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.”

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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.”

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.”

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.”

Peace In Our Time? The Trump-Putin Summit

“Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev’s greatest hope was for the United States and Russia to be partners in peace, not rivals in war in the 21st century. We can fully realize that dream today—and we should give peace a chance. If nothing comes of it, we are right back to where we started. In other words, it’s no real loss for the United States. But if Trump can manage to make progress with Putin, he might further reduce the threat of great power conflict, which would help to keep America great.”

God Save Us From Our Allies

“America’s allies must do what they can, when they can, against whomever they perceive as a threat. The United States will always have their backs; we will gladly provide intelligence and logistical support to these states.”

American Greatness in the Mideast Means Protecting Israel

“The United States will never enjoy being the regional hegemon again in the Middle East. Even so, it need not abandon completely its position there. Instead, the United States must empower fully its regional allies—Israel especially—and continue putting pressure on Russia to restrain its Iranian proxy. Thus, a favorable balance of power can be created between two external powers (the United States and Russia) and their regional proxies. This is the only way one can create stability in the unstable Middle East today.”

The New-Old World Order is Here (Part VII)

“Until we achieve that kind of innovation and prosperity, then, the United States will continue to be mired in history and hegemony and unipolarity will be a thing of the past. Thus, we will be forced to operate in a balance-of-power paradigm in which the Chinese are very near-to-parity with the United States and the Russians continue nipping at our proverbial heels (despite Russia being a country in severe decline). We will live in a world in which geopolitical risk to the United States is at an all-time high, since we are unable to overcome the major threats posed by rogue states and terrorists also. However, it will take some time to generate the kind of economic boom that is needed. And, it’s not an entirely bad thing to reassess some of our preconceived notions and support for institutions that bear little relevance to this new-old world order of hard geopolitics, strict national interests, and competing spheres of influence around the world.”