Thomas Donnelly

Thomas Donnelly

Biography: 

Thomas Donnelly, a defense and security policy analyst, is the codirector of the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. He is the author, coauthor, and editor of numerous articles, essays, and books, including Operation Just Cause: The Storming of Panama and Clash of Chariots: A History of Armored Warfare. He is currently at work on Empire of Liberty: The Origins of American Strategic Culture. From 1995 to 1999, he was policy group director for the House Committee on Armed Services. Donnelly also served as a member of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission and is a former editor of Armed Forces Journal, Army Times, and Defense News.

Thomas Donnelly transitioned in October 2018. Please visit Giselle Donnelly's current bio page for more recent work.

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Recent Commentary

Featured CommentaryAnalysis and Commentary

The United States And Russia: Opposite Personalities

by Thomas Donnellyvia Strategika
Wednesday, September 5, 2018

In his famous 1947 “Long Telegram” and subsequent Foreign Affairs article, George Kennan described what he thought was the “political personality of Soviet power.” It was an effort at what he called a “task of psychological analysis” to discern a “pattern of thought” and the “nature of the mental world of the Soviet leaders.” 

Featured CommentaryAnalysis and Commentary

A Bigger Arsenal For A Lasting Peace

by Thomas Donnellyvia Strategika
Monday, June 25, 2018

Where is Stanley Kubrick when you need him? With Donald Trump withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (aka “the Iran deal”), playing summit footsie with Kim Jong Un and scoping out a vigorous modernization of the aging U.S. nuclear force, the abyssopelagic layer of the Deep State has taken on new life with warnings of the approaching apocalypse.

Featured CommentaryAnalysis and Commentary

A Brief Guide To Strategy And Sanctions

by Thomas Donnellyvia Strategika
Thursday, March 29, 2018

Recently, the United States’ closest European allies, Britain, France, and Germany, proposed “fresh” economic sanctions on Iran as an effort to force Tehran to comply with both the letter and the spirit of the 2015 “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” meant to delay the Islamic Republic’s development of nuclear weapons. 

Related Commentary

Afghanistan: No Choice but to Remain

by Thomas Donnellyvia Strategika
Monday, February 26, 2018

Quite unlike Great Britain or the Soviet Union, the United States has never had a coherent strategy for its engagement in Afghanistan. No amount of military operational acumen or diplomatic experience can make up for that deficiency; it hardly matters what we do if we have no idea why we’re doing it.

Related Commentary

The Status of U.S. Navy Readiness: Too Small, Too Old, and Too Tired

by Thomas Donnellyvia Strategika
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Seventeen sailors have been killed this year in accidents involving two destroyers, the USS John S. McCain and USS Fitzgerald.

Featured CommentaryFeatured

A Brutal, But Reasonable, Response To North Korea

by Thomas Donnellyvia Strategika
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Applying the adjective “reasonable” in a North Korean context is, well, not reasonable. It’s not that the Pyongyang regime is entirely irrational, but it is certainly “differently rational” in a way that is nearly impossible for consent-of-the-people democracies to comprehend. In imagining conventional military options to change the Kim regime or to eliminate its offensive capabilities—that is, to remove the threats North Korea poses to its neighbors, the East Asian balance of power and, now, the United States itself—“effectiveness” is a better measure. This is a case where brutality looks reasonable.

Featured CommentaryAnalysis and Commentary

Beyond The Terror War

by Thomas Donnellyvia Strategika
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Since the decline of the Ottoman Empire, the story of the Middle East has been one of inconclusive struggles of the weak against the weak. That the Ottomans lasted as long as they did is in substantial measure a testament to the constant chaos of Arab and Persian politics. 

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Guns and Robots

by Thomas Donnellyvia Hoover Digest
Friday, July 7, 2017

We’ve paid too much attention to weapons of the future and too little to our forces today. 

Background EssayAnalysis and Commentary

You Say You Want A Revolution?

by Thomas Donnellyvia Strategika
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

To paraphrase the Beatles: Well, you know, you’d better free your mind instead; you may want a revolution but ought to settle for some evolution.

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Pipe Dreams of a Normal Iran

by Thomas Donnellyvia Hoover Digest
Friday, January 27, 2017

Permit the rise of Iran? That wouldn’t just be foolish. It would represent an abdication of the West’s moral legitimacy. 

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