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Iran Deal Critics’ Pending Defeat Shows the Downsides of Hawkishness

September 2, 2015 BY: Michael Cohen TOPICS: Foreign Policy, National Security

In the past, many Democrats felt pressure to appear "hawkish" in order to insulate themselves from Republican criticisms of insufficient vigilance in the fact of foreign threats. This sentiment has slowly changed, writes TCF fellow Michael Cohen, with Democrats' response to the Iran deal exemplifying this ideological shift.

For years, fear of political attack drove Democrats into dangerous positions on the use of military force, most of all with the 2002 Iraq War vote. With the Iran vote, Democrats are discovering that support for diplomacy rather than war is the more fertile political terrain. If anything, Democrats may have the opportunity now to put Republicans on the defensive for their insufficient dovishness and “shoot first, ask questions later” approach to the use of military force. If that were to happen, the Iran deal might represent more than an historic nonproliferation agreement—it might actually put America on the path to a sane foreign policy.

Read Cohen's full discussion of the shift among Democrats towards more diplomatic policies at World Politics Review.

Tags: republicans, military, iran nuclear deal, iran and the us, democrats

Chicago Survey Finds Crooks Get Guns from Pals, Don’t Keep Them Long

August 29, 2015 BY: Harold Pollack TOPICS: Foreign Policy, National Security

TCF fellow Harold Pollack shares the surprising findings of a Chicago survey that reveals how guns make their way into the hands of criminals. Pollack says that for many of those caught with guns, their weapon possession is more centered on self-defense than the consequences of getting caught and locked up. 

Pollack says: "About 70 percent said they got their guns from family, fellow gang members or through other social connections. Only two said they bought a gun at a store. It’s unclear how many of those surveyed were felons, but they can’t hold a state firearm owner’s permit — so they can’t legally purchase a weapon at a store."

Pollack's article on gun posession and misuse is featured in the Chicago SunTimes.

Tags: gun violence, gun safety, gun reform

What Went Wrong: Republicans Keep Ignoring the Lessons of Iraq

August 26, 2015 BY: Michael Cohen TOPICS: Foreign Policy, National Security

Recently, several Republican presidential candidates have blamed the actions of President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for Iraq's current instability. TCF fellow Michael Cohen says that these arguments refuse to recognize President George W. Bush's original decision to withdraw forces from Iraq—and that this policy option was overwhelmingly preferred by the American public. In the end, writes Cohen, Republicans are "missing the larger lessons of what went wrong in Iraq."

This is the clear lesson of the war in Iraq: Even with the best of intentions, even with overwhelming U.S. military force, even with billions of dollars in national treasure, the U.S. can only do so much to influence and shape international events. It’s hard to imagine anything that teaches that better than Iraq.

Check out Cohen's full piece in World Politics Review.

Tags: republicans, obama, jeb bush, iraq war, iraq, hillary clinton, gop

The Arab Spring Was a Revolution of the Hungry

Four years after the Egyptian revolution, Egypt has watched as its government has once again come under a dictator's rule. In a new article, TCF fellow Thanassis Cambanis discusses why much of the Arab world's upheaval can be attributed to the region's food insecurity.

The ruler who controls the main staples of life — bread and fuel — often controls everything else, too.

Read more on what Cambanis describes as the "revolution of the hungry" in the Boston Globe.

Tags: food scarcity, egyptian uprisings, egyptian revolutions, arab spring

Citigroup to Planet: A Low-Carbon Economy Is Worth the Cost

August 20, 2015 COMMENTARY BY: Neil Bhatiya TOPICS: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Additional Focus, Climate Change

In a new report out this week, Citigroup breaks down the cost of taking action on climate change—or the lack thereof. TCF policy associate Neil Bhatiya discusses key findings from the report.

Tags: renewable energy, global warming, energy, coal, climate change, clean energy, citigroup

Egypt: Back to the Future

TCF senior fellow Michael Wahid Hanna's recent report citing Egypt's next stage of sustainable instability has been quoted in a new piece comparing Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi with Egypt's second president, Gamel Abdel Nasser:

On television, the uniformed Sisi consoled his troops and insisted that "things are totally stable". However, according to Michael Wahid Hanna of The Century Foundation in New York, the likeliest prospect for Egypt is several years of "sustainable instability".

Read the full article in the Africa Report.

Tags: egyptian politics, cairo, al sisi


Foreign Policy

Foreign Policy

In the first years of the new century, an assertive foreign policy took a toll on the cultivated role of the U.S. as a responsible global leader. The Century Foundation's work in this area provides perspective on the international difficulties the U.S. is facing today, while providing policy recommendations to promote the nation's security interests. Our research and analysis focuses on effectively responding to challenges in the Middle East and Pakistan, as well as responding to international crime.

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