Politics, Moderate



A Character Test for America

SYDNEY -- To appreciate what's at stake for the world in this year's U.S. presidential election, it's useful to visit a place like Australia that has been one of our most faithful allies -- and that appears to be mortified at what's happening in American politics.

Australians are polite, in their own rowdy way. And they know they have to live ...Read more

China's Rising Influence is Felt in Australia

MELBOURNE -- Australia has a split personality when it comes to China: Government officials stress the importance of their strategic alliance with the U.S., even if it upsets Beijing. But business leaders argue that Australia must accommodate the reality of China's overwhelming economic power in Asia.

It's an awkward straddle for Australia, as ...Read more

Fleeing Islamic State Fighters Could Spur 'Boomerang Effect'

CANBERRA, Australia -- The Islamic State hasn't had much success yet in recruiting militants among the vast Muslim populations in Southeast Asia. But what happens when the caliphate's capitals in Syria and Iraq are destroyed, and hundreds of foreign fighters from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines try to go home?

Experts here in Australia ...Read more

How to Deter Russia and China

WASHINGTON -- The fight against the Islamic State may get the headlines. But it's the military threats from Russia and China that most worry top Pentagon officials -- and are driving a new arms race to deter these great-power rivals.

This question of how to deal with Russian and Chinese military advances has gotten almost no attention in the ...Read more

The Brave New World of Robots and Lost Jobs

WASHINGTON -- Job insecurity is a central theme of the 2016 campaign, fueling popular anger about trade deals and immigration. But economists warn that much bigger job losses are ahead in America -- driven not by foreign competition but by advancing technology.

A look at the numbers suggests that America is having the wrong debate this year. ...Read more

What Does the Foreign Policy Elite Do in a Time of Anti-Elitism?

ASPEN, Colo. -- For 32 years, a group of Republican and Democratic foreign-policy experts has gathered here each summer to debate strategic issues facing the country. This year the bipartisan group had a strange imbalance: None of the Republicans was prepared to argue the case of the GOP nominee, Donald Trump.

Trump would probably be pleased to...Read more

When Lies Become Immune to the Truth

WASHINGTON -- How did Donald Trump win the Republican nomination despite clear evidence that he had misrepresented or falsified key issues throughout the campaign? Social scientists have some intriguing explanations for why people persist in misjudgments despite strong contrary evidence.

Trump is a vivid and, to his critics, a frightening ...Read more

Let the Geeks Watch Over the Internet

WASHINGTON -- As Russian intelligence agencies escalate their use of the U.S.-created internet as a tool of political sabotage, it's haunting to recall the famous communist dictum: "The capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them."

Against this menacing background, the subject of internet governance -- long an arcane topic of...Read more

Is Russia Trying to Sway the U.S. Election?

ASPEN, Colo. -- For many decades, Russian intelligence agencies have used what they call "active measures" to destabilize their rivals. Now they seem to be turning those tools on the U.S. political system, though in the process they appear to have violated Rule No. 1 of the spy business: Don't get caught.

U.S. officials say they have strong ...Read more

Can a Rebuked China Manage its Anger?

WASHINGTON -- China suffered a significant setback this month in its bid for dominance in the South China Sea, and its leaders are following a familiar script after such reversals: They're making angry statements but taking little action while they assess the situation.

The U.S. is playing a characteristic role in such a flare-up, too. Rather ...Read more

A Reality Check from America's Spy Chief

WASHINGTON -- America's top spymaster offered contrarian assessments of some key issues -- warning against "hyping" the threat posed by the Syrian terror group Jabhat al-Nusra, cautioning against administration plans to share intelligence with Russia on Syrian targets, and questioning Turkish claims that last Friday's coup was organized by a ...Read more

Syria's Other Jihadi Menace

WASHINGTON -- As the U.S.-led coalition has begun to gain ground against the Islamic State in Syria, officials have begun focusing attention on another jihadi group they fear may pose a more dangerous long-run threat there, the al-Qaeda affiliate known as Jabhat al-Nusra.

Jabhat al-Nusra has played a clever waiting game over the last four years...Read more

Coup Attempt is New Blow to U.S.-Turkey Relationship

WASHINGTON -- In the uproar following the attempted military coup in Turkey, relations between Washington and Ankara, already badly strained, appear to be headed for new difficulty.

The immediate test will be Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's demand that the United States extradite Fethullah Gulen, an exiled Turkish Muslim leader blamed ...Read more

Britain's Rebuke Holds Message for America

WASHINGTON -- Since its unfortunate "Brexit" vote to leave the European Union, Britain has experienced a tragi-comic round of backstabbing, foot-dragging and second-guessing. Europe, meanwhile has mostly behaved with admirable good sense.

The Europeans seem to understand that the Brexit vote is a wake-up call about dissatisfaction with the EU...Read more

Navy Builds Strength by Saving Energy

WASHINGTON -- The week of July 4th is a good moment to salute an unlikely champion of saving energy and switching to alternative fuels -- the U.S. Navy. Once a supreme fuel-guzzler whose energy needs sometimes dictated foreign policy, the Navy has become a model for how the country can curb its appetite for fossil fuels.

The Navy's energy diet ...Read more

Saudi Arabia's Agent of Change

This column, based on interviews with dozens of Saudi, American, European and Arab officials and analysts, is the second of two about the ferment in the kingdom.

WASHINGTON -- For a kingdom that has survived by hedging its bets and resisting change, Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman proposes a series of sweeping ...Read more

A Brash Bull in the House of Saud

WASHINGTON -- The tensions festering in the Saudi royal family became clear in September, when Joseph Westphal, the U.S. ambassador to Riyadh, flew to Jeddah to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, nominally the heir to the throne. But when he arrived, he was told that the deputy crown prince, a brash 30-year-old named Mohammed bin Salman, ...Read more

Frustrated Middle Class Has Led to 'Brexit'

WASHINGTON -- Imagine a young Margaret Thatcher, a politician who deeply mistrusts the political establishment and identifies on a gut level with the frustrations of the middle class. That's shorthand for what Britain will need as it picks up the pieces after Thursday's "Brexit" referendum.

Friends of Britain (and Europe, too) need to stop ...Read more

Obama's Year of Resilience

WASHINGTON -- A year ago this month, President Obama was delivering a eulogy in Charleston, South Carolina, after the mass shooting in a church there. As he neared the end, he took a long pause and then began singing "Amazing Grace."

It was an unforgettable, transcendent moment. Michelle Obama had reportedly cautioned him against singing, but ...Read more

Can Venezuela Be Helped Off the Ledge?

WASHINGTON -- With Venezuela spinning into chaos and collapse, the Obama administration has pondered how to nudge the imploding nation toward political change -- without making Uncle Sam a target. The administration appears to have found the right formula this week.

Secretary of State John Kerry announced Tuesday at a meeting of the ...Read more


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