Peter Berkowitz is the Tad and Dianne Taube Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. In 2019-2021, he served as the Director of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, executive secretary of the department's Commission on Unalienable Rights, and senior adviser to the...
The Future Challenges essay series, a collaborative effort of Hoover’s Koret-Taube Task Force on National Security and Law, is an online volume that explores a variety of emerging national security and law challenges, including the crafting of rules for the detention of unlawful enemy combatants, the proper orientation for the United States toward the International Criminal Court, the deradicalization of terrorists, application of the principle of proportionality to asymmetric warfare, developments in the war-powers doctrine, cyber-warfare, the search for and regulation of weapons of mass destruction, and the reform of Congressional oversight of intelligence.
On Monday, January 25, 2016 at 5:00pm ET, General James Mattis and Admiral Gary Roughead will participate in a panel discussion entitled: “2016: International Security Challenges and U.S. Readiness.” The discussion, moderated by Hoover Senior Fellow Peter Berkowitz, will analyze international security challenges in the year ahead, including the Middle East and Indo-Pacific regions, and how the United States is prepared to deal with them.
On July 6, President Trump delivered a speech in Krasiński Square in Warsaw, Poland, that provoked heated controversy in the United States. While Americans have returned their attention to familiar tempests—allegations of unlawful collusion by Trump team members with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton, Republicans’ bungled efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, North Korean belligerency, the White House staff soap opera—the sharply divergent reactions to Trump’s defense of Western civilization exhibit dangers to the West beyond those he warned of in his remarks.
Many experts believe that it is almost inevitable that terrorists will soon have the ability to detonate a nuclear weapon in the heart of a major American city. How can we stop them? What are the specific threats that we face and how should we respond to them? Do we face a greater danger from nuclear weapons that may have been stolen from the former Soviet Union or from the clandestine efforts of rogue nuclear scientists? And if the threat has increased since 9/11, why hasn't the United States done more to contain it? Peter Robinson speaks with Graham Allison and Scott Sagan.
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has a budget of about $3 billion and more than 16,000 employees working to identify and protect the United States from foreign threats. Yet the CIA failed to prevent the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. How come? Should the CIA have been able to foresee and prevent this sort of attack? Now that the cold war is over, is it time to abolish the CIA or reform it to respond to the new threat of terrorism? If reform is the answer, should the CIA put more emphasis on high technology or on placing agents in the field?
In his State of the Union speech in January 2002, President Bush promised to spend "whatever it costs to defend our country." That cost, according to Bush's proposed defense budget, would come to $378 billion in 2003, $48 billion more than in 2002 and the largest percent increase in defense spending since the Reagan era. Critics are saying that the proposed 2003 budget perpetuates the Pentagon's most inefficient weapons and spending habits, thereby delaying the true transformation of the military that is needed to protect America in the twenty-first century. Who's right—the Bush administration or its critics?
Journalist Christopher Hitchens discusses neoconservatives and the left, his break with The Nation magazine over his support of the war in Iraq, and his tour of the three members of the "axis of evil."
Iran—the same country that took American diplomats hostage twenty-five years ago and whose leaders often refer to the United States as the "Great Satan"—may be on the verge of developing nuclear weapons. How worried should we be? What can the United States do, if anything, to defuse the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran? Is a military response feasible? Or should the United States focus on strengthening the movement for democratic reform within Iran? Peter Robinson speaks with Larry Diamond and Abbas Milani.
On July 1, the Coalition Provisional Authority—the body headed by U.S. ambassador Paul Bremer that has governed Iraq since the end of the Iraq war—will transfer sovereignty to a temporary Iraqi government. The transfer of power raises a number of hard questions. Will our attempts at nation building in this ethnically and religiously divided country succeed? Just what are our responsibilities in ensuring that success? And how long will or should the United States maintain a military presence in Iraq?
It's been nearly twenty-five years since the shah of Iran was overthrown in a popular revolution. The ensuing American hostage crisis marked the beginning of an era of mutual hostility between Iran and the United States—Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini often called the United States "the Great Satan"; more recently President Bush placed Iran on the so-called axis of evil. But an increasingly visible democratic reform movement supported by young Iranians born after the revolution suggests that Iran may be entering a new era of change. Just how powerful is the reform movement in Iran? And what should the United States do, if anything, to help bring about a new Iran?
For forty-five years, the threat of conflict with the Soviet Union brought the United States and Western Europe into a tight partnership, most notably represented by the NATO military alliance. But with the Soviet Union gone and the European Union on the road to possible superpower status in its own right, does the transatlantic alliance have a future? Peter Robinson speaks with Niall Ferguson, Josef Joffe, and Coit Blacker.
Is Saudi Arabia an ally or an adversary? Saudi Arabia remains an autocratic monarchy, where the rights of women and the press are severely restricted. Saudi money is a principal source of funding for the Wahhabi sect, which promotes a militant form of Islam throughout the Muslim world. Osama bin Laden and fifteen of the nineteen participants in the attacks of September 11 came from Saudi Arabia. And yet, for more than 50 years, the United States has treated Saudi Arabia as an ally. Why? What role have Saudi oil and Saudi oil money played in shaping our relationship? Is it time to recognize that Saudi Arabia may threaten American national interests? If so, what should U.S. policy toward Saudi Arabia be?
In June 2013, when he began leaking thousands of classified documents — from among hundreds of thousands that he had stolen — about America's global surveillance programs, Edward Snowden, a former employee of the National Security Agency, confirmed the arrival of the cyber era...
More than eighty years ago, President Woodrow Wilson presided over the U.S. entry into the First World War, promising that it would be "the war to end all war." Wilson promoted "peace without victory" and the creation of a League of Nations with the power to enforce the peace thereafter. At that time, Wilson's vision was dismissed by European and American leaders alike as naive idealism. Today, however, Robert S. McNamara, former U.S. secretary of defense, believes that Wilson's vision is essential to reducing the risk of conflict and war in the twenty-first century.
President Obama entered the White House determined to overcome what he and his supporters regarded as the Bush administration’s poisonous legacy in the Middle East.
Last month, in a speech from the Elysée Palace, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced his intention to enact a ban on the full Muslim veil.
On March 14, 2004, Russians head to the polls to choose a president. Current president Vladimir Putin is expected to win a second term by an overwhelming margin. Will this be a genuine democratic show of support for a popular leader or the result of a corrupt political system headed towards dictatorship? When President Bush first met President Putin in June 2001, he declared, "I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy.... I was able to get a sense of his soul." Is Putin the trustworthy leader that Bush saw or something much more dangerous?
In October 2001, in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, Congress passed, and President Bush signed, the USA Patriot Act. The law is intended to prevent future terrorist acts by enhancing various law enforcement tools. Critics argue that the Patriot Act is a dangerous infringement on American civil liberties. Now, more than two years after the passage of the Patriot Act, do we have any evidence that the critics are right? For that matter, do we even know whether the Patriot Act is working to deter terrorism? Should the Patriot Act be allowed to expire, or should its provisions become a permanent part of the war on terrorism?
In late 2001, in response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the Bush administration proposed the USA Patriot Act, which gave law enforcement agencies expanded surveillance and intelligence-gathering powers. Congress overwhelmingly approved the Patriot Act on the condition that most provisions of the act would expire in 2005. President Bush now wants all provisions of the act extended. Should they be? Or are the provisions dangerous and unnecessary infringements on our civil liberties? Peter Robinson speaks with Jenny Martinez and John Yoo.