Trump: Not the Peace Candidate

Donald Trump presents his worldview as fresh and new. He promises to shake up the U.S. foreign policy elite that Hillary Clinton represents. He heaps scorn on the Obama administration’s approach to the Middle East, its failures to engage Russia and North Korea, its woeful neglect of the U.S. military. He wants U.S. allies to pull their own weight. Trump intends to put “America...
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The Myth of Trump’s Alternative Worldview

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has staked out a foreign policy position quite distinct from his opponent, Hillary Clinton. It is not, however, “isolationist” (contra Jeb Bush and many others) or “less aggressively militaristic” (economist Mark Weisbrot in The Hill) or “a jolt of realpolitik” (journalist Simon Jenkins in The Guardian). With all due respect to these...
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Orlando and the Future of Terrorism

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the recent tragedy that left 49 dead at a gay bar in Orlando. The shooter, Omar Mateen, declared his allegiance to ISIS in a 911 call he made during the massacre. President Obama and much of the news media have declared the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history an act of terrorism. Perhaps the incident was a terrorist act. The killer was...
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Obama’s Nuclear Paradox

Of all the accomplishments and disappointments of the Obama presidency, his nuclear weapons policy is the greatest. Yes, you read that correctly. Obama’s approach to nukes will be his most significant legacy as well as his most salient failure. Obama promised “hope and change” in 2007. The paradox of his nuclear weapons policy is that it falls somewhere between these aspirational poles of...
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Big Oil Isn’t Going Down without a Fight

An extreme weather event hits Norway. Finally shocked into doing something radical about climate change, Norwegian citizens propel the Green Party into government, where it declares an immediate suspension of oil and gas production. The new prime minister promises to provide Europe instead with electricity from the next generation of “clean” nuclear power. The European Union, heavily...
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The Pentagon’s Potlatch

Among the Kwakiutl and several other indigenous cultures of the Pacific Northwest, the potlatch was a ritual of hospitality. The host would invite guests to a big feast and then distribute gifts. The distribution was a way of demonstrating the host’s status: the more significant the gifts, the more important the host. Think: swag bags for the pre-celebrity era. Although this sophisticated...
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