The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Donald Trump Confronts the World

How time passes when you are having fun. Four years ago the most unusual presidential campaign of recent times was nearing its close. On foreign policy, at least, it was evident that Donald Trump was not just another Washington apparatchik bewitched by the conventional wisdom. He would not spend his free time asking members of … Continue reading “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Donald Trump Confronts the World”

China Is a Challenge, But an Asian NATO Is Not the Answer

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continues to undermine President Donald Trump’s "America First" agenda by promoting ever-expanding military commitments around the globe. Pompeo’s latest interventionist fling occurred last week when he attended the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, in Tokyo. Also present were representatives of Australia, India, and Japan. This international meet-up was unashamedly directed … Continue reading “China Is a Challenge, But an Asian NATO Is Not the Answer”

Promote Human Rights in Ways That Actually Preserve Human Rights

Sometimes human rights unexpectedly win. For instance, last week the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a vile regime that has become an unaccountable favorite of President Donald Trump, was widely expected to win another term on the UN’s Human Rights Council. Unexpectedly, turning its consulate into an abattoir for slicing and dicing regime critics proved disqualifying. … Continue reading “Promote Human Rights in Ways That Actually Preserve Human Rights”

Foreign Policy Questions for the Candidates

Presumably presidential debates have some value. But, truthfully, if you don’t know what Donald Trump, president for the last, very painful, four years, and Joe Biden, in public life for a terrifying 47 years, stand for, you should not be voting. You might find it difficult to choose between the two – seriously, this is … Continue reading “Foreign Policy Questions for the Candidates”

Saudi Arabia Should Be Punished by, Not Elected to, the UN Human Rights Council

Whatever the theoretical value of the United Nations system, its agencies are a source of frequent farce. Among the worst performers is the Human Rights Council. Nominally devoted to promoting people’s basic rights, the body often protects the world’s worst human rights abusers instead. Indeed, authoritarian governments routinely sit on the 47-member body. Over the … Continue reading “Saudi Arabia Should Be Punished by, Not Elected to, the UN Human Rights Council”

Washington as Wannabe Dictatress of the World: Targeting Newly Democratic Sudan

The Trump administration apparently sees America as dictatress of the world, which John Quincy Adams warned against two centuries ago. The people of Sudan are emerging from decades of dictatorship, but the Trump administration is treating the country as a puppet state. Rather than assist Sudan by eliminating economic sanctions which lost their justification years … Continue reading “Washington as Wannabe Dictatress of the World: Targeting Newly Democratic Sudan”

Is America Fit To ‘Lead’ the World?

America’s most fervid cheerleaders sometimes make the most devastating criticisms of the U.S. Although usually inadvertently. For instance, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently took to twitter to declare that "The Islamic Republic of Iran is not a normal state." He listed several of Tehran’s illicit activities, including "Normal states do not attack embassies and … Continue reading “Is America Fit To ‘Lead’ the World?”

American Foreign Policy: The Problem of Applying the Monroe Doctrine Everywhere

When the new American nation was created, it was a lightweight in an international political game dominated by heavyweights. The U.S. was forced to develop a serious, measured, and realistic foreign policy. The colonists outlasted the British during the Revolution in part because the New World revolt triggered an Old World war, in which the … Continue reading “American Foreign Policy: The Problem of Applying the Monroe Doctrine Everywhere”

The Trump Administration’s Human Rights Confidence Game: Targeting Adversaries, Excusing Allies

Promoting human rights is a central tenet of US foreign policy. Sometimes. In practice, Washington is most enthusiastic about defending life, liberty, and happiness where America has the least clout. And American policymakers most often remain silent when allied governments, whom the US could most influence, are detaining, torturing, and murdering opponents. The Trump administration … Continue reading “The Trump Administration’s Human Rights Confidence Game: Targeting Adversaries, Excusing Allies”

NATO Continues Forever as ‘North America and the Others’

The Washington foreign policy community is in permanent uproar over Donald Trump. There is no greater sacred cow than American troop deployments. Whenever the president proposes the slightest change – bring home some military personnel from Afghanistan, South Korea, Syria, or Germany – what Ben Rhodes called the Blob explodes. The hysteria surrounding the latter … Continue reading “NATO Continues Forever as ‘North America and the Others’”