Bombing Gaza – Disturbing Comparisons with Vietnam

Indiscriminate Bombing Investigations into Israel’s use of 2000-pound bombs in its Gaza campaign have determined that you have to go back to Vietnam to compare the brutality and mindlessness of what Israel is doing. These bombs, many supplied by the US, are being dropped in densely populated areas. Both the New York Times and CNN have provided … Continue reading “Bombing Gaza – Disturbing Comparisons with Vietnam”

Another Missed Opportunity in US-China Relations

The Washington Post reports that Xi Jinping personally asked President Biden to find a way to put off House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan. According to the Post’s account, Biden explained to XI that the independent role of Congress made it impossible for him to stop her, even though US intelligence officials were (correctly) … Continue reading “Another Missed Opportunity in US-China Relations”

Dissecting North Korea’s Missile Tests

North Korea is carrying out one missile test after another lately, at the same time indicating (or is it?) interest in talks with South Korea about reducing tensions. Late last month North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles from railways over the Sea of Japan, violating UN prohibitions and raising alarm bells in nearby countries. … Continue reading “Dissecting North Korea’s Missile Tests”

No War for Saudi Oil!

Even if US intelligence decisively shows that some of the drones and cruise missiles used in the attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil fields originated in Iran, a decision to go to war with Iran would be inexcusable and insupportable. For one thing, such a decision would not serve US national interests; it would be based … Continue reading “No War for Saudi Oil!”

Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid

Long ago, US foreign aid programs honored the principle that humanitarian aid should be treated separately from economic and military assistance to governments. Public Law 480 (popularized as "Food for Peace"), which began under President Eisenhower in the 1960s and expanded under President Kennedy, was mainly intended (in Kennedy’s words) to "narrow the gap between … Continue reading “Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid”

A Victory for Diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula

On September 18 leaders of North and South Korea signed a September Declaration to advance inter-Korean cooperation and the possibility of the North’s denuclearization. Critics immediately dismissed the agreement for having accomplished nothing on the latter objective while largely ignoring what was accomplished on the former. From my perspective, the critics have it wrong: They … Continue reading “A Victory for Diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula”

‘Gangsterism’ or ‘Progress’? Examining North Korea’s Latest Statement on Denuclearization

Most US news reports are suggesting that the North Koreans may be backtracking on their commitment to denuclearization, calling the US position "gangster-like" following the visit of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Pyongyang. What the North Korean foreign ministry actually said in its statement of July 7 is far more nuanced, and speaks directly … Continue reading “‘Gangsterism’ or ‘Progress’? Examining North Korea’s Latest Statement on Denuclearization”

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”

The Endangered Iran Nuclear Deal

Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the United Nations, said the other day that Iran had violated the spirit of the 2015 nuclear accord and that President Trump was likely not to certify Iran’s compliance with it next month. There is no legitimate reason for such a step, but if Trump – who must certify compliance … Continue reading “The Endangered Iran Nuclear Deal”

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”