Trump Takes on the World

It was 1972. The flamboyant rock star Alice Cooper, not quite a household name at that point in England, was booked to play London’s Wembley Stadium. Shortly before the concert date, only a couple hundred of the 7,000 available tickets had been sold. Facing an epic failure, the redoubtable rock music promoter Shep Gordon emblazoned the side of a truck with a huge picture of Alice Cooper, naked...
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After Iran, Is North Korea Next?

During the George W. Bush years, pundits and journalists were constantly speculating whether North Korea would be next in line for regime change. After all, Bush had included North Korea in his “axis of evil” speech in 2002. One year later, the Pentagon invaded Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, a member of the trio of tyranny. Perhaps North Korea would be the next undemocratic domino to fall. But the...
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Black Ops for Peace

Transparency advocates love to quote Louis Brandeis to the effect that “sunshine is the best disinfectant.” Who could dispute the beneficial impact on politics of throwing open the doors and flinging open the windows? But sunlight can have other effects as well. If too intense, sunlight can wilt. It can scorch. It can even kill. Transparency has been a trending topic for several decades. The...
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The Kurdish Elephant

Let’s mix some metaphors in the Middle East, all of them involving elephants. In the crisis zone that encompasses Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria, the Kurds are the elephant in the room. They are the “problem” that no one really wants to talk about. Because it would be stitched together from bits and pieces of their territory, the countries of the region oppose an independent Kurdistan....
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Greece, Iran, and the Rules of the Game

Alexis Tsipras had a choice. As the leader of the fledgling Syriza government in Greece, he could have told the European Union to stuff its austerity plan. He could have taken the risk that the EU would offer a better deal to keep Greece in the Eurozone. Or, failing that, he could have navigated his country into the uncharted waters of economic independence. But he chose to “follow the...
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Iran Deal: Is Obama Channeling Nixon?

One of the greatest moments of U.S. diplomacy in the 20th century was Nixon’s opening to China. It was a surprise, a breathtaking opportunity, and a true game-changer. It was also one of the strangest political matches of all time. A president who had established his political bona fides as an anti-Communist crusader shocked everyone by establishing relations with a Communist state led by one...
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