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Joshua Foust


Joshua Foust is an analyst who writes about international security and intelligence issues. He is a contributor to The Atlantic, and has written for the New York Times, Salon, Reuters, the Christian Science Monitor, World Politics Review and the Columbia Journalism Review. His website is


Pakistan’s historic elections

Last weekend, Pakistan went to the ballot box to elect its parliament. Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted in a military coup led by Pervez Musharraf in 1999, won. It is a significant milestone in Pakistan’s history: the transition from one elected government to another. So is Pakistan on the path to normalcy? It’s still a [...]


A red line for American intervention in Syria?

Last week, the U.S. government released some sobering news about the war in Syria; chemical weapons have possibly been used in the conflict. In a statement to reporters while traveling in the Middle East, Secretary of State John Kerry accusedthe Assad regime of launching “two chemical attacks” on the rebellion. Does this mean the U.S. [...]


Caution for North Korean brinksmanship

Last Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry issued a stern warning to North Korea; Pyongyang must stop “bucking the trend of history and common sense” with its constant nuclear brinkmanship. Mr. Kerry is right, of course, but he also understands that the ritual Korean sabre-rattling isn’t going to end anytime soon. In many ways, the Korean regime builds [...]


Keep calm and carry on

The tragedy this week in Boston, where homemade bombs ripped through a crowd watching the Marathon, is appalling: 3 confirmed dead so far, over a hundred wounded and dozens in critical condition. What can we learn about this attack? Is it preventable? Are we any less safe? Despite Monday’s tragedy, it’s difficult to avoid the [...]


The jihadization of Syria’s resistance

On Tuesday, the Islamic State of Iraq – an al Qaeda affiliate – officially announced that it had merged with Jabhat al-Nusra, a Syrian resistance group with several thousand fighters. The new group is called the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria(ISIGS). It is a worrying development for a number of reasons. The U.S. [...]


Do Russia and America have a future together?

Since the end of the Cold War, Russia has been something of a mystery to the West. Two competing instincts, incorporating Russia into international institutions and “finishing the job” of  marginalizing Moscow, have never coexisted peacefully. As a result, Western relations with Moscow have steadily declined over the last fifteen years. Leaders in the West [...]


The Islamabad drone dance

The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights, Ben Emmerson, conducted a three-day visit to Islamabad, Pakistan last week. Despite his stated purpose to investigate drone strikes, he did not speak with any of the agencies responsible for those strikes, or even visit any strike sites. Instead, Mr. Emmerson met with some government officials, dutifully reported [...]


Why did the U.S. capture Sulaiman Abu Ghaith?

Last Friday, the U.S. government announced it had captured Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law and al Qaeda’s one-time chief propagandist, in Jordan. His capture appeared like a major coup. When the U.S. invaded  Taliban-controlled Afghanistan in 2001, Abu Ghaith told Aljazeera, “the planes will not stop,” referring to more 9/11-style attacks. In reality, however, [...]


The strange politics of human rights conferences

Over the weekend, I attended the International Forum and Film Festival for Human Rights (FIFDH) in Geneva, Switzerland. They invited me to discuss the implications of a recent documentary by Dutch filmmaker Vincent Verweij called “Attack of the Drones,” which premiered last year. The documentary raises many important questions about the use of this weapons platform [...]