Mean Hegemons

The common perception of the 2004 film Mean Girls is a memorable teen comedy. This is wholly incorrect. Mean Girls is a primer on the risks of an unrestrainedly realist approach to hegemonic transition, and a stirring endorsement of multilateral arbitration.  The story begins when Cady Heron, previously home-schooled, arrived at North Shore High School. …

Taylor Swift Songs as U.S. International Relations

The world of international relations is fraught with peril these days. Old alliances are frayed, new enemies seem to be hiding behind every tree, and we find ourselves unlikely bedfellows with many countries. In short, we've basically become a Taylor Swift song. Yes, she has become the troubadour of our times, with apt descriptions of …

World War I Stands as a Lesson Against a “Bloody Nose” Strike on North Korea

How do you solve a problem like North Korea? This is the song that Pentagon planners have been singing for decades now. We’re told that there are plans to use a limited strike on a North Korean target that would send a message to the dictator that the U.S. isn’t playing around. A strike that …

In Search of Monsters to Destroy: The Trump Administration and Iran

"Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy." - John Adams, Speech to the U.S. House of Representatives on Foreign Policy (July 4, 1821) Monsters. For the Clinton administration, it …

Dealing with a Teenage Global War on Terrorism

If the Global War on Terrorism ever became sentient, chugged a RipIt, donned a reflective PT belt, lit up a Marlboro Red, and rose up in human form, it would turn fifteen today. And it would be an ornery little punk. Fifteen years ago - on September 20, 2001 - President George W. Bush breathed …

Not Understanding the Fight Against ISIS: An Open Letter to Donald Trump

Today’s guest post comes from Barefoot Boomer, who is a glutton for punishment, this being his second post. Read his first post here. Boomer is a career Army officer and strategist. He is also a historian with an emphasis in American and German military history.  The content and opinions of this article are the author’s only …

Why ISIS Will Outlast the Coalition Arrayed Against It, and Why It’s Our Own Damn Fault

Today's guest post comes from Barefoot Boomer. Boomer is a career Army officer and strategist. He is also a historian with an emphasis in American and German military history.  The content and opinions of this article are the author’s only and do not reflect the opinions of the United States Army or the Department of …

And Then? What Happens After Victory Over Daesh

Since 2014 and their declaration of the Caliphate, this thing called ISIS has been dominating the news cycle. From destruction of antiquities to the massacre of civilians, ISIS has been losing friends and influencing people in negative ways for quite some time. But even as politicians call for carpet bombing of this non-state pretender-state actor, …