Raqqa and the Conundrum of Arming the Kurds
Preparing to retake Raqqa, the ISIS capital, the U.S. announced yesterday that it would provide heavy weapons to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are dominated by members of the Kurdish YPG militia.
In making this decision, President Trump …
ISIS Is Not a Counterweight to Iran
In two statements in August 2014, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah claimed that the Islamic State was a threat to the region. “The danger does not recognize Shiites, Sunnis, Christians, or Druze, Yazidis, Arabs, or Kurds,” he said. “This monster is growing …
The ‘Oh, Never Mind’ President
In his first annual message to Congress, John Quincy Adams, among the most experienced and intellectually formidable presidents, warned leaders against giving the impression that “we are palsied by the will of our constituents.” In this regard, if in no …
Two Weeks of Great Clarity
If you prize clarity, these past weeks were some of the best in memory.
1. When America leads, the world is better. For the first time in eight years, the allies of America and the world’s decent people celebrated America’…
Restoring Deterrence, One Bomb at a Time?
The Tomahawk volley attack, for all its ostentatious symbolism, served larger strategic purposes. It reminded a world without morality that there is still a shred of a rule or two: Do not use nerve gas on the battlefield or against …
Trump’s Great Reversal — for Now
The world is agog at Donald Trump’s head-snapping foreign-policy reversal. He runs on a platform of America First. He renounces the role of world policeman. He excoriates parasitic foreigners that (I paraphrase) suck dry our precious bodily fluids — …
New Sheriff Fires a Warning Shot in Syria
Last week on Fox News’ Special Report, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer suggested that the message behind President Trump’s military retaliation for Syria’s use of chemical weapons is twofold. It’s not that “there’s a new sheriff in …
Trump’s First Unconstitutional War
Make no mistake: President Trump’s airstrikes against Syria were unconstitutional.
Military action may well have been justified from a moral standpoint. The Assad regime’s war on its own people and its use of chemical weapons required a response, …
Krauthammer’s Take: ‘The Strike on Syria Was a Total Contradiction to Bannonism’
Charles Krauthammer said that Trump ordering a strike on Syria constituted a kind of rejection of the “America first” philosophy of Steve Bannon, and he also waded into the White House’s inner workings:
I think that’s absolutely right. …
The Democrats’ Weakest Trump Talking Point
President Donald Trump confounded most of his critics and even some of his supporters last week by attacking Syria. Trump came into office promising to stay out of foreign entanglements and advocating outreach to Russia. So the decision to punish …
Syria’s Chemical Weapons Show the Limits of Arms Control
Arms control failed to prevent Bashar al-Assad from using weapons of mass destruction against noncombatants, and this should serve as another hard lesson in its limitations.
Civilized nations have sought to abolish the use of chemical weapons (CWs) for nearly …
Impromptus: The way we were, &c.
There was a song: “Mem’ries light the corners of my mind. Misty water-colored mem’ries of the way we were.” I have been thinking lately about the way we were.
Remember when we knocked President Obama for spending so …
A Requiem for the Assad-Family Dynasty in Syria
It is said that old habits die hard. In the realm of foreign policy, old assumptions do as well.
But Bashar al-Assad’s recent horrific chemical-weapon attack in Khan Sheikhoun appears to have prompted a change in U.S. policy. …
No, Trump Is Not a Neocon
With U.S. missiles flying in Syria, the “mother of all bombs” exploding in Afghanistan, and an aircraft-carrier strike group heading toward North Korea, has there been a revolution in President Trump’s foreign policy?
His most fervent supporters shouldn’t get …
Syria, War Crimes, and the National Interest
President Donald Trump’s decision last week to order airstrikes to punish Syria for a chemical-weapons attack that killed and injured scores of civilians has exposed conservatism’s intellectual confusion about U.S. foreign policy. Perhaps the most troubling thing …
Trump’s Syria Strike Was Constitutional
In ordering Friday’s strike on a Syrian airbase, President Donald J. Trump sent the U.S. military into combat without Congress’s blessing. He has punished the Assad regime for its use of sarin nerve gas on its own …
Our so-called constitutional conservatives treat the national charter the way a certain kind of Christian treats the Bible: They like to carry around copies of it, to wave it at their rivals, to talk about it, and to treat it …
Trump’s Syria Strike and the Washington Spring
Perhaps it is a function of spring, and of the irrepressible perseverance of hope, which even motionless in the heart of darkness cannot be extinguished, that I cautiously predict the beginnings of a return to functioning government in Washington. The …
How Trump’s Syria Missile Strike Could Transform the Middle East
Call it the Tomahawk strike heard ’round the world, not just in Washington and Damascus and Moscow, but in every capital in the Middle East.
By ordering the strike on Al Shayrat Airfield, from which Bashar al-Assad had launched a …
Syria is weird for reasons that transcend even the bizarre situation of bombing an abhorrent Bashar al-Assad who was bombing an abhorrent ISIS — as we de facto ally with Iran, the greater strategic threat, to defeat the more odious, …