Let's play a game, the kind that makes no sense on this single-superpower planet of ours. For a moment, do your best to suspend disbelief and imagine that there's another superpower, great power, or even regional power somewhere that, between 2001 and 2003, launched two major wars in the Greater Middle East.
We are living in The Neocon Moment, a testament to the foolishness and arrogance of those who believe themselves to be engineers of peoples, societies, and nations. Yet Washington officials have yet to tire of America's permanent state of war.
Behind the forgettable headline of "yet another" attack in Afghanistan is a more interesting reality: southeastern Pashtun tribes love sports and have been quietly making a public space for sporting events in areas where the Taliban still routinely fight for control with government forces.
The focus of our strategy should not be on what we do or do not do with our military. The principal focus of our "fight" should be on getting the countries in the Middle East, like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain, etc., to make the defeat of ISIS their responsibility.
Despite the rhetoric of Republicans, by historical standards, Obama is a practitioner of militaristic activism.
I've long resisted the facile argument that there is a fundamental divide in Latin America -- left/right, vegetarian/carnivore, illiberal/liberal, etc. The pairings sometimes offer an easily digestible soundbite, but they reinforce tendentiousness of rhetoric, argument, politics and policies.
Currently, the US and Western allies' major campaign in the Middle East is fighting the Islamic State while ignoring to address Iran's military engagements in other countries, ignoring Tehran's determination for regional supremacy seriously.
According to the White House, the decision to send additional military advisors represents a new phase of U.S. strategy in dealing with the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). To the contrary, I'll argue that this augmentation in the number of military advisors represents failure and a lack of a clear strategy for dealing with ISIS.
While business and trade promotion may not correspond to our desire for bald action in favor of democracy and human rights, they do, however, represent a fundamental step toward them. But most of all -- differently from bombs -- they can contribute to restore the US's most powerful tool of all: its international moral leverage.
The Chinese may be authoritarians and the Americans may be more pluralistic, but China does have legitimate security concerns, and the U.S. military is in China's face, not vice versa.
Two new American generals have been summoned to oversee military training efforts in Iraq. Each will, in due course, be called upon to testify before Congress as to the progress they are making in their mission. Neither will earn an additional star if he reports back that his charges are militarily incapable of achieving the optimistic objectives set forth by the Obama administration. Congress can anticipate that each of these men, and any others they call upon to testify, will provide them with the sort of pat answers one has come to expect from such hearings. But void of meaningful political change in both Iraq and within the political leadership of the "Free Syrian Army," there will be no cause in either of those countries worthy of the sacrifice of the men America plans to train to fight in the spring offensive of 2015.
You can call it a "wave," a "thumpin'," or a "shellacking," but whatever term that the pundits and politicians use, it's quite clear that the Republican Party made a loud statement on Election Night.
The 1.8 million Palestinians who make Gaza their home are calling for help from anyone that is willing to hear them. What they need is not only a roof to live under, but, more importantly, a horizon that can give them hope for the future.
The U.S. is once again intervening in the Middle East with no plan, no idea, no clue and no thinking about how to shape this into a positive outcome.
A sea change in the composition of the Congress is always taken to have profound consequences for American foreign policy. Those expectations usually prove exaggerated. The broad consensus on the basic premises of the country's external relations is too strong to permit stark confrontations.
While gaining control of Congress sounds good to the Republicans on paper, I suspect that 24 months from now, when the presidential election is upon us, they'll be regretting having taken the helm on foreign policy.