a charmed existence. Administered separately from the rest of the People's Republic of China, the territory respects civil liberties while hosting the world's freest economy. But democratic Hong Kong is not.

Demonstrators are pressing Beijing to make good on its promise to...

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U.S. Reaps Iraqi Whirlwind: Washington Should Get Out Before It's Too Late

(110) Comments | Posted October 22, 2014 | 1:26 PM

George W. Bush's foolish invasion of Iraq sowed the wind. Now Iraq, its neighbors, and America are reaping the whirlwind. Some Iraqi officials are calling for the return of U.S. combat troops. Washington should respond with a clear and unequivocal no.

American conservatives traditionally rejected domestic social engineering. Despite its...

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