Marvin Ott

  • Iran: Case study in defective policy

    The United States, like other major countries, maintains extensive diplomatic, defense and intelligence capabilities to support the nations’s policy initiatives. In turn, those policies should meet certain basic tests or criteria if they are to warrant such support. These tests include: 1) Does the proposed policy/strategy serve important national interests? 2) Does it embody goals

  • Making Russia great again

    It has been a week since the grotesque and now infamous Helsinki summit between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. But the passage of a little time has not dulled the shock of watching an American President grovel and debase himself in front of a Russian autocrat. An ethnic Russian analyst at the Brookings Institution described

  • Trade war

    The Trump Administration has launched a no-kidding trade war with China — and no one who knows Donald Trump well is surprised. If this President has one core belief, it is that the U.S. has been the victim of unfair trade practices by other countries aided and abetted by bad trade agreements signed by previous

  • Immigration becomes insoluble

    It is hard to recall another instance where the government of the United States has looked as chaotic and incompetent as it has along the southern border over recent days. In May, the administration announced a “zero tolerance” policy toward illegal migrants that would mean the arrest of any unauthorized border crosser and (probably) the

  • Tale of two elections

    In the last month, we have witnessed elections in two very comparable countries, Malaysia and Venezuela, with results that could hardly be more dissimilar. In the recent Malaysian elections — in a drama worthy of Shakespeare — the voters ended 61 years of unbroken rule by the Barisan Nasional party dominated by its ethnic Malay

  • The end of the Iran deal

    Early last week, President Trump announced that the United States would cease to observe its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, better known as the Iran deal. His public statement — replete with untruths, half-truths and distortions — amounted to a declaration that Iran was violating the agreement and could not be trusted.

  • North Korea rethinking assumptions

    Over recent weeks, events involving North Korea have been dramatic, to say the least. In rapid succession, we have gone from Pyongyang’s surprise participation in the Winter Olympics to a highly choreographed and visually compelling meeting between the leaders of the two Koreas. This is all prelude to an imminent summit between Kim Jong Un

  • Japan in doubt

    Japan has long been the linchpin of the U.S. security strategy in Asia. The current Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, is deeply invested personally and politically in nurturing the U.S.-Japan alliance. But no country and no prime minister views the rapidly changing developments in U.S.-North Korean relations with more doubt and angst that Mr. Abe. As

  • The new autocrats

    When the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union disintegrated, it seemed that the triumph of Western democratic values was complete. If communism represented autocratic state/party control of political and economic life, the West represented limited government devoted to facilitating individual choice, not suppressing it. In Russia, a parliamentary democracy replaced the dictatorship of the

  • Enter Mr. Bolton

    The Trump presidency has been a singular phenomenon to put it mildly — and some of its key characteristics were prefigured in the campaign. Any attentive observer could have anticipated that this President would be a disruptor of established norms and ways of doing business in Washington. He also would be the unrelenting center of