The Myth of the Cyber Offense: The Case for Restraint

Great-power competition in the 21st century increasingly involves the use of cyber operations between rival states. But do cyber operations achieve their stated objectives? What are the escalation risks? Under what conditions could increasingly frequent and sophisticated cyber operations result in inadvertent escalation and the use of military force? A new paper from Marine Corps University professors Brandon Valeriano and Benjamin Jensen examines the character of cyber conflict through time, and recommends a more prudent and restrained approach to cyber operations.

The Ties That Blind: How the U.S.-Saudi Alliance Damages Liberty and Security

Washington’s solicitous, even enabling, posture toward Saudi Arabia cannot disguise the fact that the kingdom has never been a reliable U.S. ally. Unfortunately, U.S. leaders are far too willing to make moral compromises when security threats are modest. Abandoning essential moral standards and values for the defense of lesser interests is never justified. Yet that is precisely what the United States has done with Saudi Arabia for decades.

The Ties That Blind documents the many instances in which United States and Saudi interests have diverged and explains why the toxic U.S.–Saudi alliance indefensible on both strategic and moral grounds becomes clearer and more urgent than ever before.

Saudi Arabia’s War in Yemen

After years of quiet U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s bombing campaign in Yemen, top officials in the Trump administration are finally talking about ending the conflict. But a lasting resolution to the war remains a distant prospect, and the Yemeni people continue to suffer under bombardment and blockade in one of the worst humanitarian crises in recent memory. What are the facts in Yemen? Why has the United States abetted the Saudi war in Yemen for almost four years? And what is the role of Congress in checking the authority of the executive to get involved in distant conflicts? Please join us for a discussion of these topics.

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.