Key Points

Perhaps, were Mr. Blow not blissfully blind about the world beyond America’s borders, he’d have less horrible Thanksgivings. He may not like my saying that, but he will have to abide it.  America is still a free country, a blessing for which I am most thankful.

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Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Saturday it “had no advance knowledge of the attack on commercial vessels in the Gulf of Oman on May 12, 2019.”

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Riyadh can hold numerous investment summits, but without progress on making it easier to do business there and ending human rights abuses, the kingdom will be hard-pressed to gain the kind of large-scale, long-term investment that it needs.

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The alternative to taking meaningful steps to reestablish the credibility of America’s will to use force is to simply sit back, absorb Iran’s provocations, and wait until the regime caves to the steadily mounting pressure of U.S. sanctions. In the face of Iran’s escalation campaign and Trump’s own aversion to risking new military conflicts, that in fact seems to be the default policy that the administration has actually settled on. It’s by no means impossible for it to eventually work—Iran’s economy is being absolutely hammered. But the big question is how long it will take and what amount of damage an increasingly desperate Iranian regime, unconstrained by the fear of U.S. military retaliation, is capable of inflicting in the meantime on the interests of the United States and its friends and allies. If the brazen attack on Abqaiq is any indication, the answer may be a great deal of damage indeed.

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Bradley Bowman is the senior director for the Center on Military and Political Power with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where Andrew Gabel is a research analyst.

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