Trump Hits a Wall on North Korea

When he took office, Donald Trump, like most presidents, inherited a slew of geopolitical headaches from his predecessor. Now one of those headaches, North Korea, is turning into a migraine.

Trump has done his best to keep Pyongyang—and everyone else—guessing on how he plans to address the growing crisis over North Korea’s nuclear program. Continue reading “Trump Hits a Wall on North Korea”

Previewing France’s Presidential Election

A wave of euphoria greeted Emmanuel Macron’s narrow victory in the first round of France’s presidential election last week. Markets and pundits alike cheered, taking the outcome as yet another sign that Europe’s populist threat – which only a few months ago looked as if it might swallow the continent whole – was nothing more than a paper tiger. Talk of France possibly departing the European Union has died down and European stock markets have rallied.

Macron, a one-time Socialist cabinet minister who broke with his party to run for president as an independent, will now face Marine Le Pen of the right-wing National Front in a runoff election on May 7.
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Foreign Policy Challenges To Test President Trump

There’s a famous (though probably apocryphal) Chinese curse that is frequently cited when the world becomes unstable and chaotic: “May you live in interesting times.”

Donald Trump, whether he likes it or not, has become president at a very interesting time in history. Only months after taking office, he faces a world rife with potential problems, any one of which could potentially erupt into a full-blown crisis.                Continue reading “Foreign Policy Challenges To Test President Trump”

What’s Next For Health Care, Trump’s Agenda?

The odds of repealing and replacing Obamacare look even worse after House Republicans couldn’t unite around replacement legislation and the bill had to be pulled before today’s vote.

The failure represents a major setback for President Trump and for House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Continue reading “What’s Next For Health Care, Trump’s Agenda?”

The Terror Attack in London

The threat of terrorism in Europe is far from over. That much was clear after the recent attack in London that killed four people, injured dozens and jolted the United Kingdom as the country prepared for negotiations to exit the European Union.

This was the latest in a string of attacks in Europe over the last two years, many of them committed by “lone-wolf” assailants: Those who have been radicalized by online propaganda from groups such as the Islamic State, but aren’t actually affiliated with them. Continue reading “The Terror Attack in London”

Will Trump and Putin Be Buddies?

Donald Trump’s first 100 days will feature plenty of speculation about the president making nice with Russia. Indeed, there are already rumblings about a potential nuclear summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, the same city where three decades ago Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev started negotiations that would eventually bring the Cold War to a peaceful conclusion. Trump has also hinted at the possibility of lifting sanctions on Moscow should the Kremlin prove a valuable ally in the fight against Islamic terrorism.

But don’t expect the new president to make any bold moves right away. Developing a coherent foreign policy takes time. Despite the infamous “reset” photo-op, it took several months for the Obama administration to devise its Russia strategy, according to Michael Kofman, a senior fellow at the Wilson Center. For Trump, this task will be made extra difficult by a number of factors. Continue reading “Will Trump and Putin Be Buddies?”

Trump’s Cybersecurity Challenges

Among the biggest questions facing President-elect Donald Trump: What will be the new “norms” of cyberspace in a rapidly changing technological and geopolitical landscape? The answer is far from clear. Moreover, there is very little precedent for tackling some of the thorniest problems the president must confront.

Expect Trump to favor firm retaliation for any major cyber-breaches, especially if China is the culprit. He has already voiced his intention to take a harder line against Beijing on a range of issues, including trade. China, meanwhile, will be more inclined to challenge the U.S. if it feels its vital interests, such as Taiwan and the “One-China” policy, are truly at stake. Continue reading “Trump’s Cybersecurity Challenges”

What Will Obama, Trump Do About Russia?

President Obama will almost certainly deliver a forceful response to Russia’s cyber-meddling in the 2016 presidential election before his term expires next month and Donald Trump moves into the Oval Office.

What that response will look like is hard to say, though sanctions are much more likely than harsher measures. Cyberdefense remains a weak spot for the U.S., and questions about the best way to respond to acts of online aggression have largely gone unanswered during Obama’s time in office, according to Claude Barfield of the American Enterprise Institute. Continue reading “What Will Obama, Trump Do About Russia?”

Coming: GOP Infighting over Federal Spending

It’s a good bet that federal spending and the annual budget deficits will increase during the Trump administration, despite opposition from many members of his own party who will hold firm on reining in government outlays.

But the Republican-controlled Congress isn’t about to give President-elect Donald Trump a blank check. The credit rating service Moody’s forecasts that if he were to get everything on his spending wish list, the deficit as a share of GDP would likely top 10% by the end of his four-year term, compared with 3% now. That’s not going to happen.

Continue reading “Coming: GOP Infighting over Federal Spending”