Russia and Eastern Europe

A Slippery Slope to World War III?

Ukraine can now use U.S. weapons to strike at targets inside Russia. That permission comes with numerous asterisks. The targets are geographically restricted to the northeast region across the border from Kharkiv, for instance, and Ukraine has only received the go-head to use short-range missiles. Other Ukrainian allies are less cautious. The Netherlands has authorized… Continue reading A Slippery Slope to World War III?

Europe, Russia and Eastern Europe

Europe Braces for the Next Ukraine

If Donald Trump wins the U.S. presidential election in November, all sorts of hell will break loose. Mexico will face a huge border crisis. China will be hit with a new wave of tariffs. Ukraine will begin preparing itself for abandonment. And Milorad Dodik will tear apart Bosnia. Perhaps you’ve never heard of Milorad Dodik.… Continue reading Europe Braces for the Next Ukraine

Russia and Eastern Europe, US Foreign Policy

Ukraine, Israel, and the Incoherence of U.S. Foreign Policy

The process of crafting congressional legislation is often likened to sausage-making. Best not to look behind the scenes at the mechanics of the process, which is a bloody mess. But the analogy is not apt. Sure, sausage-making can be ugly. The end product, however, is presentable and usually quite tasty. The legislation that emerges from… Continue reading Ukraine, Israel, and the Incoherence of U.S. Foreign Policy

Latin America

Haiti Today, America Tomorrow?

Haiti has descended into chaos. It’s had no president or parliament — and no elections either –for eight long years. Its unelected prime minister Ariel Henry resigned recently when gang violence at the airport in Port-au-Prince made it impossible for him to return to the country after a trip to Guyana. Haiti is the poorest… Continue reading Haiti Today, America Tomorrow?

US Foreign Policy

The Break-Up?

Critics of Israel once occupied the fringes of the debate in the United States. Then, in 2007, J Street was founded as a loyal opposition to the kind of Israeli politics that received uncritical support from the U.S. mainstream. By organizing “pro-Israel, pro-peace, pro-democracy Americans” in favor of a more enlightened U.S.-Israel relationship, J Street… Continue reading The Break-Up?

The Return of Terrorism

With its “war on terrorism,” the United States launched a global campaign against the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks as well as a number of other targets. The campaign probably created more terrorists than it killed. Moreover, U.S. interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq—the first with only a tangential relationship to al-Qaeda, the second with no… Continue reading The Return of Terrorism

US Foreign Policy

Internationalism, the Donald Trump Way

If a NATO member doesn’t spend enough on its own defence, Donald Trump said in February, he’d ‘encourage’ Russia ‘to do whatever the hell they want’ to those ‘delinquent’ countries. The Republican frontrunner for the US presidency, as usual, didn’t apologize or back away from his comment, which defies seven decades of US support for… Continue reading Internationalism, the Donald Trump Way

Economics, Environment

The Critical MIssing Piece from the U.S. Energy Transition

At the outset, the United States was blessed with enormous tracts of land (that it stole from the natives) and a considerable labor force (that it enslaved from Africa) to achieve economic success based largely on growing things. The next leap forward—into the industrial era—was facilitated by large deposits of coal and oil. A century… Continue reading The Critical MIssing Piece from the U.S. Energy Transition

US Foreign Policy

Destroying the Lawn in Gaza

Ever since it withdrew its settlements in 2005, Israel has periodically attacked Gaza. This shelling of locations throughout the narrow strip of land gave rise to the Israeli expression “mowing the lawn.” In other words, Israel was bombing Gaza on a regular basis to “maintain order.” Over the last few months, Israel has gone far… Continue reading Destroying the Lawn in Gaza

China, Russia and Eastern Europe, US Foreign Policy

How to Deconstruct the New Iron Curtain

The head of the U.S. Strategic Command told Congress last week that a powerful set of countries is ganging up against the United States and World War III is on the horizon. General Anthony Cotton’s testimony didn’t receive much attention from the U.S. press, other than some breathless coverage from conservative outlets eager to emphasize… Continue reading How to Deconstruct the New Iron Curtain

US Domestic Policy

The Foreign Policy Issue that Could Decide the U.S. Presidential Election

Presidential elections in the United States are almost always decided by domestic issues. Once in a while a global concern like terrorism or a particular war will affect voters’ choices. But Americans care most about their own livelihoods: jobs, housing, the cost of food. In 2024, a number of global issues should weigh heavily on… Continue reading The Foreign Policy Issue that Could Decide the U.S. Presidential Election

US Foreign Policy

Gaza: Grand Bargain or Wider War

On the horizon, shimmering like some heavenly ideal, is a grand bargain to end the war in Gaza, establish an independent Palestinian state, and stabilize the Middle East. Also on the horizon, blazing like an infernal nightmare, is the prospect of an escalation of the current war in Gaza and the spread of destabilizing violence… Continue reading Gaza: Grand Bargain or Wider War

Latin America, Uncategorized, US Domestic Policy

How to Deal with an Insurrectionist

When Congress passed the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, it focused on embedding the civil rights of the formerly enslaved in the Constitution. But the framers of the amendment also included a clause meant to keep those who served the Confederacy from holding public office. This “insurrection clause” of the U.S. constitution —Section 3 of the… Continue reading How to Deal with an Insurrectionist


The End of Europe?

It would be funny if it weren’t so potentially tragic — and consequential. No, I’m not thinking about Donald Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign but a related development: the latest decisions from the European Union (EU) about Ukraine. As 2023 ended, European nations failed to agree on a $54-billion package of assistance for Ukraine at a… Continue reading The End of Europe?


What’s Going to Happen to Taiwan?

Much of international relations is pretense. The leaders of countries pretend to like each other, shaking hands with smiles and manufactured bonhomie. International treaties, which countries solemnly ratify, are often honored only in the breach. Then there are borders, the cement that holds together the international order. Nation-states are the building blocks of that order,… Continue reading What’s Going to Happen to Taiwan?

Book Reviews, Korea

Twisted Sister?

Not much is known about Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. She might have been born in 1987 or perhaps 1989. She studied in Switzerland as a child, along with her brother, but no one has reported on her studies there or whether she developed a love of… Continue reading Twisted Sister?


The Horrors of Gaza

The greatest horror of the war between Israel and Gaza is that it shouldn’t have happened in the first place. Israeli intelligence received a 40-page document a year before the October 7 attack that provided precise details of the plan of the militant Hamas organization to breach the security wall between Israel and Gaza. Although… Continue reading The Horrors of Gaza

Human Rights

Rescuing Realpolitik from Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger wrote his doctoral dissertation about Europe’s “long peace” after the defeat of Napoleon, focusing on how conservative statesmen negotiated the Concert of Europe through a mixture of diplomacy and military power. Kissinger was enamored of this approach to achieving an “equilibrium of forces.” The lesson he absorbed, and later applied as a presidential… Continue reading Rescuing Realpolitik from Henry Kissinger


The Return of the Far Right

Panic does not produce prudent politics. Panic produces provocative populists. And it reduces pundits to Seussian spluttering. How can voters choose such…panic-peddling panderers?! The defeats of Donald Trump in the U.S. elections in 2020 and Jair Bolsonaro in the Brazilian elections in 2022 were supposed to prove that the wave of right-wing politicians had crested… Continue reading The Return of the Far Right


Defrosting the Cold War with China

Chinese leader Xi Jinping arrived in the United States this week to participate in the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting. He also met one-on-one with President Joe Biden. But it hasn’t been exactly a red-carpet kind of visit. For one thing, because the two leaders will be talking in San Francisco, their confab will… Continue reading Defrosting the Cold War with China

US Domestic Policy, US Foreign Policy

How Long Can America Maintain a War Economy?

The U.S. economy is in reasonably good shape, according to conventional measurements. The official unemployment rate is below 4 percent, and the productivity of U.S. workers is surging. In the last quarter, economic growth was nearly 5 percent, and Inflation has been levelling off. Americans are buying things, throwing parties, and going on vacations. Last… Continue reading How Long Can America Maintain a War Economy?

Russia and Eastern Europe, Security

Congress Divided on Funding Wars

Inside the halls of power and outside on the campaign trail, U.S. politics is a mess. The leading Republican candidate for the 2024 presidential race, Donald Trump, faces four criminal indictments. The leading Democratic candidate, President Joe Biden, has dismal favorability ratings. The presidential race has so far generated as much positive enthusiasm as a… Continue reading Congress Divided on Funding Wars

US Foreign Policy

The Enduring Limits of U.S. Power

The United States is the most powerful country on the earth. If you add together its nuclear arsenal, its unmatched array of conventional weaponry, and its global economic reach, America might be the mightiest country in the history of the planet. The United States has been responsible for destroying countries (Germany, Japan) and raising them… Continue reading The Enduring Limits of U.S. Power

US Foreign Policy

Cooling the Guns in the Middle East

The Palestinian people have never really figured prominently in the calculations of U.S. administrations. The Middle East is a locus of power politics, and Palestinians have very little power. Tragically, Arab states have all too often treated Palestinians like pawns as well. In Israel, as second-class citizens and residents of occupied territory, Palestinians hardly merit… Continue reading Cooling the Guns in the Middle East