Dealing With North Korean Missiles

Small powers often have leverage well above their size and capabilities. North Korea is the example par excellence today: It has a primitive economy by all the usual standards, no reliable trade or security partners, and depends on the outside world for essentials such as fuel and food. Yet by virtue of nuclear weapons and … Continue reading “Dealing With North Korean Missiles”

Advise, Assist, Arm: The United States at War

During the Cold War, the US military and the CIA were involved in a multitude of "indirect" interventions in developing countries. A few – most dramatically and tragically, Vietnam – evolved from a supporting US role to large-scale combat missions. The Pentagon typically defined these missions as "low-intensity conflicts," though they hardly seemed as such … Continue reading “Advise, Assist, Arm: The United States at War”

No Exit? The NY Times and North Korea

Three opinion pieces on US policy toward North Korea have appeared in the New York Times in the past week. They deserve critical comment. The writers are all very capable people who share a deep concern about Korea’s security and the possibility of a major blowup that would cause enormous human and material losses throughout … Continue reading “No Exit? The NY Times and North Korea”

Mad About THAAD: An Untimely Decision

The US decision, supported by the South Korean government, to deploy an antimissile system known as THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) may be one of the most thoughtless strategic moves in a generation. The official US argument is that close-in defense against North Korean missiles is necessary. But the deployment has resulted in the … Continue reading “Mad About THAAD: An Untimely Decision”

US-China Maritime Disputes: Too Close for Comfort

Two recent close encounters between US spy planes and Chinese jets spell trouble for relations between Washington and Beijing. The first, between a US EP-3 spy plane and two Chinese jets over the South China Sea (SCS) near China’s Hainan Island, was strikingly similar to the 2001 incident in the same area in which a … Continue reading “US-China Maritime Disputes: Too Close for Comfort”

Cowgirl Diplomacy? Foreign Policy Under Hillary Clinton

America’s mainstream media, ever attracted to the splashy rather than the serious, has a new topic to occupy the time until Election Day: President Trump. What will he do first? How will he translate his hazy “America First” theme into policy? Who will be in his inner circle? (Specifically, will he appoint people who really … Continue reading “Cowgirl Diplomacy? Foreign Policy Under Hillary Clinton”

Deadlock: North Korea’s Nuclear Test and US Policy

North Korea continues to rattle the cages of both friend and foe. Despite near-universal condemnation of its fourth nuclear test and a deplorable human rights record, Kim Jong-un defiantly disregards the major powers and the United Nations.  And now, adding insult to injury, the UN Secretary-General reports that North Korea has notified various UN agencies … Continue reading “Deadlock: North Korea’s Nuclear Test and US Policy”

Endless War, Undeclared and Undebated

The death of six US soldiers in Afghanistan on December 21 at the hands of a Taliban suicide bomber brings to 21 the number of US combat deaths there in 2015. Once again we must confront the question of national purpose in waging war without debate or declaration. Like all other battlefield deaths in the … Continue reading “Endless War, Undeclared and Undebated”