Solid and Promising

It is axiomatic that successful Presidents must focus their political capital on just a few priorities. Barack Obama has had no such luxury. Just on the international front, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, the deepening Israeli-Palestinian conflict, near-term deadlines requiring policy reversals on nuclear proliferation and climate change, a broken relationship with Russia, and a global financial […]

Patience and Resolve

It is in the best interest of China to see a nuclear-free Korean peninsula; that’s what the Chinese government should want, has wanted and still wants. The reality, however, is that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has already obtained nuclear weapons, as proven by its two tests, and has accumulated enough nuclear materials […]

Grow Up

A veteran Peace Corps hand volunteers to help, again.

The Open Hand, Slapped

A friend as troubled as I am at President Obama’s mounting misadventures in foreign and security policy said, “I hope he knows what he’s doing.” I hope he doesn’t.I hope he doesn’t because I prefer the alternative explanation: that he has spent nearly a year getting it wrong out of inexperience, naivety, the distraction of […]

Caution and Humility

An exercise in thinking through what ought to be the ultimate goal of U.S. policy toward Korea requires Americans to invite two handmaidens along for the effort: caution and humility. Those who would set such goals must understand that the United States does not have the power by itself to compel North Korea to reform […]

Say the U-word

Here is the recurring problematic of U.S. policy toward North Korea: Policy starts out principled and long-term, with a clarion call for irreversible denuclearization, the promise of a transformed relationship with Pyongyang and the requisite assurances of close coordination with allies. Invariably, this policy ends up becoming incremental, tactical and reactive, as sterile debates over […]

Good Start, Long Road

Perhaps the satirists at the Onion were not joking when they reported in November 2008 that Barack Obama had just been given the worst job in the country. Look what he inherited: a global economic crisis, two difficult wars, erosion of the non-proliferation regime by North Korea and Iran, deterioration of the Middle East peace […]

Let's Make a Deal

President George W. Bush gets little credit in Washington these days, but he did achieve one major accomplishment in Asia: He resisted pressure from the Republican Right to confront China. U.S. cooperation with China and maintenance of U.S. alliances with Japan and South Korea are the pillars of future security in Asia. Contrary to popular […]

Heels and Heroes

Two films show the fight in Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson.

Who Is This Guy?

One year into his first term, we pretty much knew where a new President was located on the classical ideological axes of American foreign policy: internationalism vs. nationalism, realpolitik (Nixon, George H.W. Bush) vs. idealpolitik (Jimmy Carter). Within internationalism, there has always been an additional distinction: exemplarism vs. interventionism. Would America shine by example and […]

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