Does Washington Want to Lose Little or Bigly in the Mideast?

“Washington must stop trying to be the world’s moral dictatress; American leaders must understand that one of the most amazing aspects of the United States is its sense of justice and fairness. Yet, what makes the American sense of justice so amazing is that it is unique in the world.”

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Make the Other Guy Die For His Country

“A balance of power paradigm that pits one group of foreign states mostly serving American interests against another, is the best way. Enough of over-committing U.S. forces to the field of battle at the outset of any potential conflict. Play all sides until the best deal can be reached.

The United States isn’t opposed to fighting. The country has been engaged in warfare of some kind for 222 out of its 239-year existence (that’s roughly 93 percent of American history). It’s not about being afraid to fight. The issue is when to fight and how (also, why, particularly in the case of the Middle East). 

American policymakers cannot formulate a cogent answer to those questions. At least, not until the wonderfully disruptive Age of Trump.”

Syria: The Proxy Battlefield Between the United States and Iran

“Fact is, the American mission in Syria is almost over. ISIS has been physically decimated there. Al-Nusra and other groups are weak and will likely soon be finished off by the Russo-Iranian-Assad-Turkey alliance. We have thus far lost nothing in Syria. Going for broke and allowing for mission creep to set in, converting the limited American mission in Syria into a limitless campaign against either Iran or Russia would mean committing the United States to a world war that will eventuate in a nuclear exchange. “

Space Warfare is Here

“The Trump Administration’s announcement of a Space Force is the first vital step in America’s reclaiming its rightful place as the dominant nation in space. Further, it is the only way to protect critical American space systems that are currently susceptible to enemy disruption and attack. Should those satellite constellations be destroyed or even disrupted, the strategic and economic consequences to the United States are simply too frightful to contemplate.

Space is the ultimate high ground, and whichever force dominates that high ground will dominate the rest of the world. It’s human nature.”

Confronting China: America Needs Japan, India, and Australia

“Since the start of this year, the Trump Administration has sought to revitalize the Quadrilateral Security Dialog (or simply the “Quad Alliance”), a loose coalition from 2007 consisting of the United States, Japan, Australia, and India. The Quad Alliance, which is currently informal and relatively powerless, should be formalized by the Trump Administration and given greater power. It should be the basis for a new trading and defensive military bloc aimed at tethering together the region’s most powerful economies into a competitive counterweight to China.”

War with Iran is Coming

“Further, I would anticipate spikes in the global price of oil for the foreseeable future (by the way, this undoubtedly would make Moscow happy, since Russia depends on higher-than-average oil prices to sustain its economy and military modernization program). Should these increases continue for the foreseeable future—and if Iran continued both with its illicit nuclear weapons program and regional expansion—the United States will be forced to intervene military.”

Trump’s Grand Plan for Russia

“Continuing to obsess over Europe, or further enmeshing the ailing Russian Federation into the tribal politics of the Middle East, is not in Moscow’s long-term strategic interests.

Washington must recognize this reality and create more amicable relations with Moscow.  If it can, then Putin will complete his securitization of Russia’s troubled periphery.  A lasting entente between the United States, Europe, and Russia would help to stabilize Russia’s western periphery.  Together with the United States (and Israel), the Russians could pulverize the remaining terrorist strongholds in the Muslim world that buttresses Russia’s south.  Then Russia could fully focus on complicating Chinese grand strategy by reinvigorating its position in the Far East.”

Putin Needs a Deal With Trump

“Putin’s hand is remarkably weak—and he knows it. Ultimately, Putin needs a deal more than Trump does, though there is no denying that a deal will be good for the United States, too. Whatever bluster Putin may exhibit in public, if Trump grants Putin the simple kindness that international law insists all world leaders be granted by fellow world leaders—legitimacy—then the Russo-American relationship will stabilize.”

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.”

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.”