Bottom Line: America Needs a Smarter Russia Strategy

Another short piece for The National Interest, this time on U.S.-Russian relations.

For all of the understandable focus on the future of U.S.-China relations, no bilateral relationship is more important to the United States in 2015 than the relationship with Russia.

Moscow’s foreign policies exacerbate—and, in some instance, are the very causes of—several vexing issues currently facing U.S. decision-makers, from Moscow’s 18-month old intervention in Ukraine to its harboring of Edward Snowden to its military support for Syria’s Bashar al-Assad.  Yet if the Obama administration has a coherent strategy for dealing with Russia then it is certainly well hidden from public view…

Click here for the full article.

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The Trillion-Dollar Question: Who Will Control the South China Sea?

What will be the future of U.S. foreign policy towards the South China Sea?  And what’s at stake?  Click here for my latest piece via The National Interest.

Recent developments in the South China Sea have lumbered U.S. strategic planners with a number of pressing quandaries. Should the United States send warships through sea lanes claimed by China as territorial waters?  How can Washington signal resolve and reassurance to its allies in the region without unduly antagonizing China’s political and military leaders?  What is the right mix of diplomacy, military, and political engagement?

These short-term decisions will rightly preoccupy teams of Washington-based Asia hands for months and, perhaps, years to come. But focusing on the short term alone risks obscuring the true nature of the strategic problem facing the United States…

Jeremy Corbyn: Who He Is and What He Means for America

My pitch for why people in the United States should take notice of the new leader of the UK Labour Party:

Few in the United States pay close attention to British politics. Certainly, there was less American interest in the British Labour Party’s recent leadership election than there is British interest in the progress of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. But what happens in Britain is not without consequence for the United States, and the emphatic election of Jeremy Corbyn to the Labour leadership—the most left-wing leader that the party has had in modern times—is certainly no exception…

Click here for the full article.

The GOP Fights Back

My take on last night’s CNN debate:

This was the debate in which the Republican mainstream began to retake control of the primary process and, by extension, their party. After seeing Donald Trump soar in the polls for too long, the GOP’s “establishment” candidates finally seized the opportunity to lambaste Trump in a public forum and make the case for his dismissal. Their concerted efforts fell far short of an all-out assault and might not put a dent in Trump’s popularity right away, but the opening salvo unmistakably has been fired. In time, this might well be remembered as the inflection point after which Trump’s political fortunes began to dwindle.

Click here for the full piece.

Obama’s ISIL Strategy: Success or a Giant Failure?

Around this time last year, President Obama addressed the U.S. public to outline his administration’s policy towards the Islamic State.  It was a speech that Obama was no doubt reluctant to make given his general preference that foreign-policy issues be kept off the domestic agenda. But ISIL’s dramatic territorial gains in Iraq and Syria meant that some sort of response was inevitable.  Twelve months on, how is the president’s strategy holding up?

My latest for The National Interest.

Is Isolationism Making a Comeback?

My latest piece for The National Interest revisits Charles Krauthammer’s 1990 Foreign Affairs article, “The Unipolar Moment,” and asks if one of his central fears in this piece might now becoming a reality.

In a landmark Foreign Affairs article published 25 years ago, Charles Krauthammer predicted that the biggest challenges to America’s “unipolar moment” would come from domestic politics rather than abroad.  Although the crumbling of the Soviet Empire was good news, Krauthammer argued, it would be folly to assume that the post-Cold War era would be one of undiluted harmony.  Global stability was possible but it would be contingent upon U.S. leadership of world affairs—including the maintenance of robust U.S. military capabilities.  Krauthammer’s biggest fear, then, was that such leadership might not be forthcoming.

Click here to read the full piece.