Conflict Assessment


There’s a Way Obama’s White House Can Save Syrian Lives, There’s Just No Will

Author: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Defense One

While increased U.S. military action in Syria may be favored by numerous policymakers, the Obama administration remains unwilling to sanction further intervention. Gayle Tzemach Lemmon writes that “The Obama White House has long argued that it was elected to end wars in the Middle East, not to escalate them…” but meanwhile, Aleppo remains “full of carnage and bunker-busting munitions with rockets falling on children and no hope of escape for anyone.”

See more in Syria; United States; Conflict Assessment


What a Failed Soviet Coup Can Teach Us About 21st-Century Populism

Author: Stephen Sestanovich
Washington Post

Twenty-five years ago this week, a group of Politburo hard-liners launched a coup against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The effort to depose him provoked a gigantic popular protest and collapsed in just three days. With the failure of the coup, the communist system itself began to unravel. “The 20th century” — so claimed Boris Yeltsin, Gorbachev’s rival, rescuer and eventual successor — had “essentially ended.” People power had defeated the Soviet state.

See more in Russian Federation; Conflict Assessment; Diplomacy and Statecraft


A Peace Plan for Syria II

Authors: Philip H. Gordon, James Dobbins, and Jeffrey Martini
RAND Corporation

Philip Gordon, along with James Dobbins and Jeffrey Martini of RAND, discusses how Syria could decentralize power in order to reduce violence and save lives while the parties work toward a more comprehensive long-term transition. 

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Obama’s Former Middle East Adviser: We Should Have Bombed Assad

Authors: Philip H. Gordon and Jeffrey Goldberg
The Atlantic

In a comprehensive interview with Jeffrey Goldberg for the Atlantic, Philip Gordon discusses President Obama’s strategy in the Middle East, the so-called “Washington Playbook,” the Syria “redline,” and more.  He argues the next administration will have to deal extensively with the Middle East whether it wants to or not.


See more in United States; Syria; Conflict Assessment