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Michael Brenner
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Senior Fellow the Center for Transatlantic Relations, SAIS-Johns Hopkins (Washington, D.C.) Author of numerous books, and over 60 articles and published papers. Recent works on American foreign policy and the Middle East are "Fear & Dread In The Middle East", and "Democracy Promotion & Islam". He also has written "Nuclear Power and Non-Proliferation" (Cambridge University Press) and "The Politics of International Monetary Reform" for the Center For International Affairs at Harvard. His work has appeared in major journals in the United States and Europe, such as Europe’s World, European Affairs, World Politics, Comparative Politics, Foreign Policy, International Studies Quarterly, International Affairs, Survival, Politique Etrangere, and Internationale Politik. Directed funded research projects with colleagues at leading universities and institutes in Britain, France, Germany and Italy, including the Sorbonne, Bonn University, King’s College – London, and Universita di Firenze. Invited lecturer at major universities and institute in the United States and abroad, including Georgetown University, UCLA, the National Defense University, the State Department, Sorbonne, Ecole des Sciences Politiques, Royal Institute of International Affairs, International Institute of Strategic Studies, University of London, German Council on Foreign Relations, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, and Italian Institute of International Affairs. Previous teaching and research appointments at Cornell, Stanford, Harvard, MIT, Brookings Institution, University of California – San Diego, and Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the National Defense University.

Entries by Michael Brenner

A Terrorist By Any Other Name

(0) Comments | Posted July 11, 2016 | 10:07 AM

Most Americans think they know what “terrorism” is: what happened on 9/11, what happened in Orlando.  Islamic militants murdering innocent civilians out of hate and in the cause of jihad. Experience shapes how we understand the world. The Global War On Terror has been oriented accordingly.

More formal definitions of...

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Who Is Censoring Whom

(0) Comments | Posted July 5, 2016 | 4:07 PM


Freedom of speech is the keystone of civil liberties. Freedoms of press and assembly are meant to protect it. Freedom from unwarranted searches and seizures leaves us to decide whether our expressed thoughts are private or public. That, too, is why freedom from surveillance is so important since...

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Freedom of Speech - Why Bother?

(0) Comments | Posted June 27, 2016 | 11:45 AM

FREEDOM OF SPEECH – WORTH THE BOTHER?

Freedom of speech’s centrality in civil liberties is a public as well as a private matter. After all, the point is not simply to empower persons to sound off about whatever passes through their mind or heart. Societies, for the most part, aren’t...

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Challenging Freedom Of Speech

(0) Comments | Posted June 19, 2016 | 11:38 PM

Freedom of speech is the keystone of civil liberties. Freedoms of press and assembly are meant to protect it. Freedom from unwarranted searches and seizures leaves us to decide whether our expressed thoughts are private or public. That, too, is why freedom from surveillance is so important since it prevents...

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Is Hillary A Warmonger?

(35) Comments | Posted June 13, 2016 | 12:22 PM

The record demonstrates that she certainly is a hawk -- someone who believes strongly in the utility of military force and is ready to use it. There is ample evidence in support of this contention. Her actions as Senator and Secretary of State as well her speeches and campaign statements...

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Crime and Punishment

(0) Comments | Posted June 6, 2016 | 12:11 PM

We always have prided ourselves on the American criminal justice system. It has been honored as embodying the principles of fairness, equity and due process. Trends over recent years oblige us to reexamine that belief. This commentary considers two juxtaposed reasons for doing so.

Illicit financial behavior has been decriminalized...

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The Best (and Worst) Laid Plans

(0) Comments | Posted May 31, 2016 | 8:05 AM

The United States has been pursuing an audacious project to fashion a global system according to its specifications and under its tutelage since the Cold War's end. For a quarter of a century, the paramount goal of all its foreign relations has been the fostering of a system whose architectural...

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The 3 A.M. Phone Call

(0) Comments | Posted May 23, 2016 | 10:27 AM

We all are contemplating a new president taking up residence in the White House. Foremost in our collective mind is how the arrival will deal with that infamous 3 A.M. phone call. Past scenarios always had as their pivot national security crises such as a Soviet nuclear attack, a Chinese...

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Bush vs. Obama in the War on Terror: The Lawyers

(12) Comments | Posted May 16, 2016 | 10:36 AM

Barack Obama's ascent to the White House evoked expectations of drastic changes in his predecessor's approach toward the War On Terror. Civil liberties, in particular, was the area of anticipated reform. Candidate Obama had inveighed against abuses on matters of detention, rendition, and surveillance -- among others. Respect for the...

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How Obama's Lawyers 'Legalized' the War on Terror

(34) Comments | Posted May 9, 2016 | 11:37 AM

President Obama's uneasy encounters with the law in devising numerous innovative means to prosecute the War on Terror are treated exhaustively in Charlie Savage's much discussed book, "Power Wars." This compendious volume is destined to be a landmark in the writing of the period's history. It also should be seen...

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Heavenly Father and the Aspirants

(0) Comments | Posted May 2, 2016 | 11:44 AM

I have been made privy to a summary report of an extraordinary encounter between the Heavenly Father and a select group of world leaders. HE had invited each of them to pose One question to which he pledged a Divine answer.

Abu Bakr al- BAGHDADI: When shall our vision of...

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Undue Deference -- Obama In Riyadh

(22) Comments | Posted April 25, 2016 | 2:01 PM

A staple of commentary about the fraught politics of the Middle East, especially the Gulf, are the wrenching torments of the Saudi royal family as they face unprecedented challenges. The essence of their plaint is that they are fending off a host of threats not of their own making and...

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Obama Embraces the Bomb

(16) Comments | Posted April 18, 2016 | 12:07 PM

President Obama hosted an international conference a couple of weeks ago on measures to tighten controls on the spread of nuclear weapons and possible theft of nuclear materials by terrorist groups. This harks back to an early theme of his Presidency whereby he set the goal of a sharp reduction...

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Psychology Touts Selfishness for Survival

(15) Comments | Posted April 11, 2016 | 10:26 AM

What's this all about? A high-powered team of psychologists from Yale and Harvard has made a splash with a well publicized claim that moral indignation is usually an affectation aimed at enhancing reputation and, thereby, gaining personal advantage. It is nothing more than a compulsive desire to proclaim how virtuous...

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Iran the Eternal Enemy

(5) Comments | Posted April 4, 2016 | 12:51 PM

President Obama denounced Iran's leaders for what he claimed was behavior that did not conform to the spirit of last year's nuclear accord. He offered that judgment as justification for Washington's continued effort to restrict the restoration of the IRI's normal commercial relations with other countries as foreseen by the...

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The Essence of Fascism

(57) Comments | Posted March 28, 2016 | 12:16 PM

Fascism is back. Not just as a political expletive thrown at opponents. But as a doctrine, as a movement, and -- above all -- as a set of feelings. It has been easy to view fascism as a freak historical phenomenon of the inter-war period that was embodied by Mussolini,...

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Huddled Masses at the Rio Del Norte (View From Colossos)

(9) Comments | Posted March 21, 2016 | 12:10 PM

"Keep, forlorn lands, your foul bands!" cries he
With pouted lips. "Give me not your truants, your poor.
Your hooligan masses yearning to rampage free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore
Deal with these; the hopeless, temper-torn, I will not see,
I lift my...

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The Obama Foreign Policy Interview

(1) Comments | Posted March 14, 2016 | 12:24 PM

The Atlantic has just published a long essay, "The Obama Doctrine," by their national correspondent, Jeffrey Goldberg. Based in good part on a wide-ranging reflective interview with president Barack Obama, the article makes extensive use of direct quotes from that interview. Considerable space is devoted to the various...

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Truth Be Told? Why Bother!

(24) Comments | Posted March 7, 2016 | 10:25 AM

The national disgrace that is the Republican contest for the presidential nomination, carrying with it the potential for national tragedy, has been brewing for some time. The degradation of standards of public discourse along with the widespread tolerance for the abuse of truth in all its aspects has been the...

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Through the Detective's Lens

(3) Comments | Posted February 29, 2016 | 11:39 AM

Detective stories have been making a splash on European screens for the past decade. Some attract top-notch directors, actors and script writers. They are far superior to anything that appears over here -- whether on TV or from Hollywood. Part of the impetus has come from the remarkable Italian series...

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