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Lee H. Hamilton
Lee H. Hamilton is one of the nation’s foremost experts on Congress and representative democracy. Hamilton founded the Center on Congress at Indiana University in 1999 and served as its director until 2015, after serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he represented Indiana from 1965-1999. He also served as president and director of the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., from 1999-2010. He is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2015).

Hamilton currently serves as a distinguished scholar in the School of Global and International Studies and as a professor of practice in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University.

A leading figure on foreign policy, intelligence and national security, Hamilton served as vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission and co-chairman of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group. Until recently, he served as co-chair of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future with General Brent Scowcroft and as a member of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board.

Continuing to play a leading role in public affairs, he has been at the center of efforts to address some of our nation’s highest profile homeland security and foreign policy challenges. He is currently a member of the President’s Homeland Security Advisory Council.

Among his published works are "How Congress Works and Why You Should Care," "Strengthening Congress" and "Congress, Presidents, and American Politics." He writes twice-monthly commentaries about Congress and what individuals can do to make representative democracy work better. He is a frequent contributor to national press.

Hamilton graduated from DePauw University and the Indiana University School of Law. A former high school and college basketball star, he was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982. He was married to Nancy Ann Hamilton for 58 years until her death in 2012. They have three children and five grandchildren.

Entries by Lee H. Hamilton

It's Time For An Immigration Policy That Serves Our National Interest

(84) Comments | Posted June 24, 2016 | 4:31 PM

There is no question that immigration has contributed immeasurably to our nation's dynamism, diversity and prosperity. Immigrants founded many of our iconic businesses, and they have been tremendously important in the worlds of culture, scholarship, business and entertainment. They have helped make America the great nation that it is.


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Confidence, Clarity, Realism and Unity Will Be Keys to Success of U.S. Leadership Around the World

(3) Comments | Posted June 9, 2016 | 6:32 PM

As we watch the nightly television news or read the international section of any major newspaper or digital news, we see a world in disorder and turmoil.

While still the strongest and most prosperous nation in the world, the U.S. doesn't wield the same level of clout on the global...

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Tensions in Relationship With Saudis Suggest Difficult Challenges Ahead for US Foreign Policy

(0) Comments | Posted May 5, 2016 | 11:01 PM

Late last month, President Barack Obama made his fourth, and likely his last, trip as U.S. president to Saudi Arabia in an attempt to ease growing tensions and reaffirm America's longtime friendship with the kingdom.

His trip, however, turned out to be mostly thorny, revealing gaping rifts in a...

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Key to Successful U.S. Peacemaking? A Commitment to Diplomacy, Humanitarianism and the 'Example' of America

(0) Comments | Posted April 13, 2016 | 4:31 PM

As his presidency enters its final stretch, Barack Obama has been following a path pursued by many of his predecessors, engaging in several last-minute peacemaking efforts around the world. Just a few weeks ago, Obama concluded a historic trip to Cuba, which marked the first time in 90 years that...

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It's Time for America to Get Defense Spending Right

(23) Comments | Posted March 18, 2016 | 1:26 PM

For basketball fanatics around the nation, it's March madness time. Meanwhile in Congress, there's a different type of madness ensuing.

It's federal budget season.

Earlier this week, House Republicans unveiled their budget proposal for 2017, calling for $3.9 trillion in spending in the next fiscal year, which starts...

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After Trying 'Strategic Patience,' U.S. Needs New Approach to North Korea

(2) Comments | Posted March 1, 2016 | 9:29 AM

Last week, the U.S. proposed to the United Nations Security Council a new set of sanctions against North Korea designed to slow down development of the rogue state's nuclear weapons program.

Most analysts agree that the sanctions represent the toughest and most comprehensive effort to date to punish the...

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Predicting World's Future Trouble Spots Will Not Be Easy, But U.S. Must Continue to Lead

(0) Comments | Posted February 4, 2016 | 3:03 PM

In these early weeks of 2016, a thoughtful canvassing of world affairs and the challenges to our nation's foreign policy engagement doesn't paint a particularly pretty picture.

Indeed, there are days when I consider the state of our planet and ask myself, "Can anything in the world go right?"...

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U.S. Should Remain Actively Engaged in the Middle East, But Restraint Is Key

(0) Comments | Posted January 14, 2016 | 12:49 PM

A little over a year from now, our nation will inaugurate its 45th president, who will be sworn into office and introduce his or her own foreign policy plan concerning areas of the world important to our national interests.

Now I've been called any number of names -- not...

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Let's Defeat ISIS Without Destroying Our Values

(2) Comments | Posted December 23, 2015 | 4:17 PM

In the closing weeks of 2015, the Islamic State, or ISIS, has dominated our nation's foreign policy discourse, making up the majority of last week's Republican and Democratic debates, as well as President Obama's recent Oval Office address.

"The threat from terrorism is real, but we will overcome it,"...

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In Considering American Exceptionalism and International Engagement, Talk Alone Isn't Enough

(1) Comments | Posted November 30, 2015 | 5:46 PM

In keeping close tabs on the race for the Republican presidential nomination, I've been struck by how the various candidates view U.S. foreign policy and, specifically, how engaged America should be in international affairs.

Clearly a fairly large split exists within the GOP primary. On the one hand, there's...

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Complex Syria Conflict Raises Difficult Military Questions

(1) Comments | Posted November 6, 2015 | 4:42 PM

For several years, even as the sectarian violence that has wracked Syria continues to worsen, President Barack Obama has insisted the U.S. will not be drawn into a ground conflict in the country, as has been in the case over the past two decades in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So, this...

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Difficult Times for Democracy Demand New Approach, Adjusted Expectations

(1) Comments | Posted October 20, 2015 | 1:19 PM

If there's one common thread that ties together the foreign policies of each U.S. president in the modern era, it's the mission of promoting democracy abroad.

Democracy has defined U.S. global engagement for so long that it's sometimes hard to remember that it's not our only foreign policy objective....

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US Should Support a Strong China

(14) Comments | Posted September 24, 2015 | 11:54 AM

This week Chinese President Xi Jinping is embarking on his first state visit to the U.S., and his arrival comes at a critical juncture in the relations between the world's two biggest superpowers.

As I have previously written here in Huffington Post, America's relationship with China is...

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Iran Deal is Best Way Forward

(20) Comments | Posted September 2, 2015 | 7:26 PM

As the calendar turns to September, all eyes are on Congress as it prepares to vote on the landmark Iran nuclear accord, which the U.S., Iran and five other world powers reached after a lengthy set of negotiations.

The particulars of the agreement -- which would effectively freeze Iran's...

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The Case for Diplomacy

(9) Comments | Posted August 25, 2015 | 3:34 PM

We're still several weeks away from finding out whether Congress will formally approve or reject the White House-backed nuclear agreement with Iran. Nevertheless, the political fight is already raging, and thus far the rancorous debate taking place in the nation's capital and on the presidential campaign trail has had less...

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Grading the War on Terrorism

(14) Comments | Posted July 24, 2015 | 11:39 AM

It's sometimes hard to believe that we are already 15 years into the current century, a century that dawned with the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil and the launching of two costly and drawn-out wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Much has changed for Americans since the start of...

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Despite Growing Tensions, US Must Move Forward on Cooperation With China

(1) Comments | Posted June 30, 2015 | 4:56 PM

We routinely slam each other's records on human rights. We accuse them of stealing commercial secrets, as we unabashedly acknowledge our own attempts to uncover security secrets. We debate which of our systems of government -- capitalism or communism -- truly works best, and we squabble over our respective responsibilities...

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U.S. Needs to Engage North Korea Now over Nuclear Threat

(15) Comments | Posted June 10, 2015 | 4:59 PM

So here we are again.

Our nation's foreign policy finds itself focused on a most familiar place--Iran--as we near the midway point of June. Between now and the end of the month, the Obama Administration, along with the leaders of six other global powers, will try to seal a...

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U.S. Foreign Policy for an Evolving World

(3) Comments | Posted May 20, 2015 | 10:41 PM

It's been a rough several weeks for President Obama on the foreign policy front.

Last week, the president had high hopes that a two-day Camp David summit might yield substantial progress toward strengthening the security of the Middle East, but the six Persian Gulf leaders who attended left without...

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Middle East Continues to Dominate U.S. Foreign Policy, but Our Strategy in Region Remains Largely Unclear

(0) Comments | Posted April 24, 2015 | 5:50 PM

Like every U.S. president of the last half-century, I find it nearly impossible to avoid focusing most of my foreign policy attention on the continuingly chaotic and confusing region of the world that is the Middle East.

I have now spent five decades working on foreign policy in government,...

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