National Security

Iraq Roundtable Participants

Gen. John Allen, U.S. Marine Corps, was the commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan from July 2011 to February 2013. From 2006 to 2008, he served as the deputy commanding general in al-Anbar Province, where he played a key role in the so-called "Sunni Awakening."

Rajiv Chandrasekaran, senior correspondent and associate editor at the Washington Post, was Baghdad bureau chief in 2003 and 2004. He is the author of Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone and Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan.

Chris Chivvis is a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation. He has served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy, where he worked on Eurasian security issues and NATO-Russia cooperation.

Eliot Cohen is the Robert E. Osgood professor of strategic studies and director of the Strategic Studies Program at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Service. He was a member of the Defense Policy Board and served as counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Amb. James Dobbins is director of the RAND International Security and Defense Policy Center. A veteran diplomat, in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, he was named the Bush administration's representative to the Afghan opposition with the task of assembling a successor to the Taliban regime.

Peter Feaver is professor of political science and public policy at Duke University -- and a Foreign Policy blogger. He was special advisor for strategic planning and institutional reform on the National Security Council staff from 2005 to 2007.

Doug Feith is director of the Center for National Security Strategies at the Hudson Institute. He served as undersecretary of defense for policy from 2001 to 2005.

Susan Glasser is editor in chief of Foreign Policy. She spent four years as co-chief of the Washington Post's Moscow bureau and covered the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq for the Post in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 before returning to Washington, where she edited the Post's weekly Outlook section and led its national news coverage.

Michael Gordon is a national security correspondent for the New York Times. He is the co-author, with Bernard Trainor, of two books about the Iraq war: Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq and The Endgame: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Iraq, from George W. Bush to Barack Obama.

Steve Hadley is senior adviser for international affairs at the United States Institute for Peace. He served as President George W. Bush's deputy national security adviser from 2001 to 2005 and as his national security adviser from 2005 to 2009.

Greg Jaffe is a Pentagon correspondent for the Washington Post. He is the co-author, with David Cloud, of The Fourth Star: Four Generals and the Epic Struggle for the Future of the United States Army.

Col. Peter Mansoor (ret.) is the Raymond E. Mason Jr. chair in military history at Ohio State University. The author of Baghdad at Sunrise: A Brigade Commander's War in Iraq, Mansoor served as executive officer to Gen. David Petraeus when he commanded multinational forces in Iraq. 

Philip Mudd is a senior research fellow at the New America Foundation. Mudd managed Iraq analysis at the CIA from 1999 to 2001, he served as the CIA member of the small diplomatic team that helped piece together a new government for Afghanistan, and he was the first-ever deputy director of the FBI's national security branch.

Lt. Col. John Nagl (ret.) is the Minerva Research Fellow at the U.S. Naval Academy. An operations officer in a tank battalion during Operation Iraqi Freedom, he helped author the revision of the Counterinsurgency Field Manual, with Gen. David Petraeus, in 2006.

Paul Pillar is a professor at Georgetown University's Center for Peace and Security Studies. A 28-year veteran analyst at the CIA, during which time he focused on counterterrorism and the Middle East, he retired in 2005 as the national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia.

Kenneth Pollack is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy. He previously worked for the CIA and National Security Council, focusing on the Middle East.

Amb. Charlie Ries is vice president, international at the RAND Corporation. A career diplomat, he served as coordinator for economic transition in Iraq at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad  from 2007-2008.

David Rothkopf is CEO and editor-at-large of Foreign Policy. He is the author of Power, Inc.: The Epic Rivalry Between Big Business and Government and the Reckoning that Lies Ahead and Running the World: The Inside Story of the National Security Council and the Architects of American Power. He also serves as president and CEO of Garten Rothkopf, an international advisory firm.

David Sanger is chief Washington correspondent for the New York Times and the author of two books: Confront and Conceal: Obama's Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power and The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power.

Kalev Sepp is senior lecturer at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. A former deputy assistant secretary of defense for special operations capabilities, he participated in congressionally appointed 2006 Iraq Study Group.

Walt Slocombe is senior counsel for the law firm Caplin & Drysdale. He was the undersecretary of defense for policy from 1994 to 2001, and in 2003 he became a senior advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority.

Foreign Policy


Longform’s Picks of the Week

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Danse Macabre
David Remnick • Danse Macabre

On Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet, its uncanny knack for reflecting changes in Russian politics and culture, and the recent acid attack on its artistic director.

When the Soviet Union collapsed, in 1991, and the economy went into free fall, the Bolshoi lost millions in subsidies. The annual budget for the theatre dropped to twelve million dollars, hardly enough to pay the dancers, the coaches, and the staff, let alone develop new ballets. Then, a decade ago, Russia came into its own as an oil-and-gas economy. The federal budget stabilized and the Russian government hired Iksanov, who was soon able to bring the budget up to a hundred and twenty million dollars. Iksanov also hired McKinsey, the management consultancy, to help reconfigure salaries and ticket prices, and set up an outside board of directors; it attracted a small stream of oligarchs who were pleased to pay the still modest annual sum of three hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars to sit on the board.

The greatest achievement at the Bolshoi is the one nobody talks about anymore-the end of ideological control. The last time anyone in power, or on the streets, tried to restrict the repertory in a serious way was in 2005, when the Bolshoi Theatre staged the opera "Rosenthal's Children," a political fantasia written by the novelist Vladimir Sorokin and the composer Leonid Desyatnikov. Sorokin's libretto featured the homosexual coupling of the clones of Stalin and Khrushchev, an encounter between Mozart and a prostitute, a murderous futuristic pimp, and other details sure to get the attention of cultural conservatives. There were street demonstrations led by a pro-Kremlin youth group, during which Sorokin's novels were shredded and put in a makeshift toilet bowl, and hearings in the State Duma. In the end, the protests fizzled and Anatoly Iksanov thanked the legislators for the extra publicity.

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

How a U.S. Citizen Came to Be in America's Cross Hairs
Scott Shane, Mark Mazzetti, Charlie Savage • New York Times

The legal and practical details behind the drone strikes that killed two U.S. citizens.

The missile strike on Sept. 30, 2011, that killed Mr. Awlaki - a terrorist leader whose death lawyers in the Obama administration believed to be justifiable - also killed Mr. Khan, though officials had judged he was not a significant enough threat to warrant being specifically targeted. The next month, another drone strike mistakenly killed Mr. Awlaki's 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman, who had set off into the Yemeni desert in search of his father. Within just two weeks, the American government had killed three of its own citizens in Yemen. Only one had been killed on purpose.

AFP/Getty Images

A Tale of Two Londons
Nicholas Shaxson • Vanity Fair

Who lives in the world's most expensive residential building? A portrait of the new global super-wealthy.

The really curious aspect of One Hyde Park can be appreciated only at night. Walk past the complex then and you notice nearly every window is dark. As John Arlidge wrote in The Sunday Times, "It's dark. Not just a bit dark-darker, say, than the surrounding buildings-but black dark. Only the odd light is on. . . . Seems like nobody's home."

That's not because the apartments haven't sold. London land-registry records say that 76 had been by January 2013 for a total of $2.7 billion-but, of these, only 12 were registered in the names of warm-blooded humans, including Christian Candy, in a sixth-floor penthouse. The remaining 64 are held in the names of unfamiliar corporations: three based in London; one, called One Unique L.L.C., in California; and one, Smooth E Co., in Thailand. The other 59-with such names as Giant Bloom International Limited, Rose of Sharon 7 Limited, and Stag Holdings Limited-belong to corporations registered in well-known offshore tax havens, such as the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Liechtenstein, and the Isle of Man.

From this we can conclude at least two things with certainty about the tenants of One Hyde Park: they are extremely wealthy, and most of them don't want you to know who they are and how they got their money.

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Notes from the Underground
Ned Parker and Raheem Salman • World Policy Journal

The rise of Nouri al-Maliki.

To understand Maliki-this century's first Arab leader elected through a genuinely democratic process, which prefigured the Arab Spring and came out of the extraordinary circumstances of the 2003 American invasion of Iraq-one needs to explore where Iraq's prime minister comes from, his early days as an ambitious young revolutionary, and his defining decades of hardship and punishing exile. This is a man swept up by the spirit of Islamic revolution, who lost his home and family in the name of an idea, and then plotted for 23 years devoting himself to incremental guerrilla violence. All the while, his backers and allies betrayed him as he bought time, studied them, and drew strength from every blow until one day he was stronger and tougher than them all. He understood what it was to lose everything, be betrayed, and then surprise your enemy by outlasting him.

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

What Vali Nasr Gets Wrong
Sarah Chayes • Foreign Policy

A former State Department insider has written a blistering account of the Obama administration's missteps in Afghanistan. But is he right?

"The Inside Story of how the White House Let Diplomacy Fail in Afghanistan" is more conventional than it may at first appear. Nasr's is merely the latest salvo in ongoing interagency skirmishing to define the narrative on Afghanistan, to tell a story that lays the blame for the policy's failure at someone else's door.

In this case, the originality is that the tale's main villain is not the military, but the White House (albeit described as bewitched by the military). The hounded victims are former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, the late Richard Holbrooke -- who happen to have been Nasr's friends and bosses.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images News