Max Boot Articles


Consistently Wrong

The president’s happy talk and sad results
Aug 10, 2015

President Obama is putting on the hard sell to market the nuclear deal he reached with Iran. On July 14, in announcing the agreement, he said: “This deal shows the real and meaningful change that American leadership and diplomacy can bring—change that makes our country and the world safer and more secure. We negotiated from a position of strength and principle—and the result is a nuclear deal that cuts off every pathway to a nuclear weapon.”

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Remember the Carter Doctrine

A better way forward in the Middle East.
Apr 20, 2015

The ouster of ISIS fighters from Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s hometown, has been widely celebrated. Although this victory was brought about in no small part by American airpower, it was a triumph for Iran more than for the United States. The vast majority of fighters on the front lines belonged to Shiite militias, many of them trained, equipped, and advised by the Iranians. Their de facto commander is Gen. Qassem Suleimani, head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’s Quds Force, which is charged with exporting the Iranian revolution.

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The North Korean Menace

8:15 AM, Dec 20, 2014

December 17 was already an important milestone for the North Korean regime: It’s the day the “Dear Leader,” Kim Jong-il, died in 2011, opening the way for his son Kim Jong-un to succeed him as absolute dictator. That anniversary was marked Wednesday with commemorations to signal the end of a traditional three-year period of mourning and the emergence of Kim Jong-un as a leader in his own right.

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Tunisia Stands Alone

A peaceful election in the birthplace of the ‘Arab Spring.’
Nov 10, 2014

Tunis 

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Obama’s Own JV Team

After the bin Laden raid, the deluge.
Oct 06, 2014

Last week brought a reminder of what the United States has lost since Bob Gates and Leon Panetta left the Obama cabinet. Both are straight shooters with a centrist, hardheaded sensibility. 

Panetta has been making headlines with his criticism of Obama on 60 Minutes for pulling out of Iraq too soon (“I really thought that it was important for us to maintain a presence in Iraq”) and not doing more early on to aid the Syrian opposition (“we pay the price for not doing that in what we see happening with ISIS”).

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In Tibet to Stay

China builds a spiffy police state.
Jul 28, 2014

Lhasa

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Obama’s Iraq

Mosul has fallen, and al Qaeda is on the march towards Baghdad
Jun 23, 2014

Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, has long been hard for the central government to control because of its combustible mix of Arabs and Kurds. The first time I visited Mosul was in August 2003 when a tenuous calm was maintained by the 101st Airborne Division. Its commander, a then-obscure two-star general named David Petraeus, had on his own initiative opened the Syrian border to trade, struck deals with Syria and Turkey to provide badly needed electricity, restored telephone service, and held elections to elect local leaders.

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When War Weariness Wears Off

Jan 20, 2014

Arthur Schlesinger posited the existence of cycles in American political history alternating between “public purpose” and “private interest”—his jaundiced labels for liberalism and conservatism. There are also cycles in American foreign policy alternating between interventionism and noninterventionism, the latter sometimes verging on downright isolationism. Normally when one trend backfires in some spectacular fashion, the other trend becomes dominant, until it too burns out and the cycle starts again.

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The Decline of the Military He Loved

Tom Clancy, 1947-2013.
Oct 14, 2013

The Two Faces of Latin America

Colombia vs. Honduras.
Jun 10, 2013

If you want to see both the potential and the peril in Latin America, you could not do better than to visit Honduras and Colombia, as I did in mid-May: The former is Exhibit A for all that is wrong with the region, from drug trafficking and violence to governmental corruption; the latter a showcase of what can be done to bring even the most embattled country back from the brink.

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A Better Afghanistan

Will require a better president.
Apr 01, 2013

The Iraq Syndrome

Jan 28, 2013

It is not possible—at least not yet—to program a computer to predict all the consequences of adopting one foreign policy over another. Policymakers therefore tend to act with one eye cocked on the rearview mirror, making decisions based on what has worked and, especially, what has not worked in the past. A major foreign policy blunder can thus produce a lurch in the opposite direction—which often has equally dangerous, if different, consequences.

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What Wingate Wrought

The astonishing raids of a Special Operations pioneer in Palestine, Abyssinia, and Burma
Dec 31, 2012

Everyone still remembers T. E. Lawrence, if only because of David Lean’s magnificent movieLawrence of Arabia and Lawrence’s own literary masterpiece,Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Yet far fewer remember Lawrence’s distant cousin, the British Army officer Orde Wingate, who was in many ways his World War II counterpart​—​not least in his eccentricity, his pungent writing style, his flair for publicity, and his tragic, premature death.

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Still Commander in Chief

A few suggestions, in a spirit of bipartisanship.
Nov 19, 2012

 

 

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Where the 1970s Are Ancient History

Young Vietnamese line up for American coffee, not exhibits on American ‘atrocities.’
Oct 08, 2012

 

 

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Retreater in Chief

Oct 01, 2012

Things are getting ugly in Afghanistan. Taliban insurgents somehow managed to penetrate the coalition’s main base in Helmand Province, Camp Bastion, and blow up six Marine Corps Harrier jump jets and damage two others, making this the greatest single-day loss of American warplanes since the Vietnam war. (The Harrier squadron commander, Lt. Col. Christopher Raible, was killed in the attack.) Another Taliban suicide bomber struck in Kabul, killing a dozen people, including contract workers for the U.S. embassy.

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Don’t Go Wobbly

Mar 26, 2012

It’s been a bad few weeks in Afghanistan. The burning of several Korans by U.S. military personnel at the Bagram airbase on February 20 sparked protests and riots. More troubling were several incidents of “green on blue” attacks in which Afghan security personnel turned on their American advisers; six American soldiers died in such attacks, including two officers slain in the Interior Ministry in Kabul. As a result, NATO advisers were temporarily pulled out of all the ministries in the capital. Then on March 11 an American staff sergeant walked out of his small base in a village north of Kandahar and, for reasons that remain

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Assad Must Go

Dec 05, 2011

The “realist” case for Bashar al-Assad—and before him, for his father, Hafez—was that he was supposedly a pillar of stability. The Assads, we were told, were all that stood between Syria and chaos. If that was ever true, it definitely is not true now. Assad’s heavy-handed attempt to repress a revolution is not cowing the protesters. Instead it is leading growing numbers of them to take up arms. Soldiers are defecting to the Free Syrian Army, which in recent days has reportedly attacked an intelligence headquarters outside of Damascus and a Baath party headquarters inside the capital.

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Assad Must Go

ADVANCE COPY from the December 5, 2011 issue.
1:30 PM, Nov 24, 2011

 

The “realist” case for Bashar al-Assad—and before him, for his father, Hafez—was that he was supposedly a pillar of stability. The Assads, we were told, were all that stood between Syria and chaos. If that was ever true, it definitely is not true now. Assad’s heavy-handed attempt to repress a revolution is not cowing the protesters. Instead it is leading growing numbers of them to take up arms. Soldiers are defecting to the Free Syrian Army, which in recent days has reportedly attacked an intelligence headquarters outside of Damascus and a Baath party headquarters inside the capital.

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They Can Do It

Our troops can win in Afghanistan. But the key battleground is in Washington.
Nov 14, 2011

Kabul

In any war there is often a disconnect between on-the-ground reality and perceptions back home. But rarely has there been such a yawning chasm as with Afghanistan today. 

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Losing Iraq?

Sep 19, 2011

President Obama did a good job of feinting to the right on national security issues during his first two years in office. Lacking much standing on military policy, he often acceded to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Michael Mullen—a trio of hard-headed centrists. He kept 50,000 troops in Iraq, down from more than 100,000 but still a substantial figure. He sent 64,000 troops to Afghanistan, tripling the size of the American force there. He gave up his initial hopes of high-level talks with Iran. He stepped up drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.

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Suicide by Bomb

Misunderstanding a weapon in the terrorists’ arsenal.
Aug 01, 2011


Ah, social science. All those numbers. All those technical terms. How comforting. How reassuring.

How definitive.

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Grand Old Doves?

Jul 18, 2011

Opinion polls consistently show that the U.S. military is the most trusted institution in America. Republicans have benefited indirectly from that hard-won reputation because since the 1970s they have been seen as the strong, hawkish party, while Democrats have had to fight the stigma that they are weak and dovish. Republicans wouldn’t throw away that aura—one of their strongest electoral assets—just to reach a budget deal with President Obama. Or would they?

There are persistent and worrisome

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Qaddafi Must Go

Mar 28, 2011

 

Better late than never, the United States and her allies finally have acted to stop the slaughter in Libya. With strong American, British, and French support, the United Nations Security Council on March 17 approved a Lebanon-sponsored resolution authorizing member states to use “all necessary measures .   .   . to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack” in Libya.

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