About Ivan Eland

Ivan Eland is Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at The Independent Institute. Dr. Eland is a graduate of Iowa State University and received an M.B.A. in applied economics and a Ph.D. in Public Policy from George Washington University. He has been Director of Defense Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, and he spent 15 years working for Congress on national security issues, including stints as an investigator for the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Principal Defense Analyst at the Congressional Budget Office. He also has served as Evaluator-in-Charge (national security and intelligence) for the U.S. General Accounting Office (now the Government Accountability Office), and has testified on the military and financial aspects of NATO expansion before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on CIA oversight before the House Government Reform Committee, and on the creation of the Department of Homeland Security before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Dr. Eland is the author of The Empire Has No Clothes: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed and Putting “Defense” Back into U.S. Defense Policy, as well as The Efficacy of Economic Sanctions as a Foreign Policy Tool. He is a contributor to numerous volumes and the author of 45 in-depth studies on national security issues.

His articles have appeared in American Prospect, Arms Control Today, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Emory Law Journal, The Independent Review, Issues in Science and Technology (National Academy of Sciences), Mediterranean Quarterly, Middle East and International Review, Middle East Policy, Nexus, Chronicle of Higher Education, American Conservative, International Journal of World Peace, and Northwestern Journal of International Affairs. Dr. Eland's popular writings have appeared in such publications as the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today, Houston Chronicle, Dallas Morning News, New York Times, Chicago Sun-Times, San Diego Union-Tribune, Miami Herald, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Newsday, Sacramento Bee, Orange County Register, Washington Times, Providence Journal, The Hill, and Defense News. He has appeared on ABC's “World News Tonight,” NPR's “Talk of the Nation,” PBS, Fox News Channel, CNBC, Bloomberg TV, CNN, CNN “Crossfire,” CNN-fn, C-SPAN, MSNBC, Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC), Canadian TV (CTV), Radio Free Europe, Voice of America, BBC, and other local, national, and international TV and radio programs.

U.S. Security Agencies Are Out of Control

US Security Agencies

Ivan Eland: Many recent indicators point to a U.S. national security bureaucracy running roughshod over the sad remnants of the founder’s republican vision. As in the Roman world, empire is gradually snuffing out the republic.

North Korea Abuses Human Rights: Tell Us Something We Don’t Already Know

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North Korea Abuses Human Rights: The almost 65-year U.S.-led effort to isolate this regime has failed. Let’s try alternatives.

Bipartisan Budget Agreement Doesn’t Make Partisan Bickering Look So Bad

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Bipartisan Budget Agreement — The intrinsically secure U.S. currently accounts for almost 40 percent of worldwide defense spending.

Why Hawks Are Trying to Kill Interim Nuclear Pact with Iran

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Ivan Eland: If the real objective is to weaken Iran as power in the Middle East through a military attack by either the US or Israel, using Iran’s nuclear program as an excuse, the interim agreement is a disaster because it removes the imperative for any military strike.

Feinstein Cares More about Appeasing Allied Governments than Standing Up for Americans’ Rights

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Ivan Eland: Senator Feinstein—who, as chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee, is supposed to oversee and rein in spy agencies—is leading this charge in the wrong direction.

Turkey Purchases Arms from China

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Ivan Eland: The U.S. quest to be “Big Man on Campus” and retain “influence” in Europe after the Cold War has allowed its NATO allies to get away with even more than they did back then.

No More Spinning, Just Stop NSA Domestic Snooping

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Ivan Eland: Domestic surveillance should be eliminated, unless it falls strictly within the Constitution’s requirement of obtaining a search warrant only if “probable cause” exists that a suspect has committed a crime.

Terrorist Attack on Kenyan Shopping Mall Should Cause Americans to Pause

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Ivan Eland: Americans have been especially oblivious to their government’s rampant and needless intervention into the affairs of other countries and the fact that it causes heinous blowback terrorism—not only against American facilities, businesses, and people overseas but right here at home.

Russia Bashing: A Dead End

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Ivan Eland: The real rub is that the current Russian leader, unlike his predecessor, the drunk buffoon Boris Yeltsin, refuses to be an American lackey and endure post-Cold War US insults.

Syria War Wariness Should Remain

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Ivan Eland: Although such a strike would have bad repercussions for the United States in the Middle East region and violate international law, at least Obama went against the Korean War precedent to reconnect with the founders.

The U.S. Will Regret Intervention in Syria

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Ivan Eland: With a $17 trillion national debt and war fatigue from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, the American public, as shown by opinion polls, has no stomach for the deep involvement in Syria that the pundits crave.

The Case for Restraint in Yemen

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Ivan Eland: Until the United States realizes that its informal overseas empire, and the military interventions needed to maintain it, is the primary cause of anti-U.S. terrorism, the excessively grandiose and counterproductive war on terror is likely to continue endlessly.

TSA: Ask the Fed for Relief…From the Fed?

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Ivan Eland: The government is using Americans’ tax money to create the misery of airport security, which is now generating even more government revenues from slightly alleviating our pre-boarding pain.

Kill Wasteful Missile Defense Efforts

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Ivan Eland: This government “Star Wars” effort has been a boondoggle, but then huge costs and poor performance rarely cause any government program to be terminated—evidence of this effect is exhibited by the continued flow of money to the project despite three decades of failure.

Should the United States Quit Meddling in Egypt?

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Ivan Eland: The U.S. government is even more concerned about preserving U.S. military aid to Egypt—to retain its influence—than are some in the Egyptian armed forces, according to Egyptian military officials.

Our Middle East Obsession

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Ivan Eland: Slavish and lavish U.S. military and political support for Israel allows its government to obstruct the peace process by continuing to grab as much Palestinian land through the settlement of occupied territory, a violation of international law.

Down the Slippery Slope in Syria

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Ivan Eland: Despite disasters in the making in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya after eliminating unfriendly governments, Western nations just can’t pass up another opportunity to topple yet another excessively vilified ruler and replace him with a veneer of democracy.

Obama’s New Restricted War on Terror Unlikely to Last

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Ivan Eland: Even if drone strikes are eventually transferred from the CIA to the Pentagon, it may be important only in the minds of Washington’s politicians and bureaucrats, rather than effecting the implied improvement in transparency.

Should the Law Governing the War on Terror Be Changed?

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Ivan Eland: Unfortunately, even if the law is not changed, civil liberties groups already have a perpetual war on their hands–despite the decimation of the main al Qaeda group.

Benghazi: Who Cares?

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Ivan Eland: Less scrupulous Republicans, such as McCain and Graham, should realize that their line of attack on Benghazi is not strong–Americans don’t usually vote on foreign policy unless a huge catastrophe has occurred.

Save Money by Ending Costly Alliances

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Ivan Eland: I noted that if the United States continues to provide other nations’ security, they have no incentive to provide their own. After all, if someone offered to pay your mortgage, why would you pay it?

Democratization: Indigenous Beats Imported

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Ivan Eland: Despite George W. Bush’s and Barack Obama’s efforts to topple foreign dictators and use military power to forcefully impose democracy from without, democracy usually works better if it bubbles up from below by popular desire.

Cut Carriers Now

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Ivan Eland: With yawning American budget deficits and a $15 trillion national debt, it would save significant amounts of money to reduce the number of carriers and carrier air wings well below the excessive 11 and 10, respectively.

No War for Oil

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Ivan Eland: Could it be that the U.S. is not aggressively employing military power to ensure that it has oil supplies—as the Imperial Japanese did before and during World War II—but is instead using the threat of armed force to keep a thumb on the oil lifelines of other nations.

America Should Quit Preaching and Lead by Example

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Ivan Eland: Let’s get rid of preaching to, meddling in, and even attacking and invading other countries to spread our values and go back to the founders’ vision of leading by example.

What Michele Bachmann’s Mount Rushmore Picks Reveal

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Ivan Eland: Analyzing whom a candidate would add to Mount Rushmore, instead of if they can remember a specific fact when under pressure, might just provide some sort of window on what policies a candidate might pursue if successful.

Libya Victory Portends Endless Intervention

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Ivan Eland: NATO’s “victory” in Libya has sown many seeds of possible future calamity. But none is fraught with as much danger as providing a new “war on the cheap” model for Western nations that have fallen on hard economic times.

Central Africa: Another Potential Quagmire on the Horizon

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Ivan Eland: The Central Africa case demonstrates how militaristic U.S. foreign policy has become, since the administration, seeing a nail because it has a big hammer, came up with the military option to satisfy the ambiguously worded law.

The Government’s Illusory Terrorist Threat

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Ivan Eland: The way government works, every agency—whether fighting poverty, obesity, childhood acne, or terrorism—needs a threat to hype to keep the cash flowing in from scared taxpayers.

US Terror Lists Should Be Downsized

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Ivan Eland: Should we take this violent, cult-like group off the U.S. terrorism list because all these Washington celebrities seem to be at least tacitly advocating such a move? No, the group, no matter how bad, should be taken off the U.S. terrorism list because it no longer attacks U.S. targets.

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