iOS app Android app

Michael Brenner
GET UPDATES FROM Michael Brenner
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

Skepticism Is Our Only Salvation

(0) Comments | Posted March 30, 2015 | 11:01 AM

Why bother with facts? That question threads its way through political discourse, through educational philosophy and through observations on the media. Rarely is it confronted squarely. For the lines between actual reality and virtual reality have been so blurred that the distinction itself no longer is generally recognized. The axiom...

Read Post

Ignorance Is Bliss

(40) Comments | Posted March 23, 2015 | 12:19 PM

Factual information is out of fashion. American society now devalues it. Subjective attitude and opinion are considered to be as worthy as accurate renderings of reality. Many wear their ignorance as a badge of honor. The ultimate freedom for them is to avoid needless bother in knowing the truth and...

Read Post

Iran and America at Heaven's Gate?

(48) Comments | Posted March 16, 2015 | 10:19 AM

The op-ed pages and blogs are full of commentary on the recondite technical aspects of the nuclear negotiations. Some do a masterful job of delineating the particular issues still being negotiated. However, there is a persuasive case to be made that the outcome does not turn on how those detailed...

Read Post

The 2016 Frolic Is Here

(5) Comments | Posted March 9, 2015 | 11:44 AM

The roulette wheel that is presidential politics is spinning faster now that we are only one year and eight months from election day. Bets are being placed as the main stakeholders look to their future financial and career investments. The media play to the hilt this longest running spectacle that...

Read Post

Rethinking the ISIL Dilemma

(3) Comments | Posted March 2, 2015 | 10:57 AM

It is time to reassess the ISIS problem. Seven months have passed since their seizure of Mosul and advances toward Baghdad ignited a sense of crisis. The reaction in Washington and regional capitals involved a series of military and political moves whose effectiveness now is open to appraisal. Stalemate best...

Read Post

Who's Afraid of Islamic Fundamentalism?

(43) Comments | Posted February 23, 2015 | 10:35 AM

Graeme Wood's article in The Atlantic last week charging that ISIL is the natural expression of Islam has created quite a stir. Overwrought and poorly informed in its claim that the roots of violent extremism are in Mohammed and the Koran, and that Bakr al-Baghdadi is a theologian-prophet,...

Read Post

Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie Hebdo

(66) Comments | Posted February 16, 2015 | 1:16 PM

The Copenhagen killings are reviving the Charlie Hebdo experience. The dramatic video, the bloodied office, the manhunt, the hostages, the outrage, the marches, the ubiquitous Je Suis Charlie placards. And then the politicians' pledges, the analysis, the endless commentaries. All right-thinking people lined up in defense of freedom of speech...

Read Post

The IT Faustian Bargain

(6) Comments | Posted February 9, 2015 | 10:26 AM

The IT revolution has us all entangled. Most of us are enraptured. The younger you are, the more likely to be in this latter category. It is like that with all dramatic social innovations. Habit is resistant to change; the older you are the more entrenched your habits. That is...

Read Post

Pilgrimage to Riyadh

(10) Comments | Posted February 2, 2015 | 10:25 AM

Never in the course of American diplomacy have so many travelled so far for so little. The enormous entourage of dignitaries accompanying Barack Obama to Saudi Arabia last week broke all records. Added to the impressive delegation of his most senior advisers were former Presidents, former Secretaries of State, former...

Read Post

Everything Has Its Price

(2) Comments | Posted January 27, 2015 | 10:52 AM

A visitor to New York City has access to a rich array of cultural resources. They come at a hefty price, though. That high cost can be intimidating for residents of the outer boroughs and for all those of limited means as well as for tourists. No -- I am...

Read Post

Obama's "Epiphany"

(75) Comments | Posted January 21, 2015 | 7:34 PM

American politics has come to occupy a spectral plane of reality that bears little resemblance to the universe of fact and logic many of us are accustomed to. President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech on Tuesday -- and the widespread reaction to it -- is the ultimate confirmation...

Read Post

What Would Kojak Do?

(7) Comments | Posted January 19, 2015 | 10:05 AM

The plight of the New York Police Department and the city it serves provides us with an object case of what can go wrong in an America that is subjecting itself to destructive forces of its own making. A toxic brew of paranoia originating in the trauma of 9/11 and...

Read Post

Paris and "The War on Terror"

(5) Comments | Posted January 12, 2015 | 9:54 AM

The tragedy in Paris has triggered a strong emotional response. Events of this grisly nature usually do. The depth of feeling across a wide range of persons and cultures owes much to its being an act of terror in an age that has become largely defined as the "terrorism era."...

Read Post

'Rolling' Iran

(49) Comments | Posted January 6, 2015 | 9:57 AM

The investigative journalist and scholar Gareth Porter has painted a troubling picture of the Obama administration's line of thinking about the suspended nuclear negotiations with Iran. As he puts it, "the evidence indicates that the administration feels that it has no incentives to reach an agreement with Iran,...

Read Post

Know When to Fold 'Em

(54) Comments | Posted January 2, 2015 | 12:16 PM

Barack Obama reportedly takes pride in his skill as a card player. Poker is the prime game of politics and politicians. The president's record suggests that he is something less than its master. The list of those who have fleeced him is a long and varied one. It includes: the...

Read Post

How Good Is the CIA?

(20) Comments | Posted December 29, 2014 | 11:32 AM

The unstated question that runs through the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on CIA torture is: How good is the CIA at doing intelligence work? This formulation consolidates two questions: How good is it at operations? How good is it at analysis? There has been institutional tension between the agencies' two...

Read Post

The CIA's Road to Infamy

(11) Comments | Posted December 22, 2014 | 8:36 AM

Some political events mark their importance less by their content than by their timing, circumstances and presentation. That is the case for the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on CIA torture. It contains little new to the attentive observer and none of that is of major consequence. It does, though, bear...

Read Post

Iran: Obama's Moment of Truth

(10) Comments | Posted November 20, 2014 | 11:40 AM

The nuclear negotiations with Iran are in their eleventh hour. By Monday we'll know whether a resolution has been reached or a new crisis of the first order added to the conflagrations in the Middle East -- indeed, one that will exacerbate all the others. Even an understanding that lays...

Read Post

Treating the Terror Psychosis

(18) Comments | Posted November 17, 2014 | 11:38 AM

America is afflicted with a debilitating ailment that has warped the collective national mind. Its symptoms are the experience of persistent delusions and a distorted sense of objective reality. The disorder impairs functioning since the subjective perception of the world does not match actual conditions. That marks the classic psychotic...

Read Post

The Democrats' Political Suicide

(260) Comments | Posted November 10, 2014 | 11:16 AM

For six years the Democrats have been bent on committing political suicide. Or so it seems. President Barack Obama has been the point man for this bizarre self-immolation. That period represents the culmination of a long 30 year exercise in political obtuseness that has seen a steady estrangement from the...

Read Post