• Afghanistan: echoes of Vietnam?

    The U.S. military has completed the withdrawal of nearly all combat forces from Afghanistan — quickly, almost secretly, and ahead of schedule. After 20 years of high-intensity conflict, America’s longest war is suddenly over. A few hundred soldiers will stay behind to help guard the U.S. Embassy (the diplomats are staying) and a small number

  • Democracy: America’s purpose

    History may record that the first few months of the Biden administration marked a key moment in world history — one comparable to, but different from, the early months of the Truman administration. Truman and the remarkable group of senior officials around him crafted a strategic response to Stalin’s campaign to subjugate Europe and Asia.

  • A new Cold War?

    President Biden has been in Europe for his first foreign trip since taking office. He arrived with an ambitious, even daunting, agenda. That to-do-list has at least three parts. First, rebuild America’s damaged relationship with key allies and partners, including the G-7, NATO and the European Union. Second, achieve a working consensus with Europe and

  • South Korea on stage

    By Marvin Ott Last week, President Biden met with South Korea’s President Moon — only his second in-person summit with a foreign leader. Inevitably, the lead item on the agenda was the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear/missile programs. No one wanted to say it outright, but the prospect of any progress on North Korea

  • Putin: strategic failure

    Over the 20-plus years Vladimir Putin has been in power, numerous commentators in the U.S. and abroad have proclaimed the Russian autocrat a “strategic genius” running rings around successive American presidents. It is an easy case to make. The former KGB operative came into the Russian presidency with a mindset that was both ruthless and

  • Securing the future

    Every four years the U.S. intelligence community produces a “Global Trends” report — a predictive look at the next 20 years from a security perspective. Typically, these reports have not made for comfortable reading and the new one released last week is no exception. The New York Times summed up the future as seen by

  • Biden and China

    “On my watch … [China will not reach its goal] … to become the leading country in the world, the wealthiest country in the world and the most powerful country in the world.” — President Biden Future historians may well consider President Biden’s comments last week on China as a pivotal moment in the history

  • America and Europe together

    “We must hang together or surely we will hang separately” — Ben Franklin President Biden is an Atlanticist. He believes in trans-Atlantic relations as foundational to U.S. foreign policy. NATO is, in his words, “sacred.” The contrast with his predecessor in the Oval Office is stark. Donald Trump, from the outset, treated America’s European allies

  • Between the dark and the dawn

    COMMENTARY: “Before we turn to the global arena, we need a clear recognition of just what happened on Jan. 6,” writes Columnist Marvin Ott this week. “This was an attempted coup conceived and set in motion by the President of the United States. Trump refused to accept the result of the best run, most transparent, most secure and most accurately tabulated presidential election in U.S. history — one he lost by over 7 million votes. Instead, he claimed fraud (like every tinpot dictator faced with negative election results) and tried every possible maneuver from threatening local election officials to a blizzard of lawsuits to overturn the results.”

  • The American century: a requiem

    America’s “greatest generation” is justly celebrated for overcoming the Great Depression at home and the mortal threat posed by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan overseas. In many respects, the postwar generation of the 1950s and 1960s built a legacy that was equally consequential. At the conclusion of World War II, Europe and Asia lay in

  • Assassinating democracy

    President Obama gave an eloquent appeal at the recent Democratic Party convention calling upon citizens to protect “your democracy.” To see what is at stake, we need only look at events over the last few days in Belarus and Russia. Belarus seldom headlines the news. It is a medium-sized country sandwiched between Russia and Europe.

  • Taiwan: the next crisis

    National security planners in the Pentagon and elsewhere get paid to look ahead. What threats and challenges will the United States face in the years ahead that require serious preparations now and in the near term? There is a list, and at the top of that list is a place few Americans even think about

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