civil military relations

U.S. President Donald Trump and then-Defense Secretary James Mattis attend a cabinet meeting in the White House on March 8, 2018. (Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)

Mattis Was the Best Secretary of Defense Trump Could Have Had

In grading him, we must adjust for the difficulty of the assignment.

U.S. Marines patrol on April 1, 2009 through Now Zad in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Why America Lost in Afghanistan

Successive U.S. administrations failed to heed the lessons of a forgotten counterinsurgency success story from Vietnam.

Potential U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Webb, pictured here in his first year as a U.S. senator, takes questions during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 18, 2007. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Why Jim Webb Might Be Trump’s Ideal Secretary of Defense

His many controversial comments often align with the president’s views.

U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis arrives for a closed intelligence briefing at the U.S. Capitol on December 13, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Mattis’s Resignation Isn’t a Crisis Yet—But It Probably Will Be

The U.S. secretary of defense was right to resign in protest, but Trump can’t handle the consequences.

U.S. President Donald Trump hosts a reception with Secretary of Defense James Mattis in the East Room of the White House on October 25, 2018.

Americans’ Blind Faith in the Military Is Dangerous

U.S. citizens show deference to the armed forces regardless of their political persuasion. Their willingness to let the generals decide is a threat to the democratic tradition of civilian oversight.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images/Foreign Policy illustration

America’s Elite Needs to Get Back in Uniform

Military service is a unifying force in a time of deep division.

(Foreign Policy illustration)

Military Worship Hurts U.S. Democracy

Battlefield experience shouldn’t trump the outsider benefits of civilian leadership.

Anti-government demonstrators hold a protest demanding Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, to stand down, in Managua on May 26, 2018.

Can Nicaragua’s Military Prevent a Civil War?

President Daniel Ortega’s crackdown on protests has driven the country to the brink. If the violence escalates, it could spark a refugee crisis and destabilize all of Central America.

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