American Diplomacy LinksMay 2016
"Trump vs. Hillary Is Nationalism vs. Globalism, 2016"
Globalists long ago captured the bulk of the nation's elite institutionsthe media, academia, big corporations, big finance, Hollywood, think tanks, NGOs, charitable foundations. So powerful are these institutions that the elites running them assumed that their political victories were complete and final. Yet the rise of Donald Trump has been fueled by his anti-globalist, pro-nationalist agenda on issue after issue. That is this election's real political fault line.
By Robert W. Merry, the National Interest. Merry is political editor of the National Interest. His most recent book is Where They Stand: The American Presidents in the Eyes of Voters and Historians.
"The Art of the Military Deal"
Donald Trump has a point about America dramatically outspending its allies on its armed forces. On balance, however, Trump's explanation of the economics of America's security alliances misses several core realities. First and foremost, the broad coalition of U.S.-led Western alliances accounts for some two-thirds of world GDP and two-thirds of global military spending. This situation is exceedingly advantageous to America.
By Michael E. O'Hanlon, the National Interest and Brookings Blogs. O'Hanlon is a senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, where he specializes in U.S. defense strategy, the use of military force, and American national security policy.
http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/order-from-chaos/posts/2016/05/10-art-of-military-deal-ohanlon?utm_campaign=Brookings+Brief&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content= 29451012&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9ReVshLPrtJTsx1ZOU7a35BLuuBO_6mBRUEVgtOO0zBMGciA3XX6cAoxCq5yn Y0xF49VgtBufaPYNskfmOz7cBL3UkJg&_hsmi=29451012
"What Trump Gets Right About NATO"
Because the Cold War dictated tight solidarity among all alliance members, the original NATO truly was an alliance as traditionally understood. But now, post-1989, in the absence of any existential threat, regional crises impact NATO member states in very different ways, and they are freer to pursue their own interests. The United States needs to accept that it does not have to lead everywhere in the world, certainly not in Europe where its closest and richest allies dwell, and Europeans need to stop believing that the transatlantic defense and security equation cannot work without U.S. leadership. It is time to tailor the alliance for the new century.
By Sarwar Kashmeri, U.S. News and World Report. Kashmeri is an adjunct professor of political science at Norwich University and a fellow of the Foreign Policy Association. He is the author of NATO 2.0, Reboot or Delete?
"With Term Waning, Barack Obama Aims to Stabilize Relations in Middle East"
If Barack Obama left office today, he'd leave the relationships with America's three most important partners in the Middle EastSaudi Arabia, Egypt, and Israelworse than when he found them, and relations with one of Washington's erstwhile adversariesIranbetter. But if the Obama administration wants to help stabilize the region, it will have to keep its relations with its traditional friendshowever imperfect they may be as functional as possible. Recent U.S. efforts suggest that Mr. Obama may want to stabilize these relationships before leaving office.
By Aaron David Miller, the Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire Blog. Miller is a Middle East analyst and author, who worked as a negotiator for the U.S. State Department from 1978 to 2003. He is currently Vice President for New Initiatives at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
"U.S. Strategy and the War in Iraq and Syria"
In Iraq and Syria the United States now faces some "least bad" options that are almost certainly far worse than when the Obama Administration began its military interventions. Acting incrementally and indecisively has its costs. It is not enough to focus on ISIS or even to defeat it. It is not enough to buy time by negotiating a limited ceasefire or cessation of hostilities in Syria. A functional strategy must also look beyond tactics and immediate problems and set clear grand strategic goals.
By Anthony Cordesman, CSIS Publications. Cordesman holds the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He is the author of a wide range of studies on U.S. security policy, energy policy, and Middle East policy, and has served as a consultant to the Departments of State and Defense during the Afghan and Iraq wars.
"Can the United States Avert Disaster in Iraq?"
The situation in Iraq is tenuous, at best, and the United States must be willing to devote considerably more resources in order to keep the country from falling apart. The United States must also split ISIS from its Sunni support base, which means creating an indigenous force of Iraqi Sunnis capable of fighting ISIS. None of this requires a commitment of U.S. forces on a scale similar to the Iraq occupation a decade ago. But, without greater U.S. military and political support of the Iraqi government, ISIS will preserve its territorial safe-haven and retain the ability to mount more attacks like those in Paris and Brussels.
By Evan Moore, National Review. Moore is a senior policy analyst at the Foreign Policy Initiative
"A Caliphate Under Strain: The Documentary Evidence"
Internal Islamic State documents shed new light on how the Islamic State has come under strain as it is degraded by coalition air strikes and loses territory. These records make clear that pressures have been felt in the group's military, financial, and administrative domains, forcing it to take measures to react and adapt. But there is little prospect of a collapse any time soon. Populations under Islamic State rule are accustomed to poor living standards, exacerbated by years of civil war, and will likely stomach further decreases in quality of life rather than rebel and risk a brutal crackdown.
By Aymenn Al-Tamimi, CTC Sentinel. Al-Tamimi is the Jihad-Intel Research Fellow at the Middle East Forum, a U.S.-based think-tank, and a Rubin research fellow at the Rubin Center, affiliated with the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel
"ISIS and the 'Loser Effect'"
The secret of ISIS's success is in large part winning itself. The group's early battlefield successes seemingly confirmed the propaganda narrative that the rise of ISIS was written in the stars by the hand of God. For foreign fighters, the ISIS brand of faith, glory, fellowship, sex, murder, and torture is far more compelling when glued together by victory. But ISIS is especially vulnerable to the reverse psychology of the "loser effect" because of its claims of divine mission. Successive defeats could cause ISIS to collapse far more quickly than anyone expects.
By Dominic Tierney, the Atlantic. Tierney is a contributing editor at the Atlantic and an associate professor of political science at Swarthmore College. His latest book is The Right Way To Lose a War: America in an Age of Unwinnable Conflicts.
"The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama's Foreign-Policy Guru"
How Ben Rhodes, "the Boy Wonder of the Obama White House," rewrote the rules of diplomacy for a digital age.
By David Samuels, the New York Times Magazine. Samuels is best known for his for long-form journalism. He is a contributing editor at Harper's Magazine.
"Rhodes to Ruin"
The New York Times profile of Ben Rhodes, the White House's Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications, has been getting much attention. Here a longtime foreign-policy expert dissects Rhodes's account of the Iran nuclear deal as a grand messaging campaign, and raises a fundamental question: "How has this country come to a point that someone as young and ignorant as Ben Rhodes, however smart and articulate he may be, can deploy such enormous power?"
By Adam Garfinkle, the American Interest. Garfinkle is the editor of the American Interest, a former speechwriter for Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, and a former editor of the National Interest.
"Why Political Prisoners Matter"
On the 40th anniversary of the Moscow Helsinki Group, a Soviet refusenik recalls how a dissident band of intellectuals turned the human rights provisions of the Helsinki Accords into a meaningful and effective document.
By Natan Sharansky, Tablet. Sharansky, chairman of the executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel, was a founding member of the Moscow Helsinki Group and spent nine years in the Gulag for his human rights activities.
"Alternative Perspectives on Encryption"
Device manufacturers and software developers are rapidly adopting end-to-end encryption features that prevent the interception of customer communications. This fact has massive implications for both cybersecurity and physical security, as law enforcement agencies seek to simultaneously thwart cyberattacks and recover digital evidence stored on encrypted devices. How will policymakers balance demands for better device security and continued access to law enforcement? Brookings scholars Niam Yaraghi, Scott Andes, Walter Valdivia, and Darrell West weigh in with their own perspectives on the encryption debate.
By Jack Karsten, Brookings Tech Tank Blog. Karsten currently works as the center coordinator at the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution