The Week: Most Recent from Daniel Larison recent posts.en-usWed, 15 May 2013 06:39:00 -0400http://theweek.com Recent from Daniel Larison from THE WEEKWed, 15 May 2013 06:39:00 -0400There is no good reason for the U.S. to intervene in Syria<img src="" /></P><p>Despite increasing demands for U.S. military involvement in the Syrian conflict, there is still little chance that the Obama administration will commit the U.S. to a new war in the region. That's a good thing.</p><p>Still, that there is <em>any</em> chance is a measure of how obsessed with trying to direct and "shape" events on the other side of the world many American pundits and politicians are. If the last 12 years of war should have taught Americans anything, it is that other nations are not interested in being "shaped" or "built" by us, and that we are remarkably unsuited to the task of refashioning the...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/daniel-larison" ><span class="byline">Daniel Larison</span></a>Wed, 15 May 2013 06:39:00 -0400Marco Rubio's foreign policy: Blind, irrational, and dangerous<img src="" /></P><p>In a&nbsp;speech at the University of Louisville this week, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) warned against U.S. "retreat" from the world, which he claimed would result in a vacuum filled by "chaos" and "tyranny."</p><p>These remarks have been interpreted as a rebuke to the foreign policy views of Rubio's colleague and possible 2016 rival, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). But they are more important than an example of intra-party feuding. These statements reflect the seriously flawed assumptions of Rubio and other hawkish interventionists about what American engagement in the world requires, and they reveal just how...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/daniel-larison" ><span class="byline">Daniel Larison</span></a>Fri, 29 Mar 2013 07:00:00 -0400The failure of the anti-Hagel campaign<img src="" /></P><p>Former Sen. Chuck Hagel's confirmation as secretary of defense was really never much in doubt, despite the clamorous complaints of a few vocal conservatives. Still, Hagel's likely confirmation has gained additional support in recent weeks that make his success all but certain. Despite the concerted efforts of a few outside Republican interest groups and a steady stream of hostile coverage from conservative media outlets, Hagel has received the public support of numerous former national security officials, diplomats, and retired military officers, as well as securing endorsements from several senators...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/daniel-larison" ><span class="byline">Daniel Larison</span></a>Thu, 31 Jan 2013 10:20:00 -0500What Obama's cabinet choices say about his second-term foreign policy<img src="" /></P><p>The Obama administration's top foreign policy and national security appointments are taking shape, with the nomination last Friday of Sen. John Kerry to be secretary of state, and the likely forthcoming nomination of former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense. In many respects, the selections of Kerry and Hagel represent continuity with the foreign policy and national security decisions of the administration's first term. But they may also hint at a slightly less aggressive and possibly less militarized U.S. approach to its dealings with the rest of the world. Both Kerry and Hagel...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/daniel-larison" ><span class="byline">Daniel Larison</span></a>Mon, 24 Dec 2012 10:40:00 -0500Republicans must get real on foreign policy<img src="" /></P><p>Republicans are slowly recovering from their crushing defeat in the presidential election, and are now weighing possible changes that the party clearly needs to make to regain the public's trust after losing their third national election in the last six years. (2010 was the lone bright spot.) But despite the broad soul-searching, most of the GOP's high-profile national leaders have so far failed to address the party's continued weakness on foreign policy and national security, which remains a major liability. The exceptions to this have been Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/daniel-larison" ><span class="byline">Daniel Larison</span></a>Wed, 12 Dec 2012 06:21:00 -0500Why Obama will keep ignoring Syria in his second term<img src="" /></P><p>Now that President Obama has been re-elected, there will be considerably greater pressure on the administration to do more in response to the ongoing civil war in Syria. There will likely be increased domestic and international demands to put either Iran or Syria at the top of the administration's agenda at the beginning of the second term. But contrary to the hopes of interventionists and the fears of many Obama supporters, the president seems likely to resist this pressure and keep his attention focused primarily on domestic and fiscal concerns.</p><p>During the last year, there has been a widespread...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/daniel-larison" ><span class="byline">Daniel Larison</span></a>Fri, 09 Nov 2012 06:21:00 -0500Mitt Romney's vapid, misleading foreign policy speech<img src="" /></P><p>Foreign policy has roared back into the presidential election in recent weeks with the attacks on the Cairo embassy and Benghazi consulate. Following the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three of his staff, and the administration's confused response to those attacks, it seemed to some Republican hawks that there was finally an opening for their candidate to gain traction with his criticisms of Obama. That view prompted Mitt Romney to deliver his latest address on the subject at the Virginia Military Institute Monday morning. As expected, this proved to be little more than a repetition of...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/daniel-larison" ><span class="byline">Daniel Larison</span></a>Mon, 08 Oct 2012 14:45:00 -0400The incredible shrinking foreign policy debate<img src="" /></P><p>Foreign policy issues have predictably been neglected in this presidential election year, which leaves voters with very limited information to use in judging the candidates' worldviews. Of course, both major <em>parties</em> have explained their priorities and commitments at some length in their respective platforms, which gives some indication of what the two candidates want to emphasize and consider important. There is no guarantee that future administrations will follow these platforms, and some planks may be ignored entirely, but they can fill in gaps to provide a more complete picture of the parties...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/daniel-larison" ><span class="byline">Daniel Larison</span></a>Mon, 10 Sep 2012 06:15:00 -0400Paul Ryan's foreign policy speeches: What they say about Mitt Romney's running mate<img src="" /></P><p>Mitt Romney's selection of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan to be the Republican vice presidential candidate has delivered a burst of life to an otherwise dull election campaign. Unfortunately, Ryan's views on foreign policy are drearily familiar. Though the seven-term congressman is known mainly for his attention to fiscal issues, and his foreign policy experience is minimal, he has, in recent years, spent time outlining his hawkish views on foreign policy. Considering that Romney's "one guiding principle" for his vetting team was that his VP candidate be qualified to take office on Day 1, now's a good...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/daniel-larison" ><span class="byline">Daniel Larison</span></a>Mon, 13 Aug 2012 13:30:00 -0400The Europe Mitt Romney wants to visit is a figment of his imagination<img src="" /></P><p>Why is Mitt Romney reportedly going to Europe this summer? To counter criticism that candidate Romney has been ignoring foreign policy on the campaign trail.&nbsp;Team Romney reportedly&nbsp;plans&nbsp;to make potential stops in Germany, Poland, Britain and Israel, and Romney likely also wants to promote the idea that relations with major European allies have deteriorated under Obama. The Republican has made Obama's alleged mishandling of U.S. alliances a prominent part of his foreign policy critique, but when he arrives in Europe, he will find those relationships intact. And in some cases, he...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/daniel-larison" ><span class="byline">Daniel Larison</span></a>Tue, 10 Jul 2012 16:57:00 -0400Rand Paul's baffling support for Mitt Romney's cowboy foreign policy<img src="" /></P><p>Did Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) betray his father's political movement by endorsing Mitt Romney last week? No... but the content of Rand's endorsement ought to be alarming for the supporters of Rep. Ron Paul's (R-Texas) presidential campaigns, and for anyone interested in a more restrained and prudent foreign policy. While Rand is not as strictly non-interventionist as his father, no one could confuse him for a hawk in the mold of Florida's Marco Rubio. When the Kentucky senator praised Romney for his "mature" foreign policy and asserted that the Republican nominee believed war should be a last resort...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/daniel-larison" ><span class="byline">Daniel Larison</span></a>Thu, 14 Jun 2012 10:40:00 -0400Why we should be thrilled by NATO's lack of action<img src="" /></P><p>The weekend's Chicago North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit produced very few results. Thank goodness. A lack of action was actually one of the best possible outcomes. Yes, the summit did endorse the first stage of European missile defense, and it confirmed the alliance's withdrawal from Afghanistan. However, for the most part, the summit was remarkable for all the things NATO members chose <em>not</em> to do.&nbsp;</p><p>One significant omission was any progress for aspiring members in the Balkans and Caucasus. Macedonia, Bosnia, Montenegro, and Georgia have all been named "aspirant" countries, and...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/daniel-larison" ><span class="byline">Daniel Larison</span></a>Wed, 23 May 2012 16:45:00 -0400Why America shouldn't panic over Putin<img src="" /></P><p>Contrary to what many Americans expect, Vladimir Putin's return to the Russian presidency need not cause a deterioration of relations between the United States and Russia. Many assume that Putin benefits politically from indulging anti-Americanism, and that in his new presidential term, he'll pursue increasingly adversarial policies. This underestimates Putin's willingness to strike pragmatic deals with Western governments. Putin has had a longstanding interest in cooperating with America &mdash; so long as Russian interests are respected and acknowledged. It would be foolish to ignore this in...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/daniel-larison" ><span class="byline">Daniel Larison</span></a>Thu, 10 May 2012 18:10:00 -0400The enduring failure of democracy promotion abroad<img src="" /></P><p>Since the end of the Cold War, democracy promotion has been one of the default elements of U.S. foreign policy. Spreading democracy became a particularly important part of the Bush administration's rhetoric in support of its so-called "freedom agenda," which was at the same time far more selective and inconsistent than its universalistic assumptions would suggest. And since the beginning of popular uprisings in North Africa and the Near East last year, democracy promotion has also figured more prominently in the public rhetoric and policies of the Obama administration. But let's face it: While...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/daniel-larison" ><span class="byline">Daniel Larison</span></a>Wed, 11 Apr 2012 18:15:00 -0400A year later, Libya is still a mess<img src="" /></P><p>One year after the U.S., Britain, and France began their war in Libya, the harmful consequences of Western intervention are readily apparent. The internal disorder and regional instability that the West's assault created were foreseen by many critics. And yet, Western governments made no meaningful efforts to prepare for them. No one planned&nbsp;to stabilize Libya once Moammar Gadhafi was overthrown, and the National Transitional Council (NTC) rejected the idea of an outside stabilization force, which has left Libya at serious risk of fragmentation and renewed conflict. Intervention "on the cheap...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/daniel-larison" ><span class="byline">Daniel Larison</span></a>Wed, 21 Mar 2012 18:25:00 -0400Why America should stay out of Syria<img src="" /></P><p>Despite a growing chorus of demands in the media for greater Western involvement in the ongoing civil war in Syria, the official U.S. response has been appropriately slow and cautious. As the death toll passes 8,000 &mdash; most of them civilians and armed rebels &mdash; and the city of Homs has fallen to a pro-regime assault, there has been even more clamor and agitation for the U.S. to back the armed opposition. But long gone are the pretensions that intervening in Syria would have anything to do with protecting the civilian population. Now it is justified purely in terms of rolling back Iranian...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/daniel-larison" ><span class="byline">Daniel Larison</span></a>Wed, 07 Mar 2012 17:40:00 -0500