William Galston

William A. Galston is a senior fellow and Ezra K. Zilkha Chair in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution.

Recent Articles

The Democracy Solution

Not long after George W. Bush delivered his June 2002 speech severing relations with Yasir Arafat, a White House reporter wondered whether Natan Sharansky had become one of the president's speechwriters. By the time of President Bush's second inaugural, in January 2005, reporters no longer had to guess at Sharansky's influence. The previous November, the president had received the refusenik-turned-politician at the White House for a lengthy discussion. “If you want a glimpse of how I think about foreign policy, read Natan Sharansky's book,” the president later told The Washington Times. Sharansky's argument that terrorism can be fought only by expanding global freedom, Bush said, is “part of my presidential DNA.”

Perils of Preemptive War

On June 1 at West Point, President George W. Bush set forth a new doctrine for U.S. security policy. The successful strategies of the Cold War era, he declared, are ill suited to national defense in the 21st century. Deterrence means nothing against terrorist networks; containment will not thwart unbalanced dictators possessing weapons of mass destruction. We cannot afford to wait until we are attacked. In today's circumstances, Americans must be ready to take "preemptive action" to defend our lives and liberties.

Unsolved Mysteries: The Tocqueville Files II

Bowling Alone" was published in January 1995.
Seldom has a thesis moved so quickly from scholarly obscurity to conventional
wisdom. By January 1996 the Washington Post was featuring a six-part
series of front-page articles on the decline of trust, and Beltway pundits had
learned the vocabulary of social capital.