Commentary

What Ukraine Tells Us about Trump

According to a formal whistleblower complaint, President Donald Trump withheld Congressionally-appropriated aid from Ukraine in an attempt to pressure Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate Trump’s 2020 political rival, former Vice President Joe...

Trump’s Iran Strategy: Maximum Pressure, Minimum Impact

President Trump is at it again, taking to Twitter to announce that he had directed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to ratchet up sanctions on Iran in the wake of the missile strike against Saudi oil facilities. But while the world can be glad that Trump hasn't yet...

Fuel to the Fire: How Trump Made America’s Broken Foreign Policy Even Worse

Fuel to the Fire critiques the past 30 years of U.S. grand strategy, assesses Donald Trump's worldview and foreign policy, and concludes with a proposal for avoiding the errors of the past. Here are key ideas from our book, and what they mean for policy makers....

It Is Time to Relinquish America’s Global Interventionist Foreign Policy

We have an article published in the latest edition of Survival critiquing America’s foreign policy of global interventionism and making the case for a grand strategy of restraint. September 19, 2019 Cato Institute, Cato At Liberty blog

Selling F-16s to Taiwan Is Bad Business

On the surface, the Trump administration’s proposal to sell F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan seems to make sense. It makes money for American companies, helps an ally provide for its own defense, and provides a check on a rising China. But a closer look reveals that it...

The 2019 Arms Sales Risk Index

The 2019 Arms Sales Risk Index, designed to help policy makers assess the potential negative consequences of international arms sales, is now online at Cato here. It represents an expanded and improved version of the original risk index published in Risky Business:...

Next Generation Foreign Policy: Time for Democrats to Embrace Restraint

As Donald Trump ricochets from crisis to crisis, the Democratic Party has yet to present a compelling alternative to his incoherent ‘America First’ vision of foreign policy. Though a few of the more progressive 2020 candidates, including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.),...

Trump’s Misguided Assault on the Arms Trade Treaty

During a speech to the National Rifle Association in April, Donald Trump announced that he will “unsign” the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty and ask the Senate to halt the ratification process. Though Trump and other critics argue that the treaty threatens Second...

Fuel to the Fire…Coming Soon

Preorder from Amazon.com As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump broke not only from the Republican Party but also from the bipartisan consensus on the direction of recent U.S. foreign policy. Calling the Iraq war a terrible mistake and lamenting America's...

War with Iran?

Mines, downed drones, and one *almost* retaliation. The question on everyone’s mind is: Will there be war? Though the risk is not zero, the smart bet – for now – is that there will not be war. Read here for my take on what is making war more or less...

Recent Posts

Time for Diplomacy, Not War, in Yemen

On Wednesday June 13 the Saudi-led military coalition launched an assault to seize Hodeidah, the site of Yemen’s main port. The port, currently held by Houthi fighters, is the primary channel through which humanitarian aid reaches millions of at-risk...

America First Coming Soon?

Although President Trump may lack a coherent strategic vision for international affairs, his general disinterest in the rest of the world and his strong feelings about “getting a good deal” have led him to propose, on repeated occasions, the withdrawal of American...

U.S. Grand Strategy and the Case for Restraint

I'm excited to announce the publication of U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century: The Case for Restraint. The edited volume is an effort to assemble a more complete "brief" of the grand strategy of restraint, a vision for U.S. foreign policy that has been gaining...

The Trump Doctrine and Public Opinion at One Year

Donald Trump’s America First rhetoric during the 2016 presidential campaign marked a sharp departure from the fundamental tenets of liberal internationalism that have guided U.S. foreign policy since World War II. Trump’s tirades against free trade, NATO allies,...

America’s Foreign Policy Attention Deficit

We Washingtonians rightly get criticized for being hyper focused on politics. While D.C. natives gossip about the ups and downs of the powerful elite, most Americans are worrying about their marriages and mortgages. The disjuncture is even greater when it comes to...

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