President Donald Trump walks with National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, June 16, 2017 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

At some point in the next year, the Trump administration should release its first official National Security Strategy. In the past, many of these reports were simply extended self-congratulations or a litany of unrealistic aspirations of little value to the government agencies that had to implement them. It is vital for the inaugural Trump effort to avoid these pitfalls by identifying realistic and attainable midterm goals. The key word here is “realistic.” In the midterm—from four to 10 years—the United States is not going to eradicate the self-styled Islamic State, al-Qaida or the Afghan Taliban. Nor will it engineer the […]

President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May at the White House, Washington, Jan. 27, 2017 (AP photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais).

It is hard to believe the degree of shock most of us felt this time last year at the outcome of the Brexit referendum, given everything that has transpired since then. The resentment many Britons felt toward the European Union was no secret, nor was the fact that London’s relationship to Brussels had historically been lukewarm at best. But for all its flaws, the EU was a known commodity. Brexit, in contrast, represented a deep tangle of unknowns, both economic and political, with most of the debate being over the extent of the damage and devastation it would wreak on […]

Former U.S. President Barack Obama and former FBI Director James Comey attend Comey’s installation ceremony at the FBI’s headquarters, Washington, Oct. 28, 2013 (AP photo by Charles Dharapak).

A Washington Post exposé published Friday revealed new insights into the Obama administration’s real-time reaction to mounting evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The administration’s agonizing efforts to find a commensurate response, while avoiding escalation and the perception it was seeking to influence the election, will be interpreted through a mean-spirited partisan prism. That’s too bad, because there are sober lessons about politics and policymaking that should be considered across the partisan divide. The Obama administration struggled to find appropriate countermeasures to Russian meddling in the final weeks of its time in office, according to the […]

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with officials from Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador during the Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America, Miami, June 15, 2017 (AP photo by Wilfredo Lee).

Over two days in Miami earlier this month, the leaders of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador met with officials from the United States and Mexico to discuss the longstanding challenges of combating transnational crime, narcotrafficking and corruption in Central America. Any discussion of migration policy, however, was explicitly off the table at the Conference on Prosperity and Security, which included U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. Despite brutal conditions in the region that have driven a spike in migration north in recent years, the Trump administration’s narrow priorities in Central […]

A hotel staff member mops the floor in front of a picture featuring portraits of the late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung, left, and Kim Jong Il, Pyongyang, North Korea, June 19, 2017 (AP photo by Wong Maye-E).

Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part column. The first part can be found here. America’s military involvement in Syria topped this week’s headlines, but North Korea remains the most dangerous security problem the United States faces. Pyongyang has not engaged in any outright military provocations for a few weeks. But the death of Otto Warmbier, an American student arrested in Pyongyang a year ago and returned last week in an unexplained comatose state, has amplified anger against the bizarre Kim Jong Un regime and led to calls for expanded sanctions against it. On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald […]

A tour bus in front of the Capitolio, Cuba’s National Capitol Building, Havana, June 17, 2017 (AP photo by Ramon Espinosa).

“Effective immediately, I am canceling the last administration’s completely one-sided deal with Cuba,” President Donald Trump told a cheering crowd of Cuban exiles in Miami on June 16. That declaration was not quite true, since there was no single deal to cancel. President Barack Obama’s opening to Cuba included a series of bilateral agreements on issues of mutual interest and five packages of regulatory changes to the U.S. embargo that Obama made unilaterally in order to boost travel and trade. Trump’s new policy, embodied in a Presidential Memorandum, partially closes two holes that Obama punched in the embargo. First, Trump’s […]

Soldiers goose-step across Kim Il Sung Square during a parade to celebrate the 105th birthday of Kim Il Sung, North Korea’s late founder and grandfather of current ruler Kim Jong Un, Pyongyang, April 15, 2017 (AP photo by Wong Maye-E).

In early 2003, with U.S. military intervention in Iraq increasingly likely, the Pentagon and U.S. Central Command had detailed plans in place to defeat Saddam Hussein’s military. But because the George W. Bush administration insisted that the invasion would be short and American troops rapidly withdrawn, military plans for stabilizing and reconstructing Iraq after the battlefield victory were woefully inadequate. To remedy this, Conrad Crane and Andrew Terrill, two former U.S. Army officers on the faculty of the U.S. Army War College, led a study project that brought together a wide range of experts on both Iraq and military stabilization […]

Rural midwives return home after shopping at the market in Patzun, Guatemala, Sept. 2, 2008 (AP photo by Rodrigo Abd).

In addressing the root causes of migration, building allies, developing markets and advancing U.S. interests, the Inter-American Foundation provides the best dollar-for-dollar return on U.S. investment in Latin America. Yet the Trump administration wants to end it. An independent agency of the U.S. government, the IAF has funded local development projects throughout Latin America and the Caribbean since its creation in 1969. The Trump administration’s budget proposes shutting it down to save a mere $22.5 million in appropriations this year. The administration’s budget would cut funding to the IAF to just $4.6 million in the 2018 fiscal year, with nothing […]

Members of a U.S. Air Force munitions team assemble guided bombs to support the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, al-Udeid Air Base, Qatar, March 10, 2015 (AP photo by Adam Schrek).

Americans generally don’t think much about where their nation’s military bases are located around the world, but they probably should. For most of the past century, a pillar of U.S. strategy has been to address threats and defeat enemies as far away from the homeland as possible. This makes security partnerships and forward presence important. And that requires bases. During the Cold War, stationing military forces abroad was a sign of commitment to allies, assuring them that America would be there if they were attacked. This helped deter aggressors. If deterrence failed, the thinking went, foreign bases would make it […]

The coal-fired Plant Scherer, one of the top carbon dioxide emitters in the United States, Juliette, Ga., June, 3, 2017 (AP photo by Branden Camp).

President Donald Trump’s protectionist “America First” trade policy has stoked significant fear about the prospect of a trade war. Although certain aspects of his trade agenda so far have temporarily eased the concerns of business leaders and policymakers, Trump’s decision last week to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement should generate renewed anxiety over the stability of the international trading system. As president, Trump has walked back some of his most aggressive campaign promises on trade, such as imposing a 45 percent tariff on all imports from China. However, in addition to exiting the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Trump’s provocative […]

Oxfam activists wearing masks of the leaders of the G7 summit, Sicily, Italy, May 26, 2017 (AP photo by Paolo Santalucia).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and senior editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss the tensions between Qatar and its Persian Gulf neighbors, and the implications for the U.S. and the region. For the Report, Richard Gowan talks with Peter Dörrie about the damage Donald Trump’s assault on multilateralism is doing to the international system. If you’d like to sign up for the beta version of WPR’s Africa-only subscription, you can do so here. It’s free for the first two months. And if you like what you hear on Trend Lines, as well as what you’ve seen on […]

Donald Trump shakes hands with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani during a bilateral meeting as Rex Tillerson, Jared Kushner and H.R. McMaster look on, Riyadh, May 21, 2017 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

The crisis in America’s foreign policy apparatus entered a stunning new phase this past week with President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, followed yesterday by his comments on Twitter essentially taking Saudi Arabia’s side against Qatar in an intra-Gulf dispute. In between, reports emerged that during his visit to Brussels two weeks ago, Trump removed a passage from his speech explicitly confirming his commitment to NATO’s collective defense clause, Article 5, without notifying his national security adviser, Gen. H.R. McMaster, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, all of whom had argued […]

A South Korean environmental activist wearing a gas mask and bearing a sign denouncing the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate accord participates in a protest in front of the U.S. Embassy, Seoul, June 5, 2017 (AP photo by Ahn Young-joon).

This past week brought some further clarity to the underlying assumptions that drive U.S. President Donald Trump’s foreign policy. There’s now enough information to determine that the Trump team’s worldview is based on deeply held premises about the nasty, brutish nature of the human condition. He and his team are systematically walking away from the U.S. government’s decades-long emphasis on international cooperation and the architecture that supports it. The shift will have particularly dire consequences for the global community’s capacity to confront terrorism and climate change, with its impact on nuclear nonproliferation still an open question. In the aftermath of […]

President Donald Trump poses with NATO leaders for a group photo at the new NATO headquarters, Brussels, May 25, 2017 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

U.S. President Donald Trump’s battle with the multilateral system just got real. For the first four months of his presidency, Trump fought a phony war with the United Nations and other international institutions. On the campaign trail and in the wake of his election victory, he had condemned the U.N. as lazy, impotent and anti-American. From its first week in office, his administration threatened major financial cuts to international institutions and aid projects. But there was more bark than bite. Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., calmed foreign diplomats’ fears by taking a rational and collegial approach to […]

U.S. President Donald Trump appears to push past Dusko Markovic, Montenegro’s prime minister, during a meeting of NATO heads of state, Brussels, May 25, 2017 (AP photo by Matt Dunham).

When Donald Trump became the U.S. president in January, it was not clear if his foreign and national security policy would reflect the unorthodox ideas of his campaign or whether once in power he would move closer to traditional Republican positions. Trump’s just-completed foreign trip did not fully clarify that, but his prickly, almost hostile interaction with America’s NATO allies demonstrated that a foreign policy and national security revolution may be coming. As Ivo Daalder, the former U.S. envoy to NATO, put it, “This seems to be the end of an era.” Should such a transformation occur, the clearest signs […]

Parliamentary candidates of Germany's Green Party protest U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to exit the Paris climate agreement, in front the the U.S. Embassy, Berlin, June 2, 2017 (DPA photo by Britta Pedersen via AP).

After months of speculation, President Donald Trump announced Thursday his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate change agreement. The move came in the face of high-profile pressure from a diverse set of voices—everyone from Pope Francis and U.S. military brass to business leaders such as Tesla CEO Elon Musk and ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods, and other members of the G-7 had urged the U.S. president to remain in the accord. Nevertheless, Trump declared in the White House Rose Garden that “we’re getting out” of the landmark deal to reduce global carbon emissions. Trump immediately added that […]

President Donald Trump, accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, speaks at EPA headquarters, Washington D.C., March 28, 2017 (AP photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and senior editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss Donald Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. from the Paris Agreement to fight climate change, its implications for America’s global leadership role, and the response from other world leaders. If you’d like to support our free podcast through patron pledges, Patreon is an online service that will allow you to do so. To find out about the benefits you can get through pledging as little as $1 per month, click through to WPR’s Trend Lines Patreon page. Listen: Download: MP3Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Relevant […]

Showing 1 - 17 of 181 2 Last