National Security Experts


Chris Seiple

Biography provided by participant

Chris Seiple, Ph.D., is the president of the Institute for Global Engagement � a "think tank with legs" that studies and actively promotes sustainable religious freedom worldwide. A graduate of Stanford, the Naval Postgraduate School, and the Fletcher School for Law & Diplomacy, Seiple is also the founder of The Review of Faith & International Affairs (, a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute (Philadelphia), a member at the Council on Foreign Relations (New York), and a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (London). His book, The U.S. Military/NGO Relationship in Humanitarian Interventions, is a seminal work in the field, and he is the co-author of the forthcoming International Religious Freedom: A Handbook for Advocacy. A former Marine infantry officer, Seiple serves on the Wycliffe Bible Translators, USA, board of directors, and also on the board of advisors for Carolina for Kibera, Inc. With a recognized expertise in national and homeland security U.S. foreign policy, Central & East Asia, humanitarian intervention, religion and international affairs, Muslim-Christian relations, and religious freedom, Seiple has appeared on BBC, MSNBC, Fox News, CN8, and CNN. His many speaking engagements have taken him around the world, including Tashkent, Doha, Peshawar, Bannu, Moscow, Vladikavkaz, Hanoi, Issakul, Urumchi, Oslo, Hama, and Beijing. He also speaks regularly at U.S. military schools regarding national security and religious and cultural engagement. Seiple resides in Virginia with Alissa and their two sons, Liam and Hanan. Seiple's monthly column is available at

Recent Responses

November 7, 2011 06:31 AM

In an age of globalization and austerity -- where there is no distinction between international and domestic, and there is no money to be spent -- the discussion of creative approaches to foreign policy and national security has been underwhelming. Some questions for the Republican candidates:

Because every situation is different, what timeless principles inform your decision-making? What is your understanding of this global century, and your vision for America's contribution to it? What does success look like in the 22nd century? What is your definition of grand strategy? How does it account for a "Track 1.5" approach where governments (Track 1) and civil society organizations (Track 2) work together to tackle common challenges? What is the difference between security and defense? What does "power projection" mean to you? In a world where 85% of the world's 7 billion people believe i

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March 24, 2011 10:06 PM

There has been much controversy since the bombing of Libya began: Why Libya and nowhere else in the Arab world? What is America’s national interest? Why is the U.S. acting multilaterally? What is the end-game? And, the unfortunately unasked question: how might America act more intentionally with its soft power such that we are not reduced to hard power responses in this region?

These necessary questions should be asked in the context of U.S. goals for the Middle East/North Africa region. So far, the response to Libya is a case study in what not to do, while coming alongside the emerging model in Morocco is a critical opportunity to act at the intersection of American values and interests.

Much of this controversy could have been avoided if there had been leadership by the president, who also happens to be the constitutionally-appointed commander-in-chief of American armed forces (see article II, Section II of the Constitution).

War—and it is a war, Mr. President—is the continuation of politics by other means. Politics is the art of compromis

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March 14, 2011 08:23 AM

Doha, Qatar, 13 March-- It has been my privilege these past few days to attend Al-Jazeera's conference on the future of the Middle East. What follows is a summary of what I have heard and learned from Arabs, which might serve as a useful context for considering how the U.S. engages Libya and the Arab world, now and in the future. That said, the only thing I know for sure is this: it is the beginning of the beginning, and anything is possible.

Like the peoples of Africa, the sovereignty of Arabs has twice been usurped in the last 100 years: first from the outside by European colonialists, then from the inside by their own dictators. The result has been a pervasive humiliation and low self-esteem, too aware that their first attempts at self-governance after independence-whether through sacred, secular, or socialist governance structures-have failed. The establishment of democracy in Iraq added both injury and insult to this humiliation, as America did what they could not do for themselves.

This period is now over. To be sure, at least at this gathering, the heavy-han

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January 7, 2011 07:08 AM

This strategic question is the most important external issue that the United States faces this century; although it is sometimes understandable that we get caught up in the operational issue of terrorism.

Before discussing the question, however, we should assume that: 1) the current systems of governance remain in each country; 2) each system believes it is better than the other and works with the other out of self-interest; 3) irrespective of political systems, each country has a very different culture, which means, simply, that people think differently about the issues; and, 4) there are isolationist trends in both countries that consciously or subconsciously work against the global responsibilities of the U.S. and China.

In this context, these countries are neither partners nor rivals. They are competitive colleagues who also happen to be common shareholders in a global civilization undergirded by that advance guard of globalization: contract law. Contract law, at its essence, demands that both parties respect each other another enough to guarantee their bottom l

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June 23, 2010 07:54 AM

It is time for leadership, and the making of a president. The president must finally take responsibility for this war, declaring that we are in to win, or that we will pull out as quickly and responsibly as possible. It is his war and he must lead a team that is committed to one of these two courses of action. Splitting the difference is no strategy at all.

Indeed, the comments of General McChrystal’s staff are nothing compared to the leaking of classified cables by the staff of the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, let alone the public differences on the President’s staff regarding the timing, pace, and size of America’s July 2011 “withdrawal” (see Vice President Biden vs. Secretary of Defense Gates).

General McChrystal deserves, at least, a serious reprimand. But America deserves serious leadership.

Whatever course of action President Obama takes, he should appoint a civilian overseer—perhaps a retired military officer, as was the case in Malaysian counterinsurgency effort—who has daily and direct control of all

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March 1, 2010 07:43 AM

I was in South Carolina last week, visiting with the U.S. Army chaplains at their annual leadership meeting in Hilton Head. The experience produced two reflections relevant to this week's question regarding the incredible restraints we are putting on our troops as they fight in Afghanistan. First, to get to Hilton Head, you have to fly into Savannah and then drive north...not unlike General Sherman in early 1865 as he repeated in South Carolina his total war effort that he had perfected in Atlanta. Although Clausewitz had not yet been translated into English, Sherman practiced an absolute form of war with no "logical limit" to its application, destroying everything military and civilian in his path. The practice of such a form of war, beginning with the 1864 march on Atlanta, confirmed the re-election of Lincoln, the defeat of a constitutional Christianity that protected slavery, and the preservation of a union that encouraged pluralism (Lincoln, unlike Jefferson Davis, had rejected even the discussion of a constitutional amendment making Christianity central to our government

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