US Opinion and Commentary

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Trump Inauguration Could Be Eclipsed by Protests, Lawsuits

Posted January 17th, 2017 at 10:09 am (UTC-5)
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By Barbara Slavin This will be an inauguration like no other. As Donald Trump prepares to take the oath of office on Friday, the mood in Washington is expectant, anxious and defiant. A new Gallup poll shows that Trump – unlike any other president-elect in modern history – has actually lost popularity since the election. […]

Trump Will Inherit the Biggest NATO Buildup in Europe Since the Cold War

Posted January 10th, 2017 at 2:23 pm (UTC-5)
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The second-most dangerous thing in international politics is to draw a red line without truly meaning it…[b]ut the very most dangerous thing is to blur a red line that really is there. Donald Trump’s persistent soft talk invites the Russians to misconstrue what’s on the other side of that line.

Thanks to No Drama Obama, American Leadership Is Gone

Posted December 27th, 2016 at 11:09 am (UTC-5)
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If Dec. 7, 1941, is the day that Franklin D. Roosevelt said “will live in infamy,” then Dec. 20, 2016, has got to be a close second….Turkey, Iran and Russia met in Moscow to settle matters in the Middle East. The United States wasn’t even asked to the meeting.

Putin Sees a Happy New Year

Posted December 27th, 2016 at 10:59 am (UTC-5)
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Mr. Putin referred to Joseph Goebbels, the notorious Nazi minister of propaganda, as “a talented man who knew that the more incredible the lies, the quicker people believe them.” The quote, which he was using to condemn the West’s supposed misrepresentation of Russian history, was in fact the best indication of Mr. Putin’s own creed.

Some Not-Worse-Case Scenarios for 2017

Posted December 27th, 2016 at 10:14 am (UTC-5)
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By Barbara Slavin At long last, 2016 is almost behind us. For the majority of Americans who voted for Hillary Clinton and for millions beyond our borders, 2017 is filled with apprehension. But in the spirit of a new year, this analyst hopes that Donald Trump will exceed expectations and that those who opposed him […]

We Have a Stake in Syria, Yet We Have Done Nothing

Posted December 23rd, 2016 at 11:47 am (UTC-5)
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As with past atrocities, Aleppo’s destruction inspired much high-minded talk and the illusion of action. Endless meetings in the gilded palaces of Geneva and Vienna and elsewhere. Red lines drawn and transgressed with no consequences….the name Aleppo will echo through history, like Srebrenica and Rwanda, as a testament to our moral failure and everlasting shame.

What the Murder of the Russian Ambassador Might Mean

Posted December 21st, 2016 at 1:26 pm (UTC-5)
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Neither Russia nor Turkey has any interest in blowing this out of proportion. Rapprochement between the two countries has been coming along nicely after relations hit rock bottom following Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian fighter jet more than a year ago, and both sides have more to gain by having the relationship staying on track…

Patching Up Relations with Russia

Posted December 21st, 2016 at 10:56 am (UTC-5)
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NATO will celebrate its 70th birthday in 2019. Its original intent was to protect against a resurgence of Germany and to stymie the Communist bear. Times change and so must NATO. The United States and a new NATO must turn to de-escalating tensions with Russia.

Aleppo’s Last Gasp

Posted December 15th, 2016 at 5:21 pm (UTC-5)
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Despair. Destruction. Death. Words that have come to describe the Syrian city of Aleppo, epicenter for the Syrian civil war.

Anti-government rebels started taking parts of Aleppo in early 2012, eventually controlling the eastern half of the historic city. With the help of Russian air strikes starting in 2015, forces loyal to President Bashir al-Assad made gains in western Aleppo.

Now, with the evacuation of rebels and civilians in progress under a tenuous ceasefire, those pro-Assad forces on the precipice of controlling the entire city.

Estimates of the death toll in Syria’s civil war run as high as 450,000, including 50,000 children. Almost five million people have fled the country and more than six-and-a-half million are displaced within Syria’s borders.

How has the rest of the world let this happen?

Trump’s Choice for Secretary of State

Posted December 13th, 2016 at 5:27 pm (UTC-5)
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Donald Trump is drawing praise and criticism for his out-of-the-box choice for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson.

As the CEO of oil giant ExxonMobil, Tillerson has had to make deals with some of the world’s most notorious leaders, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Some of Tillerson’s fiercest critics are Senate Republicans, such as Marco Rubio, who will question Tillerson during his confirmation hearing before the Foreign Relations Committee.

Tillerson has his supporters, too. Former Defense Secretary and CIA Director Robert Gates called him a man of “great integrity” with “vast knowledge, experience and success in dealing with dozens of governments and leaders.”

An Eagle Scout who is still involved in the leadership of the Boy Scouts of America, Tillerson worked his way from bottom to top at ExxonMobile. He’s known no other employer and will be the first to jump from corporate America to top U.S. diplomat with no prior political or government experience.

If he’s confirmed by the Senate

What Is America Without Influence? Trump Will Find Out

Posted December 13th, 2016 at 12:14 pm (UTC-5)
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The liberal order led by the U.S. favored an open world connected by the free flow of people, goods, ideas and capital, a world grounded in the principles of self-determination and sovereignty for nations and basic rights for their citizens….The postwar order that America built now is facing acute challenges, including from old competitors.

From Russia Without Love

Posted December 12th, 2016 at 11:47 am (UTC-5)
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By Barbara Slavin Almost everything about this political year has shattered precedent. Still, the CIA’s conclusion that Russian government-instigated cyber warriors actively promoted Donald Trump’s victory throws our system into truly frightening, uncharted territory. It has been known for months that Russian hackers stole emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, […]

The United States Needs to Hold Russia Accountable for Its Aggression

Posted November 17th, 2016 at 9:19 am (UTC-5)
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[W]e need to send a resolute message that Russia’s domestic tyranny and international belligerence have consequences. And we must make abundantly clear that there is a cost to attacking the United States, whether accomplished by a MiG or a mouse.

U.S. Foreign Policy Under Donald Trump

Posted November 16th, 2016 at 4:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Before handing the keys to the White House to Donald Trump, Barack Obama is taking a final, presidential lap around the world.

Obama started his three country trip in the birthplace of democracy, Greece. Then it’s on to Berlin to thank Chancellor Angela Merkel for her support during his term. The pair will also meet with the leaders of Great Britain, France, Italy and Spain. Afterward, Obama flies to Peru for the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

In each stop, American allies, and perhaps some foes, will seek reassurance from Obama about the future under a Trump presidency.

With names like former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, former U.N. ambassador John Bolton, Senate Foreign Relations chairman Bob Corker and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley floated as possible choices for Trump’s Secretary of State, there is no shortage of foreign policy speculation and suggestions.

Trump Transition Gets Off to Shaky Start

Posted November 15th, 2016 at 4:34 pm (UTC-5)
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By Barbara Slavin It has only been a week since the election, but it feels like an eternity. Despite some gestures toward those who voted against him, Donald Trump appears to be having great difficulty simply putting together a team to organize the transition from the current administration. His choice of Stephen Bannon, editor of […]