Strategic Empathy: A Better Strategy in Ukraine and Marriage

blog post by University of Ottawa Prof. Paul Robinson makes an important point about the need for better strategic thinking concerning the Ukrainian crisis. Robinson advocates “strategic empathy” for producing successful outcomes – understanding your opponent’s thinking before acting. Acting without first understanding how your opponent sees things –  no matter how wrong he might be – is likely to exacerbate the conflict. As Robinson notes in his conclusion, “Moral certitude may be emotionally satisfying, but strategic empathy is far more likely to lead to peace.” I recommend that you read the entire post – it’s not very long – but here are two key paragraphs: Continue reading

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An Important Leap Forward in US National Security

US national security took an important, but little noted leap forward yesterday when President Obama announced the restoration of full diplomatic relations with Cuba. Most of the media coverage focused on the economic and political consequences of this bold move, and what little I’ve seen on its national security implications quotes opponents as calling it “appeasement.” This is a clear reference to Britain’s vain attempts to mollify Hitler prior to World War II, and therefore an attempt to slam Obama’s move as naive and dangerous. So why do I maintain that his move did the opposite and, instead, dramatically improved our national security? Continue reading

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BBC’s Balanced Take on Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis

With all the propaganda on both sides of the Ukrainian civil war, it’s hard to find balanced pieces which try their best to get at the truth. I just came across a notable exception by the BBC’s David Stern, concerning the presence or absence of neo-Nazi elements within the current Ukrainian government. I’ve included key excerpts below my signature line, but recommend you read the entire piece. It’s concise and well worth the time. Continue reading

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Has Torture Killed More Americans Than it Saved?

The release yesterday of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the use of what the CIA has called “enhanced interrogation techniques” drew predictable partisan responses, with many Democrats condemning the use of torture and Republicans saying that extraordinary times necessitated extraordinary means to protect American lives. But lost in the noise is an important question: Did these enhanced interrogation techniques play a role in killing thousands of Americans? Here’s why I believe that happened:

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A Balanced Perspective on Ukraine

An OpEd in today’s New York Times impressed me as well balanced, and I recommend you read the entire piece. In the meantime, I’ve excerpted a few key parts below my signature line. The difference between the author’s perspective and that usually espoused by the Times and other mainstream Western media is striking and dangerous. Continue reading

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A Very Dangerous Ukrainian Development

Three months ago I explained why, somewhat paradoxically, the possibility of Ukraine’s joining NATO would create significant additional risks for Ukraine’s security – as well as US and world security. So I was very concerned today when Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty had an article stating that NATO membership is the “major goal” of Ukraine’s newly formed government. Continue reading

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Foreign Policy Lessons Applied to Iran

Harvard Professor of International Relations Stephen M. Walt has an excellent article at Foreign Policy, entitled “The Top 5 Foreign Policy Lessons of the Past 20 Years.” I’ve included some short excerpts after my signature line, and encourage you to read the rest. Continue reading

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