Category: Michael H. Hunt

Michael H. Hunt: Obama on the Middle East: Let’s Pretend

Obama’s presentation lacks the first element of good policy. It fails to honestly confront the main trends and defining features of the problem confronting us. Continue Reading Michael H. Hunt: Obama on the Middle East: Let’s Pretend

Steven I. Levine: Dealing with Osama Bin Laden: A Better Way

Trying Bin Laden in a court of law would have confirmed that we are a nation that seeks to strengthen international law in order to advance peace & security. Continue Reading Steven I. Levine: Dealing with Osama Bin Laden: A Better Way

Michael Hunt: Questions that the Libya Intervention Begs

It’s ok to feel conflicted over the Libyan intervention. You’re not alone — and you have good reason. The U.S. response to the uprising against the Gaddafi regime raises a welter of issues. Is oil driving decisions? Why the inconsistency if not hypocrisy of acting in Libya but not Gaza? Is Libya just another case of U.S. muscle flexing or… Continue Reading Michael Hunt: Questions that the Libya Intervention Begs

Michael H. Hunt: Caught in Contradictions: The United States and the Middle East

The popular uprisings of the sort now spreading across North Africa to the Persian Gulf were hard to anticipate—but the American response wasn’t. U.S. history is filled with moments like the present one when upheavals abroad generated great hopes for the advance of freedom. Those moments have also evoked deep anxieties rooted in a suspicion that most peoples reaching for… Continue Reading Michael H. Hunt: Caught in Contradictions: The United States and the Middle East

Michael Hunt: Restrepo: An Oscar for Afghanistan?

Update 4/21/2011:The lamentable news of Tim Hetherington’s death covering the civil conflict in Libya reached us yesterday (20 April 2011). Restrepo is one of this fine and courageous documentarian’s major achievements. His record of what it meant for U.S. soldiers to fight in the Afghan War will stand the test of time.—MHH Ignore all the vacuous policy statements, the bland… Continue Reading Michael Hunt: Restrepo: An Oscar for Afghanistan?

Wikileaks is a gift – but what is it worth?

Think of the Wikileaks’ release of State Department cables as one of your holiday gifts that will keep on giving . . . and giving and giving. Julian Assange and Company got generous just before Thanksgiving. A steady dribble from the quarter-million purloined documents should keep us happily diverted well into the new year and perhaps beyond. But what kind… Continue Reading Wikileaks is a gift – but what is it worth?

Election 2010: Making the Wars Go Away

Proponents of military force learned from Vietnam that their freedom of action depended on insulating the public from the effects of war. Contractors were an ingenuous solution to the problem of a public squeamish about fighting and killing. Continue Reading Election 2010: Making the Wars Go Away

American Democracy and the Challenge of Globalization

The midterm election campaign now approaching the home stretch has brought with it striking but fairly empty calls to action–from the Tea Party frenzy over fiscal virtue to a president exhorting his base with the banal promise of “moving America forward.” But this and all the other lamentable features of our democracy, it is worth stressing, are nothing new. Many… Continue Reading American Democracy and the Challenge of Globalization

A Middle East Policy in Deep Denial

Denial is a well known defense mechanism that keeps unpleasant realities at bay. U.S. policymakers seem well practiced in this common coping device. Heaven knows they have good reason, no matter which direction of the Middle East they turn. Afghanistan seems right now to occasion the deepest denials because the realities are the grimmest. Two reports by the London-based International… Continue Reading A Middle East Policy in Deep Denial

General McChrystal, General Petraeus, and General Confusion

Barack Obama’s Afghanistan commanders are something else. First, they promoted a highly debatable counter-insurgency strategy. Then, despite the numerous and cogent contemporary critiques, they got the president to buy into their particular brand of wishful thinking, and they got from him the additional troops supposedly needed for success. They have since failed to deliver. There are no convincing signs of… Continue Reading General McChrystal, General Petraeus, and General Confusion

Vietnam War Lessons: Never Too Late to Learn

Developments over the last month or so have put the U.S. commitment in Afghanistan under a dark cloud. The McChrystal affair and the WikiLeaks revelations are symptomatic of deeper troubles: the rapid bankruptcy of counterinsurgency, a surge in U.S. casualties, the persistently problematic role of Pakistan, the continued immobility of the Karzai regime, the sluggish progress in training Afghan forces,… Continue Reading Vietnam War Lessons: Never Too Late to Learn

The McChrystal Affair: Pity the Poor Historian

There is good reason to pity the poor historian, who has been tested especially severely during the recent McChrystal-Obama imbroglio as the eruption of historical parallels and lessons have ranged from the wrong-headed to the off-kilter. Continue Reading The McChrystal Affair: Pity the Poor Historian

The Obama National Security Strategy: “Mush” Ado about Nothing?

In the world of U.S. foreign policy, the release of a new National Security Strategy is a big deal. This congressionally mandated exercise offers an opportunity for the executive to grapple with basic issues, and it may even herald the birth of a “doctrine” (as it did for George W. Bush in 2002). The Obama administration rolled out its NSS… Continue Reading The Obama National Security Strategy: “Mush” Ado about Nothing?

Victory in Vietnam: The Myth That Won’t Die But Can’t Stand Up

The U.K. edition of A Vietnam War Reader: A Documentary History from American and Vietnamese Perspectives hits bookstores across the pond today — just as Britons head to the polls to elect a new Prime Minister. In a previous guest post, editor Michael H. Hunt addressed one of the more striking similarities between the Vietnam War and the current conflict… Continue Reading Victory in Vietnam: The Myth That Won’t Die But Can’t Stand Up

Karzai and the Shadow of Diem

“We’re frustrated,” conceded President Obama’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, on Monday. The U.S. relationship with Afghan president Hamid Karzai is currently strained, to say the least. Offering some historical perspective on the situation, we welcome a guest post today from Michael H. Hunt, whose most recent book, A Vietnam War Reader: A Documentary History from American and Vietnamese Perspectives, was… Continue Reading Karzai and the Shadow of Diem

Obama Pronounces on Afghanistan: Deja Vu All Over Again!

In a follow-up to his article on Obama and Afghanistan, Michael Hunt responds to President Obama’s speech at West Point last night, in which the President laid out his plan for additional troops and a timeline for withdrawal.–ellen¬† [author photo by Dan Sears] Barack Obama has an impressive intellect, and he has given the decision on Afghanistan policy the careful,… Continue Reading Obama Pronounces on Afghanistan: Deja Vu All Over Again!

Obama’s foreign policy in light of ‘The American Ascendancy’

Today we welcome a guest post from Michael H. Hunt, author of The American Ascendancy: How the United States Gained and Wielded Global Dominance, a new paperback edition of which has just been published. In the book, Hunt gives a long historical view of what factors enabled the United States to evolve from colonial outpost to global preeminence and explores… Continue Reading Obama’s foreign policy in light of ‘The American Ascendancy’