The Tortured Politics Behind the Persian Gulf Crisis

The splintering of the powerful Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) into warring camps – with Qatar, supported by Turkey and Iran, on one side, and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), supported by Egypt, on the other – has less to do with disagreements over foreign policy and religion than with internal political … Continue reading “The Tortured Politics Behind the Persian Gulf Crisis”

These Nuclear Breakthroughs Are Endangering the World

At a time of growing tensions between nuclear powers – Russia and NATO in Europe, and the US, North Korea, and China in Asia – Washington has quietly upgraded its nuclear weapons arsenal to create, according to three leading American scientists, “exactly what one would expect to see, if a nuclear-armed state were planning to … Continue reading “These Nuclear Breakthroughs Are Endangering the World”

Erdogan Isn’t as Strong as He Looks – That’s What Makes Him Dangerous

At first glance, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s drive to create an executive presidency with almost unlimited power through a nationwide referendum looks like a slam-dunk. The man hasn’t lost an election since 1994, and he’s loaded the dice and stacked the deck for the April 15 vote. Using last summer’s failed coup as a shield, … Continue reading “Erdogan Isn’t as Strong as He Looks – That’s What Makes Him Dangerous”

Is Trump Moderating on Foreign Policy? Not in the Least

“Chaos,” “dismay,” “radically inept” – those are just a few of the recent headlines analyzing Donald Trump’s foreign policy. In truth, disorder would seem to be the strategy of the day. Picking up the morning newspaper or tuning on the national news sometimes feels akin to opening up a basket filled with spitting cobras and … Continue reading “Is Trump Moderating on Foreign Policy? Not in the Least”

How Trump Could Blunder Into War With China

In his Jan. 13 testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson made an extraordinary comment concerning China’s activities in the hotly disputed South China Sea. The United States, he said, must “send a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops,” adding that Beijing’s “access to the those islands is … Continue reading “How Trump Could Blunder Into War With China”

A Global Nuclear Winter: Avoiding the Unthinkable in India and Pakistan

President-elect Donald Trump’s off the cuff, chaotic approach to foreign policy had at least one thing going for it, even though it was more the feel of a blind pig rooting for acorns than a thought-out international initiative. In speaking with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the New York Times reported, Trump said he wanted … Continue reading “A Global Nuclear Winter: Avoiding the Unthinkable in India and Pakistan”

America’s Spiral Into Permanent War Seems More Foolish Than Ever

“We have fallen into a self-defeating spiral of reaction and counterterror,” writes Mark Danner in his new book Spiral: Trapped in the Forever War. “Our policies, meant to extirpate our enemies, have strengthened and perpetuated them.” Danner – an award winning journalist, professor, and member of the Council on Foreign Relations who has covered war … Continue reading “America’s Spiral Into Permanent War Seems More Foolish Than Ever”

How Washington Turned Ireland Into an International Scofflaw

“We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible.” So declared the Irish partisans of the Easter Rising against British rule 100 years ago. Controlling their own destiny has always been a bit of a preoccupation for … Continue reading “How Washington Turned Ireland Into an International Scofflaw”

The Humanitarian Excuse for Intervention

While the mainstream media focuses on losers and winners in the race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, a largely unreported debate is going on over the future course of U.S. diplomacy. Its outcome will have a profound effect on how Washington projects power – both diplomatic and military – in the coming decade. The … Continue reading “The Humanitarian Excuse for Intervention”

Turkey’s Coup: Winners and Losers

As the dust begins to settle from the failed Turkish coup, we can start to identify some winners and losers, although predicting things in the Middle East these days is a tricky business. What is clear is that several alignments have shifted, and those shifts could have an impact on the two regional running sores: … Continue reading “Turkey’s Coup: Winners and Losers”