James M. Dorsey

James M. Dorsey is an award-winning journalist and commentator on foreign affairs who has covered ethnic and religious conflict and terrorism across the globe for more than three decades. Over his career, Dorsey served as a foreign correspondent for, among others, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor and UPI in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Central America and the US. He is currently a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and the author of the blog, "The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer."
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Contesting Russia Requires Renewed US Engagement in Central Asia

When US Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III declared that Washington wanted to see Russia so “weakened" that it would no longer be able to invade a neighboring state, he lifted the veil on US goals in Ukraine. He also held out the prospect of a long-term US-Russian contest for power and influence. Austin's remarks were problematic on several fronts. For one, they legitimized Russian... Continue Reading

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Learning Lessons in Ukraine and Beyond

Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine and the international condemnation it has generated contains key lessons for policymakers. They are lessons that should have been learned in past global crises but weren't. However, the Ukraine crisis offers an opportunity to correct that mistake. International Law A first lesson is that failure to firmly stand up to violations of... Continue Reading

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It’s Not All Bad News for the Gulf

Gulf Arab states are in a pickle. They fear that the emerging parameters of a reconfigured US commitment to security in the Middle East threaten to upend a pillar of regional security and leave them with no good alternatives. The shaky pillar is the Gulf monarchies’ reliance on a powerful external ally that, in the words of Middle East scholar Roby C. Barrett, “shares the strategic,... Continue Reading

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For Saudi Arabia, Iran Looms, Israel Beckons and the Taliban Cause Goosebumps

Prince Khalid bin Salman may not have planned it that way, but the timing of his trip to Moscow last week and message to Washington resounded loud and clear. By not postponing the visit, the Saudi deputy defense minister signaled that he was trying to hedge his kingdom’s bets by signing a defense cooperation agreement with Russia. This took place just as the United States fumbled to... Continue Reading

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What Starts in Afghanistan Does Not Stay in Afghanistan

The Taliban’s offensive in Afghanistan has shifted the Central Asian playing field on which China, India and the United States compete with rival infrastructure-driven approaches. At first glance, a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan would give China a 2:0 advantage against the US and India, but that could prove to be a shaky head start. The fall of the US-backed Afghan government led by... Continue Reading

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Can Saudi Arabia Balance Social and Economic Change?

The World Bank issued a stark warning in its 2018 outlook for the Saudi economy: “The Kingdom likely faces a looming poverty problem.” The bank has since noted in its 2019 and 2020 outlooks that “while no official information is available on poverty, identifying and supporting low-income households is challenging.” Dependent on world oil prices, the curve of... Continue Reading

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Personality and Ambition Fuel Saudi-UAE Divide

Personality and the conflation of national interests with personal ambition are contributing to the widening gap between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It was only a matter of time before Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) would want to go out on his own and no longer be seen as the protégé of his erstwhile mentor and Emirati counterpart, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed... Continue Reading

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Saudi Seeks to Replace UAE and Qatar

Saudi Arabia has stepped up efforts to outflank the United Arab Emirates and Qatar as the commercial, cultural and/or geostrategic hub in the Gulf. The Saudis recently expanded their challenge to the smaller Gulf states by seeking to position Saudi Arabia as the region’s foremost sports destination, once Qatar has had its moment in the sun with the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The kingdom seeks to... Continue Reading

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Athletes Shake Up Sports Governance

Sports governance worldwide has had its legs knocked out from under it. Yet national and international sports administrators are slow in realizing the magnitude of what has hit them. Tectonic plates underlying the guiding principle that sports and politics are unrelated have shifted, driven by a struggle against racism and a quest for human rights and social justice. The NBA Is Conflicted... Continue Reading

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Pakistan Takes Cues From China to Clamp Down on Freedom of Expression

Sweeping new regulations restricting social media in Pakistan put freedom of expression and the media at the heart of the struggle to counter both civilizationalist and authoritarian aspects of an emerging new world order. The regulations, adopted without public debate, position US social media companies like Facebook and Twitter at the forefront of the struggle and raise the specter of... Continue Reading

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