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Kim R. Holmes

Articles by Kim R. Holmes

US Secretary of State John Kerry briefs the media after a meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the Tegel airport in Berlin, Germany, Friday, Jan. 31, 2014. Kerry is on a stopover in the German capital en route to the Munich Security Conference. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

HOLMES: U.S. needs to stand firm against Chinese aggression

China's rise has the Obama administration looking as uncertain as the proverbial deer in the headlights. Caught between the unappealing alternatives of embracing or containing China, it largely chooses inaction. Published February 5, 2014

President Barack Obama pauses while speaking about National Security Agency (NSA)surveillance, Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, at the Justice Department in Washington. Seeking to calm a furor over U.S. surveillance, the president called for ending the government's control of phone data from hundreds of millions of Americans and immediately ordered intelligence agencies to get a secretive court's permission before accessing the records. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

HOLMES: America a model no more

America's famed free market economy is under siege. For the seventh year in a row, the economic freedom score of the United States dropped on the Index of Economic Freedom, compiled by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. The U.S. is now the 12th freest economy in the world, down from 10th last year, and ranks as a second-tier "mostly free" economy. Published January 22, 2014

HOLMES: Why government is so hard to reform

Why is it so difficult to reform government? The easy answers are well-known. Too many people depend on it for Social Security checks and other benefits. Too many businesses profit from its contracts, subsidies and tax breaks. Any reform means pain for someone. And, of course, politicians get elected by delivering its services. Published January 8, 2014

HOLMES: A holiday wish for a more trusting America

Looking back on 2013, it's striking how politically polarized America has become. Political divisions often are attributed to politicians, but beneath all the sound and fury is a deeper problem: Americans do not trust one another as much as they used to. And the reasons are not as simple as some people think. Published December 25, 2013

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