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In this fascinating, occasionally frustrating, book,  Rosa Brooks examines the blurring of the boundaries between war and peace that has evolved over the past 25 years, especially, though not entirely, as a result of 9/11. Bringing to bear a rather unusual combination of perspectives—daughter of peacenik activists, international law professor, former DOD staffer, and special […]

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As my framework of the “political marketplace” becomes more widely referenced among people who study Africa and the Middle East, I am increasingly asked, “doesn’t it apply in the United States as well?”

Since January, we have been finding out. The lens of transactional politics works remarkably well for understanding the conduct of the current […]

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An Age of Uncertainty

On March 30, 2017 By

It is worthwhile at this juncture to consider the nature of the US presidency and its likely impact on the role of the US in the post-World War II and post-Cold War world order. The issues inherent in the US president’s recent statements and behavior — his fondness for autocrats, dismissal of allies and long-term partnerships, and his embrace of mercantilist approaches to trade —constitute a major break with core bipartisan traditions in US foreign policy.[i] Close advisors to the president articulate broad views of global politics that they define as standing at odds with this tradition.[ii] These developments contribute to a major increase in uncertainty for those who govern amidst disorder.

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The past week has given us contrasting pictures of how the world’s top two powers are making decisions about military spending, with announcements of plans for spending increases by both Donald Trump and the Chinese leadership. The comparison is not a flattering one for the US.

China announced its annual defense budget increase for […]

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Six reasons why the global arms makers love Pres. Trump:

1) His eagerness to increase Pentagon spending by $54 billion, especially given his disinterest in articulating how the spending relates to threats or what the new funds should enable. It is worth noting that the U.S. already spends more on defense than the […]

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Most adult Africans have, at one point in their lifetime, woken up to martial music on the radio, an unfamiliar face in a military uniform on the television, and the numbing discovery that their country has been snatched away from them overnight. Africans have also become accustomed to the tedium of sclerotic authoritarian regimes, sometimes […]

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