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Brian M Downing is a national security analyst who has written for outlets across the political spectrum. He studied at Georgetown University and the University of Chicago, and did post-graduate work at Harvard's Center for International Affairs..
SHARE Wednesday, August 14, 2019 Is there any debate on foreign policy these days?
The presidential andidates are eager to differentiate themselves from the president and each other on domestic issues, why not ask where they all stand on foreign issues? It might be embarrassing to learn how many of them are in lockstep with the administration and decades of interventionism.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, March 27, 2018 The Don's new consigliere and Iran
Last spring, as the Trump administration began to act on the world stage, many were relieved to see relatively stable figures in top foreign policy positions. The new National Security Adviser is John Bolton who's supportive of bold military action -- uncritically so but given his military experience, perhaps understandably so.
(6 comments) SHARE Friday, March 23, 2018 The prince and president talk arms -- and Sunnistan
Mohammed bin Salman, heir apparent and de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, is in Washington this week. Discussions will bear on the geopolitics of the Middle East and the political economy of the United States. The prince brought his checkbook.
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, February 26, 2018 Israel and Iran head for war in Syria
Intermittently over the last ten years, Israel, perhaps with US and Saudi assistance, seemed on the verge of attacking Iranian nuclear sites. More recently, and despite an internationally-supported nuclear deal, Israel and Iran are at daggers drawn over Syria. PM Netanyahu's rationale is unconvincing. He has other motivations.
(6 comments) SHARE Thursday, January 4, 2018 Two Cheers for the Trump's Pakistan Tweet
The Trump tweet on Pakistan was accurate but ham-fisted. Unless accompanied by a drastic reassessment of America's role in the Afghan war, it will only bring trouble, probably in the form of closing off supply lines running from Pakistani ports to Afghanistan. The president, or at least his foreign policy team, should recognize the tweet's implications and rethink the war.
(2 comments) SHARE Thursday, July 20, 2017 Why are we in eastern Syria?
Most of the fighting in the long Syrian civil war has been in the eastern and north-central regions. That's where most major cities and supply lines are. There are signs, however, that fighting is shifting to the sparsely-populated, barren east. The US is apparently committing to open-ended operations unrelated to ISIL and unrelated to our national security as well.
SHARE Tuesday, July 14, 2015 Behind Prime Minister Netanyahu's hard line
While many parts of the world have called the Iranian nuclear deal a triumph of diplomacy, Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has branded it an "historic mistake."
Netanyahu will be heard over and over as the Iran issue is debated in the halls of congress and elsewhere. His objections, however, should be considered in the context of the injudiciousness of past actions in world affairs.
(6 comments) SHARE Monday, July 6, 2015 War and change in Saudi Arabia
Wars in the Middle East have been the rule for several decades now and are likely to continue for years to come. Signs of change are beginning to appear, most importantly in the center of the Sunni world and of the reaction against democracy -- Saudi Arabia.
(4 comments) SHARE Friday, June 26, 2015 The colonels speak out
Many mid-level officers are increasingly critical of recent wars. Owing to the estrangement between the American public and their soldiers, this has gone largely unnoticed.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, May 30, 2011 Vietnam and the New American Way of War
War-making, in astonishing contrast to post-Vietnam sensibilities, has become a de facto presidential power, legitimized by invocation of national security arguments only desultorily debated. This power was ceded by congress and endorsed by a gratefully uninvolved nation.
(3 comments) SHARE Thursday, March 3, 2011 The End Comes To The Colonel's Compound
Kadafi's control is dwindling. The colonel's foreign forces are little more than hoodlums who have thus far been effective in driving demonstrators off the streets of Tripoli but who will be useless against oncoming rebel army units, who of course have superior discipline, weaponry, local knowledge, and public support.
Loyalist forces appear to be weakening. Garrison's here and there go over to the rebels.
SHARE Friday, May 28, 2010 Fiscal Crisis and American Globalism
The Obama administration has expressed grave concern over the national debt and signaled that deep budget cuts will be needed. Just where the cuts will come is unknown, but for many citizens and observers, reduced military presence around the world will seem a likely place. For a number of reasons, however, a marked reduction in US commitments around the world is unlikely.
(1 comments) SHARE Saturday, January 9, 2010 Pakistan and the Afghan Insurgency
The US is pressing Pakistan to do more to counter the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan. This is unlikely to work because of Pakistan's partnership with the Taliban and some of its allies. Unilateral action in Pakistan poses difficulties.
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, November 9, 2009 Leaving Afghanistan
A western withdrawal from Afghanistan would not be, as often claimed, a disaster.