How a monstrous Putin beat the U.S. in Syria

Los Angeles Times

MAR 16, 2016

The entire world was surprised when, at the end of September 2015, Vladimir Putin suddenly started moving Russian aircraft, tanks and troops into Syria.

At the time, President Obama predicted the Russian intervention would fail.

"An attempt by Russia and Iran to prop up [Syrian President Bashar] Assad and try to pacify the population is just going to get them stuck in a quagmire and it won't work," Obama said.

This week, the world is equally dumbfounded by the Russian president's announcement that he is withdrawing the "main part" of his forces in Syria. No one knows how big a part of the Russian military presence — consisting of some 4,000 troops and 50 combat aircraft — will return to the motherland or what exactly prompted this latest move.

Read more: How a monstrous Putin beat the U.S. in Syria

Trump is a character test for the GOP

A Trump nomination would confirm everything bad that Democrats have ever said about Republicans.

USA Today

FEB 29, 2016

This election is a battle for the soul of the Republican Party — and of the entire country.

When Ronald Reagan was endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan, he eloquently rejected the “politics of racial hatred and religious bigotry.” When the current Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump, was given three chances by CNN on Sunday to reject an endorsement from Klan leader David Duke, he refused to do so — and used as excuse the astonishing claim that he didn’t know enough about the Klan. Trump subsequently blamed his failure on a malfunctioning earpiece, his version of “the dog ate my homework.”

Read more: Trump is a character test for the GOP

Selling America Short

The country would cease to be great under a President Trump.


The Weekly Standard

MAR 7, 2016

Following his primary victories in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, Donald Trump has established himself as the clear frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination. He has done so offering grandiose slogans — He'll Make America Great Again! He'll have us win so much we'll get bored with winning! — and precious little in specifics. He has said, for example, that he would repeal Obamacare, without saying a word about what would replace it — beyond promising that his health program would be "terrific" and "take care of everyone."

Read more: Selling America Short

Two Centuries of Police Work

The Weekly Standard

FEB 22, 2016

Amid the incessant clashes of the campaign season, there is at least one thing that pretty much all of the presidential candidates can agree on.

Bernie Sanders: “Of course the United States must lead. But the United States is not the policeman of the world." Jeb Bush: "We're not going to be the world's policeman, but [we'd] sure as heck better be the world's leader." Chris Christie: "We are not the world's policeman, but we need to stand up and be ready." Carly Fiorina: "We cannot be the world's policeman, but we must be the world leader." Donald Trump: "At some point, we are going to have to stop being the policemen of the world .  .  . whether we like it or don't like it." Marco Rubio: "I don't think that's necessarily the role that I would advocate."

Read more: Two Centuries of Police Work

Appeasing Iran hurts us in Iraq, too


Washington Post

JAN 24, 2016

President Obama, fresh off the implementation of the nuclear accord and a prisoner swap, may want to believe that Iran is, as he suggested to NPR a year ago while discussing what it would take to get a deal done, now on its way to becoming “a very successful regional power” that will abide “by international norms and international rules.” This flies in the face of Iran’s long record of making war on Americans, using the same tactics time after time.

On Jan. 20, 2007, a dozen or so Iraqi militants wearing military uniforms and driving black GMC Suburbans drove into the Karbala provincial government headquarters in a brazen attempt to kidnap U.S. soldiers. One U.S. soldier died in a gun battle. Four others were seized by the attackers and murdered during the course of a pursuit by U.S. forces.

Read more: Appeasing Iran hurts us in Iraq, too

Is a New Republican Foreign Policy Emerging?

Commentary Magazine

Digital: JAN 14, 2016

Print: FEB 2016

Ever since the end of the Cold War, pundits and self-styled sages have predicted that isolationism would emerge as a potent force in the Republican Party. Those expectations were heightened after the early disasters of the Iraq War, which gave rise to a powerful anti-interventionist tide that swept Barack Obama into the White House. In 2012, the Texas congressman Ron Paul emerged as the standard-bearer for this new GOP isolationism with a grassroots presidential campaign that raised an astonishing $38 million from small donors. After 2012, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky took the baton from his father, and in October 2014, Time put Rand on its cover with the question: “Can he fix what ails the GOP?” Little more than a year later, we know the answer is no. Whatever ailments the Republican Party may have, Rand Paul isn’t going to fix them. His 2016 presidential bid never reached takeoff speed.

Read more: Is a New Republican Foreign Policy Emerging?

“Destined to be the classic account of what may be the oldest . . . hardest form of war.” —John Nagl, Wall Street Journal


"Enormous, brilliant and important…. Terrific… Astute… Boot’s Invisible Armies should be required reading in the White House and Pentagon." —Michael Korda, Daily Beast

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