The Skeptics

Why Isn't There a Debate about America's Grand Strategy?

“The United States needs a new set of ideas and principles to justify its worthwhile international commitments, and curtail ineffective obligations where necessary,” argue Jeremi Suri and Benjamin Valentino, in the introduction to their edited volume Sustainable Security: Rethinking American National Security.

“Balancing our means and ends requires a deep reevaluation of U.S. strategy, as the choices made today will shape the direction of U.S. security policy for decades to come.”

North Korea’s Nuclear Threat Is America’s (Not the World’s) Problem

Another day, another North Korean weapons test. Kim Jong-un has made the outrageous mundane, even boring. Unfortunately, Pyongyang has to stage ever bigger and more dramatic stunts to shock “the international community.”

Kim has gotten the attention of not only the Trump administration but the American people. The Chicago Council on Global Affairs found a 15 percent increase over last year, to 75 percent, in the share of Americans who view the North Korean nuclear program as a serious threat. He has an unfavorable rating of 91 percent.

A Nuclear North Korea Is Here to Stay

North Korea staged its sixth nuclear test. It was probably a boosted atomic rather than hydrogen bomb, as claimed by Pyongyang, and there’s no evidence that the weapon has been miniaturized to fit on a missile. But the test was the North’s most powerful yet. And it follows steady North Korean progress in missile development.

America Must Manage North Korea, Not Destroy It

As this summer’s North Korea war crisis winds down, the only serious option for dealing with a North Korea capable of attacking the United States with nuclear missiles is reemerging: adaptation. As Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, put it: “Not every problem can be solved. Some can only be managed . . . It remains to be seen what can be done vis-à-vis North Korea. Managing such challenges may not be satisfying, but often it is the most that can be hoped for.” This is almost certainly correct.

The North Korea Crisis Proves Why Japan and South Korea Need Nuclear Weapons

Just when cautious optimism was beginning to resurface that the North Korea crisis might be fading slightly, Pyongyang took yet more actions to alarm the international community. Kim Jong-un’s government announced that it had conducted another nuclear test. The latest move came just days after the launch of an intermediate-range missile that flew directly over Japan’s northernmost island before breaking up and splashing down in the western Pacific.

Time to Terminate Washington's Defense Welfare

The spectacle of South Korean president Moon Jae-in proclaiming that the United States cannot attack North Korea without his permission is an embarrassment for a country that believes it has taken its place among the nations. He undoubtedly realizes that no American president, especially the present one, would give another nation a veto over U.S. security.

Trump Wants You to Write Him a Blank Check for War in Afghanistan. Don't.

On Monday night from Fort Myer, Virginia, President Trump told the nation that despite what he’d said from the campaign trail in 2016, he was not going to end the war in Afghanistan. Instead, he would expand it and remove any visible exit signs from the equation. Whether this decision will cost him politically in 2020 is yet to be seen, but the cost to the nation in the present could be significant. The plan outlined by the president is virtually certain to continue the unbroken record of failure.

Trump Goes from Afghanistan War Skeptic to True Believer

In his address to the nation on Monday evening, President Donald Trump explained that his “original instinct,” when he came into office, “was to pull out” of Afghanistan. But “decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office,” and so he, like his two predecessors, has determined that U.S. forces will remain there. “The American people are weary of war without victory,” he explained.