Obama Abandons the “Good War”

Throughout President Bush’s second term, the chief foreign policy mantra of the Democratic Party was to claim the United States was wrong not to concentrate its energy on winning the war in Afghanistan. That was the “good war” as opposed to the war supposedly entered on the basis of lies and which couldn’t be won. The surge President Bush ordered in 2007 undermined the talking point about Iraq being unwinnable, but the idea that Afghanistan was being shorted was heard a great deal in 2008 as Barack Obama was elected president. Once in the White House, the new president was forced to come to a decision about what to do in Afghanistan, and by the summer, he made good on his promise to fight the good war there. But along with his pledge to start a surge that could defeat the Taliban was a provision that critics at the time warned could undo all the good that could come of the new plan.

0
Shares
Google+ Print

Obama Abandons the “Good War”

Must-Reads from Magazine

The War of Ideas: The Other Anti-Terror Front

How to defeat suicide bombers.

I visited Manchester in 2014, along with my son, to see a Manchester United soccer game at its hallowed stadium, Old Trafford. Not knowing what to expect, I feared the worst—a grimy, decrepit, post-industrial wasteland. What we found was very different: a booming, bustling metropolis. Manchester has preserved its heritage as one of the incubation sites of the Industrial Revolution but has not been trapped in the past. Old factories and warehouses have been repurposed into museums and chic hotels, restaurants, cafes and bars, making Manchester an exceptionally pleasant place to visit—and no doubt to live as well.

12
Shares
Google+ Print

Trump Breaks the Diplomatic Mold

Throw out the rule book.

There is perhaps nothing a global class of calcified diplomatic professionals appreciates more than subtlety and nuance. Donald Trump’s tour of the world’s three major religious capitals is about as unsubtle and unnuanced as you can get. To many seasoned diplomats, this administration’s naïve effort to forge peace in this fashion is downright dangerous—possibly more than the administration even knows. Maybe. Or maybe the president and his team are dispensing with ossified convention in a field that could desperately use some fresh thinking. With the first leg of Trump’s world theological tour complete, it is not impossible that something new is taking shape.

36
Shares
Google+ Print

Don’t Be Optimistic about Saudi Reforms

The Saudis aren't interested in reforms.

President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia highlighted not only the U.S. alliance with the desert kingdom but also Saudi Arabia’s deplorable human rights record and its much-publicized efforts to reform economically and socially.

9
Shares
Google+ Print

Trump Dances with Knives

Podcast: A new meaning for the phrase "diplomatic dance."

On this week’s first podcast, I join with Abe Greenwald and Noah Rothman in examining the success of the president’s trip to Saudi Arabia and Israel (thus far) and ask whether this is the beginning of a new foreign-policy push that will seek to take advantage of Barack Obama’s failures—or will just evanesce. Also, we discuss Abe’s article “Is This the End of the ‘Free World?'” and Michael Flynn’s 5th amendmenting. Give a listen. And leave a review on iTunes. What, would it kill you to be nice?

4
Shares
Google+ Print

There Won’t Be Peace While the Power Is Out

Donald Trump and the mainstream press may act like enemies on many issues, but they are the closest of allies when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Trump spouts fantasies about making Israeli-Palestinian peace, and Western media dutifully fails to report any news that might disrupt these fantasies, such as what the Palestinians’ two rival governments are actually doing to their own people right now.

47
Shares
Google+ Print