Max Boot

Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow for National Security Studies


U.S. foreign policy; defense policy; military history; terrorism and guerrilla warfare.


National Security and Defense Program

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Ask CFR Experts

Could Iraq be divided into separate regions along Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish lines?

Asked by Edrees Mohammed, from UCLAN

This is an idea first proposed by Vice President Biden in 2006 when he was a senator. It was a non-starter then and it won't work any better today. While the Kurdish region in the north is already almost an independent country, neither Shiites nor Sunnis are interested in splitting up the rest of Iraq—something that would be hard to do, in any case, because the two sects are intermingled in Baghdad and other areas. Just as the solution to Iraq's last major bout of bloodletting, in 2003-2007, wasn't partition, so it isn't today.

Read full answer

See more in Iraq; Population

Current Projects

Roundtable Series on National Security Affairs

Director: Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow for National Security Studies
July 2007—Present

This series focuses on issues, primarily military, that affect American national security. The series begins withan early focus on the war on Iraq, and later roundtables examine issues relating to the transformation of the American armed forces to cope with warfare in the information age.

Past Projects

Study Group on the History of Military Revolutions

Staff: Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow for National Security Studies
March 1, 2003—Present

This study group will result in a book that examines four major technological revolutions of the past 500 years (Gunpowder, Industrial, Mechanization, and Computerization) and how they transformed warfare and the international balance-of-power. For each military revolution, Mr. Boot will provide dramatic narratives of key conflicts--from the battle of the Spanish Armada to the recent war in Afghanistan--that highlight the effects of changing technologies on strategy. In addition, Mr. Boot applies the lessons of history to current dilemmas, examining crucial questions such as how long America's military advantage will last, and what the United States can do to preserve its hegemony.

This project has been made possible with the generous support from the following:

Smith Richardson Foundation

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Randolph Foundation

Roger and Susan Hertog

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation

Carnegie Corporation

John M. Olin Foundation


CFR Events

National Program Teleconference

National Conference Call: What To Do About Iraq


Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow for National Security Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, Meghan L. O'Sullivan, Adjunct Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations; Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs and Director of the Geopolitics of Energy Project, Harvard Kennedy School


Richard N. Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations
June 18, 2014 12:00-1:00 p.m. - (ET)

This meeting is on the record.



Risk and Military Planning


Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow for National Security Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, Janine Davidson, Senior Fellow for Defense Policy, Council on Foreign Relations, Theo Farell, Head of the War Studies Department, King's College London


John A. Nagl, Headmaster, The Haverford School; Former President, Center for a New American Security; Visiting Professor, King's College London
March 25, 2014 9:45-10:45 a.m.

This meeting is on the record.


National Program Meeting ⁄ Chicago

Chicago Meeting: Invisible Armies: Guerrilla Warfare From Past to Present


Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow for National Security Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
March 13, 2013 7:30-8:45 a.m.

This meeting is not for attribution.


General Meeting ⁄ New York

War Made New


Max Boot, Senior Fellow for National Security Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; and author, War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History, 1500 to Today


John F. Lehman, Chairman, J.F. Lehman & Co.
October 23, 2006

This meeting is on the record.


General Meeting ⁄ New York

The American Military Around the World: An Account from the Front Lines


Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly; Author, Imperial Grunts: The American Military on the Ground


Max Boot, Senior Fellow, National Security Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
October 11, 2005

This meeting is not for attribution.


General Meeting

Republican National Convention: Council on Foreign Relations Foreign Policy Discussion

Introductory Speakers:

Clyde Tuggle, Honorary Vice Chairman,, Council on Foreign Relations, Maurice R. Greenberg


Elizabeth C. Economy, Max Boot, Benn Steil, Stephen E. Flynn
August 31, 2004

This meeting is not for attribution.




Max Boot is one of America's leading military historians and foreign-policy analysts. The Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Boot is also a contributing editor to the Weekly Standard and the Los Angeles Times, and a regular contributor to the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Commentary, and other publications.

Boot's newest book, Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present, was released in January 2013 by W.W. Norton & Co./Liveright and immediately became a New York Times Bestseller. It was acclaimed as "enormous, brilliant, and important" (Michael Korda, the Daily Beast) and "thoughtful, smart, fluent, with an eye for the good story" (Michael Mazower, New York Times Book Review, front page). John Nagl wrote in the Wall Street Journal that "Mr. Boot's impressive work of military history is destined to be the classic account of what may be the oldest as well as the hardest form of war."

His previous book, War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History, 1500 to Today (Gotham Books, 2006), has been hailed as a "magisterial survey of technology and war" by the New York Times and "brilliantly crafted history" by the Wall Street Journal.

Boot's first book of military history, The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power (Basic Books) was selected as one of the best books of 2002 by numerous newspapers, won the 2003 General Wallace M. Greene Jr. Award from the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation as the best nonfiction book pertaining to Marine Corps history, and has been placed on Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy professional reading lists. More than 100,000 copies of his books are in print.

Boot has served as an adviser to U.S. commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was also a senior foreign policy adviser to John McCain's presidential campaign in 2007–2008 and a defense policy adviser to Mitt Romney's campaign in 2011–2012.

Boot is a frequent public speaker and guest on radio and television news programs, both at home and abroad. He has lectured on behalf of the U.S. State Department and at many military institutions, including the Army, Navy, and Air War Colleges, the Australian Defense College, the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare School, and West Point.

In 2004, he was named by the World Affairs Councils of America as one of "the 500 most influential people in the United States in the field of foreign policy." In 2007, he won the Eric Breindel Award for Excellence in Opinion Journalism, given annually to a writer who exhibits "love of country and its democratic institutions" and "bears witness to the evils of totalitarianism."

Before joining the Council in 2002, Boot spent eight years as a writer and editor at the Wall Street Journal, the last five years as op-ed editor. From 1992 to 1994 he was an editor and writer at the Christian Science Monitor.

Boot holds a bachelor's degree in history, with high honors, from the University of California, Berkeley (1991), and a master's degree in history from Yale University (1992). He was born in Russia, grew up in Los Angeles, and now lives in the New York area. He has three children: Victoria, Abigail, and William.