Foreign Policy Essay

Oliver Atkins / Janet Lindenmuth (background)

In this feature, Brookings senior fellow and terrorism expert Daniel Byman and deputy foreign policy editor Dana Stuster curate a weekly essay on foreign and military affairs of interest to national security legal practitioners and scholars. Although not specifically dealing with legal matters, the feature offers context and perspective to many of the debates that go on at the site regularly. Lawfare has always conceived of national security law broadly, because to practice it well, one needs to draw on a diversity of expertise in technical fields like communications technologies, robotics and economics. With The Foreign Policy Essay, Dan and Dana provide us with a window into the worlds of strategy, military operations, geopolitics, and whatever else grabs their interest on any given week.

Latest in Foreign Policy Essay

Foreign Policy Essay

China’s Advance Into the Antarctic

Editor’s Note: Major powers have never fought over Antarctica, and indeed its peaceful status is a diplomatic success that has lasted decades. David Fishman, a former Brookings intern, argues that this may be changing, a development driven in part by climate change. China, in particular, is becoming more assertive in the Antarctic, and Fishman contends that the United States needs to recognize this new reality and adapt accordingly.

Daniel Byman

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Foreign Policy Essay

The Logic of Staying in Afghanistan and the Logic of Getting Out

Editor’s Note: Afghanistan is America’s longest war, and recent attempts to negotiate an end with the Taliban appear to have failed, at least for now. Many Americans are asking whether it is worth staying in Afghanistan as the war drags on. Carter Malkasian, one of America’s premier Afghanistan experts, examines the most important argument for staying—that Afghanistan might again be a haven for anti-American terrorist groups—and from there raises questions that should guide policymakers considering a withdrawal.

Daniel Byman

Foreign Policy Essay

Losing Control Over Returnees?

Editor’s Note: Perhaps the biggest counterterrorism challenge facing European states is how to handle their citizens who went to fight in Iraq and Syria and now seek to return. Europe's response has been muddled, with many states reluctant to take responsibility for their nationals yet not advancing an alternative policy. Thomas Renard and Rik Coolsaet of the Egmont Institute assess the problems European states face and outline ways to make the return of foreign fighters less risky and more sustainable.

Daniel Byman

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Foreign Policy Essay

The ‘India Question’ in Afghanistan

Editor’s Note: Pakistan and the United States are not the only important outside actors in Afghanistan. India has long courted the government in Kabul, and Islamabad views this potential relationship with alarm. Avinash Paliwal of SOAS explains India’s policies regarding Afghanistan and discusses how this might shift in the years to come.

Daniel Byman

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Foreign Policy Essay

The Dangers of a Loyalist Director of National Intelligence

Editor’s Note: The acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, distanced himself from the Trump administration’s rhetoric during congressional testimony this past week as he defended the actions of the whistleblower who filed a complaint regarding President Donald Trump’s communications with the Ukrainian government. His predecessor, former Senator Dan Coats, also proved to be professional and unbiased director of national intelligence.

Foreign Policy Essay

Succession Politics and the Renewed Threat of Ethnic Violence in Kenya

Editor’s Note: Kenya’s politics often appear peaceful, but they are punctuated by dangerous periods of intense violence, particularly during election season. For now, Kenya’s main groups are at peace, but Narrelle Gilchrist of the University of Chicago argues that Kenya’s stability may be short lived. A refusal to compromise among key groups is escalating tension that, if not defused, could lead to a return to past violence in the lead-up to the 2022 election.

Daniel Byman

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