Rosa Brooks

The Doormat Gets Shown the Door

Chuck Hagel wasn't a genius. But he got a bum rap for being exactly the secretary of defense that Obama wanted -- until he wasn't.

Goodbye, Chuck Hagel: We hardly knew ye!

Perhaps there wasn't much to know. Or perhaps you contain hidden depths. Who can say? For almost two years, you seemed barely there, an irascible half-presence in the Pentagon's E ring. Soon you won't be there at all, and no one will much notice.

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Embrace the Chaos

U.S. foreign policy is a mess -- a big, aimless mess. But the only way to build a grand strategy is to accept both global disarray and American decline.

There are shellackings, and then there are shellackings -- and this one was a doozy. White House loyalists may tell us that the 2014 midterm election results weren't a repudiation of U.S. President Barack Obama's leadership, but the voting public knows better. So does Hillary Clinton, and so do Republican strategists. And though foreign policy is rarely decisive in and of itself, bipartisan frustration with the president's seemingly rudderless foreign policy surely helped drag down the Democratic Party's electoral fortunes this time around.

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But This Threatiness Goes to 11…

The commander in chief lays out his justification for the war in Syria and Iraq.

The White House, Office of the Press Secretary. For Immediate Release: September 25, 2014.

Remarks by the President after the U.N. Security Council Summit on Foreign Terrorist Fighters.

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We Don't Need Another Dumb War

But if President Obama follows through on his plan to degrade and destroy the Islamic State, that's exactly what we’re going to get.

Back when he was just a U.S. Senator, Barack Obama used to say that he didn't oppose all wars, just "dumb wars." I assumed that by "dumb wars," he meant wars to address phantom or exaggerated threats (see: Iraq, 2003), or wars launched to achieve domestic political objectives (see also: Iraq, 2003), or wars begun without sufficient attention to alternatives, capabilities or strategic consequences (see yet again: Iraq, 2003).

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Six Lessons America Seems Thoroughly Incapable of Learning

Why the Obama administration keeps making the same mistakes over and over.

It's been a bad few months for those determined to believe humanity is marching inexorably towards a more peaceful future.

In Iraq, militant extremists so brutal they were disavowed by al Qaeda have captured numerous major cities, leaving behind a trail of mutilated corpses. In Syria, civil war deaths now exceed 150,000, and military momentum has swung back towards the ruthless Assad regime as rival groups of extremist insurgents marginalize moderate rebel forces. In Afghanistan, Taliban forces are resurgent; in Ukraine, a low-level civil war continues. Even the Promised Land has exploded again. So much for the Better Angels.

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