Thirteen years ago, in summer 2007, I wrote a memo for the future president of the United States. The one who would take office in 2020. At the time, I had no idea who would win the 2008 elections, much less an election in the distant future. In summer 2007, Hillary Clinton was the Democratic frontrunner,… Continue reading A Memo to the Next President
Trump’s public appeal to China last week to help with uncovering dirt on the Biden family was both a brazen flouting of the law and (it pains me to say) an astute political tactic. “China should start an investigation into the Bidens, because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened… Continue reading Trump’s Undeclared State of Emergency
In the week before the mid-term elections, Donald Trump returned to his bread-and-butter issue: immigration. He knows that the only thing that will turn out his base, and possibly swing some independents over to his side, is fear. Economic indicators are in reasonably good shape (for now). Hillary Clinton is nowhere near power (for now).… Continue reading Trump’s Only Electoral Strategy Was Racism
The discussion of the Russia file these days sounds like the review of a fast-food restaurant. Echoing that infamous catchphrase of Wendy’s that became a political meme in the 1984 presidential elections — Where’s the Beef? — the charges of cooperation between the Kremlin and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign have either been dismissed as a “nothingburger” or embraced… Continue reading Russiaburger: The Trump-Russia Scandal Unwrapped
Evil is a popular topic in Hollywood, from The Evil Dead franchise to Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers movies. But evil makes only the occasional cameo in the U.S. policy realm. In the early 1990s, the topic of evil became buzz-worthy in the wake of the Cold War’s collapse as pundits and policymakers tried to understand the unfolding… Continue reading Dr. Evil’s First Year in Office
The first signs of decline are physical. Citizens don’t grow as tall. They don’t live as long. They start killing each other in large numbers. Sounds like the post-mortem for a society that disappeared long ago, a conclusion that archaeologists deliver after sifting through bone fragments and pottery shards. Why, the puzzled scholars ask, did… Continue reading Making America Mediocre Again
He wants to cut back on U.S. military commitments overseas. He calls the Iraq War “one of the worst decisions ever made in the history of our country.” He promises to make deals with America’s adversaries. He’s comfortable with the détente with Cuba. And he really pisses off the stuffed shirts at The Washington Post.… Continue reading Trump: Foreign Policy’s Useful Idiot?
In fairy tales, the hero makes a wish. After a few trials the wish comes true, and everyone lives happily ever after. But only in this Disney version of fairy tales is wish fulfillment so straightforward. In Goethe’s modern fairy tale, a scholar dreams of knowledge and power. A stranger grants his wish, but the… Continue reading Obama: The Fairy-Tale President?
It was only a couple years ago that I was bemoaning Obama’s failure to fulfill his promise to resolve major confrontations in the world diplomatically. “Smart power,” in the Obama lexicon, had largely been window dressing on the same old exercise of hard power — the widespread drone strikes, the surge in Afghanistan, the intervention… Continue reading Obama’s Triple Crown
When Barack Obama enters the geopolitical funhouse these days, the distorting mirrors reflect back very different images of the U.S. president. The mirror held up by the Republican Party shows a presidential beanpole, a 98-pound weakling who is continually getting sand kicked into his face—by Syria’s Assad, North Korea’s Kim, Cuba’s Castro, and assorted other… Continue reading Obama in the Funhouse