How to Create Your Own Enemies

In my recent op-ed for The American Spectator, I analyze the growing Sino-Russian alliance and how the United States helped to create it.

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Trading Ukraine for Venezuela Would Be a Good Deal

President Trump is a transactional leader. So, too, is Vladimir Putin. Let’s do the mother-of-all geopolitical deals and get on with more pressing matters of state already. Neither Ukraine nor Venezuela are worth risking a wider war with Russia. And, despite what “experts” in the United States claim, Russia is a declining power with delusions of grandeur. American policy toward Russia has left Putin with little hope. Thus, as he is increasingly boxed in by the West and a rising China to his east, the likelihood of Putin lashing out militarily against the West is higher now than it has ever been.

In Venezuela, America Is Losing the Global Shadow War

The ongoing American effort to destabilize the vile Maduro regime in Venezuela appeared to be a gallant attempt by Washington to hone its own shadow warfare capabilities. If that’s the case, then, the United States needs to go back to the drawing board because our rivals are better at this kind of warfare than we are. Should this situation persist, then, you can expect America’s rivals in Moscow and Beijing (and elsewhere) to continue challenging American power… and to keep achieving their objectives while America fails to accomplish its own goals. Over time, this will lead to a victory for autocracy in the ongoing competition between the world’s autocracies and democracies.

Be Careful: Hurting Iran Might Help Russia

The key here is for President Trump to strike a strategic balance in the Middle East: the United States cannot ignore Iran’s threat to the region. Balancing with regional powers, like Israel and Saudi Arabia, against Iran in order to contain its threat is good. But, unilaterally (and unexpectedly) slapping all oil sanctions back on Iran in a push for greater levels of hostility, as the White House did recently, creates uncertainty and instability in world energy markets. The more instability that the United States creates in the world energy market through its aggressive actions against Iran, the more likely it is that Russia will benefit.

The Kurd In the Punch Bowl

“I have firm faith that the Kurds will one day get their independence. The day for that is not now. The best solution for the benighted Kurds would be to hunker down in their enclaves and lie in wait until their host nations – particularly those in Syria, Iran, and Turkey – become weak and unable to prevent the call for Kurdish independence. President Trump has made the right decision to acquiesce to the brutal autocrats in Turkey on the matter of the Kurds, if only because the United States needs autocratic Turkey to balance against Russia, China, and Iran more than it needs the Kurds at present.”

America Should Not Directly Intervene in Venezuela

“The essential element in this scenario would be American leadership as opposed to direct American military intervention. While this method may take longer and, therefore, prolong human suffering in Venezuela, this is the only viable option. After all, freedom isn’t free, and the United States has had ample evidence over the last several decades that it cannot fight for other peoples’ independence.”

Netanyahu’s Missed Opportunity

“Turkey’s arrival on-scene will likely cause tensions between themselves, Iran, and Russia to escalate, meaning that Russia will be unable to consolidate its newfound position in the region on its own. Russia will need Israel. Therefore, when the opportunity next arises — and this will likely be the last chance before the shooting starts in the region — for Israel to act as the broker between the United States and Russia, it shouldn’t shirk from this strategic opportunity.”

The Multipolar World: Partnering with Russia to Stop Iran

“While it might harm Washington’s ego to treat Moscow as an equal partner in world affairs, the only way to mollify the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program – without a major war against Iran (and absent another silver bullet to use on Iran, like the Stuxnet cyber-attack) – is to grant Russia the respect Putin believes he and his country deserve. Thanks to the restrictive sanctions regime that President Trump has imposed on Russia, the United States has leverage. By dangling the prospect of a grand bargain between Moscow and Washington over key disagreements, the United States would likely be able to get Russia to work with it on ending the threat posed by Iran.”

Israel and the Sunni Arab States Cannot Resist Iran Alone

“Time is not on Trump’s side. Unfortunately, neither Israel nor the Sunni Arab states appear capable of hanging on for too long without international support.”