Politics, Moderate



The US should double down on support for Lebanon

EDITORS -- Effective Nov. 1, columns by David Ignatius will be available for print publication only.

BEIRUT -- The aftershocks of President Trump's abandonment of the Kurds in Syria are rumbling through the region, and a string of Lebanese officials told me last week that they fear they're the next to be discarded by America.

Lebanese ...Read more

For American soldiers, Trump's betrayal of the Kurds is sickening

WASHINGTON -- At a gathering last Saturday night of military and intelligence veterans, one topic shrouded the room: President Trump's decision to abandon Kurdish fighters in Syria who had fought and died to help America destroy the Islamic State.

"It's a dagger to the heart to walk away from people who shed blood for us," one former top CIA ...Read more

Ignoring arms control is a dangerous mistake

WASHINGTON -- This week's news that President Trump is considering abandoning the Open Skies Treaty probably brought a yawn from most observers. Arms-control agreements like this seem to many people like yesterday's problem.

But ignoring arms control is a dangerous mistake, especially now. We're in a moment of strategic instability between the ...Read more

As Trump abandons Syrian Kurds, a top commander pleads for U.S. support

WASHINGTON -- With U.S. troops withdrawing from the Turkish-Syrian border and Turkish troops poised to attack, the Syrian Kurdish commander warned Monday morning that a bloodbath could be ahead -- and pleaded for continued U.S. support.

Gen. Mazloum Abdi, the commander of the Kurdish-led militia known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, said in a ...Read more

Trump seized chance to settle scores through Ukraine

WASHINGTON -- Through all of President Trump's dealings with Ukraine, he has rarely focused on the job for which he was elected -- steering the foreign policy of the United States. Instead, for Trump, Ukraine has been a continuing story of personal resentment and political opportunism.

A narrative of the Ukraine affair -- drawn from ...Read more

How can Congress compel the Trump administration to provide testimony and documents?

After Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's angry refusal Tuesday to allow State Department officials to testify before a House of Representatives committee about Ukraine, congressional Democrats face a newly urgent question: What legal tools does Congress have to compel the Trump administration to provide testimony and documents?

This fundamental ...Read more

What happened on the way to Khashoggi's horrifying final seconds?

WASHINGTON -- At 1:14 on the afternoon of Oct. 2, 2018, a special-operations team waiting for Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul was told he had arrived. Just 25 minutes later, the Washington Post contributing columnist was dead, and a noise that Turkish authorities later described as a bone saw could be heard.

A year after ...Read more

Trump compromised national security for personal gain

WASHINGTON -- If you're wondering why it matters that President Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine while he was requesting political favors from its new president, think about the Ukrainian soldiers who are fighting a nasty proxy war against Russian-backed separatists.

America is Ukraine's ally in this fight. Ukrainian commanders, battling ...Read more

Trump's conflict with Iran is a crisis of his own making

WASHINGTON -- It's a good rule never to start a fight you're not eager to finish. But the Trump administration and its Arab allies now seem caught in a version of that dilemma with Iran, which is proving to be a tougher adversary than Washington expected.

Iran's alleged attack last Saturday on Saudi oil facilities caught U.S. analysts by ...Read more

Absent strong leadership, what will come of Hong Kong's protests?

HONG KONG -- As tens of thousands of protesters marched down Hennessy Road toward government headquarters Sunday afternoon, chanting pro-democracy slogans and waving American flags, it was an exuberant celebration of this territory's yearning for freedom.

The protesters seemed mindless of the danger: Men and women, young and old, ninja-clad ...Read more

Dunford was a steady hand during Trump-era turmoil

WASHINGTON -- Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who will retire this month, is that rare senior official in Donald Trump's Washington whose career and reputation don't seem to have been tarnished by his dealings with the president.

The explanation is simple: The low-key, Boston-Irish Marine maintained the distance ...Read more

Score one for American diplomacy

WASHINGTON -- Six weeks ago, Turkey was threatening to invade the Kurdish region of northeast Syria. Last Sunday, U.S. and Turkish troops instead conducted their first joint ground patrol of that area, with Kurdish cooperation. Score one for American diplomacy, backed by patient U.S. military power.

President Trump had said last December that ...Read more

Trump has an opportunity to reset the table in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON -- Every president since Jimmy Carter has dreamed of signing a peace agreement at Camp David. That's a forgivable vanity, even for our current narcissist-in-chief. But it nearly led President Trump to make an unwise deal on Afghanistan with a Taliban that continues to use terror as its chief weapon.

Trump's closest Republican allies,...Read more

Trump's personal diplomacy in China is no substitute for clear policy

WASHINGTON -- As we move into the fall, there's one overriding foreign-policy priority for America: Find a strategy to deal with a rising China that protects U.S. interests but doesn't subvert the global economy.

China is the challenge of our time, and the risks of getting it wrong are enormous. Huawei, the Shenzen-based communications ...Read more

Why America is losing the information war with Russia

WASHINGTON -- Richard Stengel, a former Time editor who became the State Department's undersecretary for public diplomacy, writes that he was once an information "idealist." He believed that in the marketplace of ideas, the truth would ultimately prevail. Not anymore.

"I think we all now know that this is a pipe dream," writes Stengel in a ...Read more

Why Macron's Iran gamble didn't pay off

WASHINGTON -- What really happened in Biarritz last weekend, with the mysterious visit of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif? U.S. officials saw it as a bit of diplomatic freelancing by French President Emmanuel Macron that sought to foster negotiations but highlighted the obstacles that are in the way.

The intrigue surrounding the ...Read more

As Trump-era politics get noisier, is a weary public tuning out?

WASHINGTON -- You could say many things to describe a week in which President Trump got in a snit about buying Greenland, called the Federal Reserve chairman an "enemy," reversed his position repeatedly on China, and rebuffed European allies by saying he's ready to invite Russia to a global summit at one of his Florida golf resorts.

But "...Read more

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


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