Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

Council on Foreign Relations Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is a regular contributor to Defense One. Lemmon is the author of Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
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What Comes Next After Raqqa and Mosul?

July 6, 2016 Who will get to Raqqa first? What happens after Mosul falls? And what comes next for Syria and Iraq? President Barack Obama is on the verge of seeing the central tenet of his Middle East strategy hit on-the-ground reality. After the U.S. special operations war against ISIS ends – the...

The Latest Taliban Leader’s Death Changes What, Exactly?

May 24, 2016 In the aftermath of the drone strike that killed Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Akhta Mansoor in Baluchistan, Washington is debating what his death means and what message the strike sends. What is certain is that the attack has become a Rorschach test for those favoring and opposed to peace talks....

If Diplomacy Fails, Then What for Syria?

May 19, 2016 As fighting rages on in Syria, world leaders in Vienna on Tuesday pledged to turn the limited “cessation of hostilities” into a nationwide ceasefire heralding progress toward full peace and a political end to the war. Yet the question remains, as it has for years: If diplomacy fails, then what?...

Petty Officer Keating Died 2 Miles From the Syrian Front. How Far Are You?

May 5, 2016 Two hospitals bombed in the space of only a few days, killing doctors, mothers, and babies. More than 250 dead just since April’s end. Welcome to life and death in Aleppo. Have most of us even heard of it? On the ground in Syria’s flashpoint city, the carnage has been...

After Brussels, Will Voters Demand Foreign-Policy Experience?

March 22, 2016 Will today’s horror in Brussels tilt Americans toward presidential candidates with foreign-policy experience—or simply whet their appetite for more red-meat, get-tough rhetoric? Immediately after news broke of the rush-hour bombings, television networks raced to ask Donald Trump for reaction. (Trump gained 7 percent in the polls shortly after the Paris...

Dispatch from the Turkish Border: Syrians Waiting in Vain for the World

February 10, 2016 GAZI ANTEP, Turkey — On the second day of a UN-backed diplomatic gathering last week to end the war in Syria from offices in Geneva, Syrian civil society activists huddled in a pale hotel in the Turkish town of Gazi Antep to talk about building peace. Yet outside the workshop...

Obama's Legacy: Limited Force, Limited Influence, Lingering Questions of What America Should Be

January 14, 2016 In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama offered a fervent defense of his view of the role of American power. It’s a view some Republicans and Democrats have derided as offering too little support for America’s allies and too low-calorie a version of what American foreign policy...

The Challenge of Selling ‘Stay the Course’

December 15, 2015 It is a rhetorical challenge to make “more of the same” a compelling message, even for an oratorically gifted president. But that’s exactly what the president tried to do when he headed to the Pentagon Monday morning and offered the American public 1,210 words that essentially boiled down to six:...

In Town Where Refugees Depart, Trump's Ideas Feel Even More Ludicrous

December 9, 2015 IZMIR, Turkey — When barrel bombs fell near Alaa’s home in Aleppo, the eighteen-year-old Syrian ran outside to check on her family and to make certain her relatives were okay. In the process of seeing the carnage and searching for her loved ones, the mother of two ended up miscarrying...

Special Ops Survey Showed 85% Opposed Serving With Women

December 4, 2015 Come next year women can become Navy SEALs and Army Rangers in their own right should they meet the test, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced Thursday. But according to a study special operations leadership commissioned when the end of the ban on women in ground combat was announced, committed senior...

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