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Kathy Gilsinan

Associate editor at The Atlantic Kathy Gilsinan is a staff writer at The Atlantic, covering national security and global affairs.
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Despite Threatening It, Trump Is Keeping the Military Out of Venezuela

April 18, 2019 In the battle for the future of Venezuela, Russia is sending in military planes. China is still importing Venezuelan oil as repayment for billions of dollars in loans to Caracas. And the United States, among other things, is implementing Title III of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (Libertad) Act...

The US Escalates Even Further Against Iran—To What End?

April 8, 2019 The Trump administration added another layer to its “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran when it declared the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a “Foreign Terrorist Organization”—an escalation that exposes to U.S. criminal prosecution anyone supporting the most powerful security services of the Iranian government. “This unprecedented step, led by the...

Trump Learns to Live With NATO—And Vice Versa

April 3, 2019 Two-plus years into the Trump presidency, NATO is learning to live with the U.S. president, and vice versa. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has been praised for his deft touch with Trump—for making him feel his concerns are heard even as he defends NATO’s value. For his part, Trump has long...

The ‘Caliphate’ Is Gone. Where’s the ‘Caliph’?

March 30, 2019 As the last shred of Islamic State territory in Syria fell to Kurdish-backed forces this month, thousands of people, including fighters, fled the enclave or surrendered. Yet when the exodus was over and the “caliphate” was extinguished, a mystery lingered: Where was the “caliph”? “We don’t know where he is,”...

Patrick Shanahan’s Endless Limbo

March 28, 2019 Late Monday night, the Defense Department announced that it was directing $1 billion to help fund a border fence. Tuesday morning, the House Armed Services Committee chairman, Adam Smith, made public a letter saying that his committee would deny the request—right in the middle of Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan’s...

The ‘Caliphate’ Is Dead, but Americans Might Not Be Any Safer

March 25, 2019 The Islamic State is gone, even if only in strict geographic terms. Once estimated to span territory up to about the size of Maine, the group’s self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria has disappeared entirely in less than five years. As of early February, the group held just about a...

The US Is Running Low on Options to Force Maduro Out

March 25, 2019 Two months after Juan Guaidó declared himself the legitimate president of Venezuela with the support of the United States and its regional allies, the elaborate international effort to will a new government into existence has hit a snag. Nicolás Maduro remains very much entrenched in Caracas, refusing to retire to...

Trump's Golan Announcement Was No Impulse Tweet

March 21, 2019 Donald Trump once again overturned decades of U.S. policy via Twitter when he declared on Thursday that the United States should recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, a disputed territory Israel seized in the 1967 war with Syria. The area, he wrote, is “of critical strategic and security importance...

Trying to Kill the Iran Deal Could End Up Saving It

March 18, 2019 The Trump administration has made a priority of punishing and pressuring Iran. But the same administration that withdrew from the nuclear deal that President Donald Trump dubbed “a great embarrassment” may actually end up preserving it. Iran and all the other signatories are still observing the deal’s terms for now....

How White-Supremacist Violence Echoes Other Forms of Terrorism

March 15, 2019 Their enemies are different, but their grievances and methods can look strikingly similar. The suspected gunman charged with killing 49 people at a mosque in New Zealand on Friday was a white nationalist, bent on killing Muslims. But in many respects he’s not so different from the jihadists who have...