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Category Archives: Commentaries

Online commentaries and blog posts by Sydney Freedberg.

Commentary – Long odds for democracy in Yemen

I commented further on the Yemeni revolution over at the National Journal security blog, arguing that the ouster of president Ali Abdullah Saleh is no great loss for American counter-terrorism, but that a democratic Yemen is unlikely: The United States has no national interest in Saleh’s survival. We do have an interest in a stable [...]

Appearances – I explain Yemen to Canadians

My global media preeminence (see here and here) appears to have spread to a distant, wintry land known to its inhabitants as “Canada.” I discussed the escalating civil strife in Yemen today with host Theo Caldwell of The Caldwell Account on the Sun News Network, sometimes considered Canada’s equivalent of Fox News. The show was [...]

Commentary – I’m pessimistic about Syria

I made my own gloomy contribution to the debate on the National Journal expert blog about the prospects for democracy in Syria: [T]he ruling Alawite minority knows that losing power would not just be a personal disaster for them and their families but a general disaster for the entire Alawite community….[so t]here’s no sign the Syrian [...]

Commentary – My daughter’s take on Osama bin Laden

My daughter provided guest commentary on the National Journal blog today, with me doing the actual writing since she can’t write yet: The first person I discussed bin Laden’s death with was my daughter. She was born in 2004 and has known since she could speak full sentences that “our soldiers” are fighting “the terrorists” [...]

Commentary – one cheer for American empire

In my latest post on the National Journal expert blog, in the context of a discussion on the deeply disfunctional (dysfunctional?) US-Pakistan relationship, I give a hat tip to hegemony: …we bully and bribe the Pakistanis to do specific things that they don’t want to do. It’s ugly and messy, but in the ugly, messy [...]

Commentary – six things NOT to cut from the defense budget

I guess I’m learning to be a pundit. This week’s discussion on the National Journal expert blog is about cutting the defense budget, but I answered the question on my own terms, meaning not at all, and talked about six things not to cut: I’m not a budget expert. I’m not a business process expert. [...]

Commentary – the Pentagon after Bob Gates

I posted my thoughts on the impending departure of Defense Secretary Robert Gates, his legacy, and the painful questions left unresolved over at National Journal’s expert blog: We can’t keep doing everything we do now on the current budget, let alone a smaller one, but the current budget is only going to shrink. And Secretary of [...]

Commentary – Libyan rebels, get a tactical clue

Over at the National Journal blog, I give vent to my frustration with the Libyan rebels’ incapacity for basic tactics and offer them some advice: I’m beginning to feel like a Chicago Cubs fan here. Guys, stop running straight up and down the highway already and try outflanking someone for a change. As long as [...]

Commentary – what Obama couldn’t say about the “Arab Spring”

Over at the National Journal expert blog, where I’m once again both moderating and contributing, I’ve just posted my latest on the Libyan civil war and the repercussions — positive ones, I believe — of our intervention across the Arab world: We want these revolutions to succeed. And right now, the biggest threat to them comes [...]

Commentary – the Croatian model for intervention in Libya

I’m currently both moderating and contributing to the discussion on the National Journal expert blog about the wisdom of US intervention in Libya. My personal take, in a nutshell: I think supporting the Libyan rebels is in our national interest, and our assistance to the Croatians during the Yugoslav civil war shows us how to [...]