Leslie H. Gelb, president emeritus of CFR, and a former Pentagon and State Department official in the Johnson and Carter administrations, says the public criticism of Secretary of Defense Donald M. Rumsfeld by some retired senior military officers is due to their unhappiness "that they didn't speak up earlier, speak up while they were on the job."
"Suleimani took command of the Quds Force fifteen years ago, and has sought to reshape the Middle East in Iran's favor: assassinating rivals, arming allies, and directing a network of militant groups that killed hundreds of Americans in Iraq. And yet he has remained mostly invisible to the outside world. 'Suleimani is the single most powerful operative in the Middle East today,' a former C.I.A. officer in Iraq, told me, 'and no one's ever heard of him.'"
David Ignatius says in looking at a possible nomination of Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense, the issue for the White House "is whether Hagel would be the best manager during an important inflection point in Pentagon history."
Bob Gates never thought he'd be Barack Obama's defense secretary. Now, in an exclusive interview, the most revolutionary Pentagon leader since Robert McNamara tells FP why he said yes, when he'll get out of Washington, and what legacy he hopes to leave behind.
In this interview with General Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, and his top aides, journalist Michael Hastings offers a look at McChrystal's relationship with the White House and the war in Afghanistan.
Gen. David Petraeus has created a broad new agenda that echoes many of the sentiments expressed by Barack Obama, while seemingly strayingaway from the close military relationship that once paired him with President George W. Bush.
"This habit of policymakers exalting the military as exemplars of accomplishment—in effect, asking generals and admirals to "save us from ourselves"—should be brought to a dignified end," writes Micah Zenko.
While a fresh face at the helm of the Pakistani military undoubtedly raises American hopes for a less frustrating relationship, Daniel Markey writes that Washington should keep its expectations firmly in check and at least one eye out for trouble.
Senior defense leaders frequently repeat five particular assumptions about the future of the military, which are rarely questioned by Congress, the media, or defense analysts. Micah Zenko highlights these assumptions and their contradictions.
"The liberals and revolutionaries who are now dancing in the streets must not rest on their laurels, but must begin agitating for a sustained national dialogue to reinterpret the proper role of the armed forces in the life of the country," writes Steven Cook.
Max Boots states that President Obama displayed particular shrewdness in his avoidance of drama in the flap over General McChrystal's recent interview, and in his immediate appointment of General Petraeus as commander in Afghanistan.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
The author examines Pakistan's complex role in U.S. foreign policy and advocates for a two-pronged approach that works to quarantine threats while integrating Pakistan into the broader U.S. agenda in Asia.