The Skeptics

America Historically Had a Restrained Foreign Policy: Its Time to Return to It

A Note from John Allen Gay, executive director of the John Quincy Adams Society: There’s growing debate in America about the proper scale of our involvement abroad. But here in the Beltway, no matter what the question is, the answer always seems to be that the United States needs to do more: to risk its troops’ lives in more places, to sacrifice more in taxes, debts, and domestic investments to support overseas endeavors, to extend defense guarantees to more countries, and to involve itself more deeply in other countries’ civil wars and internal struggles.

The Comeback Caliphate: How ISIS Could Regain Control of Iraq

For a country that has been all too accustomed to terrible news over the last fourteen years, the liberation of Mosul was a big breath of fresh air for Iraqis of all ethnicities and sectarian affiliations. The Islamic State, an organization so incredibly inhumane and medieval that it makes Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri look like a grandfatherly scholar, outlasted its welcome in Iraq’s second largest city long ago.

This Group Hopes to Push America toward Regime Change in Iran

American policymakers and pundits have an unfortunate history of embracing odious foreign political movements that purport to be democratic. During the Cold War, embarrassing episodes included Washington’s support for the Nicaraguan Contras and Jonas Savimbi’s National Union for the Total Independence of Angola. The post–Cold War era provides ample evidence that influential Americans have not learned appropriate lessons from those earlier blunders.

China Won't Help America Subdue North Korea

Last April, in the privacy of his estate on the Florida coastline, President Donald Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping met for a weekend of sun, surf and negotiating. In the middle of the meeting, Trump declared in a short statement outside of his residence that a cooperative U.S.-Chinese relationship had the power to resolve some of the world’s toughest security problems.

The U.S. Again Learns That Intervention Isn’t Cost-Free

Since the lapse of the much derided “Vietnam syndrome,” Americans have come to simultaneously expect cost-free intervention and absolute homeland security. Washington should be able to wander the globe bombing and invading other nations while the United States remains invulnerable to attack. What could possibly go wrong?

Trump's Syria Tactic Could Bring Warring Parties to the Table

Anybody who was expecting Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin to pull a repeat of the 1945 Yalta Conference during their first meeting at the G-20 Summit went home sorely disappointed. Absent the handshakes, the hundreds of camera clicks from photographers, and the customary pleasantries between world leaders, the Trump-Putin confab concluded after two hours and fifteen minutes with only a few small achievements.

When Trump Met Putin: Is Reconciliation in the Air?

The long awaited meeting between America’s and Russia’s presidents finally occurred at the G-20 summit. They got along great, said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, connecting “very quickly,” and talked for more than two hours. Even First Lady Melania Trump couldn’t drag her husband away after the first hour.

Crisis Averted: How to Deter North Korea's Nuclear Objectives

The latest North Korean missile test has added new urgency to the problem of North Korea. And the allies have no answer and the tensions between them are likely to grow.

Newly elected South Korean president Moon Jae-in made his first visit to Washington last week. Both sides downplayed the potential tension from the meeting with President Donald Trump. Moon hails from the left and mixes skepticism of the THAAD antimissile system with support for dialogue with the North.

Trump's Tough Talk Doesn't Scare North Korea

Last week, President Donald Trump and South Korean president Moon Jae-in strutted up to two podiums in the White House Rose Garden with two major objectives. The first—to reassure Americans, South Koreans and the rest of the international community that the U.S.-South Korea alliance is as solid as a rock, even with Trump at the helm—was for the most part successful. The second, which entailed warning North Korea that it better behave soon or else certain options would be taken in response, was more of a public-relations show than anything else.