Topic:

Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s “Obama Moments” in Syria and the Gulf

| July 12, 2019

The continuing bombardment of the Syrian province of Idlib by Russia, Iran, and Syrian dictator Bashar Assad has been ignored for far too long by the international community. Attention must be paid – in particular by  Donald Trump, who is showing himself worryingly prone to “Obama moments” of hesitation and lack of resolve.

A Memo to Jared

and | May 12, 2019

A recent report indicates that President Trump’s son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner suggested that then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other policy makers read a January 2018 Wall Street Journal piece regarding the cutoff of American funding for UNRWA, the international agency for Palestinian ‘refugees.’ As authors of the piece referenced in the leak, we are flattered. With the administration’s much discussed peace plan to be announced in June, let us offer some last minute suggestions.

Trump’s Foreign Policy Is Not Chaotic

Though politicians and scholars harshly criticize President Donald Trump’s foreign policy as chaotic, his policymaking seems to be based upon a sound and consistent political approach, contrary to that of his predecessor in the White House. Several decisions taken by Trump can fall under the rubric of the political science theory known as “Supersession,” which stipulates that changing circumstances and the passage of time are formative guidelines to the handling of international conflicts.

Iran and North Korea Highlight Pitfalls of Trump’s “Maximum Pressure” Strategy

| March 24, 2019

President Donald Trump’s hitherto failed “maximum pressure” approach to Iran, as well as, for that matter, North Korea, begs the question what his true objectives are and what options he will be left with should the policy ultimately fail.

Should America’s Asian Allies Adjust Their Security Policy?

| March 22, 2019

The media focused its attention on the success or failure of the Singapore Summit in June 2018 and the Hanoi Summit of February 2019, but largely disregarded President Trump’s policy on joint military drills with South Korea. His decision to postpone the drills raises questions about US policy in the region.

The Second Trump-Kim Summit

| February 27, 2019

The Donald Trump-Kim Jong-un summit coming up in Hanoi at the end of this month will focus on finding ways to implement the process that began at the first summit in Singapore. Trump and Kim will try to find a win-win compromise that does not require a complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement (CVID) in the short run. The success or failure of the second summit will influence the South Korean political arena as well.

Changing Sides on the Korean Peninsula

| January 16, 2019

The Korean conflict has divided more than the two Koreas. It has also prompted the creation of opposing “blame narratives” among scholars, policymakers, and journalists. The election of Donald Trump, and the 2018 Singapore summit between Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, challenged those narratives and forced some of the actors to reconsider their political agendas. 

Is US Withdrawal Viable in Afghanistan?

| January 6, 2019

President Trump’s decision to withdraw half of all US troops in Afghanistan will likely be seen as a sign of weakness by the Taliban, who might subsequently feel less motivated to accept a ceasefire proposal. For Pakistan’s security establishment, Trump’s desperation to ensure a less ignominious exit from Afghanistan represents a chance to engage with Washington on its own terms.

The US Withdrawal from Syria: A Blessing in Disguise?

| December 30, 2018

However misconceived, President Trump’s decision to withdraw US forces from Syria might have a silver lining for Israel. It forces Jerusalem to reevaluate the basic assumptions of the “peace process” with the Palestinians that has been actively and coercively led in recent decades by successive US administrations.

US Troop Withdrawal from Syria Could Fuel Gulf Assertiveness

| December 30, 2018

President Donald Trump, in shrugging off allegations that Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman may have been responsible for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, described the world as a dangerous place. Gulf leaders are likely to share that perception in response to the president’s seeming unwillingness to fully take their interests into account, particularly in the wake of his announced US troop withdrawals from Syria and Afghanistan. The vacuum created by Trump risks fueling greater Gulf assertiveness, with potentially messy consequences.