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This section features Critical Threats work on Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Russia. For further analysis on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, please visit the Institute for the Study of War.

IN THIS SECTION

Obama Flirts with Losing the "Must Win" War

Washington is full of leaks that the Obama administration is planning to end America's military presence in Afghanistan in 2016. And Congress has already slashed U.S. financial assistance to the fifth-poorest country in the world.

Putin's Olympic Gamble

By Katherine Earle, January 22, 2014

In Russian President Vladimir Putin’s New Year’s address, he promised to keep up the fight against terrorists in Russia’s North Caucasus until “their complete destruction.” With the Sochi Winter Olympics less than a month away, however, it is becoming increasingly evident that Putin has bitten off more than he can chew.

Testimony: An Unarguable Fact - American Security is Tied to Afghanistan and Pakistan

By Frederick W. Kagan, October 29, 2013

A strategic partnership with Afghanistan, underwritten with aid and with troops, along with continued engagement with Pakistan, is the only hope for securing American interests and the safety of Americans in this region.

On Syria, a Weak Strike is Better than None

A weak strike is more in line with U.S. interests than a refusal to strike or, worse, congressional action blocking any attack. Not just U.S. credibility but also the will of the Syrian opposition is at stake.

What to Do About Syria: Vital U.S. Interests are at Stake

Reasonable people can disagree about the extent to which President Obama’s proposed “limited strike” will secure American interests, but not about whether the interests are real or vital.

The Peril of Sequestration

Sequestration has done material harm to America’s national security at a dangerous moment. The United States is putting itself, its allies, and the world order that serves America so well at great risk in a fit of absentmindedness. It is past time to start paying attention again to the consequences of this policy on our security.

Leaving in 2014

Announcing a minimal post-2014 military presence will make any sensible counterterrorism strategy impossible. It would repeat the mistake made after the Soviet withdrawal of imagining that Afghanistan no longer mattered to American security. 

The Afghan Endgame

President Obama’s decision to withdraw another 34,000 troops from Afghanistan over the course of the next year is unwise.

Iraq’s Return to Bloodshed

Eighteen days of protests in Egypt in 2011 electrified the world. But more than twice that many days of protest in Iraq have gone almost unnoticed in the United States.

Rand Paul's Side Effects

Senator Paul’s most important intellectual error lies precisely in his notion of side effects. Inactivity, too, has side effects, and those must be weighed as seriously as the side effects of proposed actions.