Matthew Yglesias

Matthew Yglesias is a senior editor at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a former Prospect staff writer, and the author of Heads in the Sand: How the Republicans Screw Up Foreign Policy and Foreign Policy Screws Up the Democrats.

Recent Articles

Denial Island

National-security concerns aren't the only reason -- or even the best reason -- to worry about the climate crisis. But they are real.

The Carteret Islands, a somewhat outlying atoll off the coast of Papua New Guinea, don't normally attract much attention. But it's a shame more people weren't paying attention in late April when a lone blogger, Dan Box, was on hand to witness the beginning of the islands' evacuation. It's a small atoll, you see, and relatively low-lying. Sea levels are rising. Flooding is increasing. And even though the island is still there, it's no longer habitable: "King tides have washed away their crops and rising sea levels poisoned those that remain with salt,"wrote Box. These days, in other words, sometimes the high tide gets so high it buries the farmland, and even when it doesn't, the salt permeates the soil.

Do Conservatives Understand Torture?

Conservatives don't actually support torture. They just think it's a useful tool. Too bad they're wrong.

The current conservative line on the forms of torture used by the Bush administration -- from waterboarding to stress positions that produce "muscle fatigue" that manages not to rise to the level of "severe pain" -- leads to an obvious question. Why don't we do more of it? According to the right, this kind of physical and psychological torment doesn't meet the standard for illegal torture. And according to the right, it's also highly effective at producing information.

And a legal, highly effective method of acquiring information from prisoners or captives sounds like a useful thing indeed.

The First Cut Is the Deepest

We should be paying attention to the very real cuts Secretary Gates has proposed to outdated, oversized Cold War-era projects.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates answers questions about the budget during a press briefing at the U.S. State Department on April 9, 2009. (AP Photo/U.S. Air Force, Master Sgt. Jerry Morrison)

A funny thing happened on the road to the 2010 Department of Defense budget request; the president and the secretary of defense ordered a 4 percent increase in spending and found conservatives lambasting them for "cuts" in the budget. Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma even characterized the increase in spending as aimed at "disarming" America.

Why Are Democrats Undermining Obama's Diplomatic Plans for Iran?

The members of Congress calling for the United States to set a time table for Iran to suspend its uranium-enrichment program are missing the point.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer was among the democrats who sent a letter to Obama concerning Iran's nuclear weapons program.(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Throughout a record-length presidential campaign, Barack Obama -- first in the primaries, and then in the general election -- stood firmly behind his view that the United States of America needs to make a serious effort at good-faith negotiations with Iran in order to resolve the dispute over Iran's nuclear activities and help stabilize the region. Now with the attempt to put that agenda in practice just barely beginning, efforts are already underway to quietly kill it. Consider a letter sent this weekend by a powerful group of House Democrats -- Steny Hoyer, Howard Berman, Ike Skelton, Silvestre Reyes, Henry Waxman, Gary Ackerman, and Robert Wexler.

Against Surge Logic

Why do we need another surge in Afghanistan? Because we've done nothing but resort to surges in the past.

Today, the conventional wisdom in the United States is that the so-called "surge" in Iraq has been a stunning success, and its critics have been discredited. That's why surgeniks Max Boot, Frederick Kagan, and Kimberly Kagan can smugly write in the March 13 New York Times things like, "Make no mistake: there is hard, costly fighting ahead in Afghanistan. But the fight is worth pursuing, and the odds of success are much better than they were in Iraq when we launched the forlorn hope known as the surge."

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