Politics, Moderate



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

Michael Flynn’s Star Burns Out

WASHINGTON -- A strange and circuitous path led Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn toward his fateful telephone contact in late December with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and the flameout of what had been a distinguished military career.

Military and intelligence colleagues who served with Flynn describe him as a brilliant tactician whose work in the...Read more

What Did Michael Flynn Tell the Russians?

WASHINGTON -- Michael Flynn’s real problem isn’t the Logan Act, an obscure and probably unenforceable 1799 statute that bars private meddling in foreign policy disputes. It’s whether President Trump’s national security adviser sought to hide from his colleagues and the nation a pre-inauguration discussion with the Russian government ...Read more

The Danger of an ISIS breakout

WASHINGTON -- Michael Flynn, the national security adviser to President Trump, shows visitors a map predicting what will happen to the Islamic State after its stronghold in Mosul is captured. It shows menacing black arrows reaching west toward other, future battlefronts in Iraq, Syria and beyond.

That’s the worry that motivates the Trump ...Read more

Can Flynn Rein in the National Security Apparatus Amid Trump’s Disruption?

WASHINGTON -- Of the many puzzles posed by Donald Trump’s administration, the role of the National Security Council is among the trickiest. The NSC usually tries to act as an “honest broker” among Cabinet agencies. But how will it function under a headstrong president who sees his role as disruptor and tweeter-in-chief?

This challenge ...Read more

The Arab Spring, Six Years Later

WASHINGTON -- The Arab Spring may seem like a distant memory, but a new report by a team of Arab and American analysts argues that across the Middle East people still feel the same yearning for better governance and rule of law that motivated protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

The persistence of this vision of more modern and just ...Read more

Trump Must Avoid Making Iran His Bay of Pigs

WASHINGTON -- By putting Iran “on notice” for its aggressive behavior, President Trump has taken aim at a country that’s opposed by many U.S. allies. But he has begun this confrontation without much preparation or strategic planning, continuing the haphazard pattern of his first two weeks in office.

Iran is a convenient enemy for Trump. ...Read more

Stephen Bannon’s Dangerous Populist Revolution

WASHINGTON -- At the red-hot center of President Trump’s first 10 days in office has been his strategist Stephen Bannon, who proclaims a global populist movement for “Judeo-Christian” values and against radical Islam.

Bannon is a passionate ideologue who is the intellectual center of the new administration. For nearly a decade he has been...Read more

The Weaknesses of Trump’s Wrecking-Ball Approach

WASHINGTON -- President Trump’s slash-and-burn actions in his first week have been dramatic, but dangerously lacking in a consensus of support, even within his own administration. The risks were evident in the collapse of a planned meeting with Mexico’s president and in Trump’s embrace of torture tactics rejected by his secretary of ...Read more

What Does Israel Want From America?

TEL AVIV, Israel -- President Donald Trump’s embrace of Israel poses an unlikely dilemma for leaders of the Jewish state: They have to decide what they want from America, and on that question, there’s sharp disagreement.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu moved to seize the Trump moment Tuesday by announcing that Israel plans to construct 2,...Read more

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


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