Alan W. Dowd

Alan W. Dowd's commentaries and research-intensive essays have also appeared in the American Legion Magazine, Policy Review, Parameters, the Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations, Current, the Baltimore Sun, the Washington Times, the Washington Examiner, the Wall Street Journal Europe, the Jerusalem Post, the Financial Times Deutschland, the Indianapolis Star, National Review Online, the Weekly Standard Online, FrontPage Magazine, TCS Daily, the American Online and other publications.

Beyond opinion journalism, Dowd has served as an adjunct professor and lecturer at Butler University, a researcher and administrator at leading think tanks, and a congressional aide.

Articles written by Alan W. Dowd

To Bolster Failed States, Support Freedom

By Alan W. Dowd
, on , Briefing

Writing in 1776, Adam Smith observed that in ancient times, rich nations had difficulty defending themselves from poorer ones, whereas by the late-18th century, the reverse was true. If Smith were alive today, he might argue that the 21st century more closely resembles ancient times than his own era: Failed and failing states now generate far more worries for the international community than powerful ones.
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U.S. Should Show Restraint on Drone Strikes

By Alan W. Dowd
, on , Briefing

After a decade of wars that have cost billions of dollars and claimed thousands of American lives, the American people overwhelmingly support the U.S. military's ongoing transition to an unmanned air force. After all, drones are inexpensive and pose zero risk to American personnel. But what looks like an essential national security tool to Americans appears very different to international observers. more

Syria: Obama's Bosnia

By Alan W. Dowd
, on , Briefing

As the civil war in Syria continues, President Barack Obama has offered little more than intonations about establishing “a process” to transition to a “legitimate government.” Of course, America cannot intervene everywhere. Nonetheless, Obama’s inaction in the face of Bashar Assad’s brutality is especially glaring in light of the U.S. intervention in Libya just a year ago. more

Iraq: A Gamble in Both War and Peace

By Alan W. Dowd
, on , Briefing

The Iraq War began with “shock and awe.” It ended with quiet dignity, with a free but fragile Iraq walking into the unknown and a bloodied but unbowed U.S. military saluting its commander-in-chief and marching home. But just as it was a gamble for President George W. Bush to launch the war and then the surge, it is a gamble for President Barack Obama to pull virtually all American troops out of Iraq. more

Obama's Problematic Approach to War

By Alan W. Dowd
, on , Briefing

The U.S.-led military intervention in Libya is decidedly different than the military operations underway in Iraq and Afghanistan in at least one sense: Unlike those wars, which President Barack Obama inherited from his predecessor, Libya is Obama's war from start to finish. As such, it offers us the first true picture of how this commander-in-chief commands -- and how he believes U.S. force should be employed. 
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Gadhafi's Chemical Weapons: A Nightmare Scenario in Libya

By Alan W. Dowd
, on , Briefing

The emerging Libyan civil war is significant not just for its bloodshed and instability. Libya has somewhere between 9.5 tons and 14 tons of mustard gas, according to intelligence sources cited by the Wall Street Journal. As Gadhafi's regime focuses on holding on to power and as the Libyan military splinters, it's not difficult to imagine those stockpiles falling into the hands of America's enemies.
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More Promises, More Problems for NATO

By Alan W. Dowd
, on , Briefing

NATO approved a new Strategic Concept in Lisbon on Nov. 19, the first reworking of the alliance's mission statement since 1999. Although the document offers plenty of promises, the alliance seems to have overlooked a number of problems it faces in making good on them. The Strategic Concept's goals are all worthy ones, but for a variety of reasons, NATO is not well-positioned to achieve them. more

Obama: The Bush Doctrine 2.0?

By Alan W. Dowd
, on , World Politics Review

As a candidate, Barack Obama promised to withdraw from Iraq, "finish the fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban," shut down Gitmo and break through the impasse with Iran. But as president, Obama is learning that conducting U.S. foreign policy is far more difficult than simply critiquing it. As a consequence,  Obama's approach to the global struggle against Islamic terrorism resembles the Bush Doctrine 2.0.
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NATO's Strategery

By Alan W. Dowd
, on , World Politics Review

NATO officially launched the process of revamping its Strategic Concept this month, 10 years after the last one was approved in 1999. As of now, the alliance's next mission statement is "a blank sheet of paper," in the words of outgoing Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. But NATO's recent pronouncements and current challenges offer plenty of guidance on how to fill the page. more

Missile Defense Moves Forward

These are heady and crucial days for the burgeoning international missile defense system (IMD), which the United States is building in cooperation with its closest allies. Indeed, every week seems to bring with it another validation of IMD's necessity, viability or practicality. The past several weeks are no exception. No less than 18 nations are collaborating with the U.S. on IMD, according to Missile Defense Agency director Lt. Gen. Henry Obering. He calls it "an integrated layered system." It's not unlike a chain-link fence stretching from Australia, through the United States and Europe, to the Persian Gulf. more

Another August Crisis: Learning from Bush 41

August is when official Washington shuts down and heads off for vacation. Congressmen and senators travel to their districts to politic, especially in these even-numbered years, and presidents travel to their ranches or beach houses or, this year, to the Olympics. But that wasn't the case during the administration of George H.W. Bush. In fact, it was during these dog days of summer that the elder Bush was busiest. The next president could learn a thing or two from the 41st -- about what to do and what not to do. more

ICC: A Well-Intentioned but Flawed Court

Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga is accused of committing some truly awful crimes. Forcibly conscripting children as young as 10 into the brutal, tribal combat of eastern Congo tops the list, which is why he was turned over to the International Criminal Court at The Hague in 2006. The Lubanga case provides yet another opportunity to point out why the ICC is so flawed -- and why so many observers in the United States are wary of it. more

Is Obama Like Ike? Lessons from Eisenhower for Iraq

Can the bold, young senator from Illinois deliver on his Ike-like promise to end the war in Iraq? And just as important, can he end the war in such a manner that, like Eisenhower's efforts on the Korean peninsula, the postwar situation is an improvement rather than a setback for U.S. interests and international standing? We may not know the answers, but we do know what Ike had to say and do to end the Korean War. That may be instructive today. more

Elements of the Bush Doctrine Will Outlive the Bush Presidency

President George W. Bush has been dismissed as a lame duck, but it appears that significant elements of the doctrine that bears his name will endure long after he leaves the White House. Although we haven't heard much about the Bush Doctrine in recent years, its impact on American foreign policy -- both positive and negative -- is as significant as it is misunderstood. All three remaining presidential candidates have embraced elements of the Bush strategy against terrorist threats. more

Success in Bucharest: The Half-a-Loaf Doctrine

The reviews from NATO's Bucharest summit are all in, and they generally conclude that the United States -- and more specifically, President George W. Bush -- failed. While it is true that Bush pressed NATO to issue membership action plans for Georgia and Ukraine, however, it is just as true that he wanted other things from Bucharest, some of them arguably more important and more urgent. Topping Washington's list were more troops for Afghanistan and a strong endorsement of the U.S.-led missile-defense system.
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Bucharest Offers an Opportunity to Begin Repairing NATO's Warfighting Capacity

The harsh words and hard feelings that chilled transatlantic relations in January, when U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates made the mistake of stating the obvious about NATO's mission in Afghanistan, will not be on the agenda during NATO's Bucharest Summit the first week of April. But the source of Gates' frustration that, in his words, most of the allies "are not trained in counterinsurgency" or doing enough in Afghanistan, should dominate the agenda -- and so should the solution. more

The United States Has Ushered in the 'Missile Defense Age'

A U.S. warship prowling the Pacific Ocean has officially ushered in the Missile Defense Age, firing an SM-3 missile-killing rocket to destroy a satellite tumbling toward Earth. The operation put an exclamation point on a dramatic year of progress for the U.S.-led international missile defense system. Like the Rocket Age, the Jet Age, and the Nuclear Age, the Misslie Defense Age promises to bring both highs and lows, worry and wonder.
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An Independent Kosovo: The Least Bad Option

The United States and Germany reportedly are prepared to green-light Kosovo's independence soon after Serbia's two-stage elections conclude in the first week of February. The rest of Europe's major powers appear poised to follow suit. In a world as complex as ours -- and in a region as messy as the Balkans -- Washington seldom has the luxury of choosing the best option. The challenge is to choose the least bad option. An independent Kosovo is just that. more

Amidst the Gloom, Some Good News From Afghanistan

The Associated Press grimly reports that "Insurgents have staged more than 130 suicide attacks" in Afghanistan this year. Something called the "Global Islamic Media Front" is demanding that Germany and Austria withdraw from Afghanistan. "NATO's shortfalls holding back progress in Afghanistan," declare the Canadian media. But there is other news from the Afghanistan front -- news that's not making it into the morning papers, at least not onto the front page -- that bodes well for the country's future. more