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Kim R. Holmes

Articles by Kim R. Holmes

Flowers and ribbons adorn a tree outside the Weinstein familyhouse in Rockville, Md., Thursday, April 23, 2015. Earlier, President Barack Obama took full responsibility for the counterterror missions and offered his "grief and condolences" to the families of the hostages, Warren Weinstein of Rockville, Maryland, and Giovanni Lo Porto who were inadvertently killed by CIA drone strikes early this year.  (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Drones, robots and the human factor in war

Intelligence failure — it's one of the most common mistakes in war. And last week we learned that it led to the deaths of two Western hostages — one American, one Italian — in January. Published April 27, 2015

FILE - In this April 2, 2015 file photo, President Barack Obama speaks in the Rose  Garden of the White House in Washington. The framework nuclear deal sealed by world powers and Iran leaves major questions: Could Iran cheat? Possibly. Would the U.S or anyone else be able to respond in time? In theory, yes. Are they prepared to use military force? Questionable.  (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File) **FILE**

Iran nuclear agreement a rerun of North Korea

A U.S. president reaches a nuclear agreement with a rogue state. He steps before the microphones and declares, "This is a good deal for the United States." The pariah nation will, he continues, "freeze and then dismantle its nuclear program" and the "entire world will be safer as we slow the spread of nuclear weapons." It was President Bill Clinton speaking about the 1994 Nuclear Framework Agreement with North Korea. Of course, it didn't turn out as advertised. Published April 13, 2015

Russia's endgame and Obama's end run in the Iran nuclear talks

The Obama administration assumes that it needs Russia to get an Iranian nuclear deal. But behind-the-scenes happenings suggest that Russia has its own plans. That may explain why the administration is willing to bypass Congress to get a pact with Tehran. Published March 16, 2015

Image: (U.S. Marine Corps)

Military index shows U.S. weakness

Every year Congress debates how much to spend on defense. And yet there is no reliable benchmark to measure how much spending is enough. Published March 2, 2015

An Ukrainian soldier walks past trenches near the road between the towns of Debaltseve and Artemivsk, Ukraine, Monday, Feb. 16, 2015. The Ukrainian government and Russia-backed rebels accused each other Monday of violating a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine, a day before the parties are due to start withdrawing heavy weaponry under a recently brokered deal. The cease-fire, which went into effect on Sunday, had raised cautious hopes for an end to the 10-month-old conflict, which has already claimed more than 5,300 lives. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

Why arming the Ukrainians is necessary

Yet another cease-fire agreement on Ukraine has been signed in Minsk. It went into effect Sunday amid low expectations of success. Published February 16, 2015

Illustration on American's diminished economic freedom by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

KIM HOLMES: Economic freedom is proven secret of success

Suppose someone told you there were over two decades of economic data showing the secret of success for every nation in the world and that a Nobel laureate in economics inspired the methodology that was used to analyze that data. Would you sit up and listen? Published February 2, 2015

A demonstrator holds up a "Je suis Mohamed" sign during a protest in Algiers, Algeria, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. Algerian police are struggling to contain more than a thousand protesters thronging the streets of the capital denouncing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad published by French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. Chanting "I am not Charlie, I am Muhammad," protesters left their mosques after Friday prayers and gathered in downtown Algiers' May 1 square where they were met by hundreds of riot police. (AP Photo/Sidali Djarboub)

Reversing the spectacular failure of Obama's foreign policy experiment

After taking office, President Obama embarked on one of the riskiest experiments in American history. He decided to see what the world would look like if the United States pulled back from its role as guarantor of global stability and underwriter of the international order. Published January 19, 2015

(AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Presidential Press Service)

With Putin's hand getting weaker, time to watch out

Russian President Vladimir Putin seems to have picked a bad time to try to restore the Russian empire. Collapsing energy prices are weakening the value of the ruble, causing inflation and depriving Mr. Putin of badly needed income. Published December 8, 2014

President Obama drew a number of lines in his executive order, slicing and dicing the illegal immigrant community. To qualify for the new deferred action program, someone has to have been in the U.S. for at least five years and have either a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident child. (Associated Press)

Obama's amnesty bowls over restraints on executive power

Presidents in recent decades carefully tried not to overstep their executive authority in domestic policy. They may have pushed the envelope on national security and war-making powers, but they were reluctant to take any executive action perceived to be a blatant rewriting of a law or a unilateral political move. Published November 24, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visits the Mattrah market, in Muscat, Oman, Monday, Nov. 10, 2014. In the final stretch of years of negotiations to limit Tehran's nuclear production, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met Monday for a second straight day with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and European Union senior adviser Catherine Ashton in Oman's capital.  The Obama administration is facing its last best chance to curb Iran's nuclear program — not just to meet an end-of-the-month deadline for a deal, but also to seal one before skeptical Republicans who will control Congress next year are able to scuttle it. (AP Photo/Nicholas Kamm, Pool)

Post-election, we need a different foreign policy

Foreign affairs may not have played a big part in the midterm elections, but that doesn't mean all is well with current foreign policy. A CBS poll the week before the election found only 34 percent of Americans approved of the president's handling of foreign policy. Within our foreign policy establishment, there is widespread bipartisan unease about his inability to handle crises that seem to be spiraling out of control. Published November 10, 2014

Saddam Hussein

HOLMES: Uncomfortable truths: Explaining away Iraq's real WMD

Iraq's chemical weapons are back in the news. The New York Times reported that American troops found roughly 5,000 chemical warheads, shells and aviation bombs since the Iraq War began. Then last week The Washington Post reported the Islamic State had used chlorine gas against Iraqi police officers. Published October 27, 2014

University of California at Berkeley students pass out yellow ribbons and educate others  in support for the Umbrella Revolution, a group seeking democracy in Hong Kong, on Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014, at Sather Gate in Berkeley, Calif. Student leaders of Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests warned that if the territory's top official doesn't resign by Thursday they will step up their actions, including occupying several important government buildings. By raising the stakes in the standoff, the protesters are risking another round of confrontation with police, who are unlikely to allow government buildings to be stormed. It also puts pressure on the Chinese government, which so far has said little beyond declaring the protests illegal and backing Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's attempts to end them. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) **FILE**

When free speech is anything but free

What's gone wrong? How did a movement ostensibly dedicated to freedom of speech and expression become its opposite? Published October 13, 2014

HOLMES: Why the world is unmoved by Obama's apologies

Most of the world does not see an earnest moralist struggling with America's complicated past or a humble man admitting his own foibles. Instead, they see a weak leader uncertain about the cause of his country. Published September 29, 2014

US Secretary of State John Kerry  leaves after a family photo at the conference intended to come up with an international strategy against  Islamic State extremists in Paris, Monday, Sept. 15, 2014. As diplomats from around the world sought a global strategy to fight Islamic State extremists, Iran ruled out working with any international coalition, saying it had rejected American requests for cooperation against the militants. (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski; Pool)

HOLMES: Islamic State threat looms as U.S. global influence wanes

It's no secret that threats to American security are increasing. The terrorism we thought had been contained is on the rise again. The Islamic State movement has threatened to take its war to New York. While the administration claims there is no actionable intelligence showing such a threat to be imminent, it's no consolation to remember that we didn't see the Sept. 11 attacks coming either. Published September 15, 2014

FILE - This, July 16, 2014, file photo shows Russia's President Vladimir Putin as he arrives for an official group photo during the BRICS summit at the Itamaraty palace, in Brasilia, Brazil. Months after Russia annexed Crimea and stepped up support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, Europe and the U.S. are still searching for an effective way to persuade Putin to change course. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File )

HOLMES: What's at stake in Ukraine?

What's at stake in Ukraine? If the actions of Western governments speak louder than words, the short answer is "not much." The full range of sanctions on Russia has not yet been imposed, and there is a widespread reluctance to embrace Ukraine too closely. Published July 28, 2014

FILE - In this Aug. 9, 2012 file photo, a young Mexican boy, looks at a map of the recorded Arizona border deaths in a well known immigrant shelter in Nogales, Mexico. A major U.S. effort to discourage repeated attempts by immigrants to enter the country illegally by flying and busing them into Mexico hundreds of miles away from where they were caught, but government statistics and interviews with migrants in Mexican shelters suggest the dislocation is rarely a deterrent, especially for immigrants with spouses, children and roots in the U.S. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

HOLMES: Want to solve the border crisis? Stop what's causing it

Want to solve the border crisis? Stop what's causing it. Simply throwing money at programs to absorb illegal immigrants will not end the humanitarian crisis on our border. In fact, without tackling the root causes, more children will be brought by human traffickers to the U.S. Published July 14, 2014

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in an email to employees that bonuses were an appropriate way for taxpayers to reward the agency that polices them. "I believe that rewarding our high-performing employees is a vital investment for our nation's tax system," he said. (Associated Press)

HOLMES: What Obama's power grab says about liberalism

Last week's Supreme Court ruling limiting President Obama's authority to make recess appointments is a victory for constitutional government. But before Americans celebrate too much, they should take heed of the White House spin the next day. Published June 30, 2014

** FILE ** This June 13, 2014, file photo shows President Barack Obama speaking on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. President Barack Obama plans to sign an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against employees on the basis of their sexual orientation, a White House official said Monday. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

HOLMES: When war-weariness leads to more war

President Obama is fond of saying he was elected to "end" wars, not start them. He clearly is tapping into Americans' well-known weariness of wars and sees himself as merely carrying out their will. Published June 16, 2014

HOLMES: Obama's not-so-indispensable America

Many people think President Obama's speech last week at West Point was all about politics. Setting up straw men and knocking them down, the president defined himself mainly by what he wasn't. He was not an isolationist. He was not a warmonger. Of course, no one seriously claimed he was either one. Nor are these extremes real-world strategic options. Published June 2, 2014