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A Tribute to My Friend, Ravi Ramrattan

A Tribute to My Friend, Ravi Ramrattan

This weekend has been difficult. I found out yesterday that a friend was killed in the senseless, horrible attack in Nairobi. He was a great person and meant a lot to many people. He had a profound impact on so many people’s lives that I would not even begin to understand how to chronicle it all. So I will settle for talking about the time I knew him. I met Ravi early on in my time in Nairobi. I was…

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The Obama Doctrine and Smart Power, Pt. 2

The Obama Doctrine and Smart Power, Pt. 2

This is part two of a two-part post about the Obama administration’s approach to foreign policy and military intervention in Africa and the Middle East. The other day I discussed the first four points of Obama’s approach to military intervention – be effective, follow international law, put no American troops on the ground, and multilateralism.  Today I will talk about the last one: having a clearly-defined goal. This is the most important tenet of all.  In Iraq, the U.S. overthrew…

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How to Deal with Al-Shabab and a Failed State in Somalia

How to Deal with Al-Shabab and a Failed State in Somalia

I’ve been reading a lot of opinions lately about the decline of the empire of the United States, where experts try to pinpoint the exact moment where we planted our flag atop the hill of global dominance and then began our descent down the other side (somewhere around the early 1990’s, according to the consensus).  In every calculation, the war in Afghanistan is either emblematic of a state in decline (they don’t call it the “graveyard of empires” for nothing)…

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