Bottom Line Up Front On February 13, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 248-177 to require the administration to end support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. If the bill clears the Senate it would be the first time a War Powers Act bill passed both chambers, setting up ...

When the new president walks into the Oval Office on January 20th, the American leader will most likely find a note from Barack Obama, a time honored tradition by departing presidents. Although the notes are not often made public, the ones we know about contain words of encouragement and reflections ...

If Hillary Clinton wins tonight, it will likely be a relief to the Washington foreign policy establishment, our Allies, and probably even our adversaries.  If anything is valued in international affairs, it is predictability and stability.  Even those revolutionary states that are looking to overturn the status quo are probably ...

No matter who wins today’s election, the American democratic system is in trouble. Should Donald Trump win, the country would have a president who has threatened to use his powers against those who disagree with him and has shown no respect for facts or telling the truth. A Hillary Clinton ...

Hillary Clinton should keep Ash Carter as Defense Secretary if, as expected, she wins the presidency next week. With American troops fighting in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, major Carter initiatives underway within the Defense Department and the potential of an obstinate Republican opposition in Congress, a President-elect Hillary Clinton would ...

Since the turn of the century, perhaps earlier, there has been a consistent distancing between the U.S. and Latin America. Today it is difficult, perhaps even fanciful, to talk about U.S. policy toward the region as a whole; region-wide policies are mostly a thing of the past. During the Cold ...

In what may be his last foreign trip as President of the United States, Barack Obama will make a stop in Germany in mid-November. This will mark the president’s sixth visit to Germany, “reflecting the strategic importance of our partnership,” the White House said in a statement.   Germany is ...

Germany – a strong U.S. ally – is watching the American presidential race very closely, with a critical eye. The Cipher Brief’s Kaitlin Lavinder met in Berlin with German media expert Hero Warrings, who says that most Germans are keeping their fingers crossed for a Clinton victory. Warrings is the ...

A Donald Trump presidency could spell bad news for transatlantic relations, including the U.S.-German relationship, according to many experts. The Cipher Brief’s Kaitlin Lavinder traveled around Germany, asking people what they think of Trump. Dagmar Pepping, who covers national politics for Germany’s largest broadcasting service ARD, told The Cipher Brief ...

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton should tell voters over the next two weeks that if elected, she would seek congressional authorization before ordering the Pentagon to institute a no-fly-zone over Syria. Making such a statement prior to the November 8 election would be a gamble, since it could cost her ...

All things considered, there was ample discussion of critical national security issues during the third and final 90-minute debate of this heated and often nasty U.S. presidential campaign. Whereas Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton provided some specifics on a number of these issues, Republican nominee Donald Trump mostly criticized past and ...

The newly released FBI interview reports show that it was a Bureau official who initially suggested he would look into changing the classification of a State Department email that was part of the Hillary Clinton email probe, if Undersecretary Patrick Kennedy would allow an increase of FBI agents in Iraq. ...

From Syria, to climate change, North Korea, and the largest global refugee flows in history, the next President will face a uniquely challenging set of national security threats when she or he takes office. The Cipher Brief spoke with former Director of Policy Planning at the State Department and current ...

Fox News’ Chris Wallace has said as moderator, he plans to make “foreign hot spots” one of the 15-minute topics in tomorrow night’s final presidential debate. This has been far from an ideal campaign, and the past two debates – or should we call them confrontations—between Donald Trump and Hillary ...

It was a U.S. presidential debate unlike we have ever experienced.  Personal attacks and accusations expressed by Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton dominated over discussion of substantive issues. It seemed as though more time was spent in the gutter than the trenches. The Cipher Brief went ...

It was a raucous Vice Presidential debate Tuesday night, with both candidates repeatedly talking over each other, and each disparaging the positions of the other’s running mate. Unlike last week’s Presidential debate, where the focus was more on domestic issues and character, approximately half of the VP debate surprisingly centered ...

The conditions under which a U.S. president might use nuclear weapons has in recent weeks become a topic of national conversation. Toward the end of the first presidential debate on September 27, moderator Lester Holt asked Republican nominee Donald Trump if he supported the adoption of declared policy that the ...

For the Islamic Republic of Iran, the stakes couldn’t be higher when it comes to the outcome of the upcoming U.S. presidential election. With a landmark nuclear agreement reached last year between the world powers – the U.S., Russia, China, UK, France, and Germany – and Iran, and implemented earlier ...

The 2016 U.S. Presidential Election is fraught with uncertainty for the electorate, political establishment, and the world. The Iranian political establishment is closely observing the contest with an eye on the implications for Iran’s own national security and for the fragile region it resides in. With the United States' major ...

No country is watching the theatrics of the American presidential campaign more closely than the Islamic Republic of Iran. As the object of U.S. President Barack Obama’s most significant foreign policy initiative, Iran has a bigger stake in the outcome of the race than at any time since the end ...

The issue of national security is one of many to divide the two Presidential candidates in this, the most contentious of election campaigns. During Monday night’s first debate between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump, those divisions were readily apparent.  The last 30 minutes provided some animated ...

The United States and its allies need a three-dimensional strategy for beating back the Islamic State and its allies, one that looks beyond the immediate fight to eliminating the grievances that draw people to jihadist movements. That’s the idea laid out by retired U.S. Marine General John Allen in an ...

Last week, presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump answered questions at the Commander in Chief Forum—designed specifically to allow the candidates a chance to address military family issues as well as those of veterans. But if you tuned in, you know that there was no mention of military families. ...

As we draw closer to November 8 and the U.S. presidential race heats up, countries around the world have focused on how the potential election of either Republican nominee Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton will impact their relations with the United States.  In the eyes of Saudi Arabia, ...

If Donald Trump, the Republican Party nominee for the presidency of the United States, found it convenient to propose a ban of all Muslims from entering the country, his vision on how to go about his deed shocked one of America’s closest allies.  Hundreds of thousands of Saudis who studied ...

Throughout American electoral history, Saudi Arabia’s ruling Al Saud family, particularly the kings, has refrained from commenting on U.S. presidential candidates. But if they could now or even cast a vote, for whom would it be? Long-serving former Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal once referred to U.S. presidential campaigns as ...

NBC’s Wednesday night “Commander-in-Chief Forum” gave some insights into how Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump might handle the job, but I first want to deal with the danger it illustrated for the Intelligence Community when it comes to providing classified intelligence briefings to political candidates running for president in a ...

The Russians hack the United States’ systems “all the time,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told a conference of intelligence professionals on Wednesday. He also tackled concerns about the upcoming presidential transition and major threats facing the United States such as terrorism, climate change, and widespread global instability. During ...

Before Donald Trump speaks out again on the subject of nation-building, I suggest he – or his staff – study what the Pentagon terms “Building Partner Capacity,” which has been expanding over the past decade and serves as what can only be termed the Defense Department’s part in nation-building. Trump’s ...

American exceptionalism comes in many forms. When it comes to intelligence, there has been a unique tradition in the United States for more than 60 years: the current president grants his two possible major-party successors access to Top Secret information in post-convention briefings. These election cycle presentations, which began last ...

In an electoral season with no shortage of drama, the recent resignation of Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, brought even more scrutiny to Russia’s intense interest in the upcoming U.S. presidential election. Manafort’s past lobbying efforts for pro-Russian elements in Ukraine drew unwanted attention to a Trump campaign already ...

It is no secret that the Kremlin is not terribly enthused about the idea of a Hillary Clinton presidency. Russia’s alleged involvement in the computer hacks of the Democratic National Committee made that much clear. A quick look around Russian news sites – most of which are owned and controlled ...

Now that the Presidential candidates will soon be getting classified intelligence briefings, critics on both sides have raised questions about whether either candidate is fit to receive them.   On the one hand, Republican nominee Donald Trump has been criticized for unsubstantiated claims he has made and controversial national security positions ...

As Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump enter the final stage of the presidential campaign, China watches their foreign policy statements closely for indications of their future positions on China. Such a keen interest is well-justified, since a new administration will always bring changes to U.S.-China relations. And, as both countries ...

Most Americans agree that the 2016 presidential election is one of the strangest in their history – and it looks like that feeling extends beyond U.S. borders. Governments worldwide want to know who will be at the helm of the world’s largest economy and military, and they are learning all ...

The intelligence briefings scheduled for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, perhaps as early as this week, may cause some serious reality to be injected into the current presidential campaign rhetoric – but I doubt it. In fact, because the proposed briefings have already become a political football, I believe they ...

Over the last eight years, China perceived weakness and indetermination in Washington. Whether right or wrong, it used this time to aggressively promote China’s regional and global interests, going so far as to brazenly manufacture and then militarize islands in the disputed South China Sea. Ahead of the 2016 U.S. ...

In front of a backdrop of American flags, Hillary Clinton on Thursday called presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s national security ideas a series of “bizarre rants, personal feuds, and outright lies” and warned that electing him as commander-in-chief would be a “historic mistake.” Clinton turned what was billed as a ...