Foreign Policy

Poll: Republican voters less hostile to Putin these days

Featured image In July 2014, Vladimir Putin’s net favorability rating among Republicans was minus 64 points, according to an Economist/YouGov poll (reported by the Washington Post). Now, according to the same source, it is only minus 16. What has happened in the past two and half years that might affect how one views Putin? I can think of three things. First, Putin’s forces have taken a major role in perpetrating the atrocity »

Tillerson, Russia, and hypocrisy

Featured image Rex Tillerson will be President-elect Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State. As head of Exxon-Mobil, Tillerson has ties with Russia and a good relationship with Vladimir Putin, who awarded him the Kremlin’s Order of Friendship in 2012. On the other hand, Tillerson reportedly has the support of Condoleezza Rice and former vice president Cheney. They must believe he will not be soft of Russia. Nonetheless, Senators like John McCain and »

Abolish the CIA?

Featured image In the course of research for my two-volume history of Ronald Reagan I read through a lot of declassified CIA assessments and reports, and was amazed at how consistently bad, and most often wrong, the analysis was. Here’s one example I included in the book: On October 5, 1973, the CIA’s daily bulletin commented on Egyptian military exercises on the west bank of the Suez canal, just across the canal »

Report: Trump poised to nominate Tillerson for Sec. of State

Featured image Donald Trump reportedly will nominate Exxon-Mobil chief Rex Tillerson to be Secretary of State barring a late and unanticipated shift in Trump’s thinking. So says the Washington Post among other outlets. Tillerson’s experience with foreign affairs apparently consists entirely of negotiating oil deals with foreigners. This is an unconventional resume for Secretary of State. However, Trump seems to have conducted a diligent search for his Secretary of State, and I »

Is Donald Trump a conventional thinker?

Featured image On Friday, Charles Krauthammer wrote what I assume will be his last column before the election. He attacked Hillary Clinton for “shiftiness, paranoia, cynicism, and disdain for playing by the rules.” However, Krauthammer found that Donald Trump’s liabilities outweigh Clinton’s, especially on foreign policy. He sees Trump as a threat to our open, free international order. He fears that Trump will initiate trade wars and undermine our alliances with countries »

Clinton Foundation accepted $1 million without telling Clinton State Department

Featured image The Clinton Foundation has admitted that it accepted a $1 million gift from Qatar while Hillary Clinton was U.S. secretary of state without informing the State Department. Clinton had promised to let the Department review new or materially increased support from foreign governments. The Clinton Foundation claims that this did not violate Hillary’s promise because the $1 million gift did not “materially increase” Qatar’s support for the operation. Apparently, it »

The post-Trump GOP

Featured image Unlike Steve, I’m convinced that, unfortunately, Hillary Clinton will win this election. Assuming she does, and that the race isn’t very close, what will happen to Trumpism? To answer this question we must identify Trumpism’s main characteristics. In my view, there are five: (1) the unbridled egotism of its leader and his whiff of authoritarianism; (2) gratuitous nastiness; (3) a strong stance against illegal immigration; (4) intense skepticism about the »

Hillary Clinton: Architect of disaster

Featured image Many conservatives hold out hope that, as president, Hillary Clinton will be okay on foreign policy and national security issues. A few even plan to vote for her for this reason, seeing Donald Trump as worse than Clinton on these matters. Keith Kellogg, a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General and adviser to the Trump campaign, demonstrates that hopes for a sound foreign national security policy can only be founded on »

The Gathering Storm?

Featured image My late teacher of intelligence and strategy Harold Rood liked to say, “You run the show or the show runs you.” (Book here.) It was a corollary to his axiom that “Nothing happens for no good reason.” With these counsels in mind, there are some ominous news items from the last few days: USS Mason Fired 3 Missiles to Defend From Yemen Cruise Missiles Attack The crew of a guided-missile »

Is Clinton as bad as Trump on his worst issues?

Featured image Plenty of conservatives are balking at the prospect of voting for Donald Trump, and not just the NeverTrumpers. There is also the “Hardly Ever” Trump contingent, some of whom, like me, are still making up their minds. One option I would thought have no conservative would choose is to vote for Hillary Clinton. Yet, some conservatives intend to do just that. As far as I can tell, they consist mainly »

Will Trumpism survive a Trump defeat?

Featured image Jonathan Tobin takes up the question at Commentary. He defines Trumpism as “isolationism, protectionism, and populist blood and soil nativism.” Tobin answers his question this way: Though Trumpism without Trump would be a very different and less potent movement, it is a mistake to think even a landslide defeat for the Republicans will guarantee that it can resume its past stance as a supporter of a strong America on the »

Trump reignites conservative concerns about his foreign policy views

Featured image During an interview with the New York Times yesterday, Donald Trump made two controversial statements about foreign policy. First, in response to the question whether he would come to the aid of NATO allies in the Baltic, Trump said: “If they fulfill their obligations to us, the answer is yes.” Second, Trump said he would not pressure Turkey or other authoritarian allies not to conduct purges of their political adversaries »

“Soul Searching” for thee but not for me

Featured image Jennifer Rubin, whose “Right Turn” space at the Washington Post seems reserved lately for attacks on Donald Trump, finds “problematic” last night’s “Make America Safe Again” theme at the GOP convention. The most consistent anti-Trump voices in the party, she notes, have been foreign policy conservatives. This is probably true. But Rubin doesn’t explain why the fact that Trump disagrees with foreign policy conservatives on some matters renders problematic the »

10 Years Ago on Power Line: Have Liberals Learned Anything?

Featured image Borrowing an inspiration from Glenn Reynolds looking back at old dispatches from Instapundit, I think it might be worth revisiting some old posts on this site from time to time. Ten years ago this month Paul took note of Peter Beinart’s argument that liberals—and only liberals—could win the war on terror. He wrote a book about the idea shortly thereafter, and then after Bush and the Iraq war become more »

Why Is The World So Dangerous, The Sequel

Featured image I’ve had occasion here before to talk about Herbert Meyer, who served as vice chairman of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council under President Reagan. (You can take in my exclusive interview three-part with Herb from two years ago here, here, and here.) Meyer was one of the few people to perceive in the early 1980s that the United States and it allies might have turned the corner and was on »

Trump watches “the shows” but can’t attract their experts

Featured image Donald Trump says he is his own main foreign and military policy adviser. He says he obtained the knowledge required for this position by watching “the shows.” He means televised news and talk shows in which experts discuss world affairs. Trump may have a high regard for certain talking heads on the shows, but the talking heads appear not to have a high regard for Trump. That, at least, is »

Is the GOP Going to the Doves?

Featured image In the New York Times, Ross Douthat argues that the United States and Europe seem to be reversing their roles with respect to defense policy. The adage that Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus, he suggests, no longer holds true. Europeans have gotten more serious about security: Nationalism is returning, border fences are going up. The center is weakening, the far right is gaining power. The Mediterranean »