• Australia “bets the house”

    The unexpected announcement last week that the U.S. and Britain had agreed to supply technologies that would allow Australia to build at least eight nuclear-powered submarines sent geopolitical shockwaves across both Asia and Europe. Most of the headlines actually focused on France, which had a prior agreement to supply Australia with diesel/electric submarines — a

  • Afghanistan in perspective

    “We’ve been a country too long at war.”  — President Biden Headlines have been dominated by the cataclysmic events in Afghanistan — the sudden Taliban takeover followed by the precipitous U.S. withdrawal from the country. A blizzard of expert commentary along with statements from members of Congress have produced an unusually clear consensus narrative. It

  • The CIA in the 21st century

    For those who work at the Central Intelligence Agency, this is a time to look forward with a certain uneasy optimism. First, there is relief that the agency survived a commander-in-chief who coupled overt hostility toward the CIA with slavish devotion to the Kremlin. It was something beyond the intelligence community’s worst nightmare — a

  • Economic power

    It was not that long ago — 20 years or so — when it was generally believed that the dominant position of the established economies of North America and Europe would be eclipsed over time by more rapid growth in the youthful, more energetic, countries of the “Global South” — AfroAsia, Latin America and the

  • 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