Marvin Ott

  • 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

  • China’s new emperor

    Over a very long history, governance has been China’s greatest achievement — and its greatest failure. Every Chinese, whether a senior official in Beijing or a farmer in a remote village, will tell you with certainty that China has the oldest (“five thousand years”) and greatest civilization on the planet. It is a point of

  • A strategic future takes shape

    Secretary of State Tillerson has returned from a five-nation tour of the Middle East designed to shore up American influence. The results were underwhelming. When military hostilities flared up between Israel and Iran, it was Russia’s Putin, not Tillerson, who stepped in and calmed things down. However, the bigger picture is more nuanced. After years

  • Serving the Russian interests

    Imagine an alternative reality, one that actually existed within the memory of most readers of The Ellsworth American. A Republican has just been elected President. His name is Ronald Reagan (or Dwight Eisenhower). The glow of victory is shadowed by persistent reports emanating from U.S. and foreign intelligence sources that the Russian KGB had conducted

  • The Pakistan cauldron

    Last Friday, the State Department announced the suspension of $2 billion in military assistance intended for Pakistan — this after President Trump accused Islamabad of “lies and deceit” in its dealings with the United States. The core issue involves Islamic militants who, for years, have mounted attacks into Afghanistan from safe havens in Pakistan. Their

  • A Trump security strategy

    The law requires that every administration produce a “national security strategy” that will serve as a blueprint for how to respond to challenges to U.S. global leadership. The Trump administration published its version last week. As such, it is an interesting document because it marks the first time this administration has formally articulated its perceptions

  • Jerusalem

    The Israeli-Palestinian dispute/conflict has been with us so long it seems to be a permanent part of the international landscape. It began with the founding of Israel on lands inhabited by Palestinians but seen by the Zionist movement as biblically promised to Israel. After years of often violent confrontation punctuated by two major wars and

  • North Korea: The search for a silver bullet

    The geopolitical drama involving North Korea and the United States has been playing out on two levels since the advent of the Trump administration. On one level we have the President unleashing what has become a familiar stream of bombast, threats, and invective — to which Pyongyang has replied in kind. North Korea’s effort to

  • America alone

    President Trump has returned from an extended 12-day trip to Asia where he met the region’s leaders, often more than once, in bilateral meetings and major international conferences. It was an ambitious itinerary and reflected years of spadework by previous administrations to provide the U.S. president a platform to reaffirm and strengthen the American presence