How to Lose Wars and Infuriate People

“Unless American leaders begin accepting limits on what pure military force can achieve (without becoming doves), and more fundamentally, inherent limitations on their power to conduct war, then a sound strategy will never be crafted in war. Rather, we will continue to “do stuff.” Action will be conflated with accomplishment. And, threats will never be mitigated. Instead, they will simply multiply–even as we increase our expenditures and commitments to the conflict.”

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Syria is a Successful and Sustainable Model? Don’t Make Me Laugh

“For the United States, it needs to not only temper its expectations (and therefore slow down the tempo of its intervention in the region generally, but specifically in Syria), and start focusing on larger geopolitical concerns. Obviously, the United States cannot (and should not) simply abandon the region, as many on the Far Right insist. But, we must be willing to give greater levels of support–and responsibility–to our local allies. That is our only hope for not breaking the American military in the quicksand of Mideast politics (which we presently are in danger of doing).”

President Trump is Right to Strike Again at Assad

“No, it is not in America’s interest to simply ignore Assad’s repeated chemical weapons use, or to empower his regime — at the expense of our regional allies. That would actually force America to expand its role in the Mideast at precisely the time it needs to reduce its physical presence there. Thus, a retaliatory — proportional — strike against Assad for his chemical weapons attack would be a justified use of American force (and would actually solidify America’s position in the region, without expanding our role there).”

Only the Gulf States Can Offer a Solution to the Refugee Crisis (Which They Won’t)

“At a time when Saudi Arabia in particular is seeking to create a grand regional alliance to counter the rising Iranian hegemony, taking an open-handed approach to the refugee crisis being kicked up by Saudi Arabia and Iran’s regional proxy wars is one, sure way to win a major soft power victory in that ongoing struggle. It should also be America’s price of admission for dealing with this alliance: if the Sunni Arab states want American backing for this endeavor against Iran, these states must accept the lion’s share of Muslims fleeing the region’s various civil conflicts.”

Free Kurdistan Now

“Failure to recognize Kurdistan is not only an abdication of moral leadership, it is a geostrategic error for the United States. Without Kurdistan as a buffer state between Iran’s expansion into the Levant, as well as a check against Turkish and Russian consolidation of the region’s energy sources, we will permanently lose the region to our adversaries. Backing the Kurds to the fullest is in America’s best interest.”

Trump’s Syria Policy is About Containing Iran

“The cynics insist that America’s race against the Russo-Iranian alliance for control over Deir ez-Zor is “about oil.” Not so. Yes, Dear ez-Zor has a great deal of oil in the sands beneath it, but the U.S. objective is geopolitical: we want to stop Iran from expanding its control over the Shia crescent. Denying Iran control over the ancient caravan routes is vital to keeping Iran contained and preventing Iranian hegemony in the region.”

What’s Going On? A New Balance of Power in the Mideast

A 15-minute analysis of how the Trump Administration, along with the Sunni Arab states and Israel is attempting to restore a balance of power in the Mideast aimed at 1) containing Iran, 2) countering Islamic extremism, 3) ensuring the flow of oil, and 4) protecting Israel.