Danielle Pletka

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Danielle Pletka is Vice President, Foreign and Defense Policy Studies , of the American Enterprise Institute. Previously, she was a staff member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, specializing in the Near East and South Asia from 1992 to 2002.


During the Clinton Administration, she described it as "risk-averse," and Operation DESERT FOX as a "sham". She is an advocate of the position that the US must stay in Iraq until "victory" is achieved. [1] Pletka is a strong supporter of Ahmed Chalabi and wrote that the U.S. betrayed him. [2]

The withdrawal of US troops from Iraqi cities, in her view, may not have desirable effects. [3] An adversary will always cast US actions as defeats; she poses more objective questions: :Did our commander on the ground make a situation-based decision to deploy per the exact letter of the Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq? Or was he pressured by the administration to redeploy early from cities such as Mosul that only weeks ago appeared candidates for a go-slow approach? Are we redeploying in the interests of long-term security and stability, or are we moving troops to satisfy President Obama's politicking with key constituencies? And, finally, are our actions making America stronger or weaker in the eyes of our adversaries?"

UN and nongovernmental organizations

She has been a member of the U.S. Institute for Peace task force on the United Nations, coauthoring the initial report on UN and US objectives [4] and the subsequent update on progress.[5]


In 2004, she was part of a revival of the Committee on the Present Danger, previously an anti-Soviet group now focused on the terrorist threat. AEI participants included Jeane Kirkpatrick, Joshua Muravchik, Laurie Mylroie, Michael Rubin, Ben Wattenberg, Kenneth Adelman, Newt Gingrich, and R. James Woolsey.


In 2004, she wrote, "Engagement with Iran would not achieve policy change; all it would do is buy an evil regime the time it needs to perfect its nuclear weapons and to build a network of terrorists to deliver them."[6] More recently, she wrote of a "silent coup" by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and paramilitary Basij, under Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad .[7] She states that Iran is no longer a clerical autocracy, but a militarized state that "is not very tempted by the prospect of a sit-down with the Obama White House--especially not if it means relinquishing nuclear weapons."


She has a M.A. from the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. from Smith College.


  1. Frederick W. Kagan and the Iraq Planning Group (January 5, 2007), Choosing Victory: A Plan for Success in Iraq, Phase I Report, American Enterprise Institute
  2. Danielle Pletka (June 4, 2004), "U.S. Only Wounded Itself When It Betrayed Chalabi", Los Angeles Times
  3. Danielle Pletka (June 30, 2009), "U.S. Troops Withdraw from Iraq's Cities", Washington Post
  4. American Interests and U.N. Reform, U.S. Institute for Peace, June 2005
  5. The Imperative for Action: An Update, U.S. Institute for Peace, December 2005
  6. Danielle Pletka, (July 23, 2004), "Hawks and Doves are Aflutter over U.S. Iran Policy", Los Angeles Times
  7. Danielle Pletka, Ali Alfoneh (June 17, 2009), "Iran's Hidden Revolution", New York Times