The Skeptics

How to Keep Iraq's Unruly Militias Under Control

The military capability and reach of Islamic State has deteriorated so much over the past year that the Iraqi government will now need to think long and hard about the day after. Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and his ministers in Baghdad have focused most of their resources and attention on the immediate priorities of pushing Islamic State out of Mosul, consolidating the gains made by the Iraqi security forces, and preparing the international community with the immense financial burden that will be required to reconstruct the country once the war is over.

What Was the Goal of Trump's Call with Taiwan?

President-elect Donald Trump has received phone calls from numerous foreign leaders in the weeks since his upset election win, but none has attracted as much attention as the call from Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen. It was the first time since the United States transferred diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979 that there has been any formal contact between the leaders of Taiwan and the United States.

Auschwitz: How Nazi Germany Brought Hell to Planet Earth

Aleppo. Mosul. Fallujah. Tikrit. These are the names of cities in Iraq and Syria where wars have raged over the past two years, featuring human cruelty on a scale that most people can’t fathom. Islamic State in particular, though not exclusively, has perpetrated some of the most heinous acts of barbarism on men, women and even children seen in our lifetimes. It’s easy sometimes for us in the West to shake our head and wonder how those Muslim radicals could be so vicious.

The Charles Schumer Dilemma

Senator Charles Schumer is the commensurate Washington insider, the guy who has been involved in politics for most of his life.  After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1974  he was elected to the New York State Assembly, and then elected to the U.S. House of Representatives at the ripe age of 29 years old.  Since 1999, Schumer has been a member of the U.S. Senate, where he’s risen through the Democratic leadership ranks.

What Should China Think of Trump?

Like the rest of us, many people in and around Zhongnanhai must now be trying to work out what Donald Trump means for them. On economic matters, they may follow everyone else, including global stock markets, in apparently discounting Trump’s colorful threats to U.S.-China trade relations, and thus assuming that nothing much will change. Time alone will tell whether that is right or not.

Why Are State Sponsors of Terrorism Receiving U.S. Taxpayer Dollars?

How a President Trump will approach relations with Russia — and especially what that means for U.S. policy in the Syrian civil war — has become one of the most discussed issues during a tumultuous transition. But we should be paying at least as much attention to what America’s putative partners — including those groups currently receiving U.S. taxpayer funding — are doing to prolong a brutal conflict that has claimed nearly 500 thousand lives, and driven more than ten million from their homes.

How Trump Might Recalibrate Western Foreign Policy

The “unthinkable” happened. The year that gave us Brexit and Filipino bandwagoning with China appropriately ended with Donald Trump being elected as the next President of the United States. I kept unthinkable within quote marks because none of the mainstream analysis predicted Trump’s win. It is of course important to avoid the trap of monocausality, as CNN listed a staggering twenty-four theories that are now being put forward to explain the rise and eventual win of Trump.