Elephants in the Room

About Elephants in the Room

Elephants in the Room is a blog about U.S. foreign policy in the age of Trump, written by experienced GOP policymakers, scholars, and others not currently working in the new administration. It is curated by co-editors Peter D. Feaver and William Inboden.

U.S. Army soldiers, part of the coalition against the Islamic State, at an air base northwest of Kirkuk, Iraq, before a planned pullout of U.S. forces, on March 29.

The Pentagon Tries to Pivot out of the Middle East—Again

Confusion over the removal of missiles and aircraft from Saudi Arabia could invite the aggression the United States is trying to avoid.

A Great Wall 236 submarine of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy in the sea near Qingdao, China, on April 23, 2019.

Under Cover of Pandemic, China Steps Up Brinkmanship in South China Sea

Beijing has increased pressure on its nervous neighbors in its quest to dominate the entire South China Sea.

A young Iraqi protesting against corruption, unemployment, and failing public services in Baghdad, on Oct. 2, 2019.

The U.S.-Iraqi Relationship Is Coming to a Head—and That’s a Good Thing

After 17 years, there is little love left between Washington and Baghdad. Upcoming talks may be the last opportunity to save their dysfunctional partnership.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani walks past a portrait of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran on Feb. 16.

The Coronavirus Is Absolutely No Excuse to Lift Sanctions on Iran

Exploiting Iran's coronavirus crisis to demand an end to sanctions is fundamentally dishonest—and panders to a brutal regime.

Posters of Chinese President Xi Jinping are plastered on the ground during protests at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, on Sept. 26, 2019.

Yes, Blame China for the Virus

A bungled response in Western countries is no reason to take the heat off China. If China had a different government, the world could have been spared this terrible pandemic.

U.S. President Donald Trump signs new sanctions on Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, at the White House in Washington, DC, on  June 24, 2019.

If Trump Hates Obama’s Nuclear Deal, Why Is He Letting Up on Iran?

Iran is stockpiling enriched uranium and may soon receive advanced weapons from Russia. Trump has an easy way to tighten the screws.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the NATO summit in Watford, England, on Dec. 4, 2019.

Trump and Johnson Can Quickly Strike a Trade Deal—If They Avoid the Pitfalls

The U.S. and Britain both want a trade agreement post-Brexit. China and chickens could get in the way.

Galleries

Protesters—many of them armed—try to enter the Michigan House of Representatives chamber and are stopped by state police during a protest April 30 demanding that businesses be reopened. An “American Patriot Rally” organized by Michigan United for Liberty was held earlier in the day on the steps of the state Capitol in Lansing. JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images

The Week in World Photos

Global protests against government-imposed lockdowns, gang violence in El Salvador, and hat tips to medical staff.

Muslims offer prayers on April 23, the first night of Ramadan, in Bireuen, Indonesia. AMANDA JUFRIAN/AFP via Getty Images

The Week in World Photos

A prayerful start to Ramadan, medical workers on the front lines of a pandemic, and the annual Lyrids meteor shower.

In the Magazine

In the Magazine

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How to Save Global Capitalism From Itself

Decentralizing decision-making can help left-behind regions get back on track.

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Britain’s Post-Brexit Identity Crisis

Boris Johnson has contradictory ideas for his country’s future—and no clear paths for getting there.

The Ugly End of Chimerica

The coronavirus pandemic has turned a conscious uncoupling into a messy breakup.

The 3 Most Polarizing Words in India

“Jai Shri Ram” was meant to be a celebration of a Hindu deity. But the phrase is turning into hate speech—and a dog whistle for attacks on Muslims.