Mohammed bin Salman is a charming fellow. The tall, dark, and handsome Saudi prince known as MbS has seduced world leaders and eager pundits left and right. To his supporters, MbS became first in line to the Saudi throne by championing reform in a deeply conservative Gulf kingdom, taking on corruption, confronting religious extremists, and… Continue reading The Talented Mr. Bin Laden
John Bolton tried his best. The national security adviser entered the Trump administration as a predictable warmonger with an unslakable thirst for power. He streamlined the national security apparatus to maximize his access to the president. At least at first, he played the role of loyal adjutant to Trump. As in his days as an… Continue reading Threat of Bolton Has Receded But Not Threat of War
Donald Trump has a plan to solve America’s drug crisis: kill the drug dealers. “We have pushers and drugs dealers, they are killing hundreds and hundreds of people,” Trump said at a recent White House summit on opioid abuse. “Some countries have a very, very tough penalty — the ultimate penalty — and by the way, they have much… Continue reading Trump to the International Community: Drop Dead
The war in Syria is a nightmare. It’s a nightmare for all the civilians who suffer from constant aerial bombardment, who are trapped without food and medical assistance inside crumbling cities, who experience the retribution of either the Islamic State or the regime in Damascus. It’s a nightmare for those who try to escape and… Continue reading Syria as Metaphor
North Korea has had a relatively short and somewhat complicated relationship with the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). In the period after the Korean War, when North and South Korea were engaged in a bout of diplomatic one-upmanship to see which could gain the most embassies around the world, Pyongyang largely steered clear… Continue reading North Korea and the GCC
In 2012, a year before he died, the distinguished political scientist Kenneth Waltz wrote an article in Foreign Affairs arguing that everyone should stop worrying about Iran getting a nuclear weapon. He didn’t think that Iran was likely to voluntarily abandon its efforts to acquire a nuke. Nor did he think that the country would… Continue reading Should South Korea Get the Bomb?
The market was supposed to save the planet. That, at least, was the argument of many economists grappling with the problem of climate change. As fossil fuels became scarcer, they pointed out, the price of oil and natural gas would go up. And then other options, like solar and wind, would become cheaper, particularly as… Continue reading The Geopolitics of Cheap Oil
Imagine this new TV series coming to HBO in 2016. The planet faces an unprecedented peril. The international community brings together a team of experts, each one with a different specialty: the scientist, the general, the computer geek, the engineer, the spook. It’s their job to avert catastrophe. In the pilot episode, we see each… Continue reading Syria: Mission Possible?
After midnight on August 15, 1947, India and Pakistan became separate countries. What should have been a joyous occasion — a celebration of independence from three centuries of British colonial rule — quickly turned into one of the greatest tragedies in modern history. By the end of 1948, after an exodus of Muslims from India… Continue reading The Middle East’s New Nakba
Last week, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton gave a major foreign policy speechthat provided a glimpse of one possible post-Obama future. In many ways, it was not a pretty picture. But let’s first look at the good points. Clinton endorsed the Iran deal that just squeaked through Congress despite unanimous Republican opposition. “Either we move… Continue reading After Obama: Clinton vs. Sanders