The Trump administration is declaring victory after striking three Syrian government chemical weapons sites. But the White House hasn’t learned the lessons of last year’s “pinprick” strikes on the Assad regime. Unless some sort of accountability is imposed on the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad’s slaughter of his own people in the cruelest and most illegal of ways is sure to continue apace.
“Mission Accomplished!” Trump tweeted this morning, praising what he called a “perfectly executed strike” on the Assad regime conducted jointly with the French and British militaries. Tactically, it did seem successful enough. Syria’s oft-exaggerated air defense capabilities turned out to be impotent.… Seguir leyendo »
The defenders of what’s called the “liberal international order” have recently suffered setbacks from adversaries inside and outside their home countries. But those who want to see the Western-led post-World War II system survive or even thrive are plotting its resurrection.
When the United States and European countries came together in the second half of the 20th century to build multilateral relationships and institutions to strengthen and spread liberal values such as rule of law, democracy, open markets and human rights, it was an aberration. The project ran counter to centuries of international politics based on brute strength, solipsism, greed and war.… Seguir leyendo »
In response to worries that it is planning a “bloody nose” strike on North Korea, the Trump administration has been offering an odd reassurance. Any attack on the regime of Kim Jong Un would not be limited, officials and surrogates are saying, but enormous and overwhelming. That, of course, is not reassuring at all: A massive attack on North Korea would be massively stupid.
The White House calls reports that President Trump is considering a small-scale North Korea military option exaggerated. The administration understands that there is no guarantee Kim won’t respond with his full military might — a nightmare scenario.… Seguir leyendo »
Last week at the Olympics, despite the dogged efforts of Vice President Pence, human rights promotion lost out to intrigue as the world fawned over Kim Yo Jong, North Korea’s chief of propaganda and sister to dictator Kim Jong Un. But this year’s games are just the latest evidence the world has stopped viewing these international events as opportunities to highlight liberal values.
The power of the Olympics to be a platform for human rights advocacy was decimated after the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, when the Chinese government reneged on its promises by perpetrating a crackdown while the world stood idly by.… Seguir leyendo »
After playing into Russia’s hands on Syria, the Trump administration now risks repeating the error in Ukraine, where diplomatic discussions over a Russian initiative are heating up. Moscow’s plan is to legitimize its invasion and control over parts of two eastern provinces by drawing President Trump into another bad deal.
Vladimir Putin’s pattern is familiar. He uses his military to escalate fighting on the ground and then approaches the West with a proposal sold as de-escalation. Appealing to European and U.S. desires for peace without Western intervention, the Russian president puts forward an alleged compromise. But in the details, Putin’s proposals are really designed to divide his adversaries and cement his gains.… Seguir leyendo »
If Hillary Clinton is elected, her national security team plans to urgently address the growing North Korean nuclear and missile threat. That would surely raise tensions on the Korean peninsula — and it could also lead to an early and acrimonious confrontation between a Clinton administration and the Chinese government of Xi Jinping.
Xi is staunchly opposed to Clinton’s plan to drastically increase sanctions on the regime of Kim Jong Un. At the Munich Security Conference Core Group meeting here last week, Chinese officials and experts delivered a clear and unequivocal message to the visiting Westerners: China will not take any steps against Pyongyang that might increase the chance of a confrontation with the North Korean regime or encourage regime change on China’s border.… Seguir leyendo »