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”

China and the US Are Approaching Dangerous Seas

A combination of recent events, underpinned by long-running historical strains reaching back more than 60 years, has turned the western Pacific into one of the most hazardous spots on the globe. The tension between China and the United States “is one of the most striking and dangerous themes in international politics,” says The Financial Times’ … Continue reading “China and the US Are Approaching Dangerous Seas”

We May Be at a Greater Risk of Nuclear Catastrophe Than During the Cold War

“Today, the danger of some sort of a nuclear catastrophe is greater than it was during the Cold War,” warns William Perry, “and most people are blissfully unaware of this danger.” A former U.S. defense secretary from 1994 to 1997, Perry has been an inside player in the business of nuclear weapons for over 60 … Continue reading “We May Be at a Greater Risk of Nuclear Catastrophe Than During the Cold War”

Terrorism: From the Irish Dynamite War to the Islamic State

Bombs explode in a subway. The victims are everyday people who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. What follows is outrage: track down the perpetrators. The people who set off the bombs are monsters and inhuman fanatics, thunder the authorities. But the year is not 2016, it is 1883 during … Continue reading “Terrorism: From the Irish Dynamite War to the Islamic State”

Adding Up the Costs of Hillary Clinton’s Wars

The Greek playwright Aeschylus – who fought at Marathon in 490 BC, the battle that defeated the first Persian invasion of Greece – had few illusions about the consequences of war. No wonder, in the tragedy Oresteia, he gave his character Agamemnon these verses: They sent forth men to battle. But no such men return; … Continue reading “Adding Up the Costs of Hillary Clinton’s Wars”

So Why Did Turkey Shoot Down That Russian Plane?

Why did Turkey shoot down that Russian warplane? It was certainly not because the SU-24 posed any threat. The plane is old and slow, and the Russians were careful not to arm it with anti-aircraft missiles. And it wasn’t because the Turks are quick on the trigger, either. Three years ago, Turkish President Recep Tayyip … Continue reading “So Why Did Turkey Shoot Down That Russian Plane?”

The Saudis Are Stumbling – They May Take the Middle East With Them

For the past eight decades Saudi Arabia has been careful. Using its vast oil wealth, it’s quietly spread its ultra-conservative brand of Islam throughout the Muslim world, secretly undermined secular regimes in its region, and prudently kept to the shadows while others did the fighting and dying. It was Saudi money that fueled the Mujahedeen … Continue reading “The Saudis Are Stumbling – They May Take the Middle East With Them”

Turkey’s President Gets His Majority – at a Terrible Price

If there’s a lesson to be drawn from the November 1 Turkish elections, it’s that fear works, and there are few people better at engendering it than Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Only five months after his Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its majority in the Turkish parliament, a snap election put it back … Continue reading “Turkey’s President Gets His Majority – at a Terrible Price”

Behind Washington’s ‘Crackpot’ Deal with Turkey to Fight ISIS

The recent agreement between Turkey and the United States to cooperate against the Islamic State in Syria brings to mind the sociologist C. Wright Mills’ description of those who make American foreign policy as “crackpot realists”: realists about advancing their careers, crackpots about the policies they pursue. On paper, the plan allows the U.S. to … Continue reading “Behind Washington’s ‘Crackpot’ Deal with Turkey to Fight ISIS”

Just Listen to What Western Officials Are Saying About Russia

If you want a sleepless night – or month – just listen to what Western security officials are saying these days about a possible confrontation with Russia. “If you want to talk about a nation that could pose an existential threat to the United States,” warned General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the U.S. Joint … Continue reading “Just Listen to What Western Officials Are Saying About Russia”