As the fight against ISIS winds down, America is deepening its involvement in Syria’s bloody civil war, risking conflict with friends and foes alike.
The Trump administration has committed the U.S. to Syria for the long haul, despite President Trump’s apparent misgivings about U.S. military spending in the Middle East.
Continue reading “U.S. at Odds with Friends and Foes in Syria”
The controversial “Nunes memo” – named for House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), who spearheaded it – has been made public, and Washington is in a frenzy trying to prove or disprove its explosive allegations of bias against President Trump at the top levels of the FBI and Justice Dept. (For our take, check out the latest issue of The Kiplinger Letter).
Further muddying the waters is the potential release of committee Democrats’ rebuttal memo, which Trump would also have to authorize.
Continue reading “Nunes Memo Won’t Hinder Trump-Russia Probe”
Presidents come and go, but the annual State of the Union address endures. It’s mostly an opportunity for political grandstanding but can offer insight into an administration’s goals for the year.
President Trump delivered his first official entry into this historic canon Tuesday. In typical fashion, he took the occasion to celebrate his achievements—major tax legislation, extensive deregulation, the defeat of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq—and call for national unity and bipartisanship.
Continue reading “Trump’s State of the Union Charts Uncertain Path”
The idea of Donald Trump attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, is a bit like mixing oil and water.
Like many on the Davos guest list, the U.S. president is both a prominent world leader and billionaire businessman. Unlike most of them, he also champions nationalism and economic protectionism, views that rarely receive a platform at the world’s largest annual celebration of globalization and the global elite who love it.
Continue reading “Mr. Trump Goes to Davos”
It’s too early to make a definitive call on the midterm elections, but here are some key factors shaping the campaign landscape.
The Generic Congressional Ballot: This poll asks people which party they would support in a congressional election, without mentioning any specific candidate. So far, Democrats have a clear advantage. RealClearPolitics, a political polling and news aggregator, shows the party with an average lead of 9 points on the generic ballot, based on polling data dating back to January 2017.
Continue reading “Control of Congress Rests on Handful of Critical Variables”
2017 was a groundbreaking year for North Korea’s nuclear program. This year will bring more provocations intended to challenge the United States and bolster Pyongyang’s claim of being a full-fledged nuclear power.
Harry Kazianis, director of defense studies at the Center for National Interest, already dubbed 2018 “the year of the North Korean missile.” But North Korea’s next move is on hold while it engages in talks with South Korea to ease tensions ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics, which open in Pyeongchang, South Korea next month. Seoul and Washington suspended annual joint military exercises until after the Olympics as a sign of good faith.
Continue reading “North Korea’s Nuclear Drive will Upend Detente”
Forecasting political developments in the Middle East is a fool’s errand—doubly so when the country is Iran.
On New Year’s Eve 1977, President Carter famously called it “an island of stability in one of the more troubled areas of the world,” only to watch revolutionary students hijack the U.S. embassy in Tehran a year later, holding 52 Americans hostage for 444 days and crippling his presidency.
Continue reading “Iranian Protests Unlikely to Topple Anti-American Regime”
Sino-American relations will take a turn for the worse in 2018, as the Trump administration makes good on its trade threats and North Korea undermines President Trump’s positive relationship with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.
Despite his long-held skepticism about China’s trade practices, Trump spent his first year in office trying to woo Xi—Beijing’s most powerful leader in decades—in hopes of convincing him to take a harder line on Pyongyang’s nuclear provocations.
Continue reading “Trump Sets China in his 2018 Sights”
Here’s a good rule of thumb for forecasting the Middle East: Things will get worse before they get even worse. And in this part of the world, things always seem to be getting worse. Not surprising when the region’s other great maxim is: “The enemy of my enemy can still be my enemy.”
Virtually every recent U.S. president has ignored this lesson at his peril: Bill Clinton saw his efforts to secure peace between the Israelis and Palestinians succeed, then fail miserably. George W. Bush got bogged down in a long, costly and politically divisive war in Iraq. Barack Obama discovered, among other things, that killing Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, did not spell the end of Islamic terrorism as a threat to the United States.
Continue reading “Trump Decision on Jerusalem Stokes Anger Throughout Middle East (Corrected)”
Reports that President Trump may force out Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo have rocked Washington, D.C., once again underscoring the ongoing turmoil within the administration.
To some extent, this isn’t a surprise. Washington pundits have been writing Tillerson’s political obituary ever since reports emerged this summer that the secretary of state privately called Trump a “moron.”
Continue reading “Palace Intrigue at the State Department: Trump Contemplates Plan to Force Out Secretary of State”