Trump Taps New National Security Adviser

Political scientist Peter Feaver, a scholar on civil-military ties, says he expects Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster to take a skeptical view of Russia, seeing Moscow as a dubious partner and major potential threat to U.S. security. And Feaver says he expects a similar skepticism toward Iran, whose support for proxy groups across the Middle East many senior military officials say has gone unchecked.

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The Most Dangerous Job in Washington

“A national security adviser has to successfully manage three key constituencies: First and foremost his relationships with the president, but also his relations with other senior officials in the West Wing, and with Cabinet officials in various agencies,” says Peter Feaver, who served on the National Security Council under President George W. Bush.

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President Trump’s Mix of Politics and Military

President Trump was right to try to build a relationship with the military he now commands, but it’s a mistake for the president to speculate about its voting behavior, says political scientist Peter Feaver. “The military, the intelligence community and the foreign service jealously guard their professional identity of being nonpartisan and apolitical,” he says.

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‘Lawfare’ Could Become Trump Tool Against Adversaries

Use of the law as a weapon of war may find favor with the Trump administration, according to some scholars and attorneys. “I don’t know what plans the Trump administration may have to incorporate lawfare into its foreign policy strategy, but if we have an opportunity to use law instead of more traditional weapons to address foreign policy issues, I’m all for it,” says law professor Charles Dunlap, executive director of Duke’s Center on Law, Ethics and National Security.

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Video: Is NATO Pulling Its Fair Share?

Duke political science professor Edmund Malesky discusses whether NATO is pulling its fair share of the defense burden. Malesky shares additional thoughts on the issue in a Washington Post opinion piece. To read it, click here.

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Commutation of Manning’s Sentence a Setback for Transgender Troops

“The message to the troops may well be that transgender soldiers get special, indulgent treatment they did not earn simply because of sympathetic politicos and misguided civilian thinking,” writes law professor Charles Dunlap, a retired Air Force major general. “That is not a formula for transgender soldiers to get authentic respect, real trust and true equal treatment from their comrades-in-arms.”

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The Disturbing Legal Legacy Obama is Leaving for Trump

Many Americans just don’t seem to mind if the president kills people, even U.S. citizens, as long as they’re told the people being killed are terrorists. “Americans are very pragmatic as to how a president exercises his War Powers,” writes Charles Dunlap, executive director of Duke’s Center on Law, Ethics and National Security. “(T)hey are less concerned about the technical legal basis as they are about success against authentic threats.”

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Don’t Change the ‘No-Ransom’ Policy

“Until it can be persuasively demonstrated that the interests of the American people as a whole are served, we shouldn’t be expecting any initiative to cut a deal with terrorists to end well,” writes law professor Charlie Dunlap, in response to a “60 Minutes” story on U.S. policies when Americans are held hostage by terrorists.

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U.S. Sidelined as Putin Calls Shots on Syria Cease-Fire

President Obama’s aides say what’s important is that the violence stops. But the president’s critics say his hesitation to use force has led others to fill a power vacuum in the Middle East. Bruce Jentleson, a Sanford School professor and former State Department official, says Obama “over-learned the lessons of Iraq.”

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Trump’s Cabinet of Ex-Generals Will Help Keep Him Out of Wars

“Retired generals tapped for high-ranking positions in the Trump administration ought to be subject to the same kind of scrutiny as civilian nominees, but we should not yield to vaguely defined fears that the generals would push Trump into war or wield too much influence simply because they served their country,” writes law professor Charles Dunlap, a retired Air Force major general.

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