Ted Galen Carpenter

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Taiwan, China, and Unnecessary War
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Taiwan, China, and Unnecessary War

While America’s attention remains focused on the North Korea crisis, another dangerous East Asia confrontation has re-emerged.  The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is taking new steps to intimidate Taiwan and force the island’s leaders to move toward political reunification

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Killing Due Process in the War on Terror

Thomas_P._Rossiter,_Signing_of_the_Constitution

From the October 2013 issue of Chronicles.

One striking feature of the U.S. Constitution is the number of procedural rights guaranteed to individuals accused of criminal behavior before they can be deprived of life, liberty, or property.  The overall guarantee

The Saudi-Iranian Blood Feud
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The Saudi-Iranian Blood Feud

Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which have frequently flared over the years, reached full intensity this winter when the Saudi government executed 47 regime opponents, including the prominent Shi’ite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.  Immediately, there were riots in Iran directed

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North Korea: A New Perspective

Reports that North Korea tested a hydrogen bomb in early January caused consternation bordering on panic in both Washington and the East Asian capitals.  That reaction appears to have been a bit excessive.  The available evidence indicates that the explosion

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Washington’s Foreign Policy Folly

A basic requirement of a wise and effective foreign policy is the ability to establish priorities and make tough choices.  Unfortunately, U.S. officials seem increasingly incapable of accomplishing such a task.  That grim reality is all too evident as the

Intransigent Diplomacy
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Intransigent Diplomacy

There is a disturbing pattern over the decades in Washington’s negotiations with countries deemed to be adversaries.  It is a tendency to adopt a rigid stance marked by unrealistic demands that make achieving a settlement virtually impossible.  Often, harsh economic

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Endorsing Demise

There is a distressing history of foreign insurgent groups manipulating U.S. political figures, policymakers, and opinion leaders into supporting their causes.  Frequently, that support goes far beyond rhetorical endorsements.  On several occasions during the late 20th and early 21st centuries,

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Trading Liberty for Security

Attacks on constitutional liberties, including the erosion of due-process protections for the rights to life, liberty, and property, tend to soar in wartime.  The most egregious assaults have occurred during the Civil War, the two world wars, and, most recently,

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Killing Due Process in the War on Terror

One striking feature of the U.S. Constitution is the number of procedural rights guaranteed to individuals accused of criminal behavior before they can be deprived of life, liberty, or property.  The overall guarantee of due process of law contained in

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Our Dangerous Foreign-Policy Freeloaders

During the late winter and early spring of 2013, yet another crisis involving North Korea occupied the attention of U.S. officials and much of the news media.  Not only did Pyongyang conduct a nuclear test, but the government of Kim

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Syria’s Jihadist Rebels

Although Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and other hawks have urged the United States to put “boots on the ground in Syria,” the Obama administration thus far seems determined to resist such calls.  Indeed, the White House has rejected lobbying efforts

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Failure to Launch

North Korea’s failed missile launch has created a pervasive sense of relief and a little smirking in U.S. and East Asian policy circles.  The latest episode was Pyongyang’s fourth unsuccessful launch of a satellite since 1998, and it confirmed that

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Conservatives Leninists and the War on Terror

One long-standing hallmark of Western conservative thought is the emphasis on the rule of law.  Earlier generations of conservatives understood that, without such constraints, liberty would be imperiled and a free society would ultimately descend into tyranny.  As Lord Acton

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Needed: A North Korean “Plan B”

For years, the United States and East Asian nations have proceeded on the assumption that a diplomatic solution to the North Korean nuclear crisis is feasible.  A settlement would entail Pyongyang’s renunciation of its nuclear ambitions in exchange for diplomatic

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China Ups the Ante

Despite professions of friendship and cooperation in Washington and Beijing, U.S.-Chinese relations in the Obama era are off to a rocky start.  The most prominent cause of tension was an incident in early March in the South China Sea.  U.S.S.

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NATO at 60: A Hollow Shell

When NATO marks its 60th birthday on April 4, there will be much celebration.  Proponents will hail not only the alliance’s longevity and past successes but its goals in the coming decades.  Their optimism is based, in part, on statements

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John McCain on Foreign Policy: Even Worse Than Bush

Over the years, John McCain has acquired a reputation as a maverick Republican. Independents and even some Democrats who loathe George W. Bush’s foreign-policy record seem to believe that McCain would be a significant improvement. In several GOP primaries earlier …

John McCain on Foreign Policy
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John McCain on Foreign Policy

Over the years, John McCain has acquired a reputation as a maverick Republican.  Independents and even some Democrats who loathe George W. Bush’s foreign-policy record seem to believe that McCain would be a significant improvement.  In several GOP primaries earlier

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The Surge “Success”

In recent months, supporters of the mission in Iraq have been in high spirits.  They insist that the “Surge”—the strategy of deploying an additional 30,000 U.S. troops, which President Bush announced in December 2007—has turned around the dire security situation. 

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The End of the Balkan Interlude?

Unlike the 1990’s, when the turmoil from the breakup of Yugoslavia dominated the security agenda of the United States and her NATO allies, subsequent years have been relatively quiet.  The civil war in Bosnia has not flared up since

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Out of Iraq, Into Darfur?

In the fourth Democratic presidential debate (July 23), the candidates were united on the need for the United States to withdraw from Iraq.  But most of them (with the notable exception of Bill Richardson) were equally convinced of the need

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Tethering the Hegemon

When examining American or European views on the use of force and the role of international institutions, it is necessary to speak only of general tendencies.  There are, of course, many exceptions to the overall trend on both sides of

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Modern Chinese Secret?

Ted Galen CarpenterBeijing announced in early March that it plans to boost China’s defense budget by 17.8 percent in the coming year. That fairly hefty increase continues a pattern of double-digit hikes over the past decade. Both the United States and China’s …

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Modern Chinese Secret

Beijing announced in early March that it plans to boost China’s defense budget by 17.8 percent in the coming year.  That fairly hefty increase continues a pattern of double-digit hikes over the past decade.  Both the United States and China’s

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A Strategy to Quarantine the Violence in Iraq

President Bush’s decision to send 21,500 additional troops to Iraq is a desperate attempt to salvage a mission that has gone terribly wrong.  Instead of persisting in a strategy that will have U.S. forces trying to referee a multisided civil

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Reject False Prophets

In marked contrast to the optimism that the Bush administration and its supporters expressed about developments in Iraq as late as the spring of 2006, only a few diehards now deny that the security environment there is dire.  When Sen.

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North Korea Joins the Club

North Korea has now barged into the global nuclear-weapons club by conducting a nuclear test.  The six-party talks designed to get Pyongyang to relinquish its ambitions for a nuclear arsenal have effectively failed.  Even if North Korea can be induced

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North Korea and Iran

The United States faces twin crises involving nuclear proliferation, as both North Korea and Iran seem poised to barge into the global nuclear-weapons club.  (There are indications that North Korea may have already done so, since she has processed enough

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America’s Other War

Americans are understandably concerned about the grave security situation in Iraq.  The United States has suffered more than 2,500 fatalities in that conflict and has yet to defeat the insurgency.  Indeed, the level of violence in Iraq is increasing, and

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Collision Course

While the United States is preoccupied with Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, a far more dangerous crisis is brewing: the prospect of an armed confrontation between Taiwan and mainland China.  Unfortunately, Washington’s current policy places us in the middle of

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China and the North Korean Nuclear Crisis

Since the North Korean nuclear crisis began in October 2002, Washington has believed that China is the key to solving the problem. The Bush administration has indicated repeatedly that it expects the PRC to exert whatever diplomatic and economic pressure

Learning At the Periphery
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Learning At the Periphery

“Soldiers are the only hope against democrats.”

—Wilhelm von Merckel

The Bush administration’s crusade to overthrow Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and build Iraq into a democratic model for the Middle East has become a highly controversial and divisive undertaking.  Larry

Is Mexico the Next Colombia?
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Is Mexico the Next Colombia?

Despite recent improvements in the overall security situation in Colombia, the Bush administration remains worried about that country.  Washington’s nightmare scenario is the emergence of a narcotrafficking state allied with extremist political elements and terrorist organizations.  U.S. leaders are sufficiently

Transforming the Middle East
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Transforming the Middle East

It is increasingly clear that the Bush administration’s nation-building policy in Iraq is merely one component of an ambitious project to transform the Middle East politically.  That goal is consistent with the principles that President Bush expressed in his Second

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Dealing With a Nuclear Iran

Iran’s agreement to “suspend” her nuclear program in exchange for economic benefits from the European Union has dampened that crisis for the moment.  The Bush administration’s vocal skepticism about the agreement, however, suggests that the crisis has not been defused. 

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January Elections

The Bush administration and its supporters are investing tremendous hope in Iraq’s January national elections.  According to the conventional wisdom in Washington, violence may increase as the balloting approaches, but, once the election is held, the overwhelming majority of Iraqis

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Out on a Limb: America’s Pledge to Defend Taiwan

Washington’s implicit commitment, under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, to defend Taiwan from attack is becoming more perilous by the year.  Given Beijing’s increasingly insistent demands that Taiwanese leaders cease their efforts to spurn reunification with the mainland, there is

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The Next Foreign-Policy Crisis

Iran is fast emerging on Washington’s radar screen as the next major foreign-policy crisis.  Several officials in the Bush administration—including the President himself—emphasized that the United States will never allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons.  And, on that issue, there

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Washington’s Imperial Socialism

Critics have castigated the Bush administration’s nation-building venture in Iraq as a manifestation of U.S. imperialism.  That is an apt description of the Iraq mission, as well as the ongoing missions in Bosnia and Kosovo.  America’s nation-building bureaucrats are not