Robert D. Kaplan

Freedom for Me—But Not for Thee

When historians in future decades ponder America’s wars in Vietnam and Iraq, the name of Andrew J. Bacevich, a West Point graduate, retired Army colonel and professor emeritus at Boston University, will have its own poignant chapter. Mr. Bacevich fought in Vietnam, and his only son, an Army first lieutenant named after him, was killed in Iraq.

Obama Is No George H. W. Bush

President Barack Obama is known to be a great admirer of President George H. W. Bush, who Obama recently said is "one of the more underrated presidents we have ever had." Obama notes, "When you look at how he managed foreign policy. . . he was thoughtful, restrained and made good decisions." Rahm Emanuel, Obama's former chief of staff, explicitly compared his boss some years back to Bush 41, because of Obama's "realpolitik" and "cold-blooded" instinct about national self-interest.

A blunt defense of interrogations, targeted killings and domestic spying

People living in a democracy in an age of electronic communications can be altogether fickle. After a mass casualty attack, they demand total vengeance on the killers and their co-conspirators. But once severe retribution is exacted and normalcy returns, these same people may accuse their security organs of going too far in their methods. The safer they feel, the less tolerant they are regarding the methods of those who keep them safe.

Eurasia's Coming Anarchy

As China asserts itself in its nearby seas and Russia wages war in Syria and Ukraine, it is easy to assume that Eurasia’s two great land powers are showing signs of newfound strength. But the opposite is true: increasingly, China and Russia flex their muscles not because they are powerful but because they are weak. Unlike Nazi Germany, whose power at home in the 1930s fueled its military aggression abroad, today’s revisionist powers are experiencing the reverse phenomenon. In China and Russia, it is domestic insecurity that is breeding belligerence.

Book Launch: In Europe’s Shadow: Two Cold Wars and a Thirty-Year Journey Through Romania and Beyond

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) hosted the book launch for In Europe’s Shadow: Two Cold Wars and a Thirty-Year Journey Through Romania and Beyond by Robert Kaplan, CNAS Senior Fellow, on Thursday, February 11, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Europe’s New Medieval Map

Look at any map of Europe from the Middle Ages or the early modern era, before the Industrial Revolution, and you will be overwhelmed by its dizzying incoherence—all of those empires, kingdoms, confederations, minor states, “upper” this and “lower” that. It is a picture of a radically fractured world. Today’s Europe is, in effect, returning to such a map.

Time to Act on Ukraine

The Ukraine crisis, though temporarily out of the headlines, is at a critical stage. There is no better opportunity than now through the next several months to forge a deal with Russia advantageous to American interests. The Europeans may very well not extend sanctions after the first half of 2016, even as Russia is now in a near-disastrous economic position. The confluence of the two trends calls for dramatic diplomatic action. This is not a deal for a deal's sake, but a way to get Russia effectively out of eastern Ukraine.

ISIS and the Logic of Anarchy

The terrorist attacks in Paris, beyond their obvious horror, recalled to me the words of the late Bernard Fall, a French-American historian and war correspondent in Vietnam. In 1965, Fall wrote: “When a country is being subverted it is not being outfought; it is being out-administered. Subversion is literally administration with a minus sign in front.” ISIS has subverted western Iraq and eastern Syria because it is out-administering the Baghdad and Damascus regimes there.

The Great Danger of a New Utopianism

What is our worst existential fear, worse than any cyber, biological, environmental, or even nuclear threat? It is the threat of a utopian ideology in the hands of a formidable power. Because utopia is, in and of itself, the perfect political and spiritual arrangement, any measures to bring it about are morally justified, including totalitarianism and mass murder. But what, on the individual level, has always been the attraction of utopian ideology, despite what it wrought in the 20thcentury?

China Still Reclaiming Land in South China Sea: CSIS

China is still reclaiming land in the South China Sea, a defense analyst said, a month after Foreign Minister Wang Yi said his country’s island reclamation program was completed.

Satellite photos taken in early September show dredgers at work on Subi Reef and Mischief Reef, two of China’s eight outposts in the Spratly islands, according to Bonnie Glaser, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. The images were published by an initiative of CSIS.

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