Micah Zenko

Politics, Power, and Preventive Action

Zenko covers the U.S. national security debate and offers insight on developments in international security and conflict prevention.

You Might Have Missed: Counterterrorism, Washington Credibility, and Insurgencies

by Micah Zenko Friday, September 27, 2013
A U.S. Marine walks out of Camp Lemonier in Djibouti in 2002. Camp Lemonier is a U.S. military base used for counterterrorism operations in Somalia and Yemen (Njuguna/Courtesy Reuters).

A Conversation with Hassan Rouhani, Council on Foreign Relations, September 26, 2013.

ROUHANI: …While interdependence and competitive cooperative approach, and not enmity, is the order of the day, zero-sum game and win-lose approaches in international relations has already lost ground when it comes to international ties, as no country could pursue its interests at expense of others… Read more »

You Might Have Missed: Benghazi, Syria, and China’s Aid

by Micah Zenko Friday, September 20, 2013
Attack on U.S. Consulate in Benghazi The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames on September 11, 2012 following an attack on the compount that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other staff members (Al-Fetori/Courtesy Reuters).

Art Swift, “For First Time, American’s Views of Russia Turn Negative,” Gallup, September 18, 2013. Read more »

You Might Have Missed: Syria, Drones, Gender Citation Gap

by Micah Zenko Friday, September 13, 2013
14-year-old Syrian fighter A 14-year-old fighter, whom activists say is the youngest fighter in the Khadraa brigade operating under the Free Syrian Army, on July 9, 2013 (Khalil/Courtesy Reuters).

Contracts: Air Force, U.S. Department of Defense, September 12, 2013.

General Atomics – Aeronautical Systems Inc., Poway, Calif., has been awarded a $12,844,738 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the MQ-9 stationary targeting improvements. This contract action is for the development and delivery of an improved targeting capability with the Lynx synthetic aperture radar (SAR) on the MQ-9 platform to allow for a more streamlined approach to targeting and quicker decision making by the crew. Read more »

Would the Syria Deal Be a Coercive Diplomacy Success?

by Micah Zenko Thursday, September 12, 2013
Syrian president Bashar al-Assad Syrian president Bashar al-Assad during an interview with French daily Le Figaro in Damascus on September 2, 2013 (SANA news agency/Courtesy Reuters).

In the past three days, the Syrian government made an unprecedented acknowledgment that it possesses a chemical weapons program, and that it will place them under the supervision of United Nations (UN) inspectors. As Syrian foreign minister Walid Moallem stated on Monday: “We are ready to reveal the locations of the chemical weapon sites and to stop producing chemical weapons and make these sites available for inspection by representatives of Russia, other countries and the United Nations.” This remarkable shift occurred after President Obama declared on August 31 that he would conduct limited strikes against Syrian regime targets, after receiving congressional authorization. Subsequently, the Obama administration has repeatedly claimed that it was only the credible threat of force that compelled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to reportedly agree to the initiative that had been discussed between American and Russian diplomats for months. Read more »

You Might Have Missed: Syria , al-Qaeda Retaliates Against Drones, and Private Contractors

by Micah Zenko Friday, September 6, 2013
U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Syria Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry testify at a U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Syria on September 4, 2013 (Reed/Courtesy Reuters).

Colleen McCain Nelson, “Obama’s Curbs on Executive Power Draw Fire,” Wall Street Journal, September 5, 2013.

A senior administration official said that while the new drone-strike policy does rein in executive authority, the NSA and Syria proposals weren’t a reduction of power but an effort to increase transparency and build public confidence. Read more »