The Skeptics

A Nuclear North Korea Is Here to Stay

North Korea staged its sixth nuclear test. It was probably a boosted atomic rather than hydrogen bomb, as claimed by Pyongyang, and there’s no evidence that the weapon has been miniaturized to fit on a missile. But the test was the North’s most powerful yet. And it follows steady North Korean progress in missile development.

America Must Manage North Korea, Not Destroy It

As this summer’s North Korea war crisis winds down, the only serious option for dealing with a North Korea capable of attacking the United States with nuclear missiles is reemerging: adaptation. As Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, put it: “Not every problem can be solved. Some can only be managed . . . It remains to be seen what can be done vis-à-vis North Korea. Managing such challenges may not be satisfying, but often it is the most that can be hoped for.” This is almost certainly correct.

The North Korea Crisis Proves Why Japan and South Korea Need Nuclear Weapons

Just when cautious optimism was beginning to resurface that the North Korea crisis might be fading slightly, Pyongyang took yet more actions to alarm the international community. Kim Jong-un’s government announced that it had conducted another nuclear test. The latest move came just days after the launch of an intermediate-range missile that flew directly over Japan’s northernmost island before breaking up and splashing down in the western Pacific.

Time to Terminate Washington's Defense Welfare

The spectacle of South Korean president Moon Jae-in proclaiming that the United States cannot attack North Korea without his permission is an embarrassment for a country that believes it has taken its place among the nations. He undoubtedly realizes that no American president, especially the present one, would give another nation a veto over U.S. security.

Trump Wants You to Write Him a Blank Check for War in Afghanistan. Don't.

On Monday night from Fort Myer, Virginia, President Trump told the nation that despite what he’d said from the campaign trail in 2016, he was not going to end the war in Afghanistan. Instead, he would expand it and remove any visible exit signs from the equation. Whether this decision will cost him politically in 2020 is yet to be seen, but the cost to the nation in the present could be significant. The plan outlined by the president is virtually certain to continue the unbroken record of failure.

Trump Goes from Afghanistan War Skeptic to True Believer

In his address to the nation on Monday evening, President Donald Trump explained that his “original instinct,” when he came into office, “was to pull out” of Afghanistan. But “decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office,” and so he, like his two predecessors, has determined that U.S. forces will remain there. “The American people are weary of war without victory,” he explained.

Trump Doesn't Want the Same Old Options from the Pentagon on Afghanistan

What does a country do when its military has been fighting a conflict half-way around the world for over a decade and a half, supporting a host government so corrupted internally, disorganized politically, and at a very real risk of collapsing completely without continuous international military and financial support? The United States is in exactly that predicament with respect to its never ending mission in Afghanistan, a nation whose political leadership never misses an opportunity to quarrel with each other and make a mistake.

Why U.S. Sanctions Are Unlikely to Deter North Korea

This past weekend, there was good news on the North Korea front. Yes, you heard that right; for a change, we aren’t talking about an underground nuclear test or another intercontinental ballistic missile launch screeching into the waters near Japan, but rather a unified message from the international community that Pyongyang’s antics are making it more enemies by the week.

Trump's Crisis of Authority

One of the benefits of having a pundit as president is that when the national moment calls for a little vitriol, you’ve got a natural ready to go. That was the advice that I gave to Donald Trump in the UK Spectator earlier this week: turn a little of his trademark scorn on the white nationalists who brought domestic terrorism to Charlottesville.

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