Dr. Christopher J. Bolan

CHRISTOPHER J. BOLAN is Professor of Middle East Security Studies at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College where he researches and teaches graduate level courses on U.S. national security, foreign policy, and Middle East security issues.  He has served as a foreign policy advisor on Middle East and South Asia affairs for Vice Presidents Gore and Cheney.  He is a retired U.S. Army colonel with overseas tours in Korea, Egypt, Jordan, and Tunisia.  He holds a PhD in International Relations and Master of Arts Degree in Arab Studies from Georgetown University. He tweets on national security issues @DrChrisBolan.

Some of Dr. Bolan’s works include:

“Snatching Strategic Defeat from the Jaws of Tactical Victory,” FPRI, January 5, 2020.
“Shifting Poles in the Middle East:  Implications for U.S. Regional Strategy,” FPRI, November 11, 2019.
“10 Hard Realities of America’s Next Syria Policy,” DefenseOne, October 18, 2019.
“The US Is Trying to Restore Deterrence in the Gulf.  That Won’t Be Enough,” DefenseOne, October 6, 2019.
“Why Iran Should – But Might Not – Take Up Latest U.S. Offer of Negotiations,” Foreign Policy Research Institute, September 12, 2019.
“American Credibility is Dangerously Low: Just Not for the Reasons You May Think,” Foreign Policy Research Institute, July 31, 2019.
“Deterrence Is Failing – Partly Because Iran Has No Idea What the US Really Wants,” Defense One, June 14, 2019.
“Dealing with Iran Will Not Be Enough to Restore Regional Stability,” Foreign Policy Research Institute, June 14, 2018.
“The Challenges of Deterring Iran,” Chapter 6, In The Return of Deterrence: Credibility and Capabilities in a New Era, Queens University, Centre for International and Defence Policy, June 2019.
“The Collapse of Deterrence with Iran,” Sic Semper Tyrannis, April 24, 2019.
“U.S. Strategy in Syria is Dangerously Adrift,” Foreign Policy Research Institute, April 1, 2019.
“Russian and Iranian “Victory” in Syria:  Does It Matter?” Foreign Policy Research Institute, December 20, 2018.
“Intelligent U.S. Foreign Policy Begins with Seeing Complexity in Both Riyadh and Tehran,” Foreign Policy Research Institute, November 15, 2018.
“U.S. Is Tactically Proficient, But Strategically Deficient,” U.S. Army War College War Room, September 18, 2018.
“The Strategic Implications of the Syrian Offensive in Idlib,” Foreign Policy Research Institute, September 17, 2018.
“The Brewing Battle over U.S. Troop Presence in Syria,” Foreign Policy Research Institute, August 2, 2018.
“After the Smoke Clears in Syria:  Dilemmas for U.S. Strategy Remain,” SSI, 18 May 2018.
“Untangling the Myths of U.S. ‘Red Lines’ in Syria,” RealClearDefense.com, 1 May 2018.
Book Review, “Charting a New Course: Strategic Choices for a New Administration,” Marine Corps University Journal 9, No. 1 (Spring 2018): 250-252.
Compete and Cooperate to Make U.S. National Security Strategies Great Again,” Foreign Policy Research Institute, 2 March 2018.
“Should I Stay or Should I Go Now? Options for the U.S. Presence in Syria,” DivergentOptions, 26 February 2018.
“Is the U.S. Backing a Serious Reformer or Reckless Driver in Riyadh?” Foreign Policy Research Institute, 5 February 2018.
“The New National Defense Strategy,” SSI Panel Discussion, 31 January 2018
“The New National Defense Strategy,” SSI Live Podcast, 26 January 2018
“Waltzing Toward a Two-Front Global War,” DefenseOne.com, September 29, 2017; made Aspen Institute’s Top Five Best Ideas of the Day.
“The Best Bad Option:  Nuclear Deterrence & North Korea,” USAWC War Room, Sept 19, 2017.
“Memorandum to President Trump on the Iran Nuclear Deal,” DefenseOne.com, September 18, 2017.
“The U.S. Balance-of-Power Strategy in the Gulf is Collapsing,” DefenseOne.com, August 4, 2017.
Book Review, “Understanding the U.S. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” MCU Journal, Spring 2017.
Contributor to “At Our Own Peril:  DoD Risk Assessment in a Post-Primary World,” Strategic Studies Institute, June 29, 2017.
“Winning the War Against Terrorism (again and again)”, RealClearDefense, June 26, 2017.
“So What’s Wrong With an Arab NATO?” RealClearDefense, May 19, 2017.
“U.S. Options for Regime Change in Syria,” Divergent Options, April 13, 2017.
“Strategic Questions Loom Large for President Trump in the Middle East,” SSI, April 11, 2017.
“The US and Iran Are Not Yet on a Course to War,” DefenseOne.com, February 14, 2017.
“Reimagining U.S. Foreign Assistance in the Middle East,” SSI Strategic Insights, February 7, 2017.
“The U.S. Should Back Russia’s Syria Ceasefire,” FPIF, January 9, 2017.
“Syria Options: Military and Political Pressure,” Divergent Options, 22 Dec 2016.
“The Permanent Crisis: Iran’s Nuclear Trajectory,” Book Review, Parameters 44, Iss. 4 (Winter 2014-15): 154-155.
“On Priming Strategic Communications:  Countering ISIS,” Parameters 44, Iss. 4 (Winter 2014-15): 141-142
“ISIL Is Contained and That Should Be Good Enough,” warontherocks.com, 22 September 2014
“The NDP Review is Worse Than You Thought,” warontherocks.com, 29 August 2014
“U.S. State and DoD Clash On Approach to Syria”, SST, 8 April 2014.
“Is Diplomacy, Not War, Finally on the March in the Middle East?”  FPIF, 28 Oct 2013.
“Don’t Move the Strategic Goal Posts for U.S. Policy on Iran,” SST Blog, 7 Oct 2013
“Syria, the U.S. Constitution, and the Use of Force,” Foreign Policy in Focus, 30 Sep 2013
“The Iranian Nuclear Debate: More Myths Than Facts,” Parameters 43, No. 2 (Summer 2013)
“The Easy Road to War with Iran”, SST Blog, 22 September 2012
“The Futility of Seeking “Strategic Clarity” on Iran, Foreign Policy in Focus, 6 Sep 2012
“Perspective on the Threat of Terrorism,” SST Blog, 11 June 2012
“Missing a Strategic Opportunity on Iran,”  SST Blog, 30 May 2012
“Opposing Government-sponsored Torture,” SST Blog, 10 April 2012
“A Disappointing Assessment of U.S. Investment in Iraq,” Sic Semper Tyrannis Blog, 6 April 2012.
“Waltzing Toward War with Iran,”  Sic Semper Tyrannis Blog, 16 March 2012.
“Flawed Arguments on Iran,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, 8 March 2012.
“Quicksand:  A Book Review,” Parameters, Vol. 41, No. 3 (Autumn 2011): 126-128.
“Five Reasons to Avoid Talk of US Military Attacks on Iran”, The Washington Post, 22 November 2010.

Presenter, “Deterrence as a Strategic Framework”, U.S. Army Central Command Strategy Session, July 10, 2018.
Presenter, “The Challenges of Deterring Iran,” Kingston Conference on International Security, Canada, June 11-13 2018.
Chief Moderator, Special Operations & Irregular Warfare Symposium, Washington, DC, December 5-6 2017.
Advisor to AFRICOM (CJTF-HOA) war game exercise, Center for Strategic Leadership, Carlisle, PA, September 2017.
Presenter, “Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”, multinational conference hosted by U.S. Army Central Command, Washington, DC, May 2017.
Presenter, “Reassessing Balance of Power Politics in the Middle East,” Midwest Political Science Association Conference, Chicago, April 2016.
Presenter, “Recalibrating American Interests in the Middle East,” Midwest Political Science Association Conference, Chicago, April 2015.
Moderator, Strategic Studies Institute, “Balancing the Joint Force to Meet Future Security Challenges”, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, PA, April 2014
Presenter, U.S. Army War College Roundtable Discussion of Syria, September 2012

“U.S. Strategy in the Middle East:  Charting and Uncertain Future,” Great Decisions Program, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, PA, February 2019.
“U.S. Strategy in the Middle East,” U.S. Army War College, June 20, 2018.
“U.S. Policy in the Middle East”, to NATO Parliamentary Assembly, September 19, 2017.
“National Security Risk of Refugees”, Gettysburg College, February 9, 2017.
“Rise of ISIS and Challenges to U.S. Policy,” Great Decisions Lecture, Carlisle, PA, January 2016
“Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant – ISIL”, Brigham Young University, December 2015
“Changing American Interests in the Middle East,” Brigham Young University, December 2015
“The Vice President in National Security Affairs,” U.S. Army War College, November 2015
“Upheavals in the Middle East,” U.S. Army War College, 22 June 2015
“Protect and Defend:  U.S. Foreign Policy in the 21st Century,” Gettysburg College, February 2015
“U.S. Policy on Syria,” Carlisle Rotary Club, September 2014
“Israel and the U.S.”, Great Decisions Briefing, March 2014
“US-Iran: The Nuclear Issue”, Penn State Harrisburg, Model United Nations, February 2014
“U.S. Policy on Iran,” Carlisle Rotary Club, October 2013
“U.S. Policy Options for Iran”, Great Decisions Lecture, March 2013
“The Middle East and U.S. Foreign Policy in Transition”, June 2012
“Israel-Palestine:  A Tale of Competing Nationalisms”, U.S. Army War College, 2012
“U.S. Strategy Formulation”, Strategic Leadership Seminar, U.S. Army War College, 2011
“Historical Perspectives on the Arab-Israeli Conflict”, U.S. Army War College, 2011
“Revolution in the Middle East”, Harrisburg Foreign Policy Association, 2011
“The Arab Spring”, National Security Program, U.S. Army War College, 2011
“The Interagency and National Security”, U.S. Army War College, 2011
“The Office of the Vice President in National Security Affairs”, U.S. Army War College, 2011
“U.S. Foreign Policy in the Persian Gulf”, U.S. Army War College & Dickinson College, 2011