FPI Overnight Brief: June 14, 2017

The Must-Reads

  • Trump gives Mattis authority to send more troops to Afghanistan
  • Russian cyberattacks against US election system wider than known
  • Trump stews, staff steps in, Mueller is safe for now
  • Rogin: Inside the Trump-Tillerson divide over Qatar
  • American jailed in N. Korea returns after mission to free him
  • White House stays quiet as Russia flouts N. Korea sanctions
  • Officials: DOD needs 3-5% annual growth through 2023
  • Fred Kagan: 6 questions about growing threats in the Mideast
  • Tillerson tries to ease Senate’s worries over State Dept cuts

Middle East/North Africa

Iran
 
Turning up the heat in an already tense standoff, several Iranian officials on Tuesday renewed accusations against Saudi Arabia, suggesting that the Persian Gulf kingdom was behind last week’s twin terror attacks in Tehran. – New York Times
 
Iraq
 
Dozens of Islamic State militants wearing suicide vests penetrated Iraqi police lines in Mosul on Wednesday, police officers said, retaking ground in a large-scale counterattack and sending terrified residents fleeing. – Washington Post
 
On Monday at sundown, hundreds of residents of one of the many tent camps that have sprawled across the barren landscape around Mosul gathered for iftar, the evening meal to break the day’s Ramadan fast…Within hours, hundreds fell sick, vomiting and suffering from diarrhea. Overnight, until about 4 a.m., ambulances and cars rushed victims to hospitals, said Alaa Muhsin, an ambulance driver from Baghdad who works at the camp. – New York Times
 
Syria
 
As U.S.-backed forces press farther into Raqqa, the Islamic State’s stronghold in ­Syria, human rights groups pleaded Tuesday for the safety of thousands of residents still trapped in the city. – Washington Post
 
Intensified coalition air strikes supporting an assault by U.S.-backed forces on Islamic State's stronghold of Raqqa in Syria are causing a "staggering loss of civilian life", United Nations war crimes investigators said on Wednesday. - Reuters
 
Confrontation between Qatar and Saudi Arabia is creating unease among Syrian rebels who expect the crisis between two of their biggest state backers to deepen divisions in the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad. - Reuters
 
Khalaf is one of many Yazidi women that Kurdish fighters in northern Syria have set out to free from Islamic State in covert operations, a female Kurdish militia commander told Reuters. They have dubbed the operation "revenge for the women of Sinjar", the homeland of Iraq's ancient Yazidi minority which Islamic State overran in the summer of 2014. - Reuters
 
Arabian Peninsula
 
The Senate narrowly backed President Trump’s proposed arms sale to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, in an unexpectedly close procedural vote that reflected mounting concern over the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen’s war. – New York Times
 
The attack, one of the deadliest for civilians in the coalition’s relentless air war against Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen, helped persuade the Obama administration in December to block the sale of precision-guided munitions to the Saudi military until it addresses problems with its targeting. But the hold was lifted last month, when President Trump announced a $110-billion package of proposed military sales to the kingdom, part of an effort to shore up a regional alliance against a resurgent Iran. The decision has left many among Yemen’s increasingly desperate population feeling abandoned and betrayed. – Los Angeles Times
 
The U.S. will start delivering smart bombs to Saudi Arabia as part of a $1.3 billion arms package approved in 2015, according to two officials with knowledge of the plans. - Bloomberg
 
Josh Rogin reports: The Trump administration is sending out two competing messages on its policy toward Qatar, which reflects the different perspectives of President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. As Tillerson works behind the scenes to mediate between America’s feuding Persian Gulf allies, officials and observers say the president’s more aggressive stance could hinder his aide’s ability to succeed. – Washington Post
 
Dov Zakheim writes: Given the divergence between what the president has said and what his national security agencies believe, the best course at this time is for Washington to take a back seat to Kuwait’s efforts to negotiate an end to the Gulf impasse. – Foreign Policy’s Elephants in the Room
 
Levant
 
The Iranian-backed terror organization Hezbollah is vowing to launch strikes on U.S. forces operating in war-torn Syria in yet another sign that Iran and its terror proxies are beginning to take unprecedented direct action against American military coalition forces, according to U.S. officials and regional experts tracking the situation. – Washington Free Beacon
 
Palestinian officials say there are no plans to stop payments to families of Palestinians killed or wounded carrying out attacks against Israelis, contradicting comments by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. - Reuters
 
Turkey
 
Turkish authorities issued detention warrants for 189 lawyers as part of an investigation into followers of a Muslim cleric accused of orchestrating last July's attempted coup, state-run Anadolu news agency said on Wednesday. - Reuters

Asia

Afghanistan
 
President Trump has given Defense Secretary Jim Mattis the authority to determine troop levels in Afghanistan, three administration officials said Tuesday, opening the door for sending more American forces to a war that the Pentagon chief acknowledged the United States was “not winning.” – New York Times
 
Tora Bora, the mountain redoubt that was once Osama bin Laden’s fortress, fell to the Islamic State early Wednesday, handing the extremists a significant strategic and symbolic victory, according to Afghan officials and local elders and residents. – New York Times
 
A key Republican lawmaker criticized Pentagon and administration officials on Tuesday for failing to deliver a timely strategy for victory in Afghanistan. – Military.com
 
The World Bank has approved a $520 million package of funding for projects to boost Afghanistan's economy, build critical infrastructure, and support Afghan refugees sent back from Pakistan. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
 
There is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan that is forcing record numbers of people from their homes, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday, during an unannounced visit to the war-torn country. - Reuters
 
China
 
The chairman of a Chinese financial conglomerate who tried to forge a business relationship with President Trump’s son-in-law has been detained by police. – New York Times
 
China achieved a breakthrough development for high-speed missiles equipped with a new high-technology ramjet engine, according to state media. – Washington Free Beacon
 
China must speed up economic reforms while it still has a buffer of stable growth, the International Monetary Fund warned in its annual review of the world’s second-largest economy. – Financial Times
 
Korean Peninsula
 
Mr. Warmbier — gravely ill and in a coma — was medically evacuated from North Korea on Tuesday and on his way to his parents’ home in Cincinnati. His release followed secret negotiations between American officials and the government in Pyongyang that unfolded as tensions escalated over North Korea’s nuclear program. – New York Times
 
The White House secretly sent a diplomatic mission to North Korea this week to recover a U.S. citizen who the Trump administration had learned was in a life-threatening coma, senior U.S. officials said, an episode that could inflame tensions with Pyongyang. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
The release of Otto F. Warmbier on Tuesday leaves three American citizens known to now be held in North Korea. Two were arrested in the last two months; Tony Kim, also known as Kim Sang-duk, on April 23, and Kim Hak-song, also known as Jin Xue Song, on May 6; the North Korean authorities accused each man of “hostile acts.” Little is known about the case of the third American, Kim Dong-chul, including why he was detained in 2015. – New York Times
 
A suspected North Korean spy drone flew more than 100 miles into South Korea and snapped photos of the recently deployed U.S. anti-ballistic missile system before circling back and crashing on the southern side of the fortified border that divides the Korean peninsula. – Washington Times
 
Trump administration officials and lawmakers are increasingly concerned that Russia is stepping up trade with North Korea in defiance of international sanctions, jeopardizing a U.S. effort to pressure Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programs. – Foreign Policy
 
A North Korean soldier defected to the South on Tuesday after crossing the heavily fortified border that divides the two countries, the defense ministry said. – Stars and Stripes
 
US secretary of state Rex Tillerson said Washington was moving closer to placing sanctions on nations that do not clamp down on North Korea, as the administration attempts to boost pressure on Pyongyang to abandon its missile and nuclear programmes. – Financial Times
 
Editorial: Warmbier was arrested, tried on spurious charges and evidently subjected to horrendous mistreatment by North Korean authorities. This was outrageous behavior even by the standards of one of the world’s most vicious and isolated regimes. It should not go unpunished. – Washington Post
 
Anthony Ruggiero writes: Pyongyang’s provocations, which will soon culminate in the development of a nuclear-armed ballistic missile capable of hitting North America, deserve increasingly harsh responses from Washington. A new North Korea sanctions approach is needed to secure the United States and its allies against the dangerous and growing threat from this rogue regime. Sanctions are the only peaceful means for coercing the Kim regime, and are for that reason indispensable. – Foundation for Defense of Democracies
 
Taiwan
 
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen reacted angrily Tuesday to Panama’s decision to shift diplomatic ties to China, insisting that Taipei will never bow down to threats and intimidation from Beijing and is determined to uphold its sovereignty. – Washington Post
 
Southeast Asia
 
In an unusually public escalation of a feud within Singapore’s first family, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s siblings have accused him of misusing his position to advance his personal agenda and of betraying the legacy of their father, Singapore’s first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew. – New York Times
 
U.S. troops are on the ground near Marawi City in the southern Philippines, but are not involved in fighting Islamist militants who have held parts of the city for more than three weeks, a Philippines military spokesman said on Wednesday. - Reuters
 
Militants, pirates, drug traffickers, gun runners - the waters between Borneo and the southern Philippines have them all, but as an Islamic State faction burst on the scene in recent weeks, this corner of Southeast Asia plumbed new levels of insecurity. - Reuters
 
Editorial: Defeating the terrorists quickly is important because a lengthy siege would allow Islamist groups to recruit fighters and dispatch them to start more uprisings in Mindanao. As northern Iraq shows, once Islamic State is entrenched it can destabilize the wider region. Mr. Duterte’s tacit acceptance of U.S. help is a step forward, but the Philippines’ struggle to retake Marawi and prevent similar occupations requires that he swallow his pride and ask for an international force in Mindanao. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
Ely Ratner writes: Time is running out to stop China’s advance. With current U.S. policy faltering, the Trump administration needs to take a firmer line. It should supplement diplomacy with deterrence by warning China that if the aggression continues, the United States will abandon its neutrality and help countries in the region defend their claims. Washington should make clear that it can live with an uneasy stalemate in Asia—but not with Chinese hegemony. – Foreign Affairs

Security

Defense Budget
 
The Pentagon expects to request 3-5 percent base budget growth above inflation every year from 2019 through 2023, a dollar figure the nation’s top defense voices say is the bare minimum needed to maintain America’s military capabilities at current levels. – Defense News
 
The U.S. Defense Department’s budget for the next fiscal year is already expected to total nearly $640 billion, but Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he’ll need even more money to boost American troop levels in Afghanistan. – DOD Buzz
 
U.S. military forces, strained by combat since 2001, are no longer capable of protecting vital American interests, Pentagon officials have told government auditors. – USA Today
 
Frustrated over increasing issues with military salaries, a pair of senators on Wednesday will introduce new legislation to ensure “equal compensation” among senior enlisted servicemembers and limit the president’s ability to reduce troops’ pay raises. – Military Times
 
U.S. aerospace and defense exports growth has slowed after its robust 60-percent increase from 2010 to 2015, according to a recent report by consultancy firm Deloitte. – Defense News
 
Defense
 
The Army turns 242 years old on Wednesday, but this year, the service’s acting secretary is looking back to World War I for guidance. The first World War brought forth much of the way the Army fights and functions today, and a century later, leaders are preparing for another sea change, acting Secretary Robert Speer told Army Times. – Military Times
 
The Pentagon is fast-tracking new orders of laser-guided precision rockets needed to attack ISIS as US Coalition aircraft maintain an extremely high op-tempo of offensive operations in Iraq and Syria. – Scout Warrior
 
General Charles Wald, USAF (Ret.) and Ted Johnson write: The future of conflict, like its past, requires dominion over the time, distance, and information associated with operations. The Department of Defense is making progress in this regard, but it should continue adapting, innovating, and evolving until operational omnipresence is achieved. – Defense One
 
Navy
 
Studies are underway to “take a hard look” at putting eight mothballed Oliver Hazard Perry frigates back into service as well as extending the life of existing Arleigh Burke guided-missile destroyers to help the Navy reach its goal of a 355-ship fleet, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said on Tuesday. – USNI News
 
The Navy intends to buy at least 80 more Boeing F/A-18E-F Super Hornets over the next five years to address its fighter shortfall, a change from its previous on-the-books plan to zero out the aircraft program beginning next year, service officials said in congressional testimony today. – USNI News
 
The War
 
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will meet European officials this week to discuss new security measures that could prevent the U.S. government expanding a ban on laptops beyond flights from ten airports primarily in the Middle East. - Reuters
 
Frederick Kagan writes: The Trump administration, Congress, and their critics on all sides must answer these questions if we are to arrive at any strategy in the Middle East that has a chance of securing our people and interests.  We must stop focusing on our own internal dramas so much that we ignore the increasingly dangerous world around us. – Fox News
 
Nuclear Weapons
 
Matthew Costlow writes: The federal government can afford to spend less than 1% of its multitrillion-dollar budget on nuclear modernization. And with Russia, China and North Korea all upgrading their nuclear weapons capabilities, just about the only thing the U.S. can’t afford is to end its modernization efforts before they begin. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
Intelligence/Cybersecurity
 
The top spy in Washington, Dan Coats, has been spending a lot of time in and around the White House lately — so much so that current employees and veterans of the intelligence community are wondering whether the former Indiana senator is being kept on a tight leash by the administration. – Foreign Policy
 
Cybersecurity in the United States is in a severe state of disrepair, leaving the country vulnerable to attack from hacking groups backed by its opponents, two witnesses testified in a Senate subcommittee hearing Tuesday. – Washington Examiner

Russia/Europe

Ukraine
 
Sergiy Gusovsky writes: Kyiv must be more proactive and start putting real changes into place. We must be a leader in reforms and a leader for sustainable development. Otherwise, Kyiv loses the right to call itself the capital and turns into a sad city run by greedy bureaucrats and corrupt politicians. – Atlantic Council
 
Russia
 
President Trump appears all but certain to be confronted in coming weeks with a wrenching decision about Russia: whether to veto new, bipartisan sanctions against Moscow, partly for election interference that Mr. Trump has said is a fiction created by Democrats. – New York Times
 
The Kremlin on Tuesday dismissed criticism of the tough police response to demonstrations in Moscow and St. Petersburg a day earlier, brushing off suggestions that the protest movement led by anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny posed a political threat. – Washington Post
 
Russia’s liberal opposition has long been plagued by infighting. And fresh fissures have emerged over chief Kremlin foe Aleksei Navalny's decision to move an anticorruption protest in Moscow to the city center, where hundreds were detained by police on June 12. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
 
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday teed up a final vote as soon as this week on a bipartisan Iran sanctions bill that is also set to include a bipartisan agreement to boost penalties against the Russian government and make it more difficult for President Donald Trump to lift them. - Politico
 
As the Senate gears up to pass a bipartisan deal to punish Russia and restrict President Donald Trump from any attempt to ease sanctions, his administration and House Republicans are signaling that the agreement has a shaky future. - Politico
 
Sen. Mike Crapo, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, revealed Tuesday that the Senate has had no input from the White House on a bipartisan effort to slap new sanctions on Russia. – Washington Examiner
 
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on Tuesday spoke against slapping new sanctions on Russia for what the U.S. intelligence community believes was widespread interference in the 2016 election. – Washington Examiner
 
The Russian State Duma has voted its final approval of controversial legislation to demolish thousands of Soviet-era apartment buildings in Moscow. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
 
Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Wednesday said it had documented cases where workers building venues for Russia's 2018 soccer World Cup had been left unpaid, made to work in dangerously cold conditions, or suffered reprisals for raising concerns. - Reuters
 
Hannah Thoburn writes: In a short period, Generation Putin has shown itself to be savvy with modern technology and seem far more connected to the world than their elders. Mr. Putin and his Kremlin may be soon surprised by a very modern kind of trouble. – World Affairs Journal
 
Jakub Janda and Veronika Víchová write: It’s important to remember that Russia is not invincible. Sergei Kisylak is not James Bond. Moscow’s plans will not always work. But one can be sure that if Moscow has a preferred candidate, it will pursue its goals aggressively. It’s time to push back with courage and strength. – Atlantic Council
 
Western Europe
 
British Prime Minister Theresa May met Tuesday with the head of a small Northern Irish party as she sought to complete an agreement that would enable her to govern with a minority in Parliament but one that could be a risk to peace in Northern Ireland. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
French President Emmanuel Macron said the door remains open for the U.K. to stay in the European Union, reflecting uncertainties over coming exit negotiations as politically weakened U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May tries to plot a course out of the bloc. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
Former British prime minister David Cameron has added to pressure on Theresa May to adopt a “softer” Brexit, saying she should talk to the Labour opposition to develop a more consensual approach. – Financial Times
 
A police officer was shot in the head at a Munich subway station Tuesday after a man grabbed a colleague's service pistol and opened fire, also wounding two bystanders, German authorities said. – Associated Press
 
Charles Kupchan writes: Trump has made it amply clear that “America First” really means “America Only,” and that he fully intends to break away from the community of Western democracies forged after the close of World War II. Trump’s acid rhetoric has become alarming reality. – Foreign Policy’s Shadow Government
 
Eastern Europe
 
Defying warnings from the European Union and pleas by advocates for civil and political rights, Hungary’s right-wing government passed legislation on Tuesday to require nongovernmental organizations that receive foreign financing to identify themselves as such and to disclose their donors. – New York Times
 
Two former secret police chiefs, once held to be among the most powerful men in Serbia, went on trial Tuesday for the second time, accused of running a lethal network of covert operations during the 1992-95 conflict that broke up Yugoslavia. – New York Times
 
Macedonia is taking steps to settle a long-running argument with Greece in order to restart its bid to join the European Union and NATO. Russia and Serbia are not happy about it. – Foreign Policy’s The Cable
 
U.S. President Donald Trump has prolonged sanctions against Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and members of his ruling apparatus for another year. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
 
NATO
 
NATO reinforced its position as a leader in the cyber-threat battle space when it officially recognized cyberspace as a domain of war in July 2016. In a similarly significant action, the Western Alliance adopted the position that international law, as has been the case in conventional warfare, also applies in cyberspace. – Defense News

Americas

United States of America
 
Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson was subjected to a full day of rough, bipartisan criticism on Tuesday as senators from both parties denounced the Trump administration’s plans to cut the State Department’s budget by about 30 percent. – New York Times
 
President Donald Trump is reported to be ready to appoint Republican Sen. John McCain’s wife Cindy McCain to an “ambassador at large” post. – Washington Examiner
 
Rick Gates, the longtime lobbying partner of ousted Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, is still making multiple visits to the White House—even though the Trump administration has sought to distance itself from Gates’ former boss. – The Daily Beast
 
President Donald Trump is facing anger and potential political blowback as his administration ramps up efforts to deport Iraqi Christians, a group he’d pledged to protect from what the U.S. calls a genocide in the Middle East. - Politico
 
Russian Election Interference
 
Attorney General Jeff Sessions offered an indignant defense on Tuesday against what he called “an appalling and detestable lie” that he may have colluded with the Russian effort to interfere in the 2016 election, but he declined during an often contentious Senate hearing to answer central questions about his or President Trump’s conduct. – New York Times
 
Russia's cyberattack on the U.S. electoral system before Donald Trump's election was far more widespread than has been publicly revealed, including incursions into voter databases and software systems in almost twice as many states as previously reported. - Bloomberg
 
Mueller
 
Last month’s appointment of Robert S. Mueller III as a special counsel to investigate possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia enraged President Trump. Yet, at least initially, he holstered his Twitter finger and publicly said nothing. But behind the scenes, the president soon began entertaining the idea of firing Mr. Mueller even as his staff tried to discourage him from something they believed would turn a bad situation into a catastrophe, according to several people with direct knowledge of Mr. Trump’s interactions. – New York Times
 
Special counsel Robert Mueller has done nothing to justify being fired despite a mounting clamour against him by supporters of US president Donald Trump, deputy attorney-general Rod Rosenstein said on Tuesday. – Financial Times
 
Editorial: Firing Mr. Mueller would have to be seen by Congress as part of a concerted and continuing effort to foil a serious investigation into Mr. Trump and his associates. To start, lawmakers would have to reinstate a special counsel by acclamation. And that would be only the first step. – Washington Post
 
Canada
 
The minister, Chrystia Freeland, told the House of Commons last week that as the United States, under its new administration, “has come to question the very worth of its mantle of global leadership,”…The speech was a signal that the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau intends to take on a bigger role in international affairs. – New York Times
 
Latin America
 
Largely immune to the region’s volatility thanks to its commercial pragmatism and long-term vision, Beijing is viewed as a key strategic partner and source of money in capitals from Mexico City to Buenos Aires. And with the region still adjusting to President Trump’s more assertive foreign policy, analysts say the region will increasingly look to the east rather than the north for crucial infrastructure funding. – Washington Times
 
The Trump administration likely will scale back policy changes it believes have benefited the Cuban government while preserving some of the increased commercial activity that has begun after former President Barack Obama moved to normalize U.S.-Cuban ties, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
Four years after Chávez’s death, the movement he founded is splintering, with current and former government officials, as well as residents of poor neighborhoods that were once adamantly pro-government, turning on his successor, Nicolás Maduro. – Washington Post
 
As Colombia’s leftist rebel movement begins making its transition to a political party, a crucial question hangs over the process: how much money is it hiding? – Associated Press
 
Colombia's Marxist FARC rebel group on Tuesday all but concluded handing over another 30 percent of its weaponry to the United Nations, part of a peace deal signed with the government to end more than 52 years of war. - Reuters
 
Jose Cardenas writes: Sanctions, of course, are no magic bullet. But targeted sanctions against corrupt Venezuelan officials, in concert with aggressive multilateral diplomacy, can serve to further delegitimize the Maduro regime before the Venezuelan people and international public opinion, as well as send a signal to nationalists in the Venezuelan military that they are no longer defending the Venezuelan constitution but the criminal interests of a drug-trafficking conspiracy. – National Review Online
 
Emanuele Ottolenghi writes: The convergence of Iran-sponsored radical Islam with transnational organized crime in Latin America is a serious threat to the national security of the United States, especially in the tri-border area, or TBA, where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay converge. – The Hill 

Africa

The United States and France are hurtling toward a potential dust-up, as the Trump administration weighs vetoing a French Security Council resolution empowering an African counterterrorism force, according to U.S. officials and U.N.-based diplomats. – Foreign Policy
 
African leaders have demanded that South Sudan’s warring factions hold talks to end an escalating conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people, forced millions of others to flee their homes and triggered a famine. – Financial Times
 
Zambia's parliament suspended 48 opposition lawmakers on Tuesday for boycotting a speech by the president, widening a political rift that has alarmed rights groups. - Reuters

Trump Administration

At a time when other military brass in the Trump administration — retired and active duty — have shed their cloaks of political neutrality, Mr. Mattis has avoided publicly backing the president’s most divisive moves. – New York Times
 
Elliott Abrams writes: Every administration’s policies are a combination of the old and the new. In Trump’s case, the expectation was that the mix would change: a great deal more of the new and a broad rejection of the foreign policies of Trump’s recent predecessors. That was certainly the impression left by Trump’s rhetoric. But his foreign policy and his national security appointees have so far pointed in a mostly conventional direction. Of course, this could change, but based on early impressions, the Trump era will be marked more by increasing adherence to traditional U.S. foreign policy positions than by ever-larger deviations – Foreign Affairs
 
Richard Haass writes: If the administration does decide to retain the phrase, it should at least recognize its shortcomings and counteract them. This means finding ways to make clear that although the United States does follow its own interests, it does not do so at its friends’ and partners’ expense. American patriotism can be defined and operationalized in ways compatible with responsible global leadership. And figuring out how to do that from here on in is the Trump administration’s central challenge. – Foreign Affairs
 
Josef Joffe writes: Do good for yourself by doing good for others—that has been the secret of America’s realpolitik and exalted position. While Mr. Obama wielded hammer and chisel against the nation’s perch, Mr. Trump is waving a chain saw. As friends retract, rivals rejoice: What a windfall! But take solace from Bismarck, who supposedly quipped: “God protects children, drunkards and the United States.” – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Ideas

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) writes: Today—in the aftermath of one of the most bitter elections in recent U.S. history—is a good time for Americans to remember that story and remind themselves just how much influence the United States still possesses around the world. The key question the country now faces is what to do with it. It can continue along a reactive path and even reduce its commitments to its allies and the international institutions it helped create. Or it can start articulating a broad new strategy for reengaging with the world as its leading democracy. – Foreign Affairs
 
Daniel Fried writes: Most important, we need to recommit to the ideals of the free world. We must make the case that our interests are best served when our values advance; that these values include the rule of law at home and a rules-based world, human rights and democracy; that our nations’ successes depend on the success of others; and that the nation state, and the free world itself, are not ends in themselves but earn legitimacy as they serve these higher purposes. – Washington Post

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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