Overcoming Inertia: Why It’s Time to End the War in Afghanistan

The war in Afghanistan has become America’s longest war not because U.S. security interests necessitate it, nor because the battlefield realities are insurmountable, but because of inertia. In a new paper, Cato scholars John Glaser and John Mueller argue that a full political settlement built around a cease-fire and a withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan is within reach—but only if policymakers are willing to make significant concessions to the Taliban and to dispense with erroneous rationales for continuing the fight.

Unforced Error: The Risks of Confrontation with Iran

Tensions are rising between the United States and Iran. For its part, the Trump administration’s actions are driving us down a path where miscalculation is increasingly likely, seemingly without a clear understanding of what it’s actually seeking to achieve. Yet, by repeatedly escalating the situation — particularly in the military realm — the administration risks an unplanned clash with Iranian-backed forces in the Gulf, Iraq, or Syria. You can’t always get what you want. Sometimes, instead, you get a war.

America’s Nuclear Crossroads: A Forward-Looking Anthology

Renewed U.S. attention on rival great powers will imbue policy debates on nuclear deterrence and arms control with a degree of importance not seen since the end of the Cold War. In a new book, editors Caroline Dorminey and Eric Gomez bring together a group of diverse thinkers to examine nine nuclear puzzles that American policymakers are trying to solve. This anthology offers a wide view of the most pressing nuclear challenges the United States faces at the dawn of a new era of great power competition.


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Cato Studies

Of Special Note

Our Foreign Policy Choices

The world today is certainly safer for Americans than it was under the existential threat posed by the Soviet Union. But the world is undoubtedly more complex, as nonstate actors, shifting alliances, and diverse domestic political factors complicate U.S. foreign policy. A robust debate on America’s foreign policy choices is urgently needed.

Foreign Policy Book Nook

Reading List

In the hope of inducing further study and better acquainting people with Cato’s work on defense and foreign policy, we’ve compiled a short bibliography of essays, speeches, and books on various national security topics. The list is designed to be an entry point for individuals interested in learning about a foreign policy of restraint.


The Cyberskeptics

In the last few years, concerns about cybercrime, cyberterrorism, and cyberwar have escalated dramatically in the United States. Billions of dollars are being thrown at these problems, and most of the discussion is alarmist in the extreme. This page challenges the assumption that cyberdoom is approaching.

New Podcast: Power Problems

New Podcast: Power Problems

Power Problems is a bi-weekly podcast from the Cato Institute. Hosts Trevor Thrall and Emma Ashford offer a skeptical take on U.S. foreign policy, and discuss today’s big questions in international security with guests from across the political spectrum. Follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #FPPowerProblems.