Politics, Moderate



Trump’s Visit to CIA Gets Mixed Reviews

WASHINGTON -- President Trump’s visit to the CIA on his first day in office mystified some agency veterans because of its combative, political tone. But several said they were glad that Trump seemed to have stopped demonizing the intelligence community and was presenting himself as its best friend.

The CIA likes to think of itself as ...Read more

Can Trump Make the World Stable Again?

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump’s inauguration marks a global inflection point: He takes office at a moment when many analysts see a transition to a new economic and political order -- one where the risks for the United States and its allies are likely to increase.

Trump’s promise to “make America great again” resonated with many disaffected...Read more

Keep the CIA on the Path to ‘Modernization’

WASHINGTON -- CIA Director John Brennan’s biggest concern the past few years hasn’t been Russian hacking, or even the wars in the Middle East, but what he calls “modernization” of the agency. In an effort to improve performance of this notoriously siloed organization, Brennan moved to fuse operations (the agency’s vaunted spies) and ...Read more

Trump Can’t Easily Undo Progress on Climate Change

WASHINGTON -- If you’re worried about climate change, it’s scary to think that the incoming Trump administration could reverse gains made in recent years. But a recent conversation with departing Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz convinced me that the progress is probably irreversible.

“There’s no question that we are moving to a lower-...Read more

To Protect Our Democracy, We Need to Root Out the Truth on Russia

WASHINGTON -- “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” mutters Marcellus as ghosts and mad spirits haunt Elsinore Castle in the first act of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”

After this past week of salacious leaks about foreign espionage plots and indignant denials, people must be wondering if something is rotten in the state of our ...Read more

The Country Needs to Know the Extent of Russian Meddling

WASHINGTON -- The intelligence community’s allegation that Russia intervened covertly in the 2016 election describes a significant assault on our democracy. The country needs to know more: The charge needs to be followed up with an independent investigation that continues after Donald Trump becomes president on Jan. 20.

Congress should commit...Read more

Trump’s Showdown with the Intelligence Community

WASHINGTON -- Watching Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, a gruff, 50-year veteran of the spy world, answer congressional questions Thursday, you couldn’t help wondering if perhaps this time Donald Trump has met his match.

To recall a quip made years ago by a prominent Washington lawyer, Clapper is not a “potted plant.” He ...Read more

America is At Its Greatest When It’s Inclusive of All Its Citizens

WASHINGTON -- For America, 2016 was a dark year. The country was still at war. Our election was a brutal grudge match that left us more polarized than ever. Our closest allies were rocked by terrorism and turmoil. Adversaries toyed with our politics. Even the basic facts about life and science seemed to be in dispute.

However you voted, this ...Read more

Trump Illustrates the Uses -- and Dangers -- of Ambiguity in Foreign Policy

WASHINGTON -- Most presidents wait until inauguration before sparking their first foreign policy crises. Donald Trump has a month to go and he has already wandered into two -- one with China and one with Russia.

How will these foreign challenges shape Trump’s early months in office? His freewheeling style seems to have discombobulated China, ...Read more

America’s Straddle in Syria Was Bound to Fail

WASHINGTON -- The fall of Aleppo is a human catastrophe. It’s also a demonstration of the perils of choosing the middle course in a military conflict. Sometimes it’s possible to talk and fight at the same time. But in Syria, America’s decision to pursue a dual-track, halfway approach made the mayhem worse.

A battered Secretary of State ...Read more

Trump’s Dangerous Spy Game

WASHINGTON -- Intelligence officers like to distinguish between knowable secrets that spies can steal and fuzzier mysteries that have to be assessed without final, definitive proof. The intent of Russia’s covert meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election is probably somewhere between the two.

But after conversations with a half-dozen ...Read more

Counterterrorism Agencies Tangle Over Turf

WASHINGTON -- Given the turf wars and interagency rivalries that have long surrounded U.S. special operations forces, President Obama probably didn’t do the commandoes any favor when he delivered his last big military speech at the base in Tampa where they’re headquartered.

Obama’s visit Tuesday to MacDill Air Force Base, home of U....Read more

Trump Muffs his First Foreign Policy Test

WASHINGTON -- Whatever else future historians say about Donald Trump’s early foreign policy moves, they’re likely to note the erratic and, in many ways, self-defeating nature of the president-elect’s initial dealings with China, the country many analysts view as America’s most important long-term rival.

A wise strategy for challenging ...Read more

Will Trump Embrace New High-Tech Weapons to Counter Russia and China?

WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon has begun briefing key allies on plans for advanced weapons technologies aimed at offsetting Russian and Chinese military gains. But the next round of these discussions is on hold awaiting approval of the programs by the Trump administration.

Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work said that he met in early November for ...Read more

A World Where the Truth is Losing

WASHINGTON -- Richard Stengel, the State Department’s undersecretary for public diplomacy, bluntly states the problem that has been worrying him, and should worry us all: “In a global information war, how does the truth win?”

The very idea that the truth won’t be triumphant would, until recently, have been heresy to Stengel, a ...Read more

Be Thankful for Donald Trump’s Insincerity

WASHINGTON -- Perhaps we should be thankful this week for Donald Trump’s insincerity. In a breathtaking fortnight of flip-flopping, he has reversed many of his most reckless and damaging campaign positions.

The new Trump professes sympathy for people and ideas he disdained during the “vicious” campaign. He now admires President ...Read more

The Middle East Ponders How to Deal With Donald Trump

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates -- What does Donald Trump’s election mean for the Middle East? A group of prominent foreign ministers and policy experts gathered here last weekend to explore the election’s implications for the world’s most volatile region.

The gathering, known as the “Sir Bani Yas” forum, is hosted each year by Sheikh...Read more

Trump would do well to listen to these two Cold War lions

WASHINGTON -- Before President-elect Donald Trump brings in the bulldozers to "drain the swamp" in Washington, I hope he will consider the career achievements of two people who embody the nation's tradition of bipartisan foreign policy leadership, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft.

The two former national security advisers came from...Read more

Trump Would Do Well to Listen to These Two Cold War lions

WASHINGTON -- Before President-elect Donald Trump brings in the bulldozers to "drain the swamp" in Washington, I hope he will consider the career achievements of two people who embody the nation's tradition of bipartisan foreign policy leadership, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft.

The two former national security advisers came from...Read more

In confronting a meddling Russia, deterrence should come before detente

WASHINGTON -- The White House sent a secret "hotline"-style message to Russia on Oct. 31 to warn against any further cybermeddling in the U.S. election process. Russia didn't escalate its tactics as Election Day approached, but U.S. officials aren't ready to say that deterrence worked.

The previously undisclosed message was part of the ...Read more

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