Politics, Moderate



Trump's stunning answer to 'who do you believe'?

WASHINGTON -- President Trump was doing pretty well in Helsinki, really, laying out a modest but achievable agenda for improving U.S.-Russia relations. And then came the final question about whether Trump believed his own intelligence chiefs or Russian President Vladimir Putin -- and in his weird, waffling answer, you could almost hear the ...Read more

Putin must wonder what else America knows about Russia

WASHINGTON -- When President Vladimir Putin sits down at the table in Helsinki on Monday, he will surely have in the back of his mind some intelligence worries that have nothing to do with the U.S. president seated across from him.

Putin's elite spy world has been penetrated by U.S. intelligence. That's the implication of the extraordinarily ...Read more

Better relations with Russia are a worthy goal. But at what price?

WASHINGTON -- As the Helsinki summit approaches, President Trump appears to be on the verge of acquiescing to the belligerent strategy and behavior that Moscow has been pursuing for decades.

The summit will be a culmination of Trump's often-proclaimed eagerness for better relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "He's not my enemy. And ...Read more

To better understand Trump's zigzag diplomacy, look to his comeback from near-bankruptcy

WASHINGTON -- Watching President Trump's diplomatic maneuvers -- in Singapore last month and in the runup to his meetings over the next week in Brussels and Helsinki -- I wonder whether analysts have been making a mistake explaining his bargaining style in terms of the brash young personality described in his 1987 memoir, "The Art of the Deal." ...Read more

Is Trump handing Putin a victory in Syria?

EDITORS -- David Ignatius is taking a one-week vacation. His next column will be sent Tuesday, July 10, for release Wednesday, July 11. For replacement columns, go to syndication.washingtonpost.com and click on the Syndicate tab. Open a column you'd like to use and click on the "Copy as Vacation Sub" button to grab the full text.

WASHINGTON -- ...Read more

Space defense makes some sense, if done seriously

WASHINGTON -- President Trump has hurled so many thunderbolts recently that people may have missed the one that could have the greatest long-term impact on America's national security -- his directive to the Pentagon last week to start creating a new military service that he dubbed the "space force."

It's certainly a Trumpian idea: big and bold...Read more

Trump is hurling a wrecking ball toward the trans-Atlantic alliance

BRUSSELS -- A bright banner at NATO's lavish new headquarters here proclaims the core conviction of the trans-Atlantic alliance: "We are together. We are strong." But the words seem a bit hollow these days, as President Trump escalates his attacks on America's traditional European partners.

Trump's "America First" policies have shaken many of ...Read more

Trump's 'deal' with Kim is far from closed

WASHINGTON -- President Trump boasted last weekend that his "denuclearization deal" with Kim Jong Un could "save potentially millions & millions of lives!" He even proclaimed in the exhilaration of his return from Singapore: "There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea."

But as the Great Dealmaker should know, it's important to read ...Read more

The small miracle of Armenia's 'velvet revolution'

YEREVAN, Armenia -- If you're looking for some good news from a faraway land, here's a tale of Armenia's "velvet revolution," which just deposed a corrupt, authoritarian government and installed a team of eager young reformers to govern a tiny nation perilously bordering Russia.

Maybe it's the start of a counter-trend, in a world where so many ...Read more

In his deal with Trump, Kim gave up very little

WASHINGTON -- Credit President Trump for seizing the diplomatic moment at the Singapore summit. But the person who most shaped this extraordinary encounter was North Korean leader Kim Jong Un -- who is indeed, as Trump said Tuesday, a "very talented" young man who has achieved something that "one out of 10,000 probably couldn't do."

It's almost...Read more

How Carter Page got tangled in the Russian web

WASHINGTON -- Back in July 2016, just before the formal launch of the FBI's investigation of Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election, a bureau informant met in Britain with a Trump campaign adviser and energy consultant named Carter Page who had just returned from a trip to Moscow.

Page's encounter with the FBI informant is ground ...Read more

Democrats need to find their voice on tariffs

WASHINGTON -- Is President Trump's pitch to disgruntled manufacturing workers a leading political indicator, portending future trends, or a lagging one, appealing to a small and declining segment of the public? We may be about to find out, thanks to Trump's controversial tariff plan.

Trump's decision last week to levy duties on steel and ...Read more

The terrifying degradation of the information marketplace

WASHINGTON -- When a prominent Russian journalist fakes news about his own murder to try to expose the Kremlin's misdeeds, you know that something has gone dangerously wrong in what we like to call the free marketplace of ideas. These days, it has become a battlespace where anything goes.

Russia pioneered the modern use of "weaponized ...Read more

On North Korea, Trump is bargaining with bombast

WASHINGTON -- "Are you on the road or in the ditch?" That's the question labor reporters used to ask about big contract negotiations back when I covered the United Steelworkers union 40 years ago in Pittsburgh -- and it's the right one to pose now as President Trump zigs and zags toward a summit meeting with Kim Jong Un.

Trump and Kim appear to...Read more

Trump chose risky course with North Korea

WASHINGTON -- President Trump's letter canceling his June 12 summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un is a coy piece of manipulation -- flattering and threatening Kim at the same time. It's like the letters people send when breaking up a romance that hasn't quite ripened. The words seem heartfelt, even as they stick in the knife.

"l was very much ...Read more

In the Russia probe, fringe characters take center stage

WASHINGTON -- In the bizarre double helix that is the Russia investigation, one of the recurring themes is the role of would-be influencers. They start off as connectors and facilitators, but gradually (and implausibly) they move to the center of the story.

That's true with Stefan Halper, the retired American professor at Britain's Cambridge ...Read more

Trump is fomenting a trans-Atlantic rift

BRUSSELS -- President Trump's dismissive treatment of Europe is beginning to erode the trans-Atlantic alliance, which for many decades has been the central pillar of U.S. national-security policy.

The growing European-American rift may be the most important but least discussed consequence of Trump's foreign policy. His disruptive style is ...Read more

Does the pathway to containing Iran pass through Moscow

ABU DHABI -- Arab leaders love the idea that President Trump is ready to give Iran a punch in the nose. But is this White House truly serious about challenging Iranian power in the Middle East? The evidence is mixed, at best.

I heard passionate enthusiasm for Trump's decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal from prominent Arabs gathered ...Read more

A sane Iran policy will bet on the people, not the regime

WASHINGTON -- So what's next with Iran? Even if you think President Trump has made a big mistake in withdrawing from the nuclear agreement, as I do, that's not the end of the story. Where does this bumpy road lead in the future?

What's distressing about the Iran question is that nobody in this administration seems to have a good answer. Trump's...Read more

The Haspel nomination is a moral issue because it's a tough choice

WASHINGTON -- The argument against Gina Haspel's nomination to be CIA director is simple and, in some ways, compelling: The Senate shouldn't approve someone who was involved, however tangentially, in the torture of al-Qaida suspects that was authorized by the George W. Bush administration.

There's one counterargument that resonates, and it's ...Read more


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