Foreign Policy

McMaster makes it clear to all that he can’t work with Bannon

Featured image National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster was asked three times today by Chuck Todd whether he can work with Steve Bannon, President Trump’s chief strategist. Three times McMaster refused to say that he can. Each answer was more embarrassing than the last — to McMaster, to Bannon, and ultimately to their boss. You can read the details here. It is the job of every member of a president’s staff to work »

CRB: War without end

Featured image This morning we continue our preview of the new issue of the Claremont Review of Books. Thanks to our friends at the Claremont Institute, I read the new issue in galley to select three pieces to be submitted for the consideration of Power Line readers. As always, wanting to do right by the magazine and by our readers, I had a hard time choosing. You, however, can do your own »

The G20 Hangover: The Humbug from Hamburg

Featured image Does any sentient human being actually read the complete communiques that these splashy G20 summits produce every year? I doubt it. Still, it is kind of fun to take in two paragraphs about global warming climate change that appear in the most recent declaration from the meeting in Hamburg last week.  Note the difference between these two paragraphs: We take note of the decision of the United States of America »

The Outlook from “New Europe”

Featured image SOFIA, Bulgaria, June 30—What the heck, I may as well get my Rebecca West on and file an old-fashioned “foreign correspondent” story from the the Balkans, where I’m visiting for several days that have included a seminar for graduate students and young professionals at New Bulgarian University, and yesterday a “strategic briefing” for business and political leaders, about which more in a moment. One of my favorite ledes from Whittaker »

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 »