Presidents and Chiefs of State


Why Obama’s National Security Strategy Seems a Lot Like Bush’s

Author: Matthew C. Waxman

Matthew Waxman reviews Charlie Savage’s new book Power Wars: Inside Obama’s Post-9/11 Presidency. Waxman writes about the ways in which Savage explains the different styles, and yet remarkable continuity, in foreign policy between President Obama and his predecessor, President Bush. Waxman notes that Savage’s novel contribution is the way he not only demonstrates the surprising continuity in their two foreign policies but in explaining the cause of that continuity.


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5 Things That the President of Nigeria Can Do to Get His Country Back on Track

Author: Matthew Page
The Washington Post

President Muhammadu Buhari, who was inaugurated May 29, is the antithesis of the stereotypical Nigerian politician: incorruptible, soft-spoken, self-effacing and deliberate. He embraces the nickname “Baba Go-Slow and Steady.” Buhari’s unhurried style has its downsides, however: It took him an unprecedented four months to name a solid but unextraordinary cabinet.

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Is Russia an ‘Existential Threat’?

Author: Stephen Sestanovich
Wall Street Journal

The Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on Russia last week to address this question: How should we think about Russian actions in the Middle East and Europe? Having been invited to speak, I found that one theme of my testimony stirred up an argument—among other witnesses, senators, staff, and even (in follow-on e-mails) administration officials.

See more in Russia and Central Asia; United States; Presidents and Chiefs of State; Diplomacy and Statecraft


Obama’s ‘Atrocity Prevention Board’ — Abandoned, but Not Forgotten

Author: Elliott Abrams
National Review

In April 2012, Barack Obama went to the Holocaust Museum to declare, in solemn tones, that the lessons of the Holocaust and other episodes of genocide must be learned — and under his leadership American would learn them. Never again! he said. And he called that day for establishing a new government body called the Atrocity Prevention Board.

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The Insecurity Underpinning Xi Jinping’s Repression

Author: Jerome A. Cohen
Washington Post

This week’s visit to Seattle,the District and New York by Xi Jinping, widely viewed as China’s strongest dictator since Mao Zedong, will give Americans another occasion to take his measure and ponder the many dilemmas of Sino-American relations. Xi arrives fresh from Beijing’s extraordinary Sept. 3 military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II .

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Will Obama Look Weak If He Meets With Putin?

Author: Stephen Sestanovich
Wall Street Journal

It looks as though President Barack Obama will sit down with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the United Nations later this month. In a New York Times report Wednesday, journalists Peter Baker and Andrew E. Kramer described the administration’s internal debate about whether to schedule the meeting.

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Foreign Affairs Article

Autopsy of a Cambodian Election

Author: Stéphanie Giry

Khmer New Year is the closest thing Cambodia has to a High Holiday, and in April, Prime Minister Hun Sen celebrated it in style with his fiercest opponent. During a festival at the ancient temples of Angkor, he and Sam Rainsy ate together from a gigantic cake of sticky rice weighing more than four metric tons—a Guinness World Record. 

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Buying More Time

Author: Daniel S. Markey
The Cipher Brief

For the past several years, the Obama administration’s strategy for Afghanistan has rested on the basic assumption that although no reasonable amount of U.S. money or troops could win the war against the Taliban outright, a limited American commitment to Afghanistan’s security forces and government would enable Kabul to hold on long enough to reach a negotiated truce with insurgent leaders.

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A Suggestion for Obama’s American University Speech About Iran Deal

Author: Stephen Sestanovich
Wall Street Journal

 A major concern of the Iran nuclear deal is that it only imposes constraints for 10 years. After that, the “breakout time” needed for Iran to build a bomb may shrink again. President Obama should say that if Iran expands its program to the full extent allowed by the agreement, the United States will consider it a threat to our security and that of our allies. The president should also add that if the threat begins to grow again, Washington is prepared to renounce the agreement—reimposing sanctions, reviewing military options, and urging other states to do the same.

See more in Iran; United States; Treaties and Agreements; Presidents and Chiefs of State