Pushing the Philippines

The Philippines can either make-or-break my proposed maritime containment strategy for China. Therefore, the Philippines can either totally align with the United States as it did during the Cold War or it will have to be Finlandized to prevent it from becoming a conduit for Chinese influence.

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Neoconservatism: The Handmaiden of Big Corporations

“Only time will tell whether the Trump reaction to neoconservatism will bear the policy fruits we hope for. At any rate, one thing is clear: Understanding the influence of big corporations on the neoconservative movement is essential if we are to combat it effectively.”

Trump Needs to Make Deals, Not War

“Yes, dear neocons, history has returned. But your playbook is hardly helpful in these tough times. Acting tough (and ensuring that lesser well-connected American citizens pay the prices for your overreach) is not a solution to difficult problems. Trump must stop being cowed by the Russian investigation and act according to his instincts (make deals, not war). Great power politics is ruthless, but it is also surprisingly simple: those who want respect give respect.”

It Doesn’t Matter If Iran is a Rational Actor

“”With the loss of Saudi Arabia as a viable partner in blocking the spread of Iranian power, the Trump Administration would be forced to revisit the oft-repeated notion that Iran is a rational actor. President Trump would have to renege on his campaign promise of ending the terrible Obama era Iran deal. He would have to reverse course and effectively reinstitute the Obama deal with Iran, in order to gain new leverage over Tehran. In other words, Trump would have to surrender the Middle East to Iran, selling out Israel in the process, just as Barack Obama did.”

In Defense of the Leahy Laws

In his rebuttal to Brandon J. Weichert’s original piece in The American Spectator, Senator Patrick Leahy argues, “Far from impeding our ability to advance U.S. interests, the Leahy laws have provided an effective example of how U.S. national interests can be pursued overseas in a manner that promotes the rule of law and is sustainable over the long term.”

Realism, Not Idealism Wins the Day

Leon Hadar writes in the Business Times: “Mr Trump is now pursuing a similar Realpolitik strategy in dealing with North Korea (or as British commentator Freddy Gray put it, a “Real(-estate) politik”, that could change the balance of power in North-east Asia and hopefully make the lives of all Korean better. Or it may not. But as long as he embraces the “Trust, but verify” dictum, it is worth a try.”

What Did America Lose in Singapore?

“With the two leaders talking–and the Chinese understanding the ramifications of an American invasion of North Korea–it seems unlikely that, irrespective of whether North Korea achieve nuclear weapons capability, the North will push their proverbial luck with a nuclear war against the world.”

Repeal the Leahy Law

“Should the United States fully adhere to the Leahy Law and only support democratic regimes, it would find itself losing out in the grand, geopolitical game. Or worse, it might end up supporting the very same regimes that it must protect itself from (as former President Obama briefly did when he supported the Muslim Brotherhood’s takeover of Egypt during the Arab Spring).”

Musings in Singapore

“Whatever evil the Kim regime has committed, it wants to be accepted as it is by the international community. Trump meeting Kim face-to-face in Singapore, and giving him the grace (yes, that is the right word) of being seen as an equal just might pull him back from totally embracing the manic side of North Korean ideology.”