National Security Experts


Rachel Kleinfeld

Biography provided by participant

Rachel Kleinfeld is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Truman National Security Project. She previously consulted with the Center for Security and International Studies, where she worked with the Hon. Richard Danzig on bioterrorism response. She has also served as a Senior Consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton working on information-sharing across the military, intelligence, and law enforcement communities, homeland security, and trade and security issues. Rachel maintains a strong interest in efforts to improve the rule of law within other countries, to buttress human rights, security, and development. She has consulted for the World Bank, the Open Society Institute, the Culture of Lawfulness Project, and other private and nonprofit organizations regarding building strong police, judicial, and legal structures in weak states. Rachel has appeared as a commentator on radio and television, and has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. Her writings have appeared in multiple books, including: Promoting the Rule of Law Abroad (2005); With All Our Might (2006); and The Future of Human Rights (2008). Her work on U.S. and EU strategies to build the rule of law in Indonesia will appear in an upcoming Palgrave publication in 2009. Rachel has also served on the Board of Trustees for the Blue Fund, a progressive mutual fund, and has served on the Rhodes Scholarship Committee for the 6th District. A Rhodes Scholar and a Truman Scholar, Rachel received her B.A. from Yale University and her M. Phil in International Relations from St. Antony's College, Oxford.

Recent Responses

September 1, 2011 11:41 AM

Boy, is it easy to sound hard-nosed when it’s not your life at stake. Let’s look at the facts: a hated dictator who held his country hostage for 42 years is on his last legs. The Libyan rebels own this success – but it would not have happened without NATO. On the eve of their intervention, Gaddafi claimed that he would hunt down protesters, “inch by inch, room by room, home by home, alleyway by alleyway.” To avert this slaughter, President Obama rallied allies so America could uphold our values but would not have to own this intervention alone.

That decision – however imperfect, however critiqued for coming too late, or conversely for doing too much – has paid off. Potentially hundreds of thousands of lives have been saved. Celebrating Libyans hold signs thanking America – even conservative columnist Nick Kristoff has noted what this intervention has done for improving America’s (very sullied) image in this part of the Arab world.

Moreover, the strategy worked not only in the execution of the war, but

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March 7, 2011 08:30 AM

As a virtual civil war overtakes Libya, Colonel Qaddafi has ordered his military and police officers to fire on unarmed civilians – and has executed those who disobey. Given Qaddafi’s desperation to hold power, there is a very real possibility that he will massacre his people to remain their “leader”. Of course, there are brutal leaders throughout the world we do little about – but the immediacy of this brutality, the possibility of stopping a bloodbath before it occurs, and, of course, Libya’s oil supplies to Europe, play a real – and legitimate – role in making intervention more likely. We should think first about how we will succeed.

The risks of failure are significant. A no-fly zone could easily exacerbate Qaddafi’s sense of being surrounded – while doing nothing to stop his troops from killing civilians with machine guns which are difficult to halt from an airplane. Many voices are calling for “taking out” Qaddafi – but without boots on the ground, how will we do that? Thousands in t

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September 14, 2010 11:40 PM

When I lived in Russia in 1992, I was offered the chance to purchase a nuclear submarine. The Soviet Union was collapsing, and the Russian-American theater troupe I was with were some of the only Americans in St. Petersburg. The theater was above the largest mafia casino in town, and the mafiosos were looking for new ways to make money off Soviet detritus. Hence: their offer to sell a nuclear-powered submarine to a bunch of American actors with hard cash.

Fast forward to today. President Obama -- as well as Henry Kissinger and Reagan's Secretary of State George Schulz (hardly bleeding heart liberals) -- understands that nuclear war against Russia is now highly unlikely. But al Qaeda has already pledged that it is a religious obligation for its terrorists to get their hands on a nuclear bomb. If our motley crew of thespians could buy a nuclear submarine in 1993, you can bet that terrorists can find one member of the corrupt Russian bureaucracy willing to sell off a spare nuke, for the right price.

That is why Obama is so right to have pushed the new START tr

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August 16, 2010 11:18 AM

I try to alternate between non-fiction and fiction, since I believe the former adds knowledge, the latter, insight. This summer, I've added another restriction: many of the books must be light enough to take backpacking, and heavy enough to be worth reading while admiring Colorado's majestic peaks.

On the fiction side, I've alternated between Lonesome Dove and Gilead -- the latter the best work of fiction I have read in years, a deeply moving moral soliloquy on the role of evil, the worth of violence to do right, and the possibilities inherent in place.

However, with both of those works being too heavy for the backpack, I've been working my way through some of the Greats -- inspired by an Aspen Seminar I had the joy of participating in. I don't know any current policy work that rivals Machiavelli's The Prince, Aristotle's Politics, Toqueville's Democracy in America, Sophocles' Antigone, Ibn Khaldun's 14th century travel writings, or Martin Luther King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

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