Shadow Government

A front-row seat to the Republicans' debate over foreign policy, including their critique of the Biden administration.

Who Deserves to be Person of the Decade?

Peter Feaver If the standard for this award is, “what person has had the greatest impact on global affairs,” it would have to beat President George W. Bush. If there is any doubt, the fact that President Obama still campaigns against his predecessor should put it to rest. President Bush, like President Truman, served at ...

Peter Feaver

If the standard for this award is, “what person has had the greatest impact on global affairs,” it would have to beat President George W. Bush. If there is any doubt, the fact that President Obama still campaigns against his predecessor should put it to rest. President Bush, like President Truman, served at a time of extraordinary consequence and his legacy dominates the decade.

William Inboden

General David Petraeus. It is not just that he helped develop the new counter-insurgency strategy and troop surge that pulled Iraq back from the brink — and for that policy and decision, President Bush and a small band of others also deserve significant credit. It is that Gen. Petraeus demonstrated that in the midst of a losing strategy, the U.S. military is capable of profound adaptation, institutional learning, and change of strategic direction in order to secure victory.  This prevented the United States from possibly losing a war for only the second time in our history. And laid the foundation for the counter-insurgency strategy being implemented in Afghanistan today.

Phil Levy:

Former President George W. Bush. He was so polarizing that by the end of the decade, it was possible to win a Nobel Prize just for not being him. But he was at the center of the era’s tumultuous events and it is becoming clearer that a number of his most controversial foreign policy stances — wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Guantanamo, and negligible progress on global environmental accords, for example — were less tied to his idiosyncratic approach than his critics once believed. ?

Thomas Mahnken:

The American serviceman. The U.S. military has been in combat for nearly all of the decade. In Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines have repeatedly served in roles for which they were not trained, filling in for State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development personnel who have been all too scarce in combat theaters. In the process, today’s military has become the most skilled and experienced in recent memory. Contrary to predictions on the Left, the All-Volunteer Force remains healthy: this year, for the first time in 35 years, the U.S. military met all of its annual recruiting goals.

Michael Singh

My "person" of the decade is in fact a sort of person — the entrepreneur. At a time when the failings of certain big businesses make headlines, it is important to take note of the?individuals whose restless creativity and innovation drive economic progress. Entrepreneurs bear large personal risks in the face of uncertain rewards, but their successes underpin American economic leadership, transform the way we live, and contribute significantly to global development.  In places like Iraq, Afghanistan, and the West Bank, entrepreneurs will be vital to sparking private sector growth. As the United States crafts its response to the economic crisis, it is vital that entrepreneurship and innovation be encouraged, not stifled.?

Dov Zakheim

Hamid Karzai. He has remained at the top of his tumultuous and pivotal country despite assassination attempts, corruption, and criticism from his American sponsors. It should not be forgotten that he was hailed as a hero for unifying Afghanistan for the first time in nearly 30 years.

Peter D. Feaver is a professor of political science and public policy at Duke University, where he directs the Program in American Grand Strategy.

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