Foreign Policy

Trotsky Was Right

Featured image I am no fan of Trotsky, but he was right about one thing: “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.” Many Americans seem to think that they can swear off foreign policy, but it isn’t that easy. I wrote on Sunday about Iran’s inexorable march toward nuclear capability, as proclaimed openly by its own leaders. In Ukraine, events seem to be moving toward a »

Contain this

Featured image Writing as “Mr. X,” George Kennan promulgated the doctrine of containment of the Soviet Union in his famous 1947 Foreign Affairs article “The sources of Soviet conduct.” Kennan’s conclusion was that “the main element of any United States policy toward the Soviet Union must be that of a long-term patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies.” The State Department Office of the Historian explains: “Containment provided a »

Marco Rubio does foreign policy neatly

Featured image The Washington Post reports that Marco Rubio is “making a push this week to burnish his foreign policy credentials and establish gravitas on the world stage ahead of a possible 2016 presidential run.” To this end, he traveled to London to deliver an address on foreign policy and meet British leaders. In sophisticated circles, it is assumed that one can “establish gravitas” by going to a foreign capital and reading »

Why The Left Can Never Be Trusted With Power

Featured image If you want a good lesson in why the left can never be trusted with political power, especially in foreign policy, look no further than Mother Jones Washington bureau chief Nick Baumann, writing in Slate this week that “Neville Chamberlain Was Right.”  What was he right about?  Ceding Czechoslovakia to Hitler in 1938: “The maligned British prime minister did what we would want any responsible leader to do.” Do tell, »

Laying Down Black-Letter Law

Featured image Back in the Reagan years, it was the British investor and occasional media baron Sir James Goldsmith who warned, once in 1987 that I recall, “America—You Falter.”  Now it is another Commonwealthman who brings the same warning: Conrad Black.  Writing in today’s New York Sun, Black hits all the right notes; this is the most salient excerpt: [F]or this administration to redeem its credibility now would require a change of »

So Much for Obama’s “Smart Diplomacy”

Featured image Jim Geraghty’s “Morning Jolt” on NRO draws our attention back to what ought to be a career-ending judgment by the egregious Andrew Sullivan, and as such it bears reposting here: Consider this hypothetical. It’s November 2008. A young Pakistani Muslim is watching television and sees that this man—Barack Hussein Obama—is the new face of America. In one simple image, America’s soft power has been ratcheted up not a notch, but »

Liz Cheney for U.S. Senator

Featured image John wrote here about the prospect of a Liz Cheney challenge to incumbent Republican Senator Mike Enzi. John presents general views on when a challenge to a Republican incumbent should be welcomed by conservatives, and, applying this analysis, he concludes that a Chaney challenge is not welcome. I mostly agree with John’s general analysis, but find myself in the unusual position of disagreeing with him about this specific case. I’m »

Iraq 10 Years On: A GOP Boat-Anchor?

Featured image Peggy Noonan poses the question today, “Can the Republican Party Recover from Iraq?”  If the article is behind the paywall, here’s a relevant sample: Did the Iraq war hurt the GOP? Yes. The war, and the crash of ’08, half killed it. It’s still digging out, and whether it can succeed is an open question. . . It ruined the party’s hard-earned reputation for foreign-affairs probity. They started a war »

Rand Paul finds his punching bag, but only for the short term

Featured image What are Rand Paul’s biggest assets as he attempts to convert the GOP into an isolationist party? He has several, and one of them is John McCain. McCain surely is among the names Paul “didn’t need to mention” when he declared before CPAC that “the GOP of old has grown stale and moss-covered.” Paul also didn’t perceive a need to name the GOP policies he believes are stale. Instead, he »

Communist Chinese Slated to Buy Taiwan’s Free Press

Featured image If you can’t beat ‘em, buy ‘em. That may be the philosophy behind the proposed takeover of much of Taiwan’s free press by a mainland Chinese company that is conspicuous for its loyalty to the Communist Party: Americans everywhere should at least be aware of the disaster that’s about to happen to democratic Taiwan’s media market. Taiwan’s most popular and independent media organization, Next Media, is about to be sold »

Did Romney just move another small step toward the presidency?

Featured image This morning, I wrote a debate preview post called “Thoughts on Playing to Win Tonight’s Foreign Policy Debate.” I was tempted to call my debate recap post “Thoughts on Playing to Draw Tonight’s Foreign Policy Debate.” For Romney did not attempt to outdebate Obama point by point on foreign policy. And in most instances, he was content to agree with what Obama currently is doing on this or that foreign »

The Cuban Missile Crisis @50: A Reconsideration

Featured image Today is the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s nationally televised address informing the nation of the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba, and his intention to make sure they were removed.  The Kennedy glorification industry has pointed to this episode as Exhibit #1 of JFK’s coolness under pressure, etc, etc, and the outcome has always been regarded as a great triumph of American statecraft. To be sure, as »

Thoughts on playing to win tonight’s foreign policy debate

Featured image I expect that tonight’s presidential debate will draw many fewer viewers than the first two. After all, it must compete with Monday Night Football and Game 7 of the National League Championship Series. On the other hand, the first two debates (for different reasons) served up compelling television experiences. Female viewers, at least, may by unwilling to resist the encore, sports viewing opportunities notwithstanding. Foreign policy, tonight’s topic, isn’t foremost »

How Obama’s failed Syria policies reflect his flawed instincts

Featured image Yesterday, I suggested that Mitt Romney needs a foreign policy critique of President Obama that ties Obama’s failings in a specific country or situation to his poor instincts and hugely flawed overall approach. Today, Jackson Diehl of the Washington Post performs this task with respect to Syria, which he calls “Obama’s greatest failure.” As Diehl explains: “The president’s handling of Syria. . .exemplifies every weakness in his foreign policy – »

Foreign policy — a growth opportunity for Romney

Featured image With the presidential race extremely tight, and both sides having pulled out most of the stops, it’s worth considering what the candidates can do at this late date to move the needle. For Obama it will be all about turning in strong debate performances. A win in one or both of the two remaining contests might well restore the race to something like its pre-debate status. Two solid performances, even »

Don’t Look Now, But . . . South Korea?

Featured image I’ve been sequestered from the real world the last couple of days at a fascinating environmental conference with my pals at PERC in Bozeman, Montana, (featuring, among others, the fabulous Matt Ridley), so I’m behind on the news.  I’ll have some exclusive video from the conference in a couple of days after I get home and edit the footage. Meanwhile, I had to be amused at one squib on the »

Chaos at the State Department (UPDATE)

Featured image Fox News has just reported that the US is withdrawing (supposedly temporarily) all its personnel from the US embassy in Tripoli, Libya.  What–did they get advance word of a YouTube sequel to The Innocence of Muslims?  Are they worried of another imminent “spontaneous” protest with marchers who carry mortars with them? More likely the Clousseaus of Foggy Bottom have figured out they have serious security breach problems in Libya and »