Author Archive

Andrew Exum

Former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Middle East policy

Andrew Exum is a contributing editor at The Atlantic. From 2015 to 2016, he was the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for Middle East policy.

Counterinsurgency Isn’t the Answer

Be wary of those who seek to apply the lessons of our campaigns abroad to our political challenges at home.


Iran Loses Its Indispensable Man

The killing of Qassem Soleimani robs the regime of the central figure for its ambitions in the Middle East.


US Arms Sales to the Gulf Have Failed

Despite spending billions of dollars on hardware, our regional partners don’t have the capabilities we need.


How to Really Honor the Troops

Thousands of soldiers have successfully led combat units without committing atrocities. Pardoning war crimes dishonors them.


Shawn Brimley's Town

Washington, D.C., can be an easy city to mock or resent—but it’s full of workers who’ve chosen to serve something larger than themselves.


What Trump Got Right in Foreign Policy in 2017

For one thing, the Islamic State is largely defeated.


The Hubris of Hezbollah

How the militant group will fumble into the next Middle Eastern war.


How Mattis May Get Himself in Trouble With Trump

The secretary of defense could run afoul of his boss if his review of the policy on transgender troops follows the facts to their conclusion.


When Will Enough Be Enough in Afghanistan?

At some point, a president might have to acknowledge to the military: We fought hard, but we have other, greater priorities elsewhere.


Why Military Chiefs Are Condemning White Supremacy

The U.S. armed forces have had troubles with extremists enlisting in the past, and they don’t want it to happen again.


The Dangerous Politicization of the US Military

By asking active duty personnel to lobby Congress in their own self-interest, President Trump crossed an important line.


If Trump Undermines the Iran Deal

A report suggests the president is looking for ways to get out of the accord. It says a lot about how he views the world.


The Dangers of Presidential Indiscretions

President Trump had the legal right to declassify information—but by sharing sensitive intelligence with the Russians, he may have jeopardized national security.


Gulf Leaders Still Love Trump

The UAE’s crown prince visits Washington today, pleased with the U.S. president’s embrace of Egypt’s al-Sisi and upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia.


What's Really at Stake for America in Yemen's Conflict

As the Trump administration navigates the risks of escalation, there’s a real danger it will get the calculus wrong.


The Fight Against the Islamic State Just Got Harder

Initial thoughts on the Trump administration’s new front in the Syrian war.


How Should the US Respond to Assad's Chemical Attacks?

Military intervention—even for the best moral reasons—always has unpredictable consequences.


Egypt and America Are Destined to Disappoint Each Other

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s supporters in Washington are about to get mugged by reality: His regime is alarmingly weak.


When the Generals Become Democracy's Guardians

Military officers have checked some of the president’s uglier populist impulses. But what does that mean for liberal values?