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Getting Un-stuck From Red Dawn

Getting Un-stuck From Red Dawn


Time to stop the shadows of the Cold War from writing the Russian-American relations script
 ”The Russians need to take us in one piece, and that’s why they’re here. That’s why they won’t use nukes anymore; and we won’t either, not on our own soil. The whole damn thing’s …

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Climate Change: Fragile States Spillage

Climate Change:  Fragile States Spillage

 
“The physical features of the Somali country are much the same wherever the traveler may land. Bereft of all vegetation but a few scattered thorn- bushes bristling like hedgehogs, it is destitute of wealth and forbidding in aspect. The fine sand is driven by rainless storms into innumerable drifts. All …

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Climate Change Hijacks National Security

Climate Change Hijacks National Security

Why the Slow Moving Emergency is Resetting the U.S. National Security Conversation
Has climate destabilization already hijacked the national security conversation? Well, not yet – but it should and it will.  To help make my point for dramatic change in national security thought, let’s recall the old frog in boiling water …

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Message to Congress: No More Starships Please

Message to Congress: No More Starships Please

 
“With a decade of experience now to draw from, this is the moment to ask ourselves hard questions
– about the nature of today’s threats and how we should confront them.”
—- President Obama (May, 2013)
“The biggest, meanest, most advanced destroyer ever operated by the U.S Navy is about to hit the …

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Breaking Bad in the Most Fragile Country (Part 2)

Breaking Bad in the Most Fragile Country (Part 2)

“Somalia is a country where the soft power really needs to kick in harder and come in faster”

Last week I shared the highlights of my interview with Ambassador Augustine P. Mahiga, the former head of the United Nations Political Office for Somalia and special representative of the U.N. Secretary General …

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Breaking Bad in the Most Fragile Country

Breaking Bad in the Most Fragile Country

 
A Conversation with Somalia’s Chief Peace maker and Constitutional Framer
“Do people actually live here?” I recall asking myself as I made the torturous journey through the streets of the bullet-riddled ruins of Mogadishu in the back of a noisy, slow and filled-to-capacity, open-top military utility truck. It is difficult to imagine …

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“Christian American B*stard — go home!”

“Christian American B*stard — go home!”

How to Keep Somalia’s “Lost Boys” Problem From Becoming Our Own 
“Christian American B*stard, go home!” was the insult hurled at me by a sandal-wearing, skinny and feisty 14-year-old Somali boy on a sultry day in Somalia in 1993. The boy’s name was Maxamed, and I was a 22-year-old U.S. Marine …

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Time To Put Blue Helmets On Killer Hawks

Time To Put Blue Helmets On Killer Hawks

 “When force is necessary, we will continue to do so in a way that reflects our values and strengthens our legitimacy, and we will seek broad international support, working with such institutions as NATO and the U.N. Security Council.”
 – President Obama (2010 National Security Strategy)
Is it time for  other nations …

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Talking ‘Smart Power’ With Admiral Stavridis

Talking ‘Smart Power’ With Admiral Stavridis

Retired Admiral James Stavridis talks “smart power,” Latin America, and Snowden
With one-liners like, “We are excellent at launching Tomahawk missiles; we need to get better at launching ideas,” it is not hard to appreciate why The New York Times labeled recently retired Admiral James Stavridis a “Renaissance admiral.” Labels like “innovator” and “thought …

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Super Angry Geeks Versus “The Man”

Super Angry Geeks Versus “The Man”

“I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon….that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant.”

– Edward Snowden
In the 1983 American science-fiction film “War Games” star Matthew Broderick played a teenage internet hacker who unwittingly accesses a …

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Cuba’s Little Bird Flies Free

Cuba’s Little Bird Flies Free


Freedom is fundamentally the possibility of standing on a street corner and shouting “There is no freedom here!” — Yoani Sanchez
Cuban dissident Yoani Sanchez is fond of comparing Cubans to little birds in a cage – captives who are given free education, food, and water but who are …

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Terrorism: Time For “Killer Drones” To Go Global

Terrorism: Time For “Killer Drones” To Go Global

 
“When force is necessary, we will continue to do so in a way that reflects our values and strengthens our legitimacy, and we will seek broad international support, working with such institutions as NATO and the U.N. Security Council.”
 – President Obama (2010 National Security Strategy)
 Is it time for the international …

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Chavez: Latin America’s Most Successful Failure

Chavez: Latin America’s Most Successful Failure

“A state too expensive in itself, or by virtue of its dependencies, ultimately falls into decay; its free government is transformed
into a tyranny; it disregards the principles which it should preserve, and finally degenerates into despotism.”
— Simon Bolivar
Regrettably, the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez  did not heed the sage words …

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Secretary Kerry Needs to Bring His “A” Game

Secretary Kerry Needs to Bring His “A” Game

“We would accomplish many more things if we did not think of them as impossible”
– Vince Lombardi
Will Secretary of State Kerry prove to be a master of the foreign relations game by overcoming the seemingly impossible? Or will he have a hard time finding his footing on the slippery geopolitical …

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How Secretary Clinton Got It All Wrong

How Secretary Clinton Got It All Wrong

 
“To work with all our heart and all of our might to make sure that America is secure, that our interests are promoted and our values are respected.”
-  Former Secretary of State Clinton
If only former Secretary of State Clinton had remained true to the words she uttered so many times …

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About the Author

Oliver Barrett
Oliver Barrett

Oliver Barrett is a bilingual military security adviser and Latin America regional analyst. He is a decorated retired military officer, and a Pentagon insider who has quickly become known as a thought leader on foreign affairs topics. A former U.S. Marine and Navy pilot, Oliver served with distinction in the U.S. military for over 20 years and is a veteran of several U.S. military operations, to include: Operation Restore Hope (Somalia); and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan and Philippines). His writings focus on Latin America and the Caribbean; U.S. Diplomacy; U.S. Defense; and the U.S. Role in the World. He resides in Miami, Florida.

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