Politics, Moderate



Secret warriors can be blinded by sunlight

WASHINGTON -- “I was one very lucky kid,” wrote retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn in a 2016 memoir about his bumpy childhood in a working-class Rhode Island family. “I was one of those nasty tough kids, hell-bent on breaking rules for the adrenaline rush and hardwired just enough to not care about the consequences.”

Flynn described how he ...Read more

National defense in the face of a media-obsessed White House

TEL AVIV -- As President Trump nears the 100-day benchmark, it’s a good moment to examine the relationship that has evolved between the mercurial and inexperienced commander in chief and his unflappable Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

It’s an unlikely partnership, but so far it mostly seems to work. Trump may have relatively few domestic-...Read more

Can this young prince refashion Saudi Arabia?

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- Two years into his campaign as change agent in this conservative oil kingdom, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman appears to be gaining confidence and political clout to push his agenda of economic and social reform.

The young prince outlined his plans in a nearly 90-minute conversation Tuesday night at his office ...Read more

Trump Could Learn from Harry Truman

WASHINGTON -- The only modern president who rivaled Donald Trump in his lack of preparation for global leadership was Harry Truman. Both men took office with little knowledge of the international problems they were about to face, and with worries at home and abroad that they weren’t up to the job.

“I pray god I can measure up to the task,��...Read more

Trump Gets a Taste of Success

WASHINGTON -- For a reminder of how new administrations can quickly get into trouble in foreign policy, consider that Monday, April 17, marks the anniversary of the catastrophic Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy. Bad things can happen to good presidents, and vice versa.

President Donald Trump, after a mostly disastrous ...Read more

Trump Moves Slightly Toward Pillars of Traditional Foreign Policy

WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration’s foreign policy has been a dizzying spectacle of mixed messages and policy reversals during its first three months. But in last week’s crucial tests, Donald Trump made good decisions about Syria, Russia and China -- moving his erratic administration a big closer toward the pillars of traditional U.S. ...Read more

On Syria, Trump Confronts a Moral Test

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Even for a president who advertised his coldblooded pragmatism, the moral dimensions of leadership find a way of penetrating the Oval Office. In the case of Donald Trump, the emotional distance seems to have been shattered by simple, indelible images of suffering children in Idlib, Syria.

“When you kill innocent children, ...Read more

Trump’s Shell Game on Russia

WASHINGTON -- When Gen. Michael Hayden visited a secret intelligence facility in the U.S. a decade ago while he was CIA director, the staff gave him a T-shirt emblazoned with the words: “Admit Nothing. Deny Everything. Make Counter Accusations.”

That motto is much beloved by covert operators. It also seems to be President Donald Trump’s ...Read more

Rep. Adam Schiff: House Panel’s Russia Probe Can’t Continue Under ‘Cloud’

EDITORS -- David Ignatius’ regular column for Friday release will move later today.

WASHINGTON -- President Trump has been trying since early this month to deflect the FBI and congressional investigations of Russian covert action by asserting that he had been a victim of improper U.S. surveillance. His argument got little traction until...Read more

Trump is Now the CEO of a Very Public Company

WASHINGTON -- As the White House reboots for “Trump 2.0” after a largely unsuccessful first two months, one lesson should be obvious: The radical, polarizing politics of the campaign trail don’t work well in governing the country.

America isn’t Russia or the Philippines. Our system has speed bumps, carefully constructed by our Founders....Read more

For the Trump Administration, An Operatic Start

AMSTERDAM -- Many people do crazy things in middle age. I decided to write the libretto for an opera about Niccolo Machiavelli. It’s called “The New Prince,” premiering here this weekend at the Dutch National Opera.

When I began work on this project in 2014 with composer Mohammed Fairouz, the possibility that Donald Trump would be ...Read more

Mattis and Tillerson, Secretaries of Stabilization

WASHINGTON -- The House Intelligence Committee hearing on Monday marked the end of the opening installment of “The President,” the must-watch reality/horror show that has transfixed the nation and the world. Now the plotline gets more serious, perhaps darker, with some new characters likely to emerge in key national-security roles.

...Read more

The Next Big Threat: War in Space

WASHINGTON -- Among the memorabilia in Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein’s office is a fragment of the Wright brothers’ first airplane. But the most intriguing items may be two small plastic satellites on sticks that can be maneuvered to simulate a dogfight in space.

Space is now a potential battle zone, Goldfein explains in an ...Read more

Hacking is the Digital World’s Oldest Profession

WASHINGTON -- WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange’s revelation last week of the CIA’s arsenal of hacking tools had a misplaced tone of surprise, a bit like Claude Raines’ famous line in “Casablanca”: “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”

The hacking community, of which WikiLeaks and the CIA’s ...Read more

Tillerson’s Agonizingly Slow Start at State

WASHINGTON -- Rex Tillerson is off to an agonizingly slow start as secretary of state. That matters, because if Tillerson doesn’t develop a stronger voice, control of foreign policy is likely to move increasingly toward Stephen Bannon, the insurgent populist who is chief White House strategist.

Tillerson’s State Department has been in idle ...Read more

Our Real-Life Spy Thriller

WASHINGTON -- If you were writing a pitch for a Hollywood series about the roiling investigation of the Trump campaign’s possible dealings with Russian operatives, you might describe it as “Billions” meets “The Americans.”

This plot has already had some weird twists and turns, and we aren’t even at the end of Season One. It’s must...Read more

Trump is Selling Snake Oil to the Rust Belt

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump boasts that his “America First” trade and economic policies are bringing well-paid manufacturing jobs back to America. That’s probably his biggest “deliverable” to Trump voters. But is this claim true?

Trump won the presidency partly because he voiced the anger of American workers about lost jobs and ...Read more

Russia’s Global Hacking Efforts Are Far From a ‘Ruse’

WASHINGTON -- One of the most startling allegations in a January report by U.S. intelligence agencies about Russian hacking was this sentence: “Russia has sought to influence elections across Europe.” This warning of a campaign far broader than the U.S. got little attention in America.

We may be missing the forest for the trees in the ...Read more

The Trump Bump in Moscow’s Market

WASHINGTON -- Financial markets have been sending an interesting message about President Trump and Russia. After Trump’s election, investors seemed to be betting that sanctions against Moscow would soon be eased. But this confidence collapsed in late January, and Russian stocks plummeted.

The numbers tell the story: From Nov. 7, the day ...Read more

Flynn may be gone, but serious questions remain

WASHINGTON -- President Trump confronts complicated problems as the investigation widens into Russia’s attack on our political system. But his responsibilities are simple: A month ago, he swore an oath that he would “faithfully execute” his office and “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

That’s ...Read more


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