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

Bush's Pity Party

In a Dec. 1 interview with ABC News' Charlie Gibson, Bush said that "the biggest regret" of his presidency was "the intelligence failure in Iraq." In other words, his biggest regret wasn't regret over anything he did but rather regret over something that was done to him.

(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
It's tiresome to need to point this out at this late date but, yes, George W. Bush and his administration misled the country while making the case for war with Iraq and, remarkably, are still trying to mislead people about it. In a Dec. 1 interview with ABC News' Charlie Gibson, Bush said that "the biggest regret" of his presidency was "the intelligence failure in Iraq." In other words, his biggest regret wasn't regret over anything he did but rather regret over something that was done to him , a vague "intelligence failure" rather than a misguided decision to invade another country. Bush explained that "a lot of people put their reputations on the line and said the weapons of mass destruction is a reason to remove Saddam Hussein. It wasn't just people in my administration; a lot of members in Congress, prior to my arrival in Washington, D.C., during the debate on Iraq, a lot of leaders of nations around the world were all looking at the same intelligence." This is, even by Bush...

How to Repair Our Relationship With Europe

Our relationships with the countries of the EU have been marred by a lack of actual diplomacy from the Bush administration.

It’s not as scary as the Middle East or as sexy as rising powers like China and India (and, sometimes, Russia, Brazil, and South Africa), but in many respects, the most important region for U.S. foreign policy in 2008 is the same as it was in 1908 or 1808 -- Europe. After all, the European Union’s almost $17 trillion gross domestic product is the largest in the world by a healthy margin. Alternatively, counted as individual countries, EU members make up five of the 10 largest economies in the world. What's more, though, to some pundits like Robert Kagan , Europe is defined primarily by its military weakness. But the reality is that two of the top five, and four of the top 10 military spenders in the world are in Western Europe. By the same token, two of the world's eight nuclear powers and two of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council are in Europe. To be sure, these two are, in both cases, the United Kingdom and France. Still, that reflects that, aside from...

How to Break the Neocon Lock on Washington

To succeed in putting forth a progressive foreign policy, Obama will need to reach out to moderate Republicans.

After the election comes the hard part -- governing. For the incoming executive, national security should be, in some respects, much easier than domestic issues. The president largely has a free hand with which to conduct foreign policy, and contemporary interpretations of the commander in chief's authority let the White House do just about whatever it wants on the military. No need to worry about Republican filibusters or recalcitrant Blue Dogs. On the other hand, on domestic policy Democrats normally stride confidently, sure that, at a minimum, they know what they want to do. On national security, it's a very different matter. And the politics, too, are treacherous. Yesterday's resounding progressive win reflects less a public embrace of liberal solutions to security problems, and more the fact that public attention to national security fell off the cliff. According to exit polls, Obama did worse than John Kerry (59 percent versus 73 percent) among voters who cited Iraq as their top...

The Coming Military Spending Surge

New Pentagon spending estimates for the next five years fly in the face of progressive priorities -- the likely incoming majority shouldn't stand for it.

A substantial progressive landslide -- involving the White House, over a dozen House seats, and at least half a dozen Senate seats -- now looks like an increasingly likely scenario for November. But to translate electoral victory into policy victory will require this new progressive majority to free itself from forces that are already gathering steam. Forces that will, if successful, prevent it from doing anything more than offering a term or two to clean up the most egregious aspects of the current mess in order to lay the groundwork for a new round of tax cuts and deregulation. One of those forces is the burgeoning neo-Hooverite sentiment among members of the elite media and perhaps the House Blue Dog Caucus that the appropriate response to a looming economic downturn is to implement an austerity budget that will only make the downturn deeper. This drive, though important to beat back, has already attracted substantial attention. Less noted amidst the recent focus on the economy,...

How Does Iraq Play Into the Economic Crisis?

The focus is on our unstable credit markets -- but we shouldn't forget that Bush's foreign policy has exacted its own costs on our economy.

Since September 11, the American imagination has been captured by the terrifying image of an American city struck by a terrorist WMD attack. It's a gripping scenario, but though the risk of such an event is certainly a reason to do our best to halt and reverse nuclear proliferation, it's always been a pretty outlandish concern. Nuclear weapons, it turns out, are really hard to build, even for states and for all the understandable anxiety nobody's ever created an effective biological weapon. A smallish band of terrorists operating on a shoestring budget doesn't have any plausible means of creating a mass casualty device. And though stolen Russian missiles became something of a 1990s movie cliché , in the real world, the Russians guard this stuff pretty carefully. A more plausible, if less dramatic, means by which terrorists might bring the United States low was outlined by none other than Osama bin Laden himself in his November 2004 pre-election message . In that tape, bin Laden...