Michael H. Hunt and Steven I. Levine: Troubles with Empire

Empire has had a long and troubled career in U.S. politics and culture–and the old angst is still very much with us. Over the last decade or so we have heard the familiar refrain adamantly denying the existence of an American empire, even as some have insisted just as adamantly on the reality or at least the possibility of an American empire. We embarked on our study of the four U.S. wars in Asia with no intention of getting mixed up in what seemed a tired, unproductive debate. We had our hands full working out the contours of our wars and tracing the relationship of each to the others.

Michael H. Hunt: Obama’s Cairo, Then and Now

The Cold War, far from an aberration, built on a pattern that had become well established earlier in the century. Elected governments, Washington feared, might be swayed by popular passions or betrayed by their own immaturity. Coups whether in Iran in 1953 or in Egypt in 2013 paved the way for strongmen promising stability and accommodating U.S. interests.

Michael H. Hunt: Obama and Syria: Trapped in a Web of Words

Language is in its potency a trap—in this case an inducement to action even when careful consideration warns of potentially dire consequences. Put differently, the axioms handed down from earlier policy practice have demonstrated their capacity to overrule prudent calculation. That insight leaves us with a set of genuine questions.

Michael H. Hunt: Obama and the War on Terror: Toward Greater Realism

Reading the address delivered 23 May at the National Defense University surprised me not just because it went well beyond the drone issue to address the conduct of the war on terror. More than that, Obama took some significant steps toward dealing with the war in terms of classical realism.

Michael H. Hunt: The New Foreign Policy Concensus: A Word of Caution

The new consensus has been confirmed since Obama’s victory. His inaugural address announced the end of a decade of war and the start of a process of national reinvention meant to address challenges on the home front. However sensible this new consensus may be, it suffers from a major flaw: its profound vulnerability.

Michael H. Hunt: The American Project in the Middle East: The End Is Nigh!

If you think the past week or so has not gone well for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, then what to say about the U.S. position in the Middle East? Washington’s attempt to remake or at least manage the region has suffered a string of blows that suggests the end is nigh.

Sandra Gutierrez: Pecan Rum Cake with Figs

I grew up in Latin America, eating cakes soaked in rum that we used to call borrachos or drunken cakes. Rum, after all, is made out of sugarcane and in my opinion, that is enough of a reason to feature it in baked goods. Here, instead of adding it in the form of rum syrup, I add it straight into the batter, which infuses it with a subtle essence and therefore makes it suitable for romantics of all ages.

Michael H. Hunt: Ryan Crocker and the Imperial Reckoning

One reason for the U.S. failure in the Middle East seems obvious. The Bush administration embraced empire long after empire’s expiration date had passed. The American project faced potent opposition in Iraq and Afghanistan that could be contained only by making deals with shrewd collaborators with their own interests to serve. The international hostility to the Iraq invasion was intense, and even in the United States the Iraq adventure fell into disfavor.

Michael H. Hunt: Panetta on tour in an Asia without history

Panetta’s formal comments and casual remarks reveal little interest in this rich past, no insights that would be instructive, and some generalizations that are distinctly misleading if not wrongheaded.

Steven I. Levine & Michael H. Hunt: Civilian Casualties: Tactical Regrets and Strategic Hypocrisy

The reality is that the large-scale targeted killing of civilians has been an integral part of America’s military strategy for well over a century.

Karen L. Cox: Black Domestic in a Can: A South Carolina Ad Agency “Helps” Glory Foods

Who is the company trying to reach with these commercials except, perhaps, all those white women who read ‘The Help’ and are looking to recapture some of that for themselves? It’s certainly an interesting marketing ploy. Perhaps that is the point.

Michael H. Hunt & Steven I. Levine: Power Pivot or Duffer’s Divot?: Obama’s Asia Policy

American leaders still crave international leadership. But the time for sweet dreams of a U.S. era in Asia is over.

Sandra Gutierrez: Jalapeño Deviled Eggs

There are as many recipes for deviled eggs as there are cooks, and you’ve probably encountered them embellished with all sorts of ingredients, including relish, onion, herbs, ketchup, olives, and capers. I first started adding chiles to my recipe as a way to add a little kick of flavor and provide a contrasting crunch to the natural creaminess of the eggs.