David Rothkopf

Welcome to Extremistan

The threat and promise of the fracturing of the Middle East.

Anyone with a brain or a heart cannot help but be deeply disturbed by the unending and seemingly accelerating torrent of grim -- sometimes horrifying -- stories emanating from the Middle East. This week's gruesome, heartbreaking news of the beheading of American photojournalist James Foley is shocking evidence to this effect. But shattering as it is, it is one man's tragedy; daily, thousands across the region suffer equally devastating losses far from the spotlight, unnoted by the media. 

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What If the United States Had a Middle East Strategy?

Washington's lack of a plan to confront the spread of radical Islam  looms as an epoch-defining failure.

What would it look like if America actually had a Middle East strategy?

To begin with, of course, it would hardly look like what we are seeing today. At the moment, we are confronted with an unprecedented region wide series of crises that are each seemingly being treated by U.S. policymakers as though they were unrelated. American responses to each have been reactive, typically veering between the passive and the inadequate. While there has been lots of rumination about what could go wrong if we embraced risky or bad policies, there has been less focus on how to actually achieve our goals and seemingly precious little thought given to the consequences of our inaction. In short, at a particularly fraught moment in a dangerous and vital part of the world we seem to be without a clear vision or a plan for achieving it.

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On Israel's Defeat in Gaza

Hamas will dig out from under the rubble and the world will remember the image of four boys killed on a beach.

There is no doubt that Israeli leaders feel justified in their actions in Gaza. Polls show that over nine out of 10 Israelis supported the recent war. Hamas is a very bad actor. Israel has every right to defend itself.

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A Time of Unprecedented Instability?

A conversation with Zbigniew Brzezinski on today's worldwide turmoil, overstating Iran's near-term nuclear threat, and why a return to global order may rest on the relationship between the United States and China.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security advisor to President Jimmy Carter throughout his term of office, has remained one of the most prominent strategic thinkers in the United States throughout the ensuing three and a half decades. Recently, while talking with FP Group CEO and Editor David Rothkopf, he expressed a concern that we might be living in a period of unprecedented instability worldwide. When Rothkopf asked him to elaborate on the idea, he proposed that they discuss the subject. An edited transcript of that conversation follows.

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The Slaughter of Innocents

Why collateral damage undoes the best-laid plans of "limited" war makers.

Modern low-intensity conflicts are won and lost on their ragged edges. Nations act as though the careful plans of their militaries and intelligence operations can harness the chaos of combat and guide it to advance their interests. And then the unplanned happens, collateral damage occurs, and it has a bigger impact on politics and the position of combatants than all the calculated elements of the conflict added up.

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