How Mosul Can Reshape Obama’s Foreign Policy Legacy

In mid-June of 2014, smoke rolled into the sky above Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq. Burning Humvees littered streets that had once bustled with people. Only days earlier, the Islamic State had invaded the city, crushing the ill-equipped Iraqi security detail that had been assigned to protect it. The stunning defeat gave the radical group its first strong foothold in Iraq (most of its activity had been in Syria up to that point) and allowed it to use the city as its base of operations in the country. The…

Defaulting on Terror

While Osama bin Laden may be dead, the legacy of violent Islamism continues to flourish in almost every society—from small tribes in Northern Africa to powerful countries in Europe. In spite of this, Louis Klaveras of The New Republic put forth in 2011 that “With the death of Osama bin Laden, this demise [of terrorism] will continue—and perhaps be expedited.” In like manner, Peter Breinart of The Daily Beast wrote: “The war on terror is over; Al Qaeda lost.” This type of rhetoric was not uncommon for writers and policy…

The Islamic State: A Symptom of a World in Transition

The rise of the Islamic State bears a striking resemblance to the formation of various nation-states in the 19th and 20th centuries. With its rapid territorial expansion since June, the militant group has focused its efforts on controlling geographic territory while unifying its people around a common culture, including a strict interpretation of Islamic law. Framed within a larger debate over globalization, however, the Islamic State highlights important tensions in today’s world, where increasing interconnectivity has threatened the preeminence of nation-states. The globalization debate is perhaps best conceived by visualizing…

Why Re-Intervention in Iraq is a Strategic Necessity 

Serving as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1957 until his resignation in 1963, Harold Macmillan was a Conservative pragmatist who arguably faded from popular memory, eclipsed by the towering shadows of figures such as Margaret Thatcher or Winston Churchill. To the astute, however, he is remembered beyond his record as PM for delivering what is arguably one of the most memorable responses delivered by a politician. Upon being asked by a journalist what he thought would be most likely to derail his government, Macmillan replied in his characteristic…

What’s the Endgame Mr. President?

The United States returns to Iraq less than three years after pulling out the last U.S. troops in what was supposed to be the official end of the Iraq War. In October 2011, as the last of the troops were coming home, President Obama announced that the “tide of war is receding” and that United States would “partner with an Iraq that contributes to regional security and peace, just as we insist other nations respect Iraq’s sovereignty.” It is saddening that these hopes never came to fruition and that only…

In the CAR, the Causes Go Beyond Religion, the Implications Beyond Africa

Since the coup d’état of François Bozizé’s government by Séléka forces in March 2013, Central African Republic has descended into a state of chaos, and a far-reaching humanitarian crisis has emerged. In the early stages of the crisis the Christian population of Bangui was under attack from the mostly Muslim members of the rebel group, Séléka. In recent months, the mostly Christian members of the anti-Balaka group have forced Muslims to flee CAR in search of refuge in countries like Cameroon. This exchange of brutalities between Muslims and Christians suggests…