Skip to content

Kim R. Holmes

Articles by Kim R. Holmes

HOLMES: Why the fear of American exceptionalism?

Those who believe in American exceptionalism don't reject foreigners. They recognize what's unique about our history: a distinctive confluence of culture, government and economy, and an ethos of personal responsibility that tamed the economy's wild horses and tempered the potentially anarchic tendencies of free people. These, not government action, gave rise to the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth. Published November 13, 2013

HOLMES: Two souls of Obama's foreign policy

One of the most puzzling things about President Obama's foreign policy is his inconsistency. He'll draw red lines in Syria and threaten military strikes, then call off the strikes and convene diplomatic conferences. If he's not killing terrorists with drones, he's bringing them to New York for civilian trial. He'll bypass the United Nations Security Council to take military action against Syria, but demand its approval before bombing Libya. Published October 30, 2013

HOLMES: What is 'core' foreign policy and what is not?

People are in an uproar over President Obama's speech last week at the United Nations. "The United States of America is prepared," he said, "to use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure our core interests in the region." Note the word "core." Published October 2, 2013

HOLMES: Sorry history of the war powers debate

President Obama's about-face on seeking congressional authorization to strike Syria was ultimately a political decision. On the one hand, he claims it is not legally necessary, and yet he knows he's politically vulnerable. Thus he punted to Congress, demanding authorization to bolster support. Published September 4, 2013

HOLMES: The perils of peace

Winston Churchill famously said, "To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war." That seems true enough — except when jaw-jaw is another way of making war-war. As the U.S. starts yet another round of peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, we had best remember the risks associated with past failed negotiations. Published August 7, 2013

HOLMES: Buy now, pay later for Medicaid expansion

"Get Cash Back Now!" Such signs are common in car dealerships. Salesmen always try to heighten the sense of urgency: "Buy today, before the offer expires, and you can get a rebate or a zero percent interest rate on your car loan." Published March 20, 2013

HOLMES: Obama and a lost decade for America’s young adults

By the time President Obama leaves office in January 2017, the young people who helped catapult him into office will be nearly a decade older. And unless the economy turns around, it will be a lost decade, one of high unemployment and missed opportunities. Published February 20, 2013

HOLMES: A new approach to Syria

Syria is a test case for American leadership in the world. The obvious options are inadequate: Kofi Annan's U.N.-sponsored peace mission is a failure. Outside military intervention lacks support. Published June 27, 2012

HOLMES: Democracy is more than elections

It's a democratic election, but the choice for Egyptian president is between representatives of two strains of anti-democratic forces: an Islamist party and a repressive military. The country's poor choice is a reflection that Egypt is not yet a democratic society. Published June 13, 2012

HOLMES: Sometimes less is less

Economic austerity has hit the armed forces of the U.S. and Europe, and military leaders are trying to make the best of tight budgets. Published May 30, 2012

HOLMES: The 'austerity' blame game

A new economic buzzword is on the loose. "Austerity" is meant to describe the spending cuts by governments in Europe. Such "austerity" is much reviled by newly elected French President Francois Hollande and by the radical parties elected in Greece. Published May 16, 2012

HOLMES: Lawfare, Chinese style

Many people think the best way to deal with China is to make it a stakeholder in the international system. It's a good idea with respect to international trade and finance but has a serious flaw with respect to international law. Published May 2, 2012

HOLMES: America's 'residence' in Asia

The Obama administration wants to "pivot" U.S. foreign policy toward Asia. There are far too few details to know exactly what that means. In the meantime, the administration is right to highlight America's enduring interests in that region. Published April 4, 2012

HOLMES: The failure of an idea

The United Nations Security Council passes a resolution noting "widespread and systematic attacks" on civilians and authorizing U.N. member states "to take all necessary measures ... to protect" them. Published March 21, 2012

HOLMES: Why so few options in Syria?

Why are there so few options in Syria? After all, it is not every day that the Arab League favors the overthrow of a fellow Arab ruler. Published February 22, 2012

HOLMES: Preventing the rise of safe havens for terrorists

President Obama's decision to accelerate the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan begs the question: What if the country again becomes a safe haven for terrorists? A recently leaked U.S. Army report for NATO shows that the Taliban believe they are winning and need only outlast us to regain control. If that happens, Afghanistan could become the terrorist safe haven it was before our 2001 intervention. Published February 8, 2012

HOLMES: Obama defense strategy a masquerade

President Obama's new national defense strategy is a budget exercise masquerading as strategic plan. It rationalizes and double talks its way through an explanation that barely disguises the politics involved. Published January 11, 2012