India and China: Behind the Conflict

Chinese and Indian forces have pulled back from their confrontation in the Himalayas, but the tensions that set off the deadly encounter this past June – the first on the China/India border since 1975 – are not going away. Indeed, a poisonous combination of local disputes, regional antagonisms, and colonial history could pose a serious … Continue reading “India and China: Behind the Conflict”

Tipping the Nuclear Dominoes

If the Trump administration follows through on its threat to re-start nuclear tests, it will complete the unraveling of more than 50 years of arms control agreements, taking the world back to the days when school children practiced “duck and cover,” and people built backyard bomb shelters. It will certainly be the death knell for … Continue reading “Tipping the Nuclear Dominoes”

In a Pandemic, Military Spending Is an Extravagant Waste

“There have been as many plagues as wars in history, yet plagues and wars take people equally by surprise.” ~ Albert Camus, “The Plague” Camus’ novel of a lethal contagion in the North African city of Oran is filled with characters all too recognizable today: indifferent or incompetent officials, short sighted and selfish citizens, and … Continue reading “In a Pandemic, Military Spending Is an Extravagant Waste”

Erdogan’s Failed Gamble in Syria

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s latest gamble in Syria’s civil war appears to have come up snake eyes. Instead of halting the Damascus government’s siege of the last rebel held province, Idlib, Turkey has backed off, and Erdogan’s newest Syrian misadventure is fueling growing domestic resistance to the powerful autocrat. The crisis began on February … Continue reading “Erdogan’s Failed Gamble in Syria”

Turkey’s Latest Quagmire: Intervention in Libya

On the surface, Turkish intervention in the Libyan civil war appears to be a savvy move on the Eastern Mediterranean energy chessboard, a check on plans by a consortium of the European Union (EU), Greece, Egypt, Israel, and Cyprus to exploit offshore gas and oil deposits there. In exchange for military support, Libya’s beleaguered, UN-supported … Continue reading “Turkey’s Latest Quagmire: Intervention in Libya”

The New Middle East That’s Coming

The fallout from the September attack on Saudi Arabia’s Aramco oil facilities is continuing to reverberate throughout the Middle East, sidelining old enmities – sometimes for new ones – and redrawing traditional alliances. While Turkey’s recent invasion of northern Syria is grabbing the headlines, the bigger story may be that major regional players are contemplating … Continue reading “The New Middle East That’s Coming”

How the Saudi Oil Field Attack Overturned America’s Apple Cart

In many ways it doesn’t really matter who – Houthis in Yemen? Iranians? Shiites in Iraq? – launched those missiles and drones at Saudi Arabia. Whoever did it changed the rules of the game, and not just in the Middle East. “It’s a moment when offense laps defense, when the strong have reason to fear … Continue reading “How the Saudi Oil Field Attack Overturned America’s Apple Cart”

A Wounded Erdogan Could Be Even More Dangerous

For the second time in a row, Turkish voters have rebuked President Recep Tayyir Erdogan’s handpicked candidate for the mayoralty of Istanbul, Turkey’s largest and wealthiest city. The secular Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate, Ekrem Imamoglu, swamped Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) candidate Binali Yildirim in an election that many see as a report … Continue reading “A Wounded Erdogan Could Be Even More Dangerous”

‘Revenge of the Kurds’: Erdogan’s Missteps Are Piling Up

After 18 years of unchallenged power and success, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suddenly finds himself in the middle of several domestic and foreign crises with no obvious way out. It’s unfamiliar ground for a master politician who’s moved nimbly from the margins of power to becoming the undisputed leader of the largest economy in … Continue reading “‘Revenge of the Kurds’: Erdogan’s Missteps Are Piling Up”

Diego Garcia: The ‘Unsinkable Carrier’ Springs a Leak

The recent decision by the Hague-based International Court of Justice that the Chagos Islands – with its huge U.S. military base at Diego Garcia – are being illegally occupied by the United Kingdom (UK) has the potential to upend the strategic plans of a dozen regional capitals, ranging from Beijing to Riyadh. For a tiny … Continue reading “Diego Garcia: The ‘Unsinkable Carrier’ Springs a Leak”