Ian Eppler  //  8/24/17  //  Topic Update

  • President Trump’s power over the nuclear codes makes a strong case for nuclear disarmament, argues Jeffrey Lewis (WaPo).
  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis suggested that the Trump Administration is considering providing defensive weapons to the Ukrainian military, to support Ukraine in its ongoing conflict with Russia (NYT).

  • The newly announced strategy for the war in Afghanistan repeats historical mistakes and continues America’s “forever war,” writes Emma Ashford at Cato at Liberty.


  • President Trump remains a risk to national securityargues Benjamin Wittes at Lawfare.
  • The U.S. Navy removed from duty the commander of the Navy’s 7th Fleet, which has had several recent collisions in the Pacific (WSJWaPo).
  • National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster has coordinated greater involvement of the National Security Council in Jared Kushner’s Middle Eastern diplomacy projectsreports Annie Karni at Politico.
  • The United States has requested that the autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq delay an upcoming referendum on independence (NY Times).
  • The White House will host Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak despite the leader’s recent billion-dollar corruption scandal (NY Times).


President Trump’s commitment of additional troops to Afghanistan will focus on regional cooperation and results rather than a strict timeline (AP). 

  • President Trump initially showed strong opposition to increasing  troop levels in Afghanistan, but continued pressure from the generals in his Cabinet changed his mind (NY Times).
  • Senator Rand Paul urges the United States to end the conflict in Afghanistan altogether at The Hill. 
  • Travis Evans at Cato takes a look at conservative scholars’ opinions of the new Afghanistan policy. 
  • The Treasury Department has placed sanctions on Chinese and Russian individuals and firms that have allegedly supported North Korea’s nuclear program through their business with the country (WaPo).  
  • The Secretary of Defense has a legal duty to follow presidential orders even if those orders are unwise or dangerousexplain Sarah Grant and Jack Goldsmith at Lawfare.  
  • The United States embassy is severely curtailing its visa services in Russia in response to the new limits on U.S. diplomats allowed in the country (WSJ).  
  • The U.S. Navy is conducting a fleet-wide safety review after another collision occurred in the Pacific this week (LA Times). 
  • President Trump has agreed to a new strategy for Afghanistan that will likely result in thousands more U.S. troops in the region (NYTPolitico).
  •  The Trump administration used the maelstrom around Charlottesville to sneak out its proposed and controversial policy on expanding the U.S. prison at Guantanamo, explains Joseph Margulies at Justia.
  • The United States and South Korea have begun their annual joint military exercises despite the growing tensions with North Korea (NYT).
  • Stories about attacks against U.S. diplomats in Cuba is neither as extreme nor as indicative of U.S.-Cuban relations as it may seem, writes John Sipher at Just Security.

President Trump has decided on a new strategy regarding Afghanistan, according to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (NYT).

  • More details are anticipated on Monday night, when President Trump addresses the military from Fort Myer (WaPo).
  • The United States can only advance its interests by reducing troops or withdrawing completely, argues Barry Posen at The Atlantic.


  • President Trump’s cozy relationships with Saudi Arabia and the UAE are inappropriate because those two nations are responsible for the food and cholera crises in Yemen, writes Jackson Diehl in the Washington Post.



Updates | The Week of January 22, 2018

1/28/18  //  Daily Update

President Trump's Guantánamo "policy" is best understood as an extension of his anti-Muslim bigotry, wrote Nimra Azmi and Sirine Shebaya at Take Care. The terrorist watchlist statistics from last week's DOJ and DHS exaggerate the threat of terrorism, argued Harsha Panduranga at Just Security. The Pentagon's new National Defense Strategy contains notable omissions related to climate change and the use of special operations forces.

Updates | The Week of January 15, 2018

1/14/18  //  Daily Update

In a series of tweets, President Trump wavers between opposition and support of FISA reauthorization. On the 16th anniversary of the prison’s founding, Guantanamo Bay prisoners file mass habeas petition.

Updates | The Week of December 18, 2017

12/24/17  //  Daily Update

The Trump Administration unveiled its new National Security Strategy. A majority of the United Nations General Assembly voted to rebuke America's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to relocate the U.S. Embassy.