Foreign Policy

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Obama’s great dilemma: to be or not to be the world’s policeman

TCF fellow, Michael Cohen has written about President Obama's reluctant intervention against ISIS for The Guardian.

Iraq… America just can't quit you. For 23 years and across four presidencies, American planes have been waging war either against or on behalf of Iraqis. And if President Obama's prediction of a long-term struggle against Isis is correct, it might soon be five presidents and a quarter of a century.

How does that keep happening? How did a candidate who won the nation's highest office on a platform of ending the war in Iraq find himself six years later announcing yet another military engagement in Iraq? How has a president who has seemingly made it his priority to pivot to Asia, rely less on the military and put forward a more restrained foreign policy been thwarted once again?

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Tags: president obama, isis, iraq war, iraq, foreign policy, barack obama

Entering the Syrian Minefield

TCF fellow, Thanassis Cambanis has appeared on Ian Masters' Background Briefing to discuss the state of the civil war in Syria.

We examine an increasingly deadly and intractable civil war next door in Syria, further inflamed by the beheading of a third Western hostage by the Islamic State which is likely to draw the United States further into a conflict involving 1,500 rival militia groups fighting among themselves and occasionally against the Assad regime, that has resulted in the deaths of 200,000 Syrians, the destruction of the country and the displacement of a third of Syria’s population.

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Tags: syrian crisis, syrian civil war, syria, civil war syria, civil war

Congressional Hearing on ISIS: Where is Syria?

TCF senior fellow, Michael Wahid Hanna has been mentioned in a Brookings Institute article about the U.S. strategy aganist ISIS.

Congressional hearings aren’t always illuminating, but this time they were. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tried — and, at times, struggled — to minimize the apparent contradictions of our evolving policy. Taken together, their remarks confirm what many have suspected — that there is, and will continue to be, a gaping hole at the heart of our ISIS strategy. That hole is Syria.

Despite all the talk about boosting mainstream Syrian rebels (“mainstream” or “non-extremist” are more appropriate descriptors than “moderate”), the administration hasn’t proposed any new funding beyond the $500 million in aid requested by the president in June, well before ISIS conquered the headlines. At the time, the plan was dismissed as being far too small. As one defense official said, “I get the sense no one really wants to do it.”

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Tags: syria, isis, foreign policy

Fighting ISIS: The View From The Middle East

TCF fellow, Thanassis Cambanis talks to NPR about the reaction to the U.S. potentially taking military action against ISIS.

Listen to the entire discussion.

Tags: military, middle east policy, middle east, isis, foreign policy

Skepticism abounds as Obama prepares to unveil Islamic State strategy

TCF senior fellow, Michael Wahid Hanna has been quoted in an AlJazeera America article about President Obama's response to ISIS.

A week after publicly admitting he didn’t yet have a strategy for solving the crises in Iraq and Syria, President Barack Obama will tell the nation on Wednesday he has prepared a plan and assembled a coalition of regional and NATO allies to “degrade and destroy” the Islamic State insurgency. But reports that the White House envisages a limited commitment in Iraq, delayed action in Syria and a war plan that could be handed off to the next administration suggest his speech will do little to satisfy critics of his hands-off approach to the Middle East.

White House officials, according to a New York Times report, said Wednesday’s speech would lay out the next phases of a plan that began last month with over 140 airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq. The second phase, the Times reported, will involve training and equipping Iraqi and Kurdish ground forces so they can retake and hold territory that has been cleared of the Sunni insurgents — all while working with Baghdad to ensure a “more inclusive” leadership for the country.

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Tags: syrian crisis, president obama, isis, iraq, foreign policy, barack o


Foreign Policy

Foreign Policy

In the first years of the new century, an assertive foreign policy took a toll on the cultivated role of the U.S. as a responsible global leader. The Century Foundation's work in this area provides perspective on the international difficulties the U.S. is facing today, while providing policy recommendations to promote the nation's security interests. Our research and analysis focuses on effectively responding to challenges in the Middle East and Pakistan, as well as responding to international crime.

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