Joshua Muravchik’s March 15 op-ed, “War is the only way to stop Iran,” was beneficial in two ways. It clarified the likely alternative to the negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program, and it gave the Iranian side an alternative to contemplate as it approaches the talks’ endgame. It might even help yield a better deal.
But that’s where the value of Muravchik’s assessment ends — because unfortunately, it also glossed over the probable impact of a war with Iran.
At least Muravchik is consistent. He wrote a similar piece, headlined “Bomb Iran,” for the Los Angeles Times in 2006, in which he argued that the West would never impose tough sanctions on Iran.… Seguir leyendo »
As the West remains divided over providing defensive lethal weapons to Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin of Russia is pondering whether to move on the strategic Ukrainian port city of Mariupol. The West needs to unite and deter him.
President Obama has now agreed to provide Ukraine with $75 million in nonlethal assistance, a decision which is unlikely to satisfy those in Washington and Kiev who want the United States to send antitank and antiaircraft weapons. A new approach is needed.
The Minsk II cease-fire agreement brokered by Russia, Germany and France last month has changed the political dynamics in Europe. Germany and to a lesser degree France have resisted calls to provide lethal weapons to Kiev, and much of the rest of Europe takes its cue from Berlin and Paris.… Seguir leyendo »
The ruble’s dramatic decline threatens to plunge Russia into a full-scale economic crisis. President Vladimir Putin has attempted to minimize the difficulties and deflect blame toward the West, but the problem is serious and no one is to blame but Mr. Putin himself. His efforts to destabilize Ukraine have brought painful sanctions upon Russia, reinforced its dependence on oil and isolated its economy.
Yet Russia’s crisis holds both risk and opportunity. The risk is that an economic collapse might lead the Kremlin to lash out more severely against Ukraine and the West. But there is an opportunity to be seized if the ruble’s fragility increases Russia’s readiness to de-escalate the war in Ukraine in exchange for relief on sanctions and revitalized economic ties with the West.… Seguir leyendo »
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have an opportunity this weekend as they address the Munich Security Conference to suggest ways to stabilize NATO’s ailing defense capabilities.
European nations have slashed their defense budgets to record low levels without much regard for NATO’s overall defense requirements. And last week the United States announced that it would remove two of its four Brigade Combat Teams from Europe.
Those European reductions are beginning to weaken NATO’s core military capabilities. Most European defense cuts have been across the board, creating the potential for hollow forces with low readiness and low sustainability levels.… Seguir leyendo »