Those Who Want Respect Give Respect

“Even among enemies one must respect them. In so doing, perhaps, actual trust can be garnered. And, from there, hopefully, peace can be fostered; threats can be mitigated; and everyone can move toward prosperity. But, it all starts with respect. Trump gave Kim the respect that he had been seeking for most of his life from the West. In return, Kim gave Trump respect.”

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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.”

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.”

Indecision Over Syria Creates More Problems, Not Less

“The idea that the United States would not retaliate against Assad is disturbing, because it sends a signal to the Israelis and our Sunni Arab partners that we really don’t have a backbone when dealing with Iran (which is what this is really all about). It will force them to take a hard look at whether they will stick their proverbial necks out for us in fighting to maintain a regional order that favors American preferences over those of the Russians and Chinese. We can–and should–draw down most of our 2,200 men in Syria. But, we should also strike back at Assad’s forces for conducting the chemical weapons attack. We cannot encourage, or appear to be encouraging, the use of WMD in such an unstable world. It sets a bad precedent and sends mixed signals to our allies, and also signals to North Korea that we really aren’t serious about upholding non-proliferation policies.”

China Wants Vanuatu–Australia Had Better Stop Them

“The Australians have not done a sufficient job of paying attention to their near-abroad and it may soon cost them dearly–and the United States. One thing is certain, however, China is intent on expanding its reach throughout the world–and they won’t tread lightly any longer. We’d better get ready.”

What Happens in a Massive Coalition Airstrike On Assad’s Forces in Syria?

“American war planners in the Trump Administration must, therefore, opt to hit Assad’s air force, but to leave him enough capabilities that he has a reasonable chance at stemming the jihadist surge that will inevitably come from the American air campaign. Trump must also use the 2,200 American troops in Syria as a bargaining chip to get Russia and Turkey to pull both Iran and Assad himself back from the hostilities, and help to create a negotiated settlement that not only ended the conflict, but helped to establish a more stable political environment in Syria.”

President Trump is Right to Strike Again at Assad

“No, it is not in America’s interest to simply ignore Assad’s repeated chemical weapons use, or to empower his regime — at the expense of our regional allies. That would actually force America to expand its role in the Mideast at precisely the time it needs to reduce its physical presence there. Thus, a retaliatory — proportional — strike against Assad for his chemical weapons attack would be a justified use of American force (and would actually solidify America’s position in the region, without expanding our role there).”

Bomb Assad but Bring the Boys Home

“The president should strike back against Bashar al-Assad for having committed this brazen act of genocide. But, he should also go to Putin and Erdogan—cutting out the Iranians completely—and offer to reduce American presence in Syria in exchange for them forcing Assad (and Iran) to end the civil war peacefully.”

Warfare State Blues: No Syria Escalation (Yet)

“Thomas Aquinas once said, ‘if the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would leave it in port forever.’ This more than anything seems to represent the dominant mindset among America’s foreign policy elite. While Aquinas was a wise and quotable man, I find the concept of viewing American foreign policy as a ship with limits meant to be tested–even if it destroys the ship–to be very frightening (and irresponsible). Rather than captaining a ship in dangerous waters, I prefer to look at foreign policy as a medical doctor looks at healing a patient. The first duty of a medical doctor is to uphold the Hippocratic oath. That oath, which all doctors are required to swear fealty to, simply states, ‘First, do no harm.’ American foreign policy practitioners need to live by the Hippocratic oath as well. Imagine what the world would look like toady if the emergency men who populated the George W. Bush Administration lived according to the Hippocratic oath.”