The Skeptics

How to Lose the War in Afghanistan

It is now official beyond question. The senior ranks of the U.S. military and foreign-policy leadership have now fully succumbed to the belief that all problems in the Middle East and South Asia must include, at their core, the application of lethal military power. No other alternative is considered. Worse, the military solutions they advocate have literally no chance of accomplishing the national objectives sought. The latest damning evidence: the commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan testified before the Senate last week that he believes thousands of additional U.S.

Trump Is Setting Himself Up for Israeli-Palestinian Failure

There is no potential international deal as coveted by peacemakers, Nobel Peace Prize winners and elder statesman than an agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians. Good men and women have worked tirelessly to accomplish just that, but all of them have either quit the process out of frustration or walked out of the room, convinced that they couldn’t do anything more.

North Korea Is Starting to Look Like the Ottoman Empire

Kim Jong-nam, the older half-brother of North Korea’s young leader, Kim Jong-un, died at Kuala Lumpur airport while preparing to leave for Macau. He reportedly was injected or sprayed with poison by two unidentified women, presumed to be North Korean agents. If true, it seems Kim Jong-un is tying up loose ends, eliminating a family heir who might have been used to legitimize a successor regime.

How Donald Trump Can Avoid Playing into North Korea's Hands

A new U.S. administration has taken office, so a new provocation has been staged by Pyongyang. Predictably, America and its allies have denounced North Korea for defying the “international community.” And Washington is filled with chatter about the need to do something to demonstrate resolve and leadership.

It’s a foolish game that the North enjoys. Why do U.S. officials continue to play?

America Has Nothing to Lose in Talking to North Korea

If Iran’s ballistic missile launch two weeks ago was a prime opportunity for President Donald Trump to sound tough and resolute, North Korea’s testing of an intermediate range missile over the weekend was the first time that the forty-fifth president had to deal with a crisis during the late hours of the night—at his vacation home, no less.

Why Trumpism Worries Foreign-Policy Wonks

President Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric raised hopes that he might pursue a less interventionist U.S. foreign policy. Trump was the only truth-teller on the Iraq War in the Republican primary. He mainstreamed the issue of low contributions by allies to the American defense network, which hitherto was mostly a debate among foreign-policy wonks. He talked of avoiding foolish wars. He intuitively grasped the disconnect between the insouciant belligerence of neoconservative and Washington-based U.S.

Welcome to the Foreign Policy "Reassurance Tour"

Donald Trump’s often sharp criticism of U.S. allies during the 2016 presidential campaign gave some hope to even jaded realists that his administration might make significant changes in Washington’s ossified security policy. Those hopes, cautious as they were, are fading fast. The initial weeks of the Trump administration suggest a continuation of the status quo with few, if any, modifications. For all the rhetoric about “America First,” the new president’s foreign policy thus far looks a lot like what his predecessors pursued.

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