War State, Trauma State: Why Afghanistan Remains Stuck in Conflict

Afghans have endured 40 years of uninterrupted war, and there is no plausible argument that war will soon end. In all the debate about troop surges or maintaining the status quo, two critical questions rarely get asked: Why have Afghans been at war for so long, and why can’t the United States and the international community end it? In a new paper, Cato scholar Erik Goepner argues that 40 years of war have fundamentally changed Afghans, and offers recommendations for U.S. efforts in Afghanistan now and for other high-trauma civil war states in the future.

Reasons for Optimism from the North Korea Summit

The summit between United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un took place last week in Singapore. While the meeting with Kim had great visuals, there was no real deal struck and certainly no pledge of denuclearization from the North. And this isn’t the first summit to cause hopes to soar for inter-Korean reconciliation. However, Cato scholar Doug Bandow says that the pessimism is overdone.

Tough Tariff Talk at the G7

The G7 summit, which groups Canada, the US, the UK, France, Italy, Japan and Germany, was held Canada this past week. As expected, much of the talk was on the Trump administration’s subverting the rules of international trade with a wrecking ball of tariff indiscretions. According to Cato scholar Daniel J. Ikenson, “As has been the case every day for the past 16+ months, the U.S. and global economies remain exposed to the whims of an unorthodox president who precariously steers policy from one extreme to the other, keeping us in a perpetual state of uncertainty.”

A World Imagined: Nostalgia and Liberal Order

According to a view popular in Washington, D.C., and other capitals around the world, the United States used its power and idealism for more than 70 years to create a security and economic order that transformed the world. Today, defenders of that order fear that President Trump and a set of regressive forces are laying waste to it. However, a new paper from international security and strategy professor Patrick Porter argues that the dream of a unitary, integrated global system organized around liberalism is ahistorical, and the false nostalgia surrounding that dream is making it harder to consider measures that are needed to adapt to change.

Recent Commentary


June 25

The Clash of Generations? Intergenerational Change and American Foreign Policy Views

Featuring Dina Smeltz, Senior Fellow, Chicago Council on Global Affairs; Will Ruger, Vice President of Research and Policy, Charles Koch Institute; and Trevor Thrall, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute and Associate Professor, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University; moderated by Christopher Preble, Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute.

11:00AM to 12:30PM EDT
Hayek Auditorium, Cato Institute

Of Special Note

Frederick Douglass: Self-Made Man

Frederick Douglass: Self-Made Man

Born into slavery in 1818, Frederick Douglass rose to become a preeminent American intellectual and activist who, as statesman, author, lecturer, and scholar, helped lead the fight against slavery and racial oppression. Unlike many other leading abolitionists, Douglass embraced the U.S. Constitution, believing it to be an essentially anti-slavery document guaranteeing that individual rights belonged to all Americans, of all races. This biography from Cato scholar Timothy Sandefur takes a fresh look at the life and inspirational legacy of one of America’s most passionate and dedicated thinkers.

Special! 10 Copies for $10

Cato Pocket Constitution

To encourage people everywhere to better understand and appreciate the principles of government that are set forth in America’s founding documents, the Cato Institute published this pocket-size edition.

Now Available

Home Study Resources

The Cato Institute offers a wealth of online educational audio and video resources, from self-paced guides on the ideas of liberty and the principles of economics, to exclusive, archived lectures by thinkers such as Milton Friedman and F. A. Hayek. Browse through some highlights of our collections, for personal study or for use in the classroom.

Cato University: College of History and Philosophy

History is indispensable to understanding and defending liberty under our constitutionally limited, representative government. And at the core of that history are the philosophical beliefs and values on which the American republic was founded. Cato University’s College of History and Philosophy, August 2-4 in San Diego, brings these two powerful subjects together to explore the foundations of liberty and justice, of wealth and poverty, of individual rights and the rule of law.