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.

Cyber Attacks and Military Responses

by Micah Zenko Friday, June 3, 2011

Today, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is attending the tenth annual Asian Security Summit, also known as the Shangri-La Dialogue. On the sidelines of the sessions, Secretary Gates is scheduled to meet with the Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie, the most senior Beijing official at the dialogue. Undoubtedly, as Gates and Guanglie discuss security threats and cooperation, cyberwarfare will feature prominently. Read more »

Osama Bin Laden’s Death: One Month Later

by Micah Zenko Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tomorrow marks the one month anniversary of President Barack Obama’s appearance before the nation to announce that “the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden.” According to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, on the evening of the raid, senior officials in the White House situation room “all agreed that we would not release any operational details from the effort to take out bin Laden. That all fell apart on Monday—the next day.” Total secrecy, however, was never possible given the historic importance of the story, insatiable demand for news coverage, and willingness of unnamed U.S. government sources to leak. Read more »

On Memorial Day

by Micah Zenko Sunday, May 29, 2011

On August 1, 1888, Congress passed a joint resolution (25 Stat. 516) that recognized every May 30 as “Decoration Day,” a holiday for the District of Columbia and a holiday with pay for federal employees “so that they might not suffer loss of wages by reason of joining in paying their respects to the memory of those who died in the service of their country.” In 1968, Congress passed Public Law 90-363, which established what had gradually became known as “Memorial Day” to fall on the last Monday in May. Thus, all federal workers and most private employees will not have to work tomorrow. For many Americans, Memorial Day has become indistinct from the nine other federal holidays that are statutorily mandated every year. Read more »

Giving Peacekeepers Their Due

by Micah Zenko Thursday, May 26, 2011

* co-authored with my research associate, Rebecca R. Friedman

With NATO operations in Libya entering their third month and no conclusion in sight, it is improbable that the civil war will resolve decisively in either side’s favor. Most likely, any ceasefire or stalemate will be tenuous and easily combustible; it will require monitoring, if not enforcement, by an international force capable of serving as an honest broker. In Libya, as in most conflicts since the end of World War II, the United Nations will be the only viable option to keep the peace. Read more »

Libya: NATO’s Report Card

by Micah Zenko Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Under the War Powers Resolution, authorization for U.S. military operations in Libya expired last Friday, the sixtieth day of “kinetic military action.” The Obama administration did not pay this legal hurdle any heed, but it is time to assess the NATO intervention’s progress toward its intended political and military objectives. In other words, it’s time to give NATO its report card. Read more »

Welcome to Politics, Power, and Preventive Action

by Micah Zenko Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Welcome to Politics, Power, and Preventive Action (3PA), a blog about U.S. national security policy, international security, and conflict prevention.

I embark on this blog as someone who is massively curious about foreign affairs. I was a child of the Cold War, a student of the post-Cold War era, and a graduate student/policy analyst of the Global War on Terrorism and beyond; this background informs my approach to understanding international relations. I am also a relentless scanner of news reporting, academic journals, books, policy memos, government documents, congressional testimonies, and more. In Politics, Power, and Preventive Action, I’ll share my perspectives, interesting research findings, as well as the greatest hits of what I’ve been reading, several times a week. Read more »