David Ignatius is a syndicated columnist for The Washington Post, writing on global politics, economics and international affairs.

David Ignatius

David Ignatius

Chinese Financial Markets Jittery

April 11, 2014

China's financial markets seem to be signaling trouble, as a government crackdown on corruption and loose credit begins to bite and jittery local investors scramble for safety.

  • U.S. Increases Covert Aid In Syria

    March 28, 2014

    The Obama administration, stung by reversals in Ukraine and Syria, appears to have decided to expand its covert program of training and assistance for the Syrian opposition, deepening U.S. involvement in that brutal and stalemated civil war.

  • Putin Raises Specter Of Cold War

    March 21, 2014

    Vladimir Putin baptized his conquest of Crimea with a powerful, unsettling speech that should be a warning that an embattled Russia is fighting for what it sees as its national dignity — in ways that require a firm and patient U.S. response.

  • New Leader Struggles With China's Economy

    February 28, 2014

    What Xi Jinping has accomplished over the past year doesn't look like an old-fashioned Communist Party putsch. There aren't red banners in the streets or blaring loudspeakers. But Chinese and Western analysts agree that Xi has achieved a remarkable consolidation of power.

  • U.S. Must Reset Its Foreign Policy Mission

    February 21, 2014

    Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, was trying to explain recently why her state has remained "internationalist" in its soul, even as it shares the national anger about Iraq and Afghanistan. In Minnesota, she says, "internationalism is not just tolerated, it's embraced."

  • Russian Dissidents Display Olympic Resolve

    February 14, 2014

    Amid the television extravaganza of the Sochi Olympics, I had a chance to visit last week with a Russian whistleblower named Sergey Kolesnikov. Back in 2010, he had revealed what he claimed was a network of corruption that included a billion-dollar palace on the Black Sea allegedly built by wealthy businessmen for Vladimir Putin.

  • Senate Panel: No 'Stand Down' In Benghazi, No Military Saviors

    January 20, 2014

    The Senate Intelligence Committee made headlines last week by reporting that the 2012 attack in Benghazi was preventable. But frankly, we knew that. The deeper message of the bipartisan report was that Republicans in Congress wasted a year arguing about what turned out to be mostly phony issues.

  • Good Strides In Middle East, But We're Not There Yet

    October 4, 2013

    President Barack Obama is approaching one of those moments when a big turn in foreign policy is possible. People can debate whether it's the equivalent of the opening to China or the end of the Cold War, but there's no doubt that this is a time of opportunity — and that, as the old English proverb put it, "there's many a slip twixt cup and lip."

  • U.S.-Iran Deal Offers Opportunity, Peril

    September 20, 2013

    For a weakened but still ambitious President Obama, the biggest foreign-policy opportunity and danger of his presidency rolls into New York next week with the arrival of Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani.

  • Secrecy Conceals U.S. Spy Agencies' Flaws

    August 30, 2013

    One interesting conclusion that emerges from The Washington Post's revelation Thursday of the secret "black budget" for intelligence activities is that the United States doesn't have many secrets anymore — not in the age of WikiLeaks and omnipresent whistle-blowers. It's only because of the forbearance of Post editors that all 178 pages of this top-secret "Talent-Keyhole" document were not blasted to the world.

  • Israel Has Opportunity Amid Region's Termoil

    April 26, 2013

    It's a measure of the relatively quiet time for Israel these days that the sharpest argument at a big national security conference here was between an ultra-Orthodox rabbi who wanted "autonomy" for his fellow believers and secular Israelis in the audience who shouted out denunciations of what one called his "apartheid" plan.

  • North Korean Agitator Alienates His Allies

    April 15, 2013

    One unlikely benefit of the North Korea crisis is that the world may be getting fed up with the country's pugnacious young leader, Kim Jong Un. In his belligerent talk of war, Kim appears to have crossed a line, upsetting traditional allies such as China and Russia as well as the United States and South Korea.

  • Susan Rice Pick Has Great Potential, High Risk

    November 30, 2012

    The Republican assault on Susan Rice is a fabricated scandal, attacking her for repeating CIA talking points, almost verbatim, to explain the Benghazi attacks. The U.N. ambassador's version, even with its omissions, may turn out to be closer to the truth than some of the inflammatory GOP rhetoric.

  • Unifying Syrian Opposition Key

    November 23, 2012

    The Syrian opposition took a big step forward this month by forming a broad political coalition that includes local activists who started the revolution. But the opposition's military command is still a mess, and until it's fixed, jihadist extremists will keep getting more powerful.

  • Obama's Foreign Policy Decisions Coming Due

    November 9, 2012

    On foreign policy, President Barack Obama effectively posted a sign on the White House lawn last summer that said: Come back after Election Day. Now, the moment has arrived and the world's problems are lining up for Obama's attention.

  • Petraeus: Driven, Focused Leader Falls

    November 9, 2012

    David Petraeus achieved genuinely great things in his career, so his fall as CIA director over what he bluntly described in his resignation letter Friday as "extremely poor judgment … engaging in an extramarital affair" has the poignancy you might find in a novel by Leo Tolstoy or Victor Hugo. Petraeus may have seemed larger than life in uniform, but beneath the ribbons he was a very human story.

  • Benghazi Timeline Shows CIA's Desperate Efforts

    November 2, 2012

    A detailed CIA timeline of the assault on U.S. facilities in Benghazi paints an anguishing picture of embattled Americans waiting for Libyan local security forces that didn't come and courageous CIA officers who died on a rooftop without the heavy weapons they needed, trying to protect their colleagues below.

  • Massive Political Changes Loom For China

    November 2, 2012

    As Election Day approaches, it's useful to look at the murky political transition taking place this month in China. It's a reminder of the benefits of America's sometimes chaotic democracy.

  • Murdered Intelligence Chief Sensed Danger

    October 26, 2012

    Three days before his murder, Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan told me in a telephone interview from France that his contacts with the Syrian opposition put him "under a big light for Hezbollah" and made it "complicated for me to move" because he was a potential target.

  • Overextended U.S. Must Make Choices Or Decline

    October 19, 2012

    As Barack Obama and Mitt Romney prepare for Monday night's debate on foreign policy, they could do some useful last-minute cribbing by reading an article titled "The Risks of Ignoring Strategic Insolvency." It's one of the best summaries I've seen of an urgent problem they should discuss honestly.

  • Too Soon To Judge Egypt's Revolution

    October 12, 2012

    You can see what the Egyptian revolution has achieved, 20 months on, by visiting Menoufia, a rural area of the Nile Delta that was the birthplace of the deposed dictator, Hosni Mubarak: Everything is different outwardly, but beneath the surface, almost nothing has changed yet.

  • Obama Dodging Key Foreign Policy Questions

    September 28, 2012

    It's embarrassing when President Barack Obama's risk-averse refusal to engage foreign policy issues becomes so obvious that it's a laugh line for the president of Iran.

  • U.S.-Iran War Game Reveals Real Danger

    September 21, 2012

    Perhaps it was the "fog of simulation." But the scariest aspect of a U.S.-Iran war game staged this week was the way each side miscalculated the other's responses — and moved toward war even as the players thought they were choosing restrained options.

  • Christians, Muslims Gaining Ground Around The World

    September 7, 2012

    God had a good convention: The Almighty's name was mentioned (albeit at the last minute) in the Democratic platform. And he was invoked no less than 12 times in the Republican platform, in case he is keeping score.

  • U.N. Peacekeepers Wrestle With Limitations

    August 31, 2012

    There is no "big idea" easier to pay homage to in principle, or harder to make work in practice, than the peacekeeping role of the United Nations. This is painfully clear in a new memoir by Kofi Annan, its former secretary-general.

  • Ryan, GOP Press Game Of Budget Chicken

    August 17, 2012

    The politics of "sequestration" illustrate the talent of congressional Republicans, led by Rep. Paul Ryan, for being on both sides of the budget issue: They play a game of "chicken" with federal outlays, demanding a balanced budget without tax increases, and then insist that it's the Democrats' fault if there's a crackup.

  • Afghans To Battle On Soccer Field

    August 3, 2012

    Gaze into the murky crystal ball at Afghanistan's future after the withdrawal of American combat troops: The country is fragmented; intense rivalries pitting regions against each other. Kabul remains the center, prized by all, and rivals come there to battle for national dominance.

  • Central Banks Juggling Recession Burden

    July 21, 2012

    Because of the breakdown of political decision-making in the U.S. and Europe during the Great Recession, the burden of response has fallen largely on two big central banks: the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank. And down the road, they are going to pay for it.

  • Apology Patches Up Tattered U.S.-Pakistan Relations

    July 13, 2012

    Why did it take Washington nearly eight months to apologize for the deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers? But you know the answer: It's because the U.S. and Pakistan have the most neurotic, mutually destructive "friendly" relationship in the world.

  • How To Step Back From Brink With Iran

    May 25, 2012

    It's a classic case of brinkmanship bargaining: Iran and the West, each seeking to squeeze concessions from the other side, have decided to continue their nuclear negotiations on June 17, a few weeks before a punishing new round of sanctions takes effect.