FPI Overnight Brief: May 9, 2017

The Must-Reads

  • US poised to expand military effort against the Taliban
  • Eli Lake: DC loves McMaster, but Trump doesn’t
  • Mattis, White House deadlocked on Pentagon nominees
  • Sen. McCain: Why we must support human rights
  • Turkey, US at odds over force to fight ISIS in Syria
  • US cyber op against ISIS sparked debate on alerting allies
  • US diplomats help Chinese lawyer’s family stage escape
  • Rogin: China’s smear campaign against US admiral backfires
  • PACOM Commander: US allies in Asia are anxious
  • In WaPo and WSJ interviews, Condi Rice discusses her book
  • Max Boot reviews Condi Rice’s new book, “Democracy"

Middle East/North Africa

Iran
 
Editorial: As for relations with the U.S., Messrs. Rouhani and Raisi both support President Obama’s nuclear deal. That accord has granted Tehran a much-needed financial reprieve even as it will leave the regime a threshold nuclear power by the time it sunsets. Hope for averting that outcome will not come through the artifice of Iran’s presidential election. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
Elliott Abrams writes: The bitter truth is that until far more international pressure hits Iran, or until the country’s regime is replaced by one freely chosen by the Iranian people, freedom of religion in Iran will remain a dream. – Foreign Affairs
 
Syria
 
Turkey is assembling a contingent of thousands of Syrian Arab fighters who it insists should lead the offensive to retake Islamic State’s stronghold of Raqqa instead of the Syrian Kurdish militia the U.S. favors, according to commanders of the force. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
Trump administration officials are reportedly weighing plans to set up a series of “safe zones” in Syria in an attempt to stem the violence and protect millions of civilians caught up in the country’s brutal six-year civil war. – Washington Times
 
The Syrian government said on Monday that the “de-escalation zones” negotiated by Russia, Iran and Turkey, which took effect this weekend, could not be monitored by others, including the United Nations. – New York Times
 
A month after President Trump ordered a military strike on the Syrian regime as punishment for using chemical weapons, his administration has yet to offer a rationale for what lawful authority he had to carry out the attack. Now, a government watchdog group run by former Obama administration lawyers is suing to force the Trump administration to disclose its legal theory — or concede that it launched the April 6 attack without thinking about the law. – New York Times
 
When the U.S. fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syria airfield last month in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack, it drew praise from across the Middle East from those frustrated by America’s perceived lack of strategy toward the region’s bloodiest conflict. Among those cheering the loudest was Raed Salah, one of Syria’s leading humanitarian voices. – Washington Times
 
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the U.S. owes it to the people of Syria to take a close look at the Russian proposal to create several "safe zones" in Syria. But Mattis also said the plan poses many unanswered questions, including whether it would be effective. – Associated Press
 
Iraq
 
With credentials that include training from Iranian special operators known as the Quds force and time spent as a guerrilla and militia commander, Iraq's Interior Minister al-Araji is now trumpeting his respect for human rights and support for the U.S.-led coalition in the fight against the Islamic State group. – Associated Press
 
The Islamic State fighters herded a group of civilians into a house in the city of Mosul and locked them inside as Iraqi forces advanced. Moments later, the militants entered through a window, lay low for a few minutes, then fired their weapons…What the militants did not realize was that U.S. advisers partnered with Iraqi troops were watching the whole thing on an aerial drone feed. No air strike was called - and the propaganda coup Islamic State would have reaped from the deaths of innocent people was averted. - Reuters
 
ISIS
 
A secret global operation by the Pentagon late last year to sabotage the Islamic State’s online videos and propaganda sparked fierce debate inside the government over whether it was necessary to notify countries that are home to computer hosting services used by the extremist group, including U.S. allies in Europe. – Washington Post
 
The Islamic State released a video showing the beheading of a Russian intelligence officer it accused of spying on the group in Syria. – Washington Post
 
North Africa
 
Libya's neighbors and the United Nations on Monday voiced their support for a meeting held last week between the North African country's main rival figures, the head of the U.N.-backed government, Fayez Seraj, and eastern commander Khalifa Haftar. - Reuters
 
East Libyan forces pushed on Monday into two districts of Benghazi where they still face resistance, losing at least 12 men in clashes and mine blasts, according to a medical official. - Reuters
 
Protests over jobs and development in southern and central Tunisia have halted production at or shut the fields of two foreign energy companies in a new challenge to the country's Prime Minister Youssef Chahed. - Reuters
 
Israel
 
Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked on Sunday praised the Trump administration's defense of Israel, arguing the Jewish state is no longer "the United Nations' punching bag" with U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley's leadership. – Washington Free Beacon

Asia

Afghanistan
 
President Trump’s most senior military and foreign policy advisers have proposed a major shift in strategy in Afghanistan that would effectively put the United States back on a war footing with the Taliban. The new plan, which still needs the approval of the president, calls for expanding the U.S. military role as part of a broader effort to push an increasingly confident and resurgent Taliban back to the negotiating table, U.S. officials said. – Washington Post
 
Senior Trump administration and military officials are recommending sending several thousand additional American troops to Afghanistan to try to break a military deadlock in the 15-year war there, in part by pressuring the Taliban to negotiate with the Afghan government. The added troops would allow American advisers to work with a greater number of Afghan forces, and closer to the front lines. – New York Times
 
Seeking to capitalize on the death of a top Islamic State commander, Afghan forces surged through districts in eastern Afghanistan long held by the radical Islamist group as warplanes pounded militant hideouts, officials said Monday. – Washington Post
 
The one-star Marine commander who recently deployed to Afghanistan says his troops are not operating on the front lines of the fight against the Taliban, but there is no doubt his Marines are in a combat zone. – Military Times
 
Afghan officials say a bombing at a religious school in the northern province of Parwan has killed the chief cleric and wounded at least four students. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
 
South/Central Asia
 
The detentions, broadcast recently on one of Russia's most-watched news programs, are designed to show law enforcement's resolve. They give the public a name for a new enemy in Russia's struggle against domestic terrorism: migrant workers from Central Asia. And, some rights advocates worry, they are the harbinger of a new wave of repression against a vulnerable minority. – Washington Post
 
A U.S. Congressional delegation visited the Dalai Lama at his headquarters in India on Tuesday, seeking to draw world attention to human rights in Tibet as President Donald Trump eyes warmer ties with China. - Reuters
 
China
 
A dramatic account has emerged of a rescue staged by U.S. diplomats in Thailand in March, snatching the wife of a prominent Chinese human rights lawyer and their two daughters, 15 and 4, out of the clutches of Chinese security agents and escorting them to safety in the United States. – Washington Post
 
Before the Chinese human rights lawyer stood trial for subversion, he wrote a letter saying he would confess to such charges only if he was tortured. But on Monday, the lawyer, Xie Yang, appeared at court a drastically altered man. He had become a seemingly contrite actor in a trial intended to discredit China’s struggling dissident lawyers who take up contentious cases and want courts freed of Communist Party control – New York Times
 
Four years after Mr. Xi launched the One Belt, One Road megaproject, domestic economic realities—slowing growth, mounting debt and fleeing capital—are catching up with the plan. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
Cheap Chinese steel has upset U.S. steel producers for years, as Chinese manufacturers have unloaded excess capacity on world markets at unbeatably low prices…But the United States has plenty of steel-manufacturing capacity to meet its defense needs. What’s genuinely threatened, however, is another sector altogether: Aluminum. A glut of cheap Chinese aluminum has done more than hollow out that industry; it may also actually be jeopardizing national security. – Foreign Policy
 
Revelations that the sister of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and adviser, promoted a program offering a path to U.S. citizenship to Chinese backers in a Kushner family project bring new scrutiny to a foreign investor visa program. – Associated Press
 
Josh Rogin reports: The Chinese government is denying reports that its ambassador to Washington asked the Trump administration to fire Adm. Harry Harris, the head of U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) and a strong voice inside the U.S. government calling for a tough China policy. This may mark the end of Beijing’s not-so-subtle campaign against Harris, which has been going on for years. – Washington Post
 
Ai Weiwei writes: The censorship in China places limits on knowledge and values, which is the key to imposing ideological slavery. I do what I can to show cruelties, the subtle and the not so subtle. As things are here today, rational resistance can be based only on the small actions of individual people. Where I fail, the responsibility is mine alone, but the rights I seek to defend are ones that can be shared. Ideological slaves, too, can revolt. In the end, they always do. – New York Times
 
Korean Peninsula
 
Moon Jae-in, a progressive candidate who favors closer ties with North Korea, looked set to become South Korea's next president, according to exit polls released shortly after voting closed Tuesday. – Washington Post
 
North Korea denounced Sen. Cory Gardner as “human dirt” who has lost all body hair after the Colorado Republican last week referred to the communist nation’s leader as a “wack job.” – Washington Times
 
After arresting two American university instructors and laying out what it says was an elaborate, CIA-backed plot to assassinate Kim Jong Un, North Korea is claiming to be the victim of state-sponsored terrorism — from the White House. – Associated Press
 
Bill Gertz reports: Under threat of military action from an unpredictable US President Donald Trump, China appears to be stepping up efforts to prevent North Korea from conducting a major military provocation. – Asia Times
 
Peter Harrell writes: Despite the common assumption that North Korea is already subject to crippling international sanctions, U.S. and international sanctions actually leave vast parts of the North Korean economy untouched. This isn’t just about China; the United States and Europe can ratchet up the pressure on the North Korean regime with the ultimate goal of reining in one of today’s greatest national security challenges. - Politico
 
John Pomfret writes: In the end, if China’s tough tactics with Seoul succeed in convincing South Korea to re-think the THAAD deployment, it does not bode well for the rest of Asia. Success with the South Koreans could embolden China to try similar tactics with Japan, Vietnam and perhaps even Australia. They say that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. But in East Asia, the Chinese could be forgiven for thinking that the opposite is true. – Washington Post
 
Japan
 
Four Chinese government vessels — including one with what appeared to be a gun turret — entered Japanese territorial waters near a contested island group Monday, the latest in a series of challenges to Japanese sovereignty in the East China Sea. – Stars and Stripes
 
Indian Defense Minister Arun Jaitley agreed in Tokyo on Monday to increase military cooperation with Japan, which could potentially complicate U.S. policy in the region. – Foreign Policy’s The Cable
 
Editorial: A constitutional debate is overdue and could be healthy for Japan, but Mr. Abe would be in a stronger position if he first revived the economy to build political capital. This assumes, of course, that Mr. Abe still cares about economic reform. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
Tobias Harris writes: As the popular leader of a unified party facing a weak opposition and commanding a supermajority in the Diet’s House of Representatives, Mr. Abe seems better placed than any of his predecessors to deliver constitutional change. But if he is to realize his dream of revision, it will be thanks to his willingness to recognize and work within the constraints on his power. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
East Asia
 
America’s allies and partners in Asia are feeling angst over security matters as Washington’s commitments come under question, U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Scott Swift said. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
Taiwan will continue to seek inclusion in the World Health Assembly’s annual meeting this month in Geneva, government officials said on Monday, pushing back against the latest in a series of efforts by China to block the self-ruled island from participating in international organizations. – New York Times
 
Southeast Asia
 
Reports of thousands of people killed by the police in the Philippine government’s crackdown on drug use are “alternative facts,” a Filipino senator and ally of President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday, brushing off accusations of extrajudicial killings as a way to discredit Mr. Duterte. – New York Times
 
Indonesia’s top security minister said that the government will move to disband a hard-line Islamist group that is seeking to establish a transnational caliphate, as the world’s largest Muslim-majority country struggles to contain growing religious divisions. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, Jakarta’s first Christian governor in decades and one of the most prominent non-Muslim politicians in Indonesian history, was sentenced to two years in prison for blasphemy on Tuesday, the latest indication of increasing religious conservatism in the world’s most populous Muslim nation. – Financial Times
 
Vietnam’s Communist party has sacked a top politburo official in an unusually public purge that will be closely watched for any wider impact on politics and business in the fast-growing state. – Financial Times
 
Evelyn Farkas writes: To select Duterte out of the almost 200 heads of state Trump could host at the White House — given his reprehensible rhetoric, policies, and actions — he should at least be required to support the top U.S. national security objective in Southeast Asia. The Philippines should have to get firmly in line with the United States, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and other East Asian allies in opposing Chinese attempts to resolve centuries-old disputes by use of military power. Ideally, of course, Duterte would stop shooting his own people, and shooting his country’s national security interests in the proverbial foot. – Foreign Policy’s Shadow Government
 
South China Sea
 
Imagery captured Monday from an ImageSat International (ISI) Eros B satellite indicates Chinese preparations for new land-based missile installations on an increasingly strategic island base in the South China Sea. – Defense News
 
The U.S. Navy will still challenge claims by nations like China to exclusive access in the South China Sea, Pacific Fleet Commander Scott Swift said, insisting a hiatus in "freedom of navigation" patrols doesn't mean the disputed waterway is a lower priority for the Trump presidency. - Bloomberg

Australia
 
When the United States signed an agreement in 2011 to use Australia's tropical port of Darwin as a base for military exercises, it was viewed as a key focus of former President Barack Obama's strategic pivot to Asia. But when ammunition and equipment arrives in June for war games between U.S. and Australian forces in tropical Darwin, it will come ashore at the town's Chinese-run port under the eyes of a firm said to have links with China's military. - Reuters

Security

Defense
 
In the future operational environment, up against near-peer adversaries, the U.S. Army will be expected to be able to operate in smaller, more dispersed units far away from well-established military posts that offer creature comforts as well as essentials like fuel, water, ammunition and energy.  So the service is crafting a strategy to reduce the logistics tails for units expected to operate at the tactical edge. – Defense News
 
The Norfolk, Virginia-based George H. W. Bush and the San Diego-based carrier Carl Vinson both deployed in January with air wings equipped with a developmental technology that allows them to better control lift, making landings safer and more precise. How much more precise? So much, pilots attached to the ship told Military.com, that it’s causing their arresting cables to wear unevenly. – DOD Buzz
 
By releasing a GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munition from a MQ-9 Reaper in a live weapons exercise, the Air Force made history and vastly widened the attack envelope, target set and mission scope for its workhorse drone. – Scout Warrior
 
The War
 
Cases of homegrown extremism have increased over the past month, posing a mounting threat to United States security, according to a new House Homeland Security Committee report released Monday. – Washington Free Beacon
 
Former State Secretary Condoleezza Rice said calling out Islamic extremism is a necessary part to fighting the war on terror, during a Fox News interview Monday evening – Washington Examiner

Russia/Europe

Ukraine
 
Sen. John McCain and five other senators are urging President Trump to hold off on meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin until he has first met with Ukrainian leaders. – Washington Examiner
 
Russia
 
Russian domestic politics are being influenced by hacking tactics similar to ones Russia is accused of using to try to weaken its foreign opponents. Documents found in email accounts hackers said are linked to Russian officials helped fuel recent protests across Russia against corruption. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will host Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday for talks at the State Department on the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, in the Russian envoy’s first visit to Washington since 2013. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
Editorial: The encouraging news is that Russia’s hacking operations appear to be yielding diminishing returns. Western news outlets and their consumers are becoming wise to Moscow’s tactics: In France there has been more attention paid to the authors of the Macron hack and the network that promoted it than to the disclosed files. Moscow’s influence operations will fail when Western publics understand them for what they are: cold war by 21st-century means. – Washington Post
 
Matthew Olsen and Edward Fishman write: With Le Pen’s defeat on Sunday, the West dodged a bullet. But if we proceed without a comprehensive strategy to counter Russia’s subversion, we may not be so lucky next time. The United States and Europe must act now to defend themselves against Moscow’s digital threat to democracy. – Washington Post
 
Alexander Vershbow writes: Ukraine is where the relationship disintegrated, and solving Ukraine is where the rebuilding should begin. High-level US diplomatic engagement and the introduction of an international enforcement mechanism could enable Trump and Putin to succeed where previous efforts failed, and remove the cloud that hangs over the US-Russia relationship. – Atlantic Council
 
Europe
 
As French President-elect Emmanuel Macron strode to his victory rally to the tune of the European Union’s anthem, E.U. advocates could scarcely believe their luck: The next French leader had scored an emphatic win embracing a partnership loathed by populist voters across the continent. – Washington Post
 
Facebook is taking its battle against fake news to Britain ahead of general elections next month. The social network published a series of advertisements in newspapers in Britain on Monday, giving advice to its millions of users in the country on how to spot misinformation online. It also said it had removed tens of thousands of possibly fake accounts in Britain, and had tweaked its algorithms in the country to reduce the amount of misinformation and spam that people will see in their Facebook news feeds. – New York Times
 
British Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party has opened up the biggest lead on record for polls conducted by research firm ICM, suggesting it remains on course for a sweeping win in a national election in a month's time. - Reuters
 
France
 
Mr. Macron faces a tough balancing act in the wake of his landslide victory against Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front. His fledgling party, En Marche (On the Move), needs to forge alliances with, or recruit, establishment politicians from both sides of the political aisle to create a Macron majority when the French return to the polls for a two-round legislative vote scheduled for June 11 and 18. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
France’s business leaders have urged Emmanuel Macron to make labour reform a priority as the country’s president-elect moves to fulfil his pledge to return the eurozone’s second-largest economy to growth. – Financial Times
 
Manuel Valls, the former Socialist prime minister of France, says he will fight next month’s National Assembly elections under the banner of Emmanuel Macron’s centrist En Marche!, declaring his Socialist party “dead and gone”. – Financial Times
 
Claire Berlinski writes: We should be pleased by the result but realistic. Macron is too young for the job, he has never been elected to any office before, and he has no established party. He owes much of this victory to luck, in the form of his major rivals’ self-destruction. But at least (unlike, for example, Obama, to whom he has been compared) he seems aware of all of this….France still has serious problems, and now it has an untested, 39-year-old president, too. – National Review Online

Americas

United States of America
 
Skeptical federal judges peppered a government lawyer on Monday with questions about how much weight to give President Trump’s campaign statements calling for a “Muslim ban” as they assess the constitutionality of his revised travel ban. – New York Times
 
Nearly two weeks ago, the president prodded Mexico and Canada to agree to renegotiate the 24-year-old trade pact. But Mr. Trump has barely started the process and has yet to even give the required notice to Congress. – Washington Times
 
White House officials enlisted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to help convince President Trump not to unilaterally withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), according to a Monday report. – The Hill
 
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) on Monday criticized the State Department for a video posted by the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia that “edited out” mentions of Israel. – The Hill
 
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) wants the Intelligence Committee to disclose whether he or any other members of Congress were surveilled under the Obama administration or by the intelligence community. – The Hill
 
Trump-Russia Connections
 
President Barack Obama warned Donald J. Trump against hiring Michael T. Flynn to be part of his national security team when Mr. Obama met with his successor in the Oval Office two days after the November election, two former Obama administration officials said on Monday. – New York Times
 
Former acting attorney general Sally Yates testified Monday that she expected White House officials to “take action’’ on her January warning that then-national security adviser Michael Flynn could be blackmailed by Russia, offering her first public statements about the national security concerns that rocked the early days of the Trump administration. – Washington Post
 
Ms. Yates’s testimony, along with a separate revelation Monday that President Barack Obama had warned Mr. Trump not to hire Mr. Flynn, offered a more complete public account of Mr. Flynn’s stunning fall from one of the nation’s most important security posts. – New York Times
 
The Defense Intelligence Agency didn't know former director Mike Flynn had been paid nearly $34,000 by a Russian state media outlet when it renewed his security clearance in April 2016, two U.S. officials told NBC News. – NBC News
 
Editorial: We don’t know who did the unmasking, but on Monday both Mrs. Yates and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper admitted that while in office they had personally reviewed classified reports about “Mr. Trump, his officials or members of Congress” who had been “unmasked.” Both also admitted that they had shared that information with others in government, though they did deny leaking to the press. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
Latin America
 
Nationwide protests are spreading beyond President Nicolás Maduro’s control and risk morphing into civil war, said a retired Venezuelan general who was in charge of suppressing the last wave of unrest three years ago. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
After six hard-fought weeks in the streets, the standoff between anti-government protesters and security forces is growing scarier and more lethal. To protect themselves, demonstrators here in the capital and in other cities have started outfitting themselves in homemade armor and other improvised combat gear. – Washington Post
 
Most statistics tracking Venezuela’s economy are either unreliable or have been discontinued, after national account data were suspended in 2015. Even the IMF has only partial information, as its latest interaction with Venezuela’s authorities dates back to 2004.  But figures relating to Venezuela’s relations with the rest of the world offer clear insights into the scale of its problems. – Financial Times
 
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has given his clearest hint yet that the end-of-May deadline for leftist guerrillas to disarm completely as part of the country’s peace process will not be met. – Financial Times
 
Venezuela's opposition boycotted a meeting on Monday to discuss President Nicolas Maduro's plan for a new popular assembly, preferring to protest in the streets where they were again blocked by security forces firing tear gas. - Reuters

Africa

West Africa
 
Fifty four people went on trial in northern Nigeria on Monday on charges connected to allegations that they were celebrating a gay wedding, which are outlawed in the country. - Reuters
 
Unidentified militants killed seven Malian soldiers in the north at the weekend, the defense ministry said on Monday, days after the West African country extended a state of emergency. - Reuters
 
Demobilized rebel fighters blocked access to Ivory Coast's second city on Monday, demanding bonus payments and jobs in the latest bout of unrest to strike the West African nation, which has been touted as a rare, post-war economic success story. - Reuters
 
East Africa
 
Al Shabaab fighters attacked a remote Somali army base northwest of the capital Mogadishu on Tuesday, killing several government soldiers, officials and the militants said. - Reuters
 
Central/Southern Africa
 
Sub-Saharan Africa risks becoming poorer in per capita terms after years of fast-paced growth, the International Monetary Fund warned Tuesday, as the region’s economic expansion slows while its population growth continues to accelerate. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
Spreading ethnic violence is driving more people from their homes in the Democratic Republic of Congo where the humanitarian situation is "dramatically deteriorating", the United Nations said on Monday. - Reuters
 
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has left the country for medical checks in Singapore, the government said in a statement, about two months after his previous such trip to the south Asian nation. - Reuters

Trump Administration

Chronic conflict between Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and the Trump White House has hobbled the nomination process for top Pentagon posts, a source familiar with the Trump personnel team tells Breaking Defense. In several cases, the source said, the Trump team recommended nominees with extensive experience and bipartisan respect — Rep. Randy Forbes, Sen. Jim Talent — only to have Mattis shoot them down. In others, Mattis picked outsider candidates — Philip Bilden, Mark Green — who later withdrew. – Breaking Defense
 
The U.S. Senate on Monday approved the nomination of former congresswoman Heather Wilson to become the secretary of the Air Force in a bipartisan 76-22 vote. – Defense News
 
Eli Lake reports: For the Washington establishment, President Donald Trump's decision to make General H.R. McMaster his national security adviser in February was a masterstroke. Here is a well-respected defense intellectual, praised by both parties, lending a steady hand to a chaotic White House. The grown-ups are back. But inside the White House, the McMaster pick has not gone over well with the one man who matters most. White House officials tell me Trump himself has clashed with McMaster in front of his staff. - Bloomberg
 
Interview: In her new book, “Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom,” former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice makes a case for global engagement and U.S. moral leadership of the sort that President Trump criticized as out of date when he was running for president. The adviser to former president George W. Bush spoke to The Washington Post about her book and whether she is offering advice to the new Republican administration. – Washington Post
 
Sen. John McCain writes: To view foreign policy as simply transactional is more dangerous than its proponents realize. Depriving the oppressed of a beacon of hope could lose us the world we have built and thrived in. It could cost our reputation in history as the nation distinct from all others in our achievements, our identity and our enduring influence on mankind. Our values are central to all three. – New York Times

Democracy and Human Rights

Max Boot reviews Condoleezza Rice’s “Democracy”: In spite of the inherent difficulties, Ms. Rice ends with a ringing call for democracy promotion. “Democratic institutions are the best hope for humankind—including for the Middle East. Stability born of tyranny is a false stability,” she writes, adding: “If democracy is in recession across the world, we need to make every effort to reinvigorate it.” That was once conventional wisdom. Now it is no longer conventional but remains wise. Ms. Rice should be commended for standing firm on democratic principles despite the travails of the past decade. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Ideas

Interview: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice this week releases a new book, “Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom.” In an interview with The Wall Street Journal in advance of the book’s release, Ms. Rice touched on the role of Russia in U.S. elections, the recent tensions with North Korea and American foreign policy under President Donald Trump – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Mission Statement

The Foreign Policy Initiative seeks to promote an active U.S. foreign policy committed to robust support for democratic allies, human rights, a strong American military equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening America’s global economic competitiveness.
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