FPI Overnight Brief: May 26, 2017

The Must-Reads

Middle East/North Africa

Iran
 
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved on Thursday the most sweeping sanctions against Iran since the United States and five other nations reached an agreement with Tehran in 2015 to sharply limit that nation’s nuclear capability, and the committee warned Russia that it was almost certain to be the next target. – New York Times
 
The Trump administration is taking significant steps to target a full range of Iranian military aggression and human rights abuses, functionally reversing the Obama administration's near-total prioritization of the 2015 nuclear deal, according to discussions conducted by THE WEEKLY STANDARD with sources inside and outside the White House. – The Weekly Standard
 
Recently re-elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani lashed out at the Trump administration this week, describing it as ignorant and saying that Iran "needs missiles" to confront the United States and its allies, according to recent remarks certain to rile leaders in Washington, D.C. – Washington Free Beacon
 
An Iranian semi-official news agency says the country's powerful Revolutionary Guard has built a third underground facility designated to produce ballistic missiles. – Associated Press
 
Kelly Jane Torance writes: Complaints of media bias seem to be reaching a fever pitch—from conservatives and liberals alike….Neither seemed to notice last week that one big story was narrated the same way by virtually every outlet: the presidential election in a country where chants of "Death to America" are a routine occurrence. – The Weekly Standard
 
Syria
 
Iran is trying to gain a military base near the Israeli-Syrian border, a bipartisan pair of lawmakers warned the Trump administration. – Washington Examiner
 
The Syrian military has begun moving planes back to the airfield struck by US Tomahawk missiles last month, two US defense officials told BuzzFeed News. – Buzz Feed
 
ISIS
 
The number of civilians killed in American-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria spiked this year, as efforts to retake Islamic State strongholds intensified and as some procedures for approving airstrikes were changed. – New York Times
 
A U.S.-led airstrike carried out on a building in Mosul in March detonated a cache of Islamic State explosives, killing more than 100 Iraqi civilians, the Pentagon said Thursday. – Washington Post’s Checkpoint
 
David Ignatius writes: The Manchester terrorist attack by an alleged Islamic State “soldier” will accelerate the push by the United States and its allies to capture the terrorist group’s strongholds in Mosul, Iraq, and Raqqa, Syria. But it should also focus some urgent discussions about a post-Islamic State strategy for stabilizing the two countries. – Washington Post
 
North Africa
 
Heavy clashes have erupted between rival militias in the Libyan capital Friday morning in the latest sign of the North African oil-producer’s fragility despite efforts by Western and regional powers to bring stability. – Washington Post
 
Gunmen opened fire on vehicles carrying Coptic Christians in southern Egypt early Friday, killing at least 20 people, according to state news agencies, the latest deadly assault on the country’s embattled religious minority. – New York Times
 
Jackson Diehl writes: Egypt, of course, is still festering, its prisons packed with as many as 60,000 political detainees, including as many as seven more Americans. Hijazi and Hassenein have drawn up a list of 50 “dire humanitarian cases,” people they believe may die if they are not freed. They hope their case will set a precedent. “If they responded to one,” Hijazi said of Sissi’s concession to Trump, “they can respond to more.” – Washington Post
 
Gulf States
 
The Senate is heading toward a fight over President Trump's $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia. – The Hill
 
A bipartisan pair of lawmakers is calling on the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee to hold a hearing on a planned sale of precision-guided munitions kits to Saudi Arabia. – The Hill
 
Editorial: Two days after his Sunday pronouncement came the bloodiest act of repression by Bahraini security forces in years, a raid in which at least five people were reported killed and hundreds arrested. The consequences of Mr. Trump’s performance in Brussels may be less immediately evident — but there, too, there will be damage. – Washington Post
 
Israel
 
Three men were executed in Gaza on Thursday, days after being found guilty of assassinating a top member of the militant group Hamas — a crime the group accuses Israel of ordering. Israel usually does not comment on such matters but has denied any part in the March killing. – New York Times
 
Charles Krauthammer writes: Perhaps that will require a peace process of sorts. No great harm, as long as we remember that any such Israeli-Palestinian talks are for show — until conditions are one day ripe for peace. In the meantime, the real action is on the anti-Iranian and anti-terrorism fronts. Don’t let Oslo-like mirages get in the way. – Washington Post
 
Turkey
 
After narrowly losing last month’s bitterly contested constitutional referendum, Turkey’s main opposition party is struggling over how to keep battling a newly empowered President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
The House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a resolution Thursday condemning the attack on protesters by Turkish personnel in Washington, D.C. – Washington Free Beacon
 
FPI Board Member Eric Edelman and Merve Tahiroglu writes: With myriad security threats to Turkey from Syria and with a revisionist Russia on the move in the region, Turkey and NATO should embrace each other now more than ever. As long as Erdogan remains on the fence about the alliance, however, he will only destabilize NATO from within—and the Kremlin will be the only beneficiary. It's time for Ankara to end its charade of anti-Western rhetoric and increasingly disruptive politics, lest it become pawn to Russian designs from which it must protect itself. Despite the façade of defiance, Turkey still needs NATO to do that. Brussels must urgently remind Turkey of that fact. – The Weekly Standard

Asia

South Asia
 
Under pressure from Islamic hard-liners, the Bangladeshi authorities in the predawn hours on Friday swiftly and quietly removed a sculpture of a woman personifying justice from outside the country’s Supreme Court building. – New York Times
 
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) says it has received a petition from Afghans seeking justice for alleged victims of warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
 
Korean Peninsula
 
President Donald Trump said Friday at his bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that the “big problem” of North Korea’s ambitions for a nuclear weapon will be dealt with, telling reporters that “you can bet on that.” - Politico
 
Reps. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) on Thursday submitted a bill that would tightly restrict U.S. travel and ban tourism to North Korea – The Hill
 
The US wants to “pre-negotiate” with China a tough new United Nations sanctions regime against North Korea before Pyongyang conducts another missile or nuclear weapons test, a senior US state department official said on Friday. – Financial Times
 
Chinese officials have told the U.S. that they've tightened inspections and policing along the border with North Korea as part of U.N. sanctions aimed at halting Pyongyang's nuclear and missile activities, the top U.S. diplomat for East Asia said Friday. – Associated Press
 
Joseph DeTrani writes: U.S. President Donald Trump’s strategy of “all options are on the table” is timely and necessary. It’s now possible that working closely with our allies, in South Korea and Japan, and with China more aggressively pursuing North Korea, we will get North Korea to halt its nuclear and missile programs and return to denuclearization talks. – The Cipher Brief
 
Patrick Cronin writes: The bad news is that the bizarre publicity campaign about a fantastical conspiracy to assassinate Kim, coupled with suspicions about Pyongyang’s growing cyber hijinks, suggest a regime bent on acquiring multiple weapons of mass disruption and destruction. Even if leaders can make headway on reining in the looming nuclear dossier, the dual threats of biochemical and cyber weapons will remain a gathering peril. – The National Interest
 
East Asia
 
The commandant of the Marine Corps suggested that the United States may reconsider the timeframe for relocating troops from Okinawa to Guam because of North Korea’s growing missile threat. – Stars and Stripes
 
Taiwan's military has practiced repelling a simulated Chinese assault on an outlying island group as part of annual military drills addressing the perceived threat from across the Taiwan Strait. – Associated Press
 
Christopher Caldwell writes: Things are changing. Having ended its self-imposed ban on arms-dealing in 2014, Japan is now selling anti-submarine reconnaissance systems and patrol vessels to Malaysia and Vietnam, and boats to the Philippines. Abe has considered amending Japan's pacifist postwar constitution—for the first time—to permit its "self-defense forces" to become a full-fledged military. Until some new defense arrangement can be devised, the waters and airspace in which four of the world's half-dozen largest militaries operate (China, Russia, and North and South Korea) are going to be defended by the United States if they are defended at all. – The Weekly Standard
 
Southeast Asia
 
A deadly suicide bombing in the Indonesian capital has been linked to Islamic State, adding to a growing body of evidence that the Middle East-based terrorist group is making inroads into Muslim-majority areas of Southeast Asia. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
When President Rodrigo Duterte explained his decision to declare martial law across a wide swath of the southern Philippines, he described one of the most chilling scenes imaginable: a beheading….But the Malabang police chief is alive — The Washington Post spoke to him on Friday. And the Post could find no new evidence of televised beheadings in Mindanao, though unconfirmed accounts of beheadings are circulating widely online. – Washington Post
 
Foreign fighters have joined an Islamic State-linked militant group occupying a southern Philippine city and are seeking to turn the island of Mindanao into a caliphate, a government official said, calling the development an invasion. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
One of Asia's most-wanted militants is still hiding out in a city in the southern Philippines where government forces backed by armored vehicles and helicopters are battling gunmen linked to the Islamic State group, the country's military chief said Friday. – Associated Press

Security

Defense
 
After this week’s 2018 budget request rollout it is still unclear if the Navy will use the $1.8 billion it was given recently to buy a 13th San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship (LPD-17) or if it will move straight to the next-generation LX(R) dock landing ship. But Navy leadership assures it is committed to keeping the transition from the LPD to the LX(R) derivative on track. – USNI News
 
Thomas Donnelly writes: Neither the Trump cult of personality nor the Mulvaney cult of accountancy befits the party of Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Reagan. Just because Secretary Mattis can't spare a moment to plot the rebuilding of the American military doesn't mean that Congress—the body with the ultimate constitutional responsibility in such matters—shouldn't do so. – The Weekly Standard
 
Geoffrey Norman writes: The Enterprise, the first nuclear carrier, went over budget by so much that some of the weapons systems that were designed into the ship had to be left off as a way of saving some money. And as with any big project, whether a weapons system or not, the real test comes when it is operational. If it performs over time, then the delays in getting it into service are forgotten and the costs that ran beyond budget are amortized. The people at the symposium believe the Ford will easily prove to have been worth the price. – The Weekly Standard
 
Army
 
President Trump's newly unveiled budget plans ignore the core problem of the country's overstretched Army — it has too few soldiers, Sen. John McCain said. – Washington Examiner
 
Senators at a hearing Thursday criticized the Army’s handling of a $6 billion battlefield communications system, grilling the service’s top general when he admitted the system might not work despite a decade of development. – The Hill
 
There were foggy and subtle signs the U.S. Army’s key future anti-missile command-and-control system’s schedule was slipping, but the service’s fiscal 2018 budget request is now showing the initial operational capability, or IOC, of the program is delayed by four years. – Defense News
 
Air Force
 
Air Force experts are looking to Wilson, an Air Force Academy graduate and former New Mexico congresswoman, to strongly advocate for the service during a period where the president has promised a large military buildup, but offered few details about what that means for air power. – Defense News
 
How many B-21 bombers will the US need? 80? 100? 165? Bound by the president’s budget on one side and congressional appropriations on the other, the head of Air Force acquisition was very careful in answering that question today, but one of his colleagues gave some fascinating hints. – Breaking Defense
 
Secrecy and classification parameters of Air Forces' new "in-early-development" next-generation B-21 Raider stealth bomber will be analyzed by the Pentagon's Inspector General to investigate just how many details, strategies and technological advances related to the emerging platform should be highly classified. – Scout Warrior
 
The Air Force wants to hire another 1,600 personnel -- mostly civilians -- in an effort to provide squadrons with relief from a growing number of responsibilities. – Military.com
 
The War
 
The incident not only marked the first U.S. combat death in Somalia since the infamous Blackhawk Down battle in 1993; it also underscored the risks as President Trump, like President Obama before him, increasingly relies on the Pentagon’s Special Operations Command to hunt militants around the globe. – Los Angeles Times
 
Thomas Joscelyn writes: Obama's plan, too, was built around reducing "the costs of American 'blood and treasure.' " It's a fine goal and, in some ways, a sensible one. Limiting the number of American casualties has to be any president's top concern. Nor can America be the primary force in every country that faces a jihadist fight. Substituting others' boots reduces the cost to U.S. taxpayers. But an "Allies First" strategy has its limits. – The Weekly Standard
 
Stephen Hayes writes: Although ISIS has lost ground, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's loyalists continue to operate in Libya. As does Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and its more covert network. Authorities in the United Kingdom believe that Salman Abedi, the terrorist bomber in Manchester, may have traveled to Libya for training. Abedi's brother and father were arrested there. In January, the United States bombed two training camps in Libya thought to be tied to the Islamic State's "external plotters"—operatives targeting Europe and beyond. – The Weekly Standard
 
Peter Wooley writes: In Iraq and Afghanistan contractors have done everything from cook meals, to deliver fuel, to secure perimeters around civic projects. Because the private companies that employ them are responsible for recruitment, training and compensation, the government is freed from having to offer Veterans Affairs care or other costly benefits. But the biggest advantage to Washington of using contractors is that they are invisible to the public. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
Missile Defense
 
Mead Treadwell writes: Donald Trump has pledged to develop a state-of-the-art missile defense for the United States.  This is indeed exactly the right goal and is necessary for both deter and defeat current and future threats.  Funding and fielding the Redesigned Kill Vehicle now, while still expanding root missile defense technologies, will improve that overall posture and help keep the peace. – Real Clear Defense
 
Intelligence/Cybersecurity
 
Current and former senior American officials are growing concerned that a deluge of leaks from the U.S. government will imperil some of the nation’s most important intelligence-sharing relationships. – The Hill
 
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is touting as a success his department’s response to the ransomware attack that targeted systems around the world earlier this month. – The Hill
 
The common adage the military has come to adopt is it’s not about if they will be hacked, but when they will be hacked. With that, cyber defense has become a cornerstone of spending dollars – which in many cases is separate, though in partnership with the joint-strategic cyber mission forces the services provide and feed to Cyber Command. – Defense News

Russia/Europe

United Kingdom
 
The British authorities intensified their search on Thursday for possible accomplices of the Manchester bomber, as questions emerged about whether more could have been done to prevent the country’s deadliest terrorist attack since 2005. – New York Times
 
British investigators searching for clues to the motives and possible accomplices of the suicide bomber who killed at least 22 at a concert in Manchester are increasingly focusing on Libya — and the Islamic State’s presence here. – Washington Post
 
President Trump on Thursday denounced U.S. leaks about Britain’s investigation of the Manchester terrorist bombing as “deeply troubling” and asked the Justice Department and other agencies to launch a full investigation. – Washington Post
 
British police said Thursday they had resumed sharing intelligence about the Manchester bombing with U.S. authorities, despite concern about leaks by overseas intelligence sources. – Los Angeles Times
 
The contrast with Britain, despite the shared democratic heritage, is particularly stark. Instead of the First Amendment, the British have the Official Secrets Act, which allows the government to ban in advance the publication of government secrets and prescribes punishments not just for leakers, but also for the journalists who publish the information. – New York Times
 
Former CIA Director Michael Hayden said Thursday that the U.S. intelligence community should be ashamed by the leak to the news media of details from the British investigation of the deadly terrorist bombing in Manchester. – Washington Times
 
This week’s deadly suicide bombing has reignited a long-running debate about how British intelligence decides which potential extremists to watch given the limited resources at its disposal. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
Police arrested a 10th person overnight as the search for associates of the Manchester bomber Salman Abedi widens further. – Financial Times
 
Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people in the Manchester terrorist attack on Monday was a close associate of the prolific Isis recruiter and fellow son of a Libyan émigré, Abdalraouf Abdallah. – Financial Times
 
British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn says his Labour Party will change U.K. foreign policy and abandon the “war on terror,” if it wins next month’s election. – Associated Press
 
Robin Simcox writes: That Abedi was a homegrown terrorist is unsurprising. In the United Kingdom, almost three-quarters of individuals who have committed Islamism-related offenses are British. Abedi was the child of Libyan refugees, a reminder that the challenges posed by refugees in Europe are not confined to the first generation. – Foreign Affairs
 
Bret Stephens writes: I offer this description to make the point that our intellectual understanding of terrorism will be stunted if we lack a visceral understanding of it. The standard definition of terrorism — “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims” — anesthetizes reality. – New York Times
 
Andrew Suttaford writes: May's opponent, Labour's far-left Jeremy Corbyn, cannot be trusted with any degree of power. But the dementia tax is a reminder that the over-promoted Theresa May cannot be trusted with too much. – The Weekly Standard
 
Russia
 
President Donald Trump is leaning toward maintaining sanctions against Russia that were adopted by the Obama administration in response to Moscow’s alleged interference in the U.S. presidential election, a senior administration official said Thursday. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
Researchers have discovered an extensive international hacking campaign that steals documents from its targets, carefully modifies them and repackages them as disinformation aimed at undermining civil society and democratic institutions, according to a study released Thursday. The investigators say the campaign shows clear signs of a Russian link. – Washington Post
 
Human Rights Watch says it has confirmed that police in Russia's Chechnya region rounded up, tortured, and humiliated dozens of gay or bisexual men during the spring of 2017 in "an apparent effort to purge them from Chechen society." – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
 
Europe
 
For Europeans, the juxtaposition served as an unavoidable reminder of the contrasts between [Presidents Obama and Trump] — their personal styles, their relations with America’s allies and the values and priorities they embody. It was also a demonstration, however coincidental, of the political shadow boxing that has found an unlikely arena in Europe, the new center of the contest between liberal democracy and far-right populism. – New York Times
 
A bomb exploded on Thursday in a car carrying Lucas Papademos, a former prime minister of Greece, through central Athens, the police said. Mr. Papademos, 69, was injured in the explosion, along with the driver and another person in the car. – New York Times
 
The March parliamentary elections in Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia have not assuaged the profound mistrust and antagonism between the various opposition forces and the leadership of the de facto president, Raul Khajimba. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
 
Guy Verhofstadt writes: A values-based community has no place for governments such as those that now rule Hungary and Poland. The EU should invoke Article 7 as soon as possible, and with the broadest possible majority among member states. And, after Orbán, we must turn our attention to Kaczyński. – Project Syndicate
 
Dalibor Rohac writes: With an ageing president firmly on the side of the Kremlin and with the unprecedented combination of political and economic power that Mr Babiš embodies, his premiership risks marginalising the country at a time of important decisions about the continent’s future. More worryingly, it is bound to open the question of just how firmly anchored in the west the Czech Republic is, almost three decades into its transition from communism. – Financial Times
 
NATO
 
President Trump on Thursday punctured any illusions that he was on a fence-mending tour of Europe, declining to explicitly endorse NATO’s mutual defense pledge and lashing out at fellow members for what he called their “chronic underpayments” to the alliance. – New York Times
 
Editorial: It’s fair to whack Mr. Trump if he indulges his many bad instincts, but it serves no one other than Vladimir Putin to suggest without evidence that the U.S. won’t honor its NATO commitments—or to drive a wedge between allies simply to make Mr. Trump look bad. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
Kori Schake writes: Our NATO allies are important validators of the American-led order and important contributors to its sustainment. We will want their help as challenges grow in the Middle East, Russia corrodes further, and China rises (assuming it actually will). We should take care not to throw those allies overboard until we have better allies to replace them with, and that is highly unlikely to occur any time soon. – The Americas Report

Americas

United States of America
 
Former President Barack Obama’s former top spy has provided the first public confirmation that the FBI possessed and studied the discredited anti-Trump dossier that made unverified criminal charges against the president’s campaign associates and others. – Washington Times
 
Describing President Trump’s revised travel ban as intolerant and discriminatory, a federal appeals court on Thursday rejected government efforts to limit travel to the United States from six predominantly Muslim nations. Attorney General Jeff Sessions quickly vowed to appeal to the Supreme Court. – New York Times
 
A bipartisan pair of U.S. senators introduced legislation Thursday that would authorize the president's use of military force against terrorist organizations, and say their measure will get a committee vote. – Washington Examiner
 
Authorities released a report Thursday detailing the manhunt and shootout with a husband and wife who killed 14 people and wounded 22 others in the San Bernardino terror attack in December 2015. – Associated Press
 
Eli Lake writes: Flynn has yet to be charged with a crime. If there is evidence that he betrayed his country, it has yet to be presented. None of the many news stories about Flynn's contacts with Russians and Turks has accused him of being disloyal to his country. And yet a decorated general has already been tried and convicted in the press. – Bloomberg View
 
Ramesh Ponnuru writes: To the extent the U.S. abandons free-trade dogma during the Trump administration, what it will get in its place probably won’t be clever policies to boost Americans’ standard of living. It will be more special-interest lobbying and government favors that make Americans poorer. – Bloomberg View
 
Russian Election Interference
 
Investigators are focusing on a series of meetings held by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and an influential White House adviser, as part of their probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and related matters, according to people familiar with the investigation. – Washington Post
 
The hacking spree that upended the presidential election wasn’t limited to Democratic National Committee memos and Clinton-aide emails posted on websites. The hacker also privately sent Democratic voter-turnout analyses to a Republican political operative in Florida named Aaron Nevins. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
The Ukrainian parliamentarian Mustafa Nayyem says the FBI has come to him at last, asking about Paul Manafort, who had a long record as a political operative serving pro-Russian figures here before he became the campaign manager for Donald Trump last year. – The Daily Beast
 
Comey/FBI
 
The FBI told Congress that it would withhold for now memos written by former Director James Comey concerning his interactions with President Donald Trump while the bureau weighs how the appointment of a special counsel will affect investigations under way on Capitol Hill. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
President Donald Trump isn’t the only one in the White House who could be caught in a compromising position by James Comey’s secret memos. The president’s chief of staff is worried he could be soon in the crosshairs, as well. – The Daily Beast
 
Josh Rogin reports: President Trump’s drive to find a new FBI director has lost its “Joe-mentum.” Former senator Joseph I. Lieberman today withdrew his name from consideration for the post, citing a conflict of interest because his law firm colleague has signed on to help the White House with the Russia investigations. – Washington Post
 
Latin America
 
More than half the Senate has signed on to a measure lifting restrictions on American travel to Cuba. – The Hill
 
Brazil’s embattled president Michel Temer revoked an order to place troops on the streets of Brasília one day after a protest by unions and leftist social movements turned violent with activists smashing government buildings and fighting police. – Financial Times
 
Francisco Toro writes: What Venezuela needs now is many more Luisa Ortega Díazes. The attorney general did not switch sides. She merely signaled that, from now on, she will act impartially to seek the truth and achieve justice. For a regime built on lies and injustice, the prospect of this attitude spreading is an existential threat. And for Pernalete’s loved ones, it holds out the prospect that his ultimate sacrifice could help to unravel the regime he was demonstrating against. – Washington Post
 
Luis Fleischman writes: The Trump Administration, as well as the media and the public, must be aware of these facts and politically fight obstacles that prevent us from carrying out the obligation to protect our national security, the security of the region, and the values for which America stands. Diplomatic and economic efforts must continue until Venezuela recovers its democracy. – The Americas Report

Africa

With the ANC riddled with allegations of corruption and infighting, and its black supporters fed up with high unemployment, a stuttering economy and a lack of basic services, the DA — until now overwhelmingly supported by non-black voters — scents its best chance of breaking the ANC’s stranglehold on power. – Financial Times
 
Nigeria’s senate has passed the first of a series of laws aimed at overhauling the troubled oil sector in what lawmakers say is an initial step towards unlocking billions of dollars in investment. – Financial Times

Trump Administration

The Senate voted to confirm three appointees for the Pentagon. By unanimous consent, the Senate confirmed David Norquist to be comptroller, Robert Story Karem as assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs and Kari Bingen as principal deputy under secretary of defense for intelligence. – Defense News
 
Max Boot writes: Bolton is right that Trump’s policies have been more conventional than expected, but he is wrong to ascribe this development to insidious foreign policy elites. President Trump is simply being forced to acknowledge the complex realities that he refused to grapple with on the campaign trail. - Commentary
 
Jonathan Last writes: It's precisely because Donald Trump is what he is that McMaster was right to do what he did. America is almost certainly better off with McMaster running the NSC. If staying in that job means courting humiliation in an effort to keep Trump happy, then what McMaster did was self-sacrifice. He jumped on a grenade, at some cost to his reputation, in order to serve the country. – The Weekly Standard

Ideas

FPI Board Member Eric Edelman and Hal Brands write: The core characteristics of the emerging era are the gradual but unmistakable erosion of U.S. and Western primacy, the return of sharp great-power competition across all three key regions of Eurasia, the revival of global ideological struggle, and the empowerment of the agents of international strife and disorder. Moreover, the impact of these forces is magnified by growing uncertainty about whether the traditional defenders of the post-Cold War system will be able and willing to play that role in the future. Dealing with the dangers and dilemmas posed by the new global politics will be a generational task. – Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
 
Colin Dueck writes: An effective U.S. foreign-policy strategy will therefore tap into America’s underlying strengths—which are in fact immense—to wear down and pressure numerous adversaries without wearing out the United States. Politically, the current dyspeptic mood is quite strange. But underneath fierce partisan squabbles, Americans in the past have always been able to exhaust and overcome every authoritarian external challenger thrown their way. – The National Interest
 
Michael Auslin, Ted Bromund, and Colin Dueck write: We are in a world that we never left—a competitive world, but also a world with allies and friends we have now, and some we will have tomorrow. Our minds have been clouded by our failure to recognize our need to compete, by our refusal to praise and play to the strengths of our constitutional order, and by an excessive optimism that reflects both the best and the worst of our national character. We must disenthrall ourselves. If we can do so, we shall save our country—and, as Americans have before—the world. – American Affairs

Mission Statement

The Foreign Policy Initiative seeks to promote an active U.S. foreign policy committed to robust support for democratic allies, human rights, a strong American military equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening America’s global economic competitiveness.
Read More