The Era of Austerity or the Era of Intervention?

by on 2013-02-02- 2 Comments

Tuareg_rebel_in_northern_MaliA variety of commentators listened to President Obama’s Inauguration speech and, having heard few words devoted to foreign policy, declared that the second term of this Administration will be marked by less activism on the global stage.  The draw downs from Iraq and Afghanistan readily reinforce this view, as do a variety of academics peddling recommendations for a new grand strategy of restraint.  I am more circumspect, for inauguration speeches are by nature more domestic in focus.  More importantly, America’s national security interests have not changed fundamentally.

The Obama Doctrine of robust burden sharing—being multilateral when we can, unilateral when we must—will continue to cope with a world that may be in rapid flux but has little propensity to generate the stability and security that would justify a restraint-based grand strategy.  Al-Qaeda was quiescent in one form, but in its new decentralized affiliate-based form it is anything but.  With the global campaign against terrorism continuing amid a constellation of constrained economic resources, robust burden sharing is an appropriate grand strategy; moreover, it is here to stay (at least for the duration of this Administration and likely well beyond).

Opponents of the President have had a heyday with the unintentional phrase “leading from behind.”  Ever since an unnamed Administration official spoke these tongue-in-cheek words to The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza, critics have twisted them and/or ascribed their own meaning more along the lines of “retreat to the back.”  Some grew so agitated, they practically fell over themselves in their clarion call for robust American leadership practically at all costs—case-in-point a certain presidential candidate’s “No Apology” book that aptly captured this sentiment, and a certain senator’s delight in singing “Bomb-bomb-bomb Iran.”

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Foreign Policy to the Fore: Is Romney Below the Bar?

by on 2012-09-12- Leave a reply

U.S. Consulate in Benghazi 9/12/2012I heard Dan Drezner in the car on NPR yesterday talking about whether foreign policy might matter in this election. And,
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R2P and the “Double-Standard Problem”

by on 2012-07-24- Leave a reply

Jean-Baptiste Jeangène Vilmer (writing at the Fair Observer) argues that there's no double-standard problem because the Libyan intervention did not establish or reflect a generalized
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Peace vs. Justice: Is the ICC Doing It Wrong?

by on 2012-05-16- Leave a reply

Photo from Still BurningThe Canadian International Council has rolled out a series of interviews and essays on "Peace v. Justice: The ICC and its Alternatives". Far
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“Truth to Power”: Louise Arbour on Human Rights and International Justice

by on 2012-04-25- Leave a reply

CBC - CP file photoThe Canadian International Council recently organized an interesting public event with Louise Arbour on her role in speaking "truth to power."
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Keeping Up With The International Criminal Court: The Realization of Judicial Intervention

by on 2011-12-05- 2 Comments

The International Criminal Court would "wither and die" was once the prediction of John Bolton, former US Ambassador to the UN. It seems that is
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Comprehending Gingrich

by on 2011-11-30- Leave a reply

Born Newton Leroy McPherson, the man now simply known as "Newt Gingrich" has been surging in the latest opinion polls asking Republican voters to identify
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Libya’s Chicken-and-Egg Problem

by on 2011-11-01- Leave a reply

On October 23, Libya's Transitional National Council (TNC) declared the country liberated and the transition to a post-Gaddafi state officially underway. Over the following week,
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War and the Eurozone

by on 2011-10-28- Leave a reply

Last week, at University of Bristol, I gave a talk called "The Future of World Order" to the student International Affairs Society. It was a
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Qaddafi, Intervention and R2P

by on 2011-10-20- Leave a reply

I've been in the throes of finishing a book and other matters so I haven't had a chance to blog much lately. A couple of
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Rumors of His Death Have Not Been Exaggerated

by on 2011-10-20- Leave a reply

Qaddafi has lost his contest with Hussein and Bin Laden for hiding the longest from US/Allied/Local searches.  Lots of folks will make much of this
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Post-revolution Walk of Shame in Libya: women asked to ‘go home’ in the afterglow of the revolution

by on 2011-09-15- Leave a reply

The exciting and tumultuous eve of the revolution in Libya has achieved many of its objectives: the power balance has swung in the rebel's favor,
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Late Summer Tour of NATO

by on 2011-08-29- Leave a reply

Happy NATO Day!  Okay, this is not an anniversary of anything NATO-esque.  But heaps of posts a-twitter about NATO, its members and so on.  So,
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Precision Guided Words? Libya and International Law

by on 2011-08-25- Leave a reply

Guest Post by Betcy Jose-Thota, Assistant Professor, University of Colorado-Denver.

According to al Jazeera’s English language website, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Mahmoud Jibril, head
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What Exactly is the Point of Foreign Policy Analysts?: Lessons from Libya (and any other crisis in history)

by on 2011-08-24- Leave a reply

I don't follow the news as closely as I should. I am not up on everyone's blogs. I don't check the Brookings Institution for every
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What Not to Do in Libya

by on 2011-08-23- 6 Comments

I am pretty much as ignorant about Libya as the next person, so let me just suggest a few generic lessons learned from other conflicts:Don't
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Impunity Gap: Syria

by on 2011-08-12- Leave a reply

There is a near absence of calls for accountability in the international responses to the ongoing and escalating violence in Syria. Unlike in the Libya
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Punishment Over Peace?: Gaddafi in a Post-Amnesty World

by on 2011-07-17- Leave a reply

It has been five months since protests in Tripoli sparked widespread 'civil unrest'/war, a NATO enforced no fly zone, and partial (and unclear) international interventions.
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War Powers, My Ass…

by on 2011-07-09- Leave a reply

The House of Representatives recently just voted on a bill that would require the U.S. to remove its forces from Libya on the basis of
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Who Will Arrest Gaddafi? Not It!

by on 2011-06-30- Leave a reply

On June 27th the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, his son Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, and chief of military intelligence
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