James Jay Carafano


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:

America’s nuclear force must match Russia’s and then some

Jan 17, 2019 — James Jay Carafano

WASHINGTON, D.C. If you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind. It’s a bromide, yes, but undeniably true when talking about the state of our nuclear weapons program.

In this area, America is falling further and further behind our competitors. It leaves us more vulnerable, and the world less safe.


U.S. base in Poland flashes continual hands-off signal to Putin!

Dec 20, 2018 — James Jay Carafano

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In the 1950s, NATO war planners pondered how to defend the nascent alliance against the Soviet war machine.  On paper, the magnitude of the threat looked overwhelming. 

War-gaming showed that British and U.S. forces would be unable to stop a Soviet incursion in the east.  The best option: consolidate our forces at the beaches at Normandy, where the Allies had first come ashore in 1944 and strengthen their position as much as possible before the Soviet troops arrived.  Then… hold on.


U.S. woefully trails our biggest potential adversaries.  We need to beef up our military

Oct 14, 2018 — James Jay Carafano

BEFFING UP THE MILITARY
WASHINGTON,  D.C.  — Beer, pizza and defense.  Americans spend more on each of these than anyone else.  So what?  These facts say nothing about how happy, healthy or safe we are.  They are meaningless without context.

Perhaps Americans could do with fewer jumbo slices and more gym memberships.  But when it comes to defense spending, America needs to spend more, not less.


Proposed Space Force best way to prevent future Star Wars

Aug 17, 2018 — James Jay Carafano

Space Force
WASHINGTON, D.C.—There is an honest debate to be had over whether the United States needs a separate armed service that’s focused on space.  But President Trump’s critics are having none of it.

Instead, they have responded to the very notion of a Space Force with dismissive ridicule, suggesting that he wants a corps of ray-gun equipped Buzz Lightyears shouting: “to infinity and beyond!”


Bailing out on a bad deal with Iran stabilizes the chances for peace

May 19, 2018 — James Jay Carafano

Bailing out on a bad deal with Iran stabilizes the chances for peace
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Breaking news: Everything is not all about Trump.  The death of the Iran nuclear deal is one of them.

Dumping the deal was more a mercy killing than anything else.  Yet many will continue to debate the wrong issue — whether or not we should have stayed in the deal.

The real issue is, does Trump know what to do next?  The answer, fortunately, appears to be yes.


Israel has an obvious right to prevent its obliteration

Apr 6, 2018 — James Jay Carafano

Israel has an obvious right to prevent its obliteration
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Should the U.S. forbid Israel from attacking Iran if it feels the extremist regime in Tehran is about to obliterate it?

Of course not.  We have no right to do so, and such a ban would be flatly unenforceable.

Israel’s trigger finger has good reason to be itchy.  The Israelis always doubted that Obama’s deal with the mullahs would prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear breakout state, and now even that dicey deal is on the ropes.


A modernized military is needed to handle global threats

Jan 14, 2018 — James Jay Carafano

A modernized military is needed to handle global threats
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Many pundits are mystified by Donald Trump’s foreign policy.  That’s because they focus too much on what he says … and even more on what he tweets.

But Trump uses his tweets and off-hand comments to drive the news cycle and poke his critics.  They are not meant as policy pronouncements.

Knowing what the White House is really up to requires looking at the formal proposals and policy statements coming out of the administration.
And when it comes to understanding the totality of the president’s foreign relations policy, the newly released National Security Strategy is a good place to start.


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.