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Robert McFarlane

Robert McFarlane

Articles by Robert McFarlane

Illustration on the new imperialism by Linas Garsys/ The Washington Times

The new imperialism

Historians often cite two American qualities to explain why the United States and its allies prevailed in the Cold War; military strength and better ideas — such things as the rule of law and freedom for individuals and the marketplace; often called "Soft Power" in shorthand. The ultimate irony in contemporary geopolitics is that Russia and China have studied our use of Soft Power, corrupted it to suit their purposes, and today are well along in using it to win the second Cold War. Published May 23, 2019

Illustration on weaponizing the supply of energy by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

The weaponization of energy

Energy is an essential driver of every economy. It enables formation of businesses, jobs and the possibility of prosperity. Ironically, because we are so richly blessed with energy we tend to take it for granted. But what if your electricity were provided by an authoritarian government such as Russia or China? Before long that could well become the case for much of the world. Published February 4, 2019

Tough Love for Turkey

Turkey served as the southern anchor of NATO during the Cold War. It is easy to see why: It is the land bridge from Asia to Europe and from the Mideast to Central Asia. Published April 4, 2017

Illustration on Iran's development of methanol in response to U.S. sanctions by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

How Iran turns lemons into high-octane lemonade

In 2009, as intelligence reports confirmed that Iran -- the world's leading state-sponsor of terrorism -- had resumed its nuclear weapons development program, the efforts of American policy officials to reverse it focused first on Iranian vulnerabilities. What critical commodity or service essential to daily life in Iran might be restricted by sanctions and thereby influence the government of Iran to change course? It didn't take long to identify such a strategic commodity: gasoline. Published July 7, 2015

Illustration on steps that can be taken to constrain Iran's quest for nuclear weapons by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

The means of coercing Iran

How would the prospects for stability in the Middle East be affected if Iran were to succeed in its effort to become a nuclear power? In what ways might we expect Iran to behave differently? Published April 12, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: 'America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder'

When one considers the breathtaking gains in political stability and economic growth during the 50 years it took to win the Cold War — gains charted, nurtured and achieved under the leadership of the United States — it's hard to take it in. The establishment of democracy in Japan, South Korea, Poland, Taiwan, the Baltic states and most of Latin America; peace between Israel and Egypt; Germany and Japan eschewing militarism for pacifism; and dramatic gains in global gross domestic product. All Americans should be proud of this record and carry a sense of self-confidence toward our qualifications, the benefits and the necessity of our continuing to carry forward this legacy of active leadership in world affairs, "a world in which the economic, diplomatic, and military might of the United States provides the global buffer between civilization and barbarism," in the words of Bret Stephens in his superb book "America in Retreat." Published December 29, 2014

Illustration on Saudi Arabia's strategic use of its oil supply by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Saudis allow falling oil prices to squeeze archrival Iran

Conventional wisdom in Western capitals holds that Saudi Arabia has held firm in sessions with its OPEC partners against lowering production — which would restore higher prices — in order to maintain its market share in countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and to dissuade investors from pouring more money into growing North American shale and tar sands production. Published December 15, 2014

Illustration on Islamic State violence by Mark Weber/ Tribune Content Agency

McFARLANE: A plan for crushing the Islamic State

It is astonishing that nearly six years into the tenure of any administration the commander-in-chief would acknowledge publicly that he has no strategy for addressing an evident, serious threat to American interests. Published September 3, 2014