Bolton’s baby was bombing Iran. Now what?

Iran and America are entering an intense face-off phase now that the NSC’s John Bolton is no longer around to push for bombing Tehran.

President Trump is hoping American pressure and the ongoing trash-talking between the U.S. and Iran can lead to the eventual smoking of a peace pipe.

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Wars of words can sometimes lead to shooting wars, or they can raise the stakes so high that negotiations and lowered tensions can follow. Which will it be with Iran? Talks or continued terror? Or both?

Upcoming U.N. General Assembly sideline huddles or principal meetings might take place, especially now that Bolton can no longer undermine the U.S. president’s photo-ops and off-the-cuff concessions. With Bolton gone, the White House’s “bad cop, worse cop” act is over. Trump’s instincts and near absolute power in foreign policy now take over on Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, and North Korea. READ MORE

Kabul Wedding Bells and Bombs

Weddings on a summer eve remind us of the excitement of young romantic love. The bride’s smile, the groom’s unbounded enthusiasm. It’s all so lovely. Unless, of course, a wedding turns into a bloodbath, murdering nearly everyone in the party and reminding the world that ISIS kills not only people, but beauty and hope, too.

Last weekend’s ISIS bombing of an Afghan wedding destroyed the dreams of not only two people. It took the lives of 80, altogether. Wedding party attendants were the latest victims in America’s Afghanistan end-game. Kissing the bride turned into the kiss of death.

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In geopolitical terms, ISIS’s cynical attack was the most recent action to spoil the already tense American-led negotiations with the Taliban and to remind the world that once the United States has gone home, Kabul and the rest of the country will become its terrorist playground. READ MORE


To Trump, A$AP Rocky has a face. Unfortunately, 10 million Afghans don’t

Rap-artist A$AP Rocky was never on my radar or my musical playlist until the president called Sweden to seek his release. ASAP.

Musician, entertainer, producer, model — the hard-edged A$AP Rocky was heckled and harried, painted as a victim of Sweden’s criminal justice system. His mom said his detention was “unjust,” targeted because he’s African American.

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Circumstances, upbringing, criminal record, character — when we think about a single person’s story, predicament and mother, he becomes humanized. Not so when someone is a one-in-a-million nobody like the globally countless unrecognized victims of injustice or war.

Charged with getting up in someone’s face and violently mixing it up, we learned about A$AP Rocky’s background, music and that he knows Kanye West and his wife, Kim Kardashian. West has friends in high places and is immediately put through the White House switchboard. The result? A real person gets vouchsafed by POTUS. READ MORE

President Donald Trump, global peacemaker. Really.

War is the ultimate test for nations and their leaders. History is full of great leaders who fought and won military victories, from Revolutionary War hero George Washington to Abraham Lincoln’s civil war and World War II’s FDR.

Victory is the key to greatness.

President Trump is different. If George W. Bush went into his successful 2004 re-election campaign embracing his role as a “war president,” Trump may angle to win a 2020 re-election as the nation’s “peace president.” Remarkably, if things go well, he could be Donald Trump, peacemaker.

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Disquieting as it may be for those who see him as morally bankrupt, as well as a threat to democratic norms and human decency, there has to be a reckoning that he just might actually succeed in pursuing peace on multiple fronts. Trump’s campaign promises, unorthodox methods and his limitless ego are leading him to seek an end to American military engagements and — with a couple of notable exceptions — even lower the temperature elsewhere. READ MORE

Trump’s foreign policy is all about him. That’s not good for us, or the rest of the world

Snap troop withdrawal from Syria? Overnight decisions for a dramatic military draw-down in Afghanistan?

America’s foreign-policy and national-security establishment is reeling from the rapid-fire changes, declarations and White House edicts. Our allies are shocked, too.

While President Trump’s tweet-from-the-hip policy-making is shocking and shaking-up the world, no one should be surprised.

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The truth is, Donald Trump has never lied to us about his foreign-policy priorities. We may not have wanted to believe him, we may ultimately find out that they were improperly influenced, we may even disagree with them. But the reality is that he has not simply intimated or coyly indicated how he sees the world and what he wants to do. He has told us. Repeatedly.

Treaties? Tear them up. READ MORE

Our troops are dying for a lost cause. We’ve got to get out of Afghanistan.

Twenty-seven years ago, I was in Afghanistan to watch the Russians cut and run from a military quagmire and failed occupation that helped bring down the Soviet Union. In 2018, America is ready to walk away from a similarly failed military adventure. As Lt. Col. John W. Nicholson Jr., the exiting American and NATO forces’ commander in Afghanistan put it: “It is time for this war in Afghanistan to end.”
 

He’s right.

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Our longest war drags on, and President Trump’s instincts and inclinations tell him to learn from the Soviet Union’s mistake a generation earlier: Get out of Afghanistan. ASAP. With Chief of Staff John Kelly’s policy role diminished and a refreshed national security team, the White House has quieted support for a continued large U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.  READ MORE