David Cortright

David Cortright, a Sojourners contributing writer, is director of policy studies at Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. His books include Ending Obama’s War: Responsible Military Withdrawal from Afghanistan (Paradigm Publishers, 2011).

Posts By This Author

A Good Deal Worth Protecting

by David Cortright 06-08-2015

The Iran Framework could be one of the most significant nuclear nonproliferation achievements in history. 

Vietnam Agonistes

by David Cortright 04-01-2015

The battle for hearts and minds continues, 50 years later. 

The Power of Peacebuilding

by David Cortright 03-09-2015

A military-only strategy won't defeat ISIS, and may even make things worse. 

Needed: An International Strategy in Iraq

by David Cortright 08-15-2014
Rachel Unkovic/International Rescue Committee, via Flickr.com

Iraqi refugee girl with her family at Newroz camp, Aug. 15. Rachel Unkovic/International Rescue Committee, via Flickr.com

The crisis in Iraq poses two challenges — a humanitarian effort to rescue persecuted minorities, and a security mission to suppress the extremist threat posed by the forces of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The U.S. is right to play a leading role in aiding the Yazidis, Christians, and other threatened minorities in Iraq. The immediate threat against the Yazidis has eased, but minority groups in the region remain endangered by violent extremism. The Obama administration should work through the United Nations to turn this into a genuine international rescue effort. The greater the degree of international participation and support for the aid mission, the more beneficial and legitimate it will be for the recipients.

The U.S. is also right to call attention to the threat posed by ISIS, but we need to do more to mobilize international pressure against the group. The Islamic State is in many respects more dangerous than al Qaeda. It has conquered Mosul and other major cities, taken control of dams and oil facilities, and is steadily expanding its sphere of influence in Syria and Iraq. It has formed a terrorist army with an estimated 10,000 fighters and is now armed with tanks and advanced U.S. weapons stolen from the Iraqi army. The group poses a significant threat to the security of the region and the world.

Between Iraq and a Hard Place

by David Cortright 08-04-2014

U.S. intervention has been the problem in Iraq, not the solution.

A Good Deal With Iran

by David Cortright 11-25-2013
Clauionegri79/Shutterstock

U.S. received most of its demands in deal with Iran Clauionegri79/Shutterstock

The nuclear agreement with Iran is a triumph of diplomacy. It stops the expansion of Iran’s nuclear program, rolls back some of its most worrisome elements, establishes more rigorous monitoring to guard against cheating, and suspends some sanctions on the Iranian people.

If implemented, this agreement will significantly reduce the potential nuclear threat from Iran and enhance the security of Israel and other states in the region. Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama deserve credit for supporting the diplomatic effort.

The agreement includes a commitment from the U.S. and its allies to “not impose new nuclear-related sanctions for six months.” This means that the U.S. Senate must defer any further sanctions measures to allow compliance to proceed. 

Bridging the Persian Gulf

by David Cortright 11-05-2013

Diplomatic talks with Iran could end the nuclear standoff—and more.

Seeking Nonviolent Solutions in Syria

by David Cortright 06-05-2013

Working with the U.N. for a negotiated settlement has a greater chance of success than military involvement.

Ten Years After Iraq

by David Cortright 02-27-2013
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Soldiers pray, preparing to depart Iraq in December 2011. Mario Tama/Getty Images

We’re approaching the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq — an appropriate time to reflect upon the antiwar ferment that gripped the globe at that time.

Virtually the entire world opposed the U.S.-led invasion. Feb. 15, 2003 was the largest single day of antiwar protest in history. An estimated 10 million people demonstrated against the war in hundreds of cities on every continent — more than a million in London and hundreds of thousands in Barcelona, Rome, Sydney, Berlin, and New York.

Arms Merchant to the World

by David Cortright 08-30-2012

The United States has surpassed all records in global arms sales — a whopping $66.3 billion in armaments sold last year.

Most of the weapons went to Persian Gulf nations, although India also bought more than $4 billion in military equipment. U.S. arms sales in 2011 were triple the previous year’s level and the highest annual total ever recorded.

The U.S. is once again the world’s number-one arms proliferator, accounting for 75 percent of global arms sales. Word of this dubious distinction comes as our leaders claim to support and have been working at the United Nations to negotiate a global Arms Trade Treaty.

The report makes a mockery of the UN negotiations and our government’s presumed commitment to control the arms trade.

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