Politics, Moderate



An obvious proviso for re-admitting Russia to the G-7

WASHINGTON -- As the G-7 gathers this weekend in Biarritz, President Trump has expressed hope for the return of Russia, the missing guest at the table. But any consideration of this issue requires dealing with Trump's least favorite subject -- Russian cybermeddling in U.S. elections.

The stark reality is that the United States is now fighting a...Read more

The unlikely crusade to save capitalism from itself

WASHINGTON -- "Evolve or die," wrote hedge-fund billionaire Ray Dalio in a manifesto published in April titled "Why and How Capitalism Needs to be Reformed." With each passing month, more business executives have been joining this unlikely crusade to save capitalism from itself.

The loudest reform call yet from inside the system came this week ...Read more

Beware 'moral hazard' in Hong Kong

WASHINGTON -- Watching videos of Chinese protestors singing the U.S. national anthem in the streets of Hong Kong, or hearing the tear-jerking chorus of "Les Miserables" during a sit-in at the Hong Kong airport, only someone with a heart of stone wouldn't want to assist these brave people who are fighting for their freedom.

But beware. The ...Read more

The China challenge is America's new Sputnik moment

LA JOLLA, Calif. -- One of the weirdest aspects of this year's Democratic presidential campaign is that foreign policy, potentially one of President Trump's most vulnerable issues, has been nearly absent from the debate.

Trump is steering the country into a foolish trade war with China that has spooked the stock market, frightened farmers and ...Read more

The Marines' new commandant has set the bar for real military reform

WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon is buzzing about a potentially revolutionary order by the new Marine Corps commandant that bluntly answers the essential question for would-be military reformers: What should we discard from the legacy arsenal to make room for what we need to fight the wars of the future?

"We cannot afford to retain outdated policies,...Read more

In U.S.-China relations, 'friction is the new normal'

ASPEN, Colo. -- Where is the United States heading in its confrontation with China, which moved this week from a trade dispute to a currency battle -- with more dangerous tests in Hong Kong and Taiwan looming ominously in the background?

Does the U.S. have a strategy in this cascading competition? Do America's military and diplomatic tools ...Read more

Debaters seemed eerily like America-First Democrats

WASHINGTON -- This week's Democratic presidential debates included little substantive discussion of foreign policy -- even about an imminent troop-withdrawal agreement for Afghanistan -- and most of the candidates seemed as eager to retreat from the world as President Trump.

The debaters looked eerily like America-First Democrats, with scant ...Read more

Trump's intelligence shakeup could prove dangerous

WASHINGTON -- Among intelligence professionals, President Trump's nomination of an inexperienced, partisan politician to oversee America's spy agencies prompted deep dismay -- but also a stolid reaffirmation of the spymaster's credo: Let's get on with it.

This combination of incredulity and stoicism was voiced by a half-dozen current and former...Read more

Uncertainty clouds the path forward for Afghanistan

KABUL -- At the military headquarters here where commanders oversee America's longest war, an official explains in one sentence the U.S.-led coalition's bottom-line objective: "Peace is a situation where we can leave, and we don't have to come back."

But how will the United States move toward this endgame, as U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad...Read more

Saudi leader urgently needs to reset relationship with America

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia -- As America's confrontation with Iran deepens in the Persian Gulf, the U.S. military is rushing more than 500 troops to Saudi Arabia, its key partner in the region. The grim but necessary task is to deter Iran and prepare for war, if deterrence fails.

It's time for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to do something ...Read more

America's immediate challenge in the Persian Gulf is maritime security

MUSCAT, Oman -- Here's the most intriguing fact about Iran's apparent seizure on Saturday of a small oil tanker about 240 miles northwest of here: Thus far, it has brought only a muted response from the United Arab Emirates, in whose waters the vessel had been operating, and from the United States, which is quietly organizing a multinational ...Read more

Like it or not, Democrats, Trump is on a roll

WASHINGTON -- The agonizing fact for Democrats this summer is that President Trump appears to be gaining ground on domestic and foreign policy, while his potential challengers are quarreling and mostly spinning their wheels.

Trump is defying Congress, taunting allies and ignoring court rulings he doesn't like -- and seemingly getting away with ...Read more

Democratic surprise: Why not get tough on Iran?

WASHINGTON -- Democratic candidates for president should get smart about America's confrontation with Iran: Rather than seek only to restore the 2015 nuclear deal, they should also endorse a broader, new negotiation that addresses Iran's meddling in the region and removes sanctions against Tehran.

The goal should be "JCPOA 2.0, Plus," argues ...Read more

Trump cannot rewrite the American story

WASHINGTON -- President Trump is trying, in his gaudy, self-glorying way, to refashion Independence Day in his own image, but he'll fail. The weight and momentum of this nation are strong enough after 243 years to survive his vain mischief.

Americans, not least Trump supporters, know that this country is about freedom. Other countries may have ...Read more

Trump successfully played a hunch with Kim. Now what?

WASHINGTON -- In dealing with North Korea's Chairman Kim Jong Un, President Trump should remember that he is a snake handler, not a snake charmer. (The same advice applies to Kim, but we'll leave that to pundits in Pyongyang.)

The baseline: Kim is a modernizing autocrat who believes his survival will be enhanced by the economic development he ...Read more

History teaches us the weakness in Trump's showdown with Iran

WASHINGTON -- Sometimes in foreign policy, the best course of action for a powerful country is the most limited, at least visibly. That may be the case now in America's confrontation with a cornered but potentially venomous Iran.

The U.S.-Iran showdown is a classic test between a strong nation and a much weaker one. An embattled Tehran has ...Read more

Demonizing one another won't bridge our political divide

WASHINGTON -- When Paula White, who's often described as President Trump's personal spiritual adviser, railed in her invocation at his reelection kickoff railed last week against "every demonic network who has aligned itself" against Trump, her words bothered me, personally and spiritually.

I've written critically about Trump, but I don't ...Read more

Feeling squeezed, Iran is trying to fight its way out

WASHINGTON -- The most important variable in the current Persian Gulf confrontation is time. The Trump administration wants to play a long game, to draw the sanctions tourniquet ever tighter. Iran needs to play a short game, to escape the American chokehold before it becomes fatal.

This inner dynamic helps explain this past month's events in ...Read more

Shanahan's departure comes at a moment of significant military risk

WASHINGTON -- President Trump has a credibility problem at a time when his confrontation with Iran is moving toward a dangerous test.

"There is no capital in the bank" in terms of trust with major European and Asian allies, said one former senior defense official. "We've managed to isolate ourselves, rather than Iran. This is a strategy-free ...Read more

Is the Iran-U.S. tinderbox about to ignite?

WASHINGTON -- As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran of "unprovoked attacks" near the Strait of Hormuz, video screens behind him showed thick black smoke billowing from the two tankers that were struck Thursday. It was the dramatic imagery that sometimes precedes armed conflict.

Pompeo didn't offer hard evidence, and Iran denied the ...Read more


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