Okinawa: Will the Pandemic Transform US Military Bases?

Originally published in Responsible Statecraft. Okinawans opposed to the expansion of US military bases on their island have been upset by the environmental damage, the accidents, and the crimes associated with the presence of 25,000 American troops. Now the anti-base movement has one more powerful argument to use in its case to shrink the US … Continue reading “Okinawa: Will the Pandemic Transform US Military Bases?”

Time To Rethink the US-South Korea Alliance

North Korea has blown up the inter-Korean liaison office in Kaesong. It is threatening an all-out pamphlet war in response to defectors sending anti-regime propaganda to the north. South Korea’s unification minister has stepped down after failing to meet with his North Korean counterparts during his 14-month tenure. Pyongyang is not happy about the balloons … Continue reading “Time To Rethink the US-South Korea Alliance”

We Need a Coronavirus Truce

During World War I, soldiers all along the Western front held a series of informal truces in December 1914 to commemorate Christmas. It was early in the war, and opposition had not yet hardened into implacable enmity. The military command, caught by surprise, could not impose complete battlefield discipline. An estimated 100,000 British and German … Continue reading “We Need a Coronavirus Truce”

Soldiers Who Fight War

One of the enduring myths connected to the Vietnam War is that the U.S. military could have won the war if the politicians and protesters back in Washington didn’t somehow handicap the generals. When George H. W. Bush launched the first Gulf War in 1990, for instance, he said that “this will not be another … Continue reading “Soldiers Who Fight War”

Bolton in Wonderland

Only 70 days into his presidency, Ronald Reagan faced an assassination attempt. While he was in surgery and the vice president was mid-flight over Texas, Secretary of State Alexander Haig famously declared in front of the press, “As of now, I am in control here, in the White House.” Haig’s statement was a surprise to … Continue reading “Bolton in Wonderland”

What’s Behind Bolton’s Attacks on the ‘Troika of Tyranny’?

If you’re in the market for a troika of tyranny, Donald Trump, John Bolton, and Mike Pompeo certainly fit the bill. Or, if you’d rather focus on countries not individuals, you might single out Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt as the three most likely candidates. Perhaps, if you’re in a confessional mood, … Continue reading “What’s Behind Bolton’s Attacks on the ‘Troika of Tyranny’?”

The World’s Most Dangerous Divide

In the beautiful and terrifying novel The City of Devi, communal hatreds escalate in India and Pakistan until the two countries feel compelled to threaten each other with nuclear weapons. At least, it starts out as a threat. Pakistan vows to take out Mumbai, and India will level Karachi. But everyone involved knows that nuclear … Continue reading “The World’s Most Dangerous Divide”

Trump’s at War with U.S. Intelligence – and (for Once) He’s Right

In the TV show Designated Survivor, Kiefer Sutherland plays a neophyte president, Tom Kirkman, who tries to bring decency and common sense to the Oval Office after a terrorist attack has wiped out most of the US government. In one episode in the second season, President Kirkman is dealing with the loss of someone close … Continue reading “Trump’s at War with U.S. Intelligence – and (for Once) He’s Right”

The Next US-North Korea Summit

The second meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un is scheduled for next month. The most likely location will be Vietnam. The agenda is much the same as before: how to get North Korea to denuclearize and the United States to dismantle its sanctions regime. The question remains: which side will make the first substantial … Continue reading “The Next US-North Korea Summit”

Is Korea’s Cold War About to End?

Remarkable changes are taking place on the Korean peninsula. The two Koreas are actually starting to demilitarize the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Just in the last couple weeks, they have taken down 22 guard posts, demined the Joint Security Area, and established a no-fly-zone about the peninsula’s dividing line. They’ve pulled back from confrontation along their … Continue reading “Is Korea’s Cold War About to End?”