53716 (Author at Cato Institute) https://www.cato.org/rss/people/53716 en Dunking on Huntington: Nationalism in U.S. Foreign Policy https://www.cato.org/multimedia/power-problems/dunking-huntington-nationalism-us-foreign-policy?utm_source=rss_author&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss Hilde Restad, A. Trevor Thrall, Emma Ashford <p>Hilde Restad, a professor of International Relations at Bjorknes College in Oslo, Norway, joins us to discuss Trump’s foreign policy, nationalism, and the view from Europe.</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://bjorkneshoyskole.no/hilde-restad-associate-professor/" target="_blank">Hilde Restad bio</a></li> <li>Hilde Restad, <a href="https://www.routledge.com/American-Exceptionalism-An-Idea-that-Made-a-Nation-and-Remade-the-World/Restad/p/book/9780415817516" target="_blank"><em>American Exceptionalism: An Idea that Made a Nation and Remade the World</em></a></li> <li><em>Cato Unbound</em>, “<a href="https://www.cato-unbound.org/issues/february-2017/clash-civilizations" target="_blank">The Clash of Civilizations?</a>,” February 2017</li> </ul> Tue, 10 Sep 2019 03:00:00 -0400 Hilde Restad, A. Trevor Thrall, Emma Ashford https://www.cato.org/multimedia/power-problems/dunking-huntington-nationalism-us-foreign-policy The Trade War to End All Trade Wars? https://www.cato.org/multimedia/power-problems/trade-war-end-all-trade-wars?utm_source=rss_author&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss Emma Ashford, A. Trevor Thrall, Matthew P. Goodman <p>Matthew Goodman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies joins Emma Ashford and Trevor Thrall to discuss Trump’s trade war with China.</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.csis.org/people/matthew-p-goodman" target="_blank">Matthew P. Goodman bio</a></li> <li>Matthew P. Goodman and Ely Ratner, "<a href="https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/china/2018-03-22/better-way-challenge-china-trade" target="_blank">A Better Way to Challenge China on Trade: Trump’s Harmful Tariffs Aren’t the Answer</a>," <em>Foreign Affairs</em>, March 22, 2018</li> <li>Eswar Prasad, "<a href="https://sites.tufts.edu/css/the-intervention-project-gets-into-gear/" target="_blank">Which country is better equipped to win a U.S.-China trade war?</a>" <em>Washington Post</em>, August 9, 2019.</li> </ul> Tue, 27 Aug 2019 03:00:00 -0400 Emma Ashford, A. Trevor Thrall, Matthew P. Goodman https://www.cato.org/multimedia/power-problems/trade-war-end-all-trade-wars If I Had a Hammer https://www.cato.org/multimedia/power-problems/i-had-hammer?utm_source=rss_author&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss Monica Toft, Emma Ashford, A. Trevor Thrall <p>Monica Toft, Professor at The Fletcher School at Tufts University, joins us to discuss the growth in U.S. military interventions and the decline of diplomacy.</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://fletcher.tufts.edu/people/monica-duffy-toft" target="_blank">Monica Toft bio</a></li> <li>Monica Toft, "<a href="https://warontherocks.com/2018/05/the-dangerous-rise-of-kinetic-diplomacy/" target="_blank">The Dangerous Rise of Kinetic Diplomacy</a>," <em>War on the Rocks</em>, May 14, 2018</li> <li><a href="https://sites.tufts.edu/css/the-intervention-project-gets-into-gear/" target="_blank">The Military Intervention Project</a></li> </ul> Tue, 13 Aug 2019 03:00:00 -0400 Monica Toft, Emma Ashford, A. Trevor Thrall https://www.cato.org/multimedia/power-problems/i-had-hammer Brave Nuclear World https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/brave-nuclear-world?utm_source=rss_author&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss Emma Ashford <div class="lead text-default"> <p>On Friday, the United States will complete its <a href="https://www.armscontrol.org/act/2018-11/news/trump-withdraw-us-inf-treaty">withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces</a> (INF) Treaty, an agreement that had prohibited the United States and Russia from deploying certain kinds of missiles since 1987. Following on the heels of Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA, and his unwillingness to <a href="https://www.armscontrol.org/act/2019-07/news/bolton-declares-new-start-extension-unlikely">negotiate an extension to New START</a>, the collapse of the INF Treaty is just one more step towards the demise of Cold War-era arms control.</p> </div> , <div class="text-default"> <p>Of course, though the problem started with Trump, the deaths of these agreements will outlast his administration; agreements not negotiated today mean no agreements on arms control tomorrow, opening up the disturbing possibility of renewed arms races. Indeed, a survey of global leaders taken last year <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2018/01/17/risk-nuclear-weapons-extreme-weather-top-risks-2018-report/1035252001/">at Davos</a> highlighted nuclear war as a key concern.</p> <p></p> </div> , <aside class="aside--right aside pb-lg-0 pt-lg-2"> <div class="pullquote pullquote--default"> <div class="pullquote__content h2"> <p>Though mutually assured destruction is still the core strategic logic underlying most countries’ nuclear arsenals, the structure of the system is no longer the same.</p> </div> </div> </aside> , <div class="text-default"> <p>But figuring out the questions we need to ask may end up being as important as the answers. As a <a href="https://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pdfs/americas-nuclear-crossroads-full.pdf">new publication from the Cato Institute</a> highlights, the nuclear challenges of today are substantially different than the ones we faced during the Cold War. In that context, it’s worth asking which of the assumptions we have about nuclear weapons still hold up — and which don’t.</p> <p><strong>1. Is superpower-style mutually assured destruction the best way to understand the modern nuclear balance?</strong></p> <p>Not really. Though mutually assured destruction is still the core strategic logic underlying most countries’ nuclear arsenals, the structure of the system is no longer the same. In place of the US and USSR locked in superpower competition, there are a number of key players and a growing sense of rivalry between the US and China. Developments in <a href="https://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pdfs/americas-nuclear-crossroads-full.pdf">weapons technology</a> – a move towards tactical nuclear weapons, and to dual-use technologies that can be used for both conventional and nuclear purposes – are challenging strategic stability in new ways. All of which suggests that while mutually assured destruction still exists, the broader strategic situation is more complex than during the Cold War, increasing the possibility of nuclear use.</p> <p><strong>2. Are nuclear weapons useful for something other than deterrence?</strong></p> <p>Not particularly. Much of the Trump administration’s case for a harder line on Iran and North Korea was premised around the idea that these states <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/02/world/asia/trump-kim-north-korea.html">could potentially use nuclear weapons</a> to make political or military gains. But while this administration has played up the fear of ‘nuclear blackmail,’ the historical record reveals how difficult it is to <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Nuclear-Weapons-Coercive-Diplomacy-Sechser/dp/1107514517">use nuclear weapons for coercion</a>. Most states who seek to acquire nuclear weapons want a last-ditch backup to protect their country or ensure regime survival: ironically, as the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1458836/">Nobel Laureate Thomas Schelling</a> once noted, the US invasion of Iraq was actually a key driver of nuclear proliferation by states like North Korea.</p> <p><strong>3. Is arms control dead?</strong></p> <p>Not necessarily. John Bolton may be doing his best to kill today’s arms control treaties, but in some ways, it’s questionable how effective many of these treaties were at dealing with modern nuclear realities. Future arms control treaties will be more difficult to negotiate and will need to focus on different things. Where most Cold War treaties tended to focus on numerical caps, for example, that approach isn’t as useful if the United States wants to engage a country like China, which fields a <a href="https://fas.org/blogs/security/2019/05/chinese-nuclear-stockpile/">substantially smaller arsenal</a>. <a href="https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/nuclear-crossroads-ii-the-arms-control-serial-killer/id1282100393?i=1000444522990">Future treaties</a> will likely need to be multilateral, and focus on other topics such as crisis stability, new types of weapons and the importance of information sharing. It will be particularly challenging to negotiate new nonproliferation agreements after the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. While it will be difficult to negotiate new arms control agreements, though, that doesn’t mean future administrations shouldn’t try; the alternative is too risky.</p> <p><strong>4. Do we need to maintain our Cold War nuclear arsenal to combat China?</strong></p> <p>Probably not. The Trump administration’s 2018 <a href="https://dod.defense.gov/News/SpecialReports/2018NuclearPostureReview.aspx">Nuclear Posture Review</a> actually suggested increasing spending and adding new types of weapons. But as critics of the review – notably <a href="https://armedservices.house.gov/2018/1/smith-statement-on-the-nuclear-posture-review">Adam Smith</a> (D-WA), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee – have pointed out, there are lots of places where the United States could cut our nuclear forces while still maintaining a substantial strategic edge. For example, <a href="https://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pdfs/americas-nuclear-crossroads-full.pdf">downsizing the land-based elements of the triad</a>, which are among the most vulnerable and least flexible of our nuclear forces, could save tens or even hundreds of billions of dollars in coming decades.</p> <p>Of course, while these issues are widely discussed among policy wonks, they don’t get a lot of attention in broader political debates. The Democratic candidates for 2020 have weighed in on nuclear issues to varying degrees, with most of the debate focusing on the narrow and largely academic question of whether the United States should have a ‘<a href="https://thehill.com/policy/defense/455472-warren-bullock-spar-over-no-first-use-nuclear-policy">no first use’</a> nuclear policy.</p> <p>But the broader question of how the United States should approach nuclear issues in coming decades is vitally important. The final collapse of the INF should prompt policymakers and candidates to think more closely about these issues. The Trump administration has smashed the existing arms control order. The next presidential administration – whether it’s two years from now, or six — is going to have to pick up the pieces and figure out how to <a href="https://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pdfs/americas-nuclear-crossroads-full.pdf">shape them into something new</a>.</p> </div> Thu, 01 Aug 2019 10:38:00 -0400 Emma Ashford https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/brave-nuclear-world Power Problems Live! The Kennan Sweepstakes https://www.cato.org/multimedia/power-problems/power-problems-live-kennan-sweepstakes?utm_source=rss_author&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss Heather Hurlburt, Emma Ashford, A. Trevor Thrall <p>In our special live episode of Power Problems, Emma Ashford chats with Heather Hurlburt of New America about ongoing debates on the future of U.S. grand strategy.</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.newamerica.org/our-people/heather-hurlburt/" target="_blank">Heather Hurlburt bio</a></li> <li>Heather Hurlburt, "<a href="https://www.lawfareblog.com/more-diplomacy-less-intervention-what-making-sense-grand-strategy-debate" target="_blank">Making Sense of the Grand Strategy Debate</a>," <em>Lawfare</em>, June 7, 2019</li> <li>Emma Ashford, Hal Brands, Jasen Castillo, Kate Kizer, Rebecca Lissner, Jeremy Shapiro, and Joshua Shifrinson, "<a href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/files.cnas.org/documents/Grand-Strategy-Report-Final-online-1.pdf?mtime=20190408141828" target="_blank">New Voices in Grand</a>"</li> <li>Daniel Drezner, Mira Rapp-Hooper, Rebecca Lissner, Stephen Walt and Kori Schake, "<a href="https://www.foreignaffairs.com/issues/2019/98/3" target="_blank">Searching for a Strategy</a>," <em>Foreign Affairs</em>, May/June 2019</li> <li>Ben Sasse, "<a href="https://tnsr.org/2019/02/the-end-of-the-end-of-history-reimagining-u-s-foreign-policy-for-the-21st-century/" target="_blank">The End of the End of History</a>," Texas National Security Review, February 2019</li> <li>Emma Ashford, "<a href="https://warontherocks.com/2019/05/the-gentleman-from-nebraska-misfires-on-americas-foreign-policy-debate/" target="_blank">The Gentleman from Nebraska Misfires on Foreign Policy</a>," <em>War on the Rocks</em>, May 6, 2019</li> <li>Ganesh Sitaraman, "<a href="https://warontherocks.com/2019/04/the-emergence-of-progressive-foreign-policy/" target="_blank">The Emergence of Progressive Foreign Policy</a>," <em>War on the Rocks</em>, April 15, 2019</li> <li>Colin Dueck, Elliot Abrams, Emma Ashford, John Fonte, Henry R. Nau, Nadia Schadlow, Kelley Vlahos, Dov Zakheim, "<a href="https://tnsr.org/roundtable/policy-roundtable-the-future-of-conservative-foreign-policy/" target="_blank">The Future of Conservative Foreign Policy</a>," <em>Texas National Security Review</em>, November 30, 2018</li> <li>Van Jackson, Heather Hurlburt, Adam Mount, Loren Schulman, Thomas Wright, "<a href="https://tnsr.org/roundtable/policy-roundtable-the-future-of-progressive-foreign-policy/" target="_blank">The Future of Progressive Foreign Policy</a>," <em>Texas National Security Review</em>, December 4, 2018</li> <li><a href="https://jqas.org/about-us/" target="_blank">The John Quincy Adams Society</a></li> </ul> Tue, 30 Jul 2019 03:00:00 -0400 Heather Hurlburt, Emma Ashford, A. Trevor Thrall https://www.cato.org/multimedia/power-problems/power-problems-live-kennan-sweepstakes Nuclear Crossroads II: The Arms Control Serial Killer https://www.cato.org/multimedia/power-problems/nuclear-crossroads-ii-arms-control-serial-killer?utm_source=rss_author&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss Emma Ashford, Eric Gomez, Maggie Tennis <p>In part two of the focus on America’s Nuclear Crossroads, Emma Ashford and guest host Eric Gomez delve into the future of arms control agreements with Maggie Tennis of the Brookings Institute. </p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.forumarmstrade.org/maggie-tennis.html" target="_blank">Maggie Tennis bio</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.cato.org/crossroads">America's Nuclear Crossroads</a></li> </ul> Mon, 15 Jul 2019 11:18:00 -0400 Emma Ashford, Eric Gomez, Maggie Tennis https://www.cato.org/multimedia/power-problems/nuclear-crossroads-ii-arms-control-serial-killer Nuclear Crossroads I: America Ad Astra https://www.cato.org/multimedia/power-problems/nuclear-crossroads-i-america-ad-astra?utm_source=rss_author&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss Todd Harrison, Emma Ashford, A. Trevor Thrall <p>Todd Harrison from the Center for Strategic and International Studies joins Emma Ashford and Trevor Thrall to discuss the proposed Space Force, war in space, and his chapter in the forthcoming Cato report <em>America’s Nuclear Crossroads</em>.</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.csis.org/people/todd-harrison" target="_blank">Todd Harrison bio</a></li> <li><a href="https://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pdfs/americasnuclearcrossroads_advancereading.pdf" target="_blank">America's Nuclear Crossroads</a></li> <li>Aerospace Security Project at CSIS, “<a href="https://aerospace.csis.org/commanding-space/">Commanding Space: The Story Behind the Space Force</a></li> <li>Todd Harrison, "<a href="https://aerospace.csis.org/a-space-force-is-worth-the-price/">A Space Force is Worth the Price</a>"</li> </ul> Tue, 02 Jul 2019 03:00:00 -0400 Todd Harrison, Emma Ashford, A. Trevor Thrall https://www.cato.org/multimedia/power-problems/nuclear-crossroads-i-america-ad-astra The Arab Winter https://www.cato.org/multimedia/power-problems/arab-winter?utm_source=rss_author&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss Peter Mandaville, Emma Ashford, A. Trevor Thrall <p>With new protests in Sudan, ongoing conflict in Syria, and continued regional tensions, the legacies of the Arab Spring are everywhere in the Middle East. Peter Mandaville joins us to discuss.</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://schar.gmu.edu/about/faculty-directory/peter-mandaville" target="_blank">Peter Mandaville bio</a></li> <li>Kamron Bohkari and Peter Mandaville, <a href="https://www.cgpolicy.org/multimedia/the-muslim-brotherhood-and-american-muslims/" target="_blank">The Muslim Brotherhood and American Muslims</a>, Center for Global Policy, August 11, 2018</li> <li>Peter Mandaville and Shadi Hamid, "<a href="https://www.brookings.edu/research/islam-as-statecraft-how-governments-use-religion-in-foreign-policy/" target="_blank">Islam as Statecraft: How Governments Use Religion in Foreign Policy</a>," Brookings Institute, November 2018</li> </ul> Tue, 18 Jun 2019 03:00:00 -0400 Peter Mandaville, Emma Ashford, A. Trevor Thrall https://www.cato.org/multimedia/power-problems/arab-winter America Adrift: Public Opinion and U.S. Foreign Policy https://www.cato.org/multimedia/power-problems/america-adrift-public-opinion-us-foreign-policy?utm_source=rss_author&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss Emma Ashford, A. Trevor Thrall, Peter Juul <p>What kind of foreign policy do Americans want? Not the one they have, apparently. To learn more Emma and Trevor chat with Peter Juul from the Center for American Progress about a new report from the Center for American Progress, "America Adrift: How the U.S. Foreign Policy Debate Misses What Voters Really Want." </p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.americanprogress.org/about/staff/juul-peter/bio/" target="_blank">Peter Juul bio</a></li> <li>Center for American Progress, "<a href="https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/security/reports/2019/05/05/469218/america-adrift/" target="_blank">America Adrift: How the U.S. Foreign Policy Debate Misses What Voters Really Want</a>"</li> <li>Eurasia Group Foundation, "<a href="https://egfound.org/stories/independent-america/worlds-apart" target="_blank">Worlds Apart: U.S. Foreign Policy and American Public Opinion</a>"</li> <li>Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs, "<a href="https://www.thechicagocouncil.org/sites/default/files/report_ccs18_america-engaged_181002.pdf" target="_blank">America Engaged: American Public Opinion and US Foreign Policy</a>"</li> </ul> Tue, 04 Jun 2019 03:00:00 -0400 Emma Ashford, A. Trevor Thrall, Peter Juul https://www.cato.org/multimedia/power-problems/america-adrift-public-opinion-us-foreign-policy Emma Ashford discusses U.S.-Iran tensions on Al Araby https://www.cato.org/multimedia/media-highlights-tv/emma-ashford-discusses-us-iran-tensions-al-araby?utm_source=rss_author&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss Thu, 23 May 2019 11:39:00 -0400 Emma Ashford https://www.cato.org/multimedia/media-highlights-tv/emma-ashford-discusses-us-iran-tensions-al-araby Peace, War and Liberty https://www.cato.org/multimedia/power-problems/peace-war-liberty?utm_source=rss_author&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss Emma Ashford, A. Trevor Thrall, Christopher A. Preble <p>American presidents often praise U.S. foreign policy as a force for global freedom and liberty. We chat with Chris Preble about his new book, <em>Peace, War, and Liberty</em>. </p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.cato.org/people/Christopher-preble">Christopher Preble bio</a></li> <li>Christopher Preble, <a href="https://www.libertarianism.org/books/peace-war-liberty-understanding-us-foreign-policy"><em>Peace, War, and Liberty: Understanding U.S. Foreign Policy</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://www.cato.org/multimedia/power-problems/free-thoughtspower-problems-crossover-what-do-libertarians-believe-about">Free Thoughts/Power Problems Crossover: "What do Libertarians Believe About Foreign Policy?"</a></li> </ul> Tue, 21 May 2019 09:49:00 -0400 Emma Ashford, A. Trevor Thrall, Christopher A. Preble https://www.cato.org/multimedia/power-problems/peace-war-liberty Emma Ashford discusses the latest developments in Iran on Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen (Switzerland) https://www.cato.org/multimedia/media-highlights-radio/emma-ashford-discusses-latest-developments-iran-schweizer-radio?utm_source=rss_author&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss Mon, 20 May 2019 12:32:00 -0400 Emma Ashford https://www.cato.org/multimedia/media-highlights-radio/emma-ashford-discusses-latest-developments-iran-schweizer-radio IRAQ 2.0? https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/iraq-20?utm_source=rss_author&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss Emma Ashford <div class="lead text-default"> <p>Tensions are rising in the Middle East. The White House, citing poorly sourced intelligence, has increased the US force presence in the region, and ramped up sanctions aimed at preventing the development of weapons of mass destruction.</p> </div> , <div class="text-default"> <p>Sound familiar?</p> <p>The Trump administration's Iran policy today certainly has uncomfortable parallels with the run-up to the Iraq War. But there are also substantial differences. The administration has sought to punish — rather than persuade — US allies into working with it on sanctions. The intelligence in question isn't about a nuclear violation. And the White House itself seems unclear what it's actually seeking to achieve in Iran.</p> <p>At the end of the day, however, it hardly matters. The administration's actions are increasing tensions and driving us down a path where miscalculation is increasingly likely. It may not be Iraq 2.0, but that doesn't mean it couldn't end in a war.</p> <p></p> </div> , <aside class="aside--right aside pb-lg-0 pt-lg-2"> <div class="pullquote pullquote--default"> <div class="pullquote__content h2"> <p>Trump might not want war with Iran, but he might get it anyway.</p> </div> </div> </aside> , <div class="text-default"> <p><strong>Under (Maximum) Pressure</strong></p> <p>Tensions have been rising for weeks, beginning with Trump's decision to end waivers on Iranian oil imports. Though it sounds like a dry, technical issue, the real-world implications of this choice could not be more real: countries like China, Japan and India must stop importing Iranian oil entirely, or face US penalties. The move removes about <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-iran-oil/us-to-end-all-waivers-on-imports-of-iranian-oil-crude-price-jumps-idUSKCN1RX0R1" target="_blank">a million barrels per day</a> from the global oil market.</p> <p>The administration has taken other draconian steps too. Just a few weeks ago, they designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group. That label has never before been applied to a state military, and prompted Tehran to respond, declaring that <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-iran-rouhani/iran-designates-as-terrorists-all-us-troops-in-middle-east-idUSKCN1S61GB" target="_blank">all US forces in the Middle East</a> are terrorists.</p> <p>The White House also announced that they had sped up the long-planned deployment of a carrier strike group to the region, with <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/statement-national-security-advisor-ambassador-john-bolton-2/" target="_blank">National Security Advisor John Bolton</a>stating that the move sends “a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime.” The intelligence that prompted this move — which suggests the existence of plans by Iranian forces to attack US positions in the region — is debatable. Indeed, there’s no clear indication that these were active plans, rather than mere <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-deployment-triggered-by-intelligence-warning-of-iranian-attack-plans-11557180106?mod=hp_lead_pos6" target="_blank">contingency planning</a> for any future conflict.</p> <p>Finally, this morning — on the first anniversary of Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal — Iranian leaders <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-iran-rouhani/iran-rolls-back-nuclear-commitments-under-pact-abandoned-by-washington-idUSKCN1SE0I5?utm_medium=Social&amp;utm_source=twitter" target="_blank">announced steps</a> that could make it harder for them to abide by the deal in the future. More importantly, they announced that they would potentially violate the deal if other countries don’t do more to mitigate the impact of US sanctions.</p> <p>To make a long story short, the stakes in the Middle East are becoming frighteningly real.</p> <p><strong>Tell Me What You Want (What You Really Really Want)</strong></p> <p>Which brings us back to the question of what the Trump administration hopes to achieve through this ratcheting up of tensions. As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has repeatedly put it, the administration is seeking an Iran that acts like a ‘<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/06/world/middleeast/us-iran-iraq-troops-.html" target="_blank">normal nation</a>.’</p> <p>Of course, by any reasonable standard, Iran is already a normal country, albeit one with an unpleasant foreign policy. Compare its behavior to its closest rivals. Just like the United States, Iran has meddled in Iraqi politics. Just like the United Arab Emirates, it has backed proxies and militias in the post-Arab Spring conflicts. And just like Saudi Arabia, the Iranian government has sought to obtain <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2019/01/26/saudi-arabia-ballistic-missile-program/2688441002/" target="_blank">missile technology</a> and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/07/cia-warns-arab-activist-of-potential-threat-from-saudi-arabia" target="_blank">silence dissidents</a>. Iran might be aggressive, but its actions are pretty common in the region.</p> <p>Instead, the administration appears to view ‘normal’ as an Iran that will abandon its long-held asymmetric foreign policy approach, transform itself into a democracy, and cede regional foreign policy preeminence to its neighbors. This doesn’t seem likely.</p> <p>Others have suggested that the goal of the administration’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign is instead regime change: a concerted campaign of sanctions and pressure designed to hurt the Iranian economy and encourage the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/08/opinion/iran-united-states.html" target="_blank">Iranian people</a> to rise up against their own government. But while the population of Iran is undoubtedly unhappy with the stagnating economy and limited political options available, it isn’t likely to topple the government any time soon.</p> <p>That leaves us with a third option: as many have suggested, perhaps the Trump administration’s ultimate goal is war. Some of Trump’s advisors — most notably John Bolton — have a long history of <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/26/opinion/to-stop-irans-bomb-bomb-iran.html?" target="_blank">seeking conflict with Iran</a>. And the constant ratcheting pressure in recent months certainly suggests that the administration is trying to provoke an Iranian reaction, precipitating a larger conflict.</p> <p>But while there are superficial similarities with the 2003 Iraq war, the Trump administration has made no real effort to actually make the case for war against Iran. Instead, they’ve spent the last two years <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/08/world/europe/eu-iran-nuclear-sanctions.html" target="_blank">alienating US allies in Europe</a>, doing everything possible to undermine international non-proliferation frameworks, and generally giving the impression that America will be to blame in the case of a conflict. To be blunt, if the administration is seeking war, they’re doing it in a very stupid way.</p> <p><strong>You Can't Always Get What You Want</strong></p> <p>Ultimately, the Trump administration’s approach to Iran is confused precisely because its core members don’t seem to agree on the goals of their strategy. One suspects that Trump himself would be happy with a North Korea-style outcome that allows him to take credit for minimal diplomatic gains. Bolton, on the other hand, almost certainly hopes to goad Iran into military confrontation. Others in the administration seem to genuinely believe that a maximum pressure strategy may induce Iran to return to the nuclear negotiating table, however unlikely that may be.</p> <p>But just because the Trump administration isn’t uniformly pushing for war doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen. The slow, purposeful build-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 is one way to start a conflict. But miscalculation and mistakes are another. By repeatedly escalating the situation — particularly in the military realm — the Trump 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.</p> </div> Thu, 09 May 2019 09:15:00 -0400 Emma Ashford https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/iraq-20 Boiling a Frog in the Middle East https://www.cato.org/blog/boiling-frog-middle-east?utm_source=rss_author&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss Emma Ashford <p>Tensions in the <a href="https://inkstickmedia.com/iraq-2-0/">Middle East are getting higher</a>, with the announcement that Iran would take steps that could make it harder for them to comply with the terms of the nuclear deal – and more importantly, that they would potentially violate the deal if the other parties to the agreement don’t do more to mitigate the impact of U.S. sanctions.&#13;<br /> &#13;<br /> The announcement came after weeks of Trump administration moves to ratchet up pressure on Iran, from oil sanctions waivers to designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization. Just this week, John Bolton announced that the U.S. would be sending “a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime” by speeding up the deployment of a carrier strike group to the region.&#13;<br /> &#13;<br /> Is the Trump administration pushing for war in the region? It’s hard to say. As I point out in a <a href="https://inkstickmedia.com/iraq-2-0/">recent article</a>: &#13;<br /> &#13;</p> <blockquote><p>While there are superficial similarities with the 2003 Iraq war, the Trump administration has made no real effort to actually make the case for war against Iran. Instead, they’ve spent the last two years <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/08/world/europe/eu-iran-nuclear-sanctions.html">alienating US allies in Europe</a>, doing everything possible to undermine international non-proliferation frameworks, and generally giving the impression that America will be to blame in the case of a conflict. To be blunt, if the administration is seeking war, they’re doing it in a very stupid way.</p> </blockquote> <p>Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that conflict won’t happen:&#13;<br /> &#13;</p> <blockquote><p>Just because the Trump administration isn’t uniformly pushing for war doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen. The slow, purposeful build-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 is one way to start a conflict. But miscalculation and mistakes are another. By repeatedly escalating the situation – particularly in the military realm – the Trump administration risks an unplanned clash with Iranian-backed forces in the Gulf, Iraq, or Syria.</p> </blockquote> <p>You can find the whole article, along with discussion of the differences between Trump’s advisors on this question, over at <a href="https://inkstickmedia.com/iraq-2-0/">Inkstick</a>.  </p> Thu, 09 May 2019 09:02:24 -0400 Emma Ashford https://www.cato.org/blog/boiling-frog-middle-east Emma Ashford discusses the Iran nuclear deal on KURV's The Wall with Sergio Sanchez https://www.cato.org/multimedia/media-highlights-radio/emma-ashford-discusses-iran-nuclear-deal-kurvs-wall-sergio-sanchez?utm_source=rss_author&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss Wed, 08 May 2019 11:26:00 -0400 Emma Ashford https://www.cato.org/multimedia/media-highlights-radio/emma-ashford-discusses-iran-nuclear-deal-kurvs-wall-sergio-sanchez What Does the U.S. Expect to Get with 'Maximum Pressure' on Iran? https://www.cato.org/multimedia/cato-daily-podcast/what-does-us-expect-get-maximum-pressure-iran?utm_source=rss_author&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss John Glaser, Emma Ashford, Caleb O. Brown <p>The "maximum pressure" being applied to Iran is definitely costly to the U.S. and its allies, so we should expect to get a lot out of the policy, right? Emma Ashford and John Glaser explain why that's less than clear.</p> Wed, 08 May 2019 03:01:00 -0400 John Glaser, Emma Ashford, Caleb O. Brown https://www.cato.org/multimedia/cato-daily-podcast/what-does-us-expect-get-maximum-pressure-iran Emma Ashford discusses the war in Yemen on Newsy's The Briefing https://www.cato.org/multimedia/media-highlights-tv/emma-ashford-discusses-war-yemen-newsys-briefing?utm_source=rss_author&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss Tue, 07 May 2019 11:41:00 -0400 Emma Ashford https://www.cato.org/multimedia/media-highlights-tv/emma-ashford-discusses-war-yemen-newsys-briefing Will John Bolton Finally Get His Iran War? https://www.cato.org/multimedia/power-problems/will-john-bolton-finally-get-iran-war?utm_source=rss_author&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss Colonel Lawrence B. Wilkerson (Ret.), Emma Ashford, A. Trevor Thrall <p>Arguments about the Iraq War loom large over pretty much every foreign policy debate in Washington. Does the Trump administration have similar intentions towards Iran? Lawrence Wilkerson joins us to discuss.</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Wilkerson" target="_blank">Lawrence Wilkerson bio</a></li> <li>Lawrence Wilkerson, "<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/05/opinion/trump-iran-war.html">I Helped Sell the False Choice of War Once. It’s Happening Again/a&gt;," <em>New York Times</em>, February 5, 2018</li> <li>Dexter Filkins, <a href="https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/05/06/john-bolton-on-the-warpath" target="_blank">John Bolton on the Warpath</a>, <em>New Yorker</em>, May 6, 2019</li> </ul> Tue, 07 May 2019 03:00:00 -0400 Colonel Lawrence B. Wilkerson (Ret.), Emma Ashford, A. Trevor Thrall https://www.cato.org/multimedia/power-problems/will-john-bolton-finally-get-iran-war Emma Ashford discusses Iran dispatching an aircraft carrier on Hearst TV https://www.cato.org/multimedia/media-highlights-tv/emma-ashford-discusses-iran-dispatching-aircraft-carrier-hearst-tv?utm_source=rss_author&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss Mon, 06 May 2019 11:40:00 -0400 Emma Ashford https://www.cato.org/multimedia/media-highlights-tv/emma-ashford-discusses-iran-dispatching-aircraft-carrier-hearst-tv Emma Ashford discusses the Trump administration ending exemptions for countries purchasing oil from Iran on ARD's Mittagsmagazin https://www.cato.org/multimedia/media-highlights-tv/emma-ashford-discusses-trump-administration-ending-exemptions?utm_source=rss_author&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss Tue, 23 Apr 2019 11:42:00 -0400 Emma Ashford https://www.cato.org/multimedia/media-highlights-tv/emma-ashford-discusses-trump-administration-ending-exemptions Insurgent Women https://www.cato.org/multimedia/power-problems/insurgent-women?utm_source=rss_author&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss Jessica Trisko Darden, Emma Ashford, A. Trevor Thrall <p>Women play an increasingly important role as insurgents and rebels in civil conflicts all over the world. But most often their story goes untold and their impact has been poorly understood. Jessica Trisko Darden, co-author of <em>Insurgent Women</em>, joins Emma Ashford and Trevor Thrall to discuss her new book to discuss.</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.american.edu/sis/faculty/trisko.cfm">Jessica Trisko Darden bio</a></li> <li>Jessica Trisko Darden, Alexis Henshaw, and Ora Szekely, <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Insurgent-Women-Female-Combatants-Civil/dp/1626166668/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=insurgent+women&amp;qid=1555347930&amp;s=gateway&amp;sr=8-1" target="_blank"><em>Insurgent Women: Female Combatants in Civil Wars</em></a><em> </em>(Georgetown University Press 2019).</li> <li>Jessica Trisko Darden, "<a href="https://theconversation.com/how-women-wage-war-a-short-history-of-is-brides-nazi-guards-and-farc-insurgents-113011" target="_blank">https://theconversation.com/how-women-wage-war-a-short-history-of-is-brides-nazi-guards-and-farc-insurgents-113011</a> <em>The Conversation, </em>March 8, 2019.</li> <li>Jessica Trisko Darden, "<a href="https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2019/02/21/isis-american-women-marriages-syria-extremism">Return from ISIS: American Women Want Out of Extremism</a>," NPR On Point podcast.</li> <li>Mia Bloom, <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Bombshell-Women-Terrorism-Mia-Bloom/dp/0812243900" target="_blank"><em>Bombshell: Women and Terrorism</em></a><em> </em>(University of Pennsylvania, 2011).</li> <li>Jessica Davis, <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Women-Modern-Terrorism-Liberation-Islamic/dp/1442274980/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_14_img_1?_encoding=UTF8&amp;psc=1&amp;refRID=KP852Y4NH3KCRBT5322A" target="_blank"><em>Women in Modern Terrorism: From Liberation Wars to Global Jihad and the Islamic State</em></a> (Rowman &amp; Littlefield, 2017).</li> </ul> Mon, 22 Apr 2019 16:46:00 -0400 Jessica Trisko Darden, Emma Ashford, A. Trevor Thrall https://www.cato.org/multimedia/power-problems/insurgent-women Trump's Planned Drawdown in Afghanistan Is a Good Sign https://www.cato.org/multimedia/cato-daily-podcast/trumps-drawdown-afghanistan-good-sign?utm_source=rss_author&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss Emma Ashford, Caleb O. Brown <p>Between the start of talks with the Taliban and moving forward with plans to draw down U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Donald Trump deserves some credit. Emma Ashford explains why.</p> Mon, 15 Apr 2019 08:49:00 -0400 Emma Ashford, Caleb O. Brown https://www.cato.org/multimedia/cato-daily-podcast/trumps-drawdown-afghanistan-good-sign Emma Ashford participates in the event, "Not Your Grandparents' Grand Strategy: Making the Shift from Why to How," hosted by Center for a New American Security (CNAS) https://www.cato.org/multimedia/media-highlights-tv/emma-ashford-participates-event-not-grandparents-grand-strategy?utm_source=rss_author&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss Fri, 12 Apr 2019 11:36:00 -0400 Emma Ashford https://www.cato.org/multimedia/media-highlights-tv/emma-ashford-participates-event-not-grandparents-grand-strategy Emma Ashford discusses the U.S. diplomatic pullout from Venezuela on Talk Media News' The World in 2:00 https://www.cato.org/multimedia/media-highlights-radio/emma-ashford-discusses-us-diplomatic-pullout-venezuela-talk-media?utm_source=rss_author&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss Wed, 13 Mar 2019 10:29:00 -0400 Emma Ashford https://www.cato.org/multimedia/media-highlights-radio/emma-ashford-discusses-us-diplomatic-pullout-venezuela-talk-media Failure (to Launch?): Donald Trump in Hanoi https://www.cato.org/multimedia/power-problems/failure-launch-donald-trump-hanoi?utm_source=rss_author&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss Harry J. Kazianis, Emma Ashford, A. Trevor Thrall <p>Donald Trump’s second summit with Kim Jong Un has come and gone, this time in abject failure. Emma Ashford and Trevor Thrall are joined by Harry Kazianis of the Center for the National Interest to discuss where U.S.-North Korean relations go from here.</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://cftni.org/expert/harry-kazianis/" target="_blank">Harry Kazianis bio</a></li></li> <li>"<a href="https://www.vox.com/2019/3/8/18256179/north-korea-nuclear-trump-kim-step" target="_blank">A Top Trump Official May Have Just Doomed US-North Korea Talks</a>," <em>Vox</em>, March 8, 2019</li> <li>"<a href="https://www.cato.org/events/dealing-with-north-and-south-korea">Dealing with North and South Korea: Can Washington Square the Circle?</a>" Cato Institute Capitol Hill Briefing</li> </ul> Tue, 12 Mar 2019 09:42:00 -0400 Harry J. Kazianis, Emma Ashford, A. Trevor Thrall https://www.cato.org/multimedia/power-problems/failure-launch-donald-trump-hanoi