"Four years after the start of the Syrian civil war, things there are worse than ever. Nearly a quarter million are dead, literally half the population has been displaced, President Assad is holding onto power by using barrel bombs and other monstrous means of "counterinsurgency" warfare — and the strongest opposition force pitted against him is now ISIL."
"Like the Artist Formerly Known as Prince, American foreign policy isolationists have tinkered with a number of name changes over the years. Foreign policy isolationists have tried calling themselves non-interventionist, anti-interventionist, and now, most improbably, “realist.” But none of it seems to be working."
"Too often policymakers resort to straw-man arguments to justify inaction, most egregiously positing "boots on the ground" as the alternative to the United States’ current ineffective policy on Syria. The United States need not act alone and certainly should not reflexively resort to military action. But the hard experiences of a decade of war and three years of turmoil in the Arab world should counsel smart, economical, and effective multilateral action, not serve as excuses for inaction."
"As the long march to the presidential nomination begins, most of the likely Republican contenders are talking tough on foreign policy and criticizing the Obama administration for its evident failings in handling Russia, Iran, Syria, and the Islamic State and other Islamist extremists. These threats are undeniably pressing but, in the long run, all of them pale in comparison to the strategic challenge posed by China."
In the American Interest, AHS speaker Jakub Grygiel illustrates why the problem of targeting an enemy that avoids battles is not new:
"War turns into a frustrating whac-a-mole game from the tactical to the strategic level, as the enemy vanishes on one street and reappears on another in a slightly different form and with a different set of tools. As the enemy spreads violence, or even just the possibility of violence, across a large geographic area, it sows instability undermining the authority of the ruling power."
In the Weekly Standard, AHS speakers Dan Blumenthal and William Inboden discuss why the top of our next president’s task list will be rescuing American foreign policy from the wreckage of the Obama years:
"From the expansionist barbarity of the Islamic State, to the collapse of Libya into warring factions, to Yemen’s degeneration into civil war and a terrorist safe haven, to unprecedented concessions that have strengthened Iran, to Russian adventurism forcibly redrawing Europe’s borders, to the expansion of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal, the threat environment that the Obama administration is preparing to hand over to its successor is grave."
In the Washington Post, AHS speaker Eugene Kontrovich explains why it appears that Iran is essentially seizing vessels for ransom by charging a selective toll on transit through international straits:
"The Islamic Republic has no legal authority to seize the ship. Releasing it on payment of money is not piracy, because that can only committed by non-state actors, but it is definitely a shake-down, and an assertion of general sovereign rights over international shipping lanes. It is likely not the last such ransom Iran will demand."