James Jay Carafano


James Jay Carafano photo
A 25-year Army veteran, James Jay Carafano is vice president of Defense and Foreign Policy Studies for The Heritage Foundation, (Heritage.org), a conservative think-tank on Capitol Hill. Readers may write him at Heritage, 214 Massachusetts Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002.

Most Recent Articles by James Jay Carafano:

Navy must repair and expand its fleet to meet mounting global challenges

Sep 1, 2017 — James Jay Carafano

WASHINGTON, D.C.—In 1979, Captain Tom Shanahan, commanding officer of the USS Canisteo, did something that no U.S. Navy officer had done since the Revolutionary War.  He refused to take his ship to sea.

It wasn’t mutiny.  Shanahan declined to certify the ship and crew as seaworthy.  The Canisteo was short-staffed, its crew inadequately trained.


Crush Jihadists in Syria; then focus on restoring Middle East peace

Jul 8, 2017 — James Jay Carafano

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Anyone who argues that the United States ought to get deeply involved in the civil war in Syria ought to have his head examined.

There is no easy answer for that quagmire.  If there was, the strongmen in Tehran and Moscow wouldn’t stand by and let responsible nations implement them.

That is not say that the U.S. should sheepishly acknowledge Assad’s dictatorial, genocidal regime.  As a matter of policy, Washington should reject the legitimacy of the government in Damascus.  But we shouldn’t forcibly attempt to enforce the policy. 
We also shouldn’t do nothing.


Obama budget cuts left U .S. too weak to deal with multiple global menaces

Mar 28, 2017 — James Jay Carafano

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Constitution makes Donald Trump the commander-in-chief.  But, the founding fathers assigned the responsibility of raising and maintaining a military to Congress.

From Lincoln and Wilson to FDR and Reagan, every serious defense buildup has required bipartisan support from the Congress.  Today, America’s armed forces need another jolt.
So, once again, members of Congress must play their part to make sure our military can deliver enough punch to protect our homeland and our vital interests abroad.


To keep the global peace, U.S. must remain top dog

Nov 14, 2016 — James Jay Carafano

WASHINGTON, D.C. — America’s military is shrinking — and not by accident.

Over the last five years, Washington has slashed defense spending by almost 25 percent.  Whether measured as a percentage of GDP or as a portion of the federal budget, the Pentagon’s operating budget is near historic lows for the modern era—and slated to go lower.


Trump’s push for a NATO buildup is nothing new; but it is wise

Aug 20, 2016 — James Jay Carafano

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Donald Trump wants NATO members to pay their fair share into the transatlantic alliance.  But that’s nothing new.

Since the end of the Cold War, every American administration has made the same demand.

And it’s still a bipartisan stance. Leaders and candidates in both parties — from Bernie Sanders to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) — have called for NATO members to put more skin in the mutual defense game.


Hillary’s proposed sanctions on North Korea fall far short

Jun 26, 2016 — James Jay Carafano

WASHINGTON, D.C. — How do you solve a problem like Kim Jong-un?  Suggestions offered on the campaign trail thus far have been less than promising.

For example, both Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders and Republican hopeful Donald Trump have suggested “outsourcing” the challenge of dealing with North Korea to China.


Frequent flyer miles don’t add up to successful foreign policy

May 6, 2016 — James Jay Carafano

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Obama has put more than a few miles on the Air Force One odometer.  But travel is no guarantee of foreign policy success. Indeed, Mr. Obama is winging his way toward one of the foreign policy records compiled by any U.S. president.


Ignoring religious genocide is an Obama atrocity

Mar 28, 2016 — James Jay Carafano

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Oppression, persecution, even genocide—such is the heartbreaking experience of minority communities in the Greater Middle East.

Rather than seize the moral high ground, the Obama Administration has, for the most part, simply milled about at the bottom of the hill, a bystander to injustice.


Obama’s last chance: put boots on the ground and snuff ISIS

Nov 19, 2015 — James Jay Carafano

WASHINGTON, D.C.—President Obama has no choice now.  If he wants to defeat ISIS, he’ll have to become a real war leader.  He may not like it, but putting troops on the ground is the surest way to win this war. 

That’s nothing new.  Paris was horrific, but no game-changer.  The game changed in 2014, when ISIS broke out from Syria, drove the Iraqi military from the field and proclaimed a worldwide caliphate.


When it comes to strategy, Putin is the Roadrunner and Obama is Wiley Coyote

Oct 1, 2015 — James Jay Carafano

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Kremlin is not our friend.  Nor is Moscow a 10-foot tall threat to our national interests.


If Iran starts cheating, Netanyahu has no choice but to strike

Jul 30, 2015 — James Jay Carafano

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Vienna Agreement overseeing Iran’s nuclear program brought no joy to Tel Aviv.


Obama’s cuts leave every military branch weaker than on 9/11

Jun 11, 2015 — James Jay Carafano

WASHINGTON, D.C.—A “tiger mom” might go ballistic if her child came home with a “needs improvement” on his kindergarten report card.  But most adults wouldn’t panic.  They know there is time to get the kid up to standard before the deadline for that Harvard application falls due.


Obama’s naive offer to Iran puts US, Israel and entire Middle East at risk

Mar 12, 2015 — James Jay Carafano

WASHINGTON, D.C.—President Obama’s strategy of negotiating with Iran could put the Jewish state at risk.  And it could well make the world less safe for America, as well—but not in the way most think.


Obama’s “Leading from Behind” has U.S in full retreat

Jan 29, 2015 — James Jay Carafano

WASHINGTON, D.C.—“Leading from behind.”  A White House official coined that phrase in 2011 to describe President Obama’s Libyan policy.  His political opponents quickly seized on that characterization as an apt metaphor for how the president conducts foreign policy.


Big losers are Cubans yearning to breathe free; U.S. credibility

Dec 24, 2014 — James Jay Carafano

WASHINGTON, D.C.—President Obama’s decision to make nice with Cuba’s repressive, anti-American regime creates a great number of losers.

Topping the list, of course, are the people of Cuba.  They are starting from a bad place, lacking fundamental freedoms.  And Mr. Obama negotiated no promises from the Castro brothers to ease up on the repression.