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Archive: Foreign Affairs

Little excuse for the thin U.S. leadership bench in Afghanistan

No student of any kind of history--military, political or otherwise--would have expected the conflict in Afghanistan to be over quickly, which means a leadership pipeline should have been an obvious need and top priority.

By Jena McGregor | February 15, 2011; 09:45 AM ET | Comments (11)

The weight of Panetta's words

Panetta was right about one thing in his committee testimony. Even the best intelligence can't get you inside another leader's mind. "Our biggest problem is always: How do we get into the head of somebody?" he told members of Congress. Likewise, we won't know what it was in Panetta's head--excitement that a change could be coming, cold hard intelligence that turned out to be wrong or mere reiteration of media reports, as his aides say--that prompted him to make a statement that instantly set up expectations around the world.

By Jena McGregor | February 11, 2011; 10:10 AM ET | Comments (35)

Google in Egypt: Can companies limit employee activism?

he Google executive, as Ghonim is known, is based in Dubai and is a marketing manager for the search-engine giant in the region. But he has also been one of a small group of people behind the Facebook campaign that helped to spark the massive protests calling for the president's ouster.

By Jena McGregor | February 9, 2011; 10:35 AM ET | Comments (17)

The risks of drawing out Egypt's leadership transition

In a place as volatile as Egypt, such a drawn-out transition has the potential to be much, much worse. The much-needed reforms Mubarak has promised would have little weight. The expectation of seismic changes in the country's government could bring current operations to a standstill, inviting even more chaos.

By Jena McGregor | February 2, 2011; 02:32 PM ET | Comments (0)

How Huntsman's affiliation with Obama could help him

If Huntsman does actually run, he will have formidable foes in the primary better able to rally the party's more conservative and rural voters. But in an age when civility seems ascendant, and when many voters jaded by the heated rhetoric in Washington are looking for someone who can work across the aisle, Huntsman's Achilles heel--a forced position of gratitude to the president--could also end up being his secret weapon.

By Jena McGregor | February 1, 2011; 05:36 AM ET | Comments (18)

Egypt: Obama's communication highwire

The uprising presents his administration with a bewildering dilemma between American ideals and American interests, and most presidents who've come before him have ultimately chosen the latter, with differing fates.

By Jena McGregor | January 30, 2011; 04:18 PM ET | Comments (35)

The 'dish' Boehner will miss

A leader at Boehner's level should actually want to take every opportunity to present a unified front to other countries--no matter how much we may disagree with some of their practices and policies--and to improve relations with someone who leads a country fast becoming this nation's largest global rival. Yes, Boehner is meeting with President Jintao later this week. But a social setting like Wednesday night's event offers unique opportunities for leaders to find commonalities, get to know each other as people and engage in additional dialogue. And the only way to grab them is to be there.

By Jena McGregor | January 19, 2011; 10:11 AM ET | Comments (211)

Haiti's Iron Market: A symbolic rebirth

Symbolism plays a huge role in leadership, and O'Brien's investment in the Iron Market's reopening within a year of the tragedy is an example of its power. Symbolic gestures motivate people in any situation, but especially in a place where the scale of human misery is as tremendous as it is in Port-au-Prince. And in Haiti, where so little hope is left, it may be one of the only remaining things that works.

By Jena McGregor | January 12, 2011; 09:32 AM ET | Comments (2)

The expert influence behind START

Mullen's letter, requested by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, proves that support from a respected name on a subject can still help cut through partisan acrimony and surmount petty differences.

By Jena McGregor | December 22, 2010; 09:26 AM ET | Comments (9)

The contradiction of Richard Holbrooke

Seemingly all of the obituaries, remembrances and elegies following Holbrooke's death, on Dec. 13, highlight his extraordinary ego (here was a man who coveted the position of Secretary of State from the time he was a young foreign service member in Vietnam) while simultaneously recognizing him for his willingness to advise his young proteges.

By Jena McGregor | December 14, 2010; 01:11 PM ET | Comments (6)

What businesses should know about WikiLeaks

Complete openness and transparency is not only impossible but undesirable in any large institution. Controlling who has access to information that matters--without limiting access to information that would be helpful to employees--is a tension every leader should be wrestling with today.

By Jena McGregor | November 30, 2010; 12:08 PM ET | Comments (5)

Wikileaks' Julian Assange: When the leader becomes the story

By walking out on the CNN interview with Ms. Shubert, he promises to bring even greater attention to himself rather than the Iraq war documents to which his organization is trying to bring so much attention. Even if questions about his personal life weren't germane to the interview (and given his accusations against the U.S. government, they are), Ms. Shubert's questions about whether or not he is eclipsing the Wikileaks revelations were fair. A leader's job is to promote and defend the organization's work, yes. But that is best done behind the scenes rather than by making one themselves.

By Jena McGregor | October 25, 2010; 08:03 AM ET | Comments (67)

 
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