The Atlantic »

Trump Could Transform the U.S.–North Korea Relationship

June 11, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Donald Trump is an ignorant, egotistical man. And in his summit on Tuesday with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, those character defects may be America—and the world’s—best hope. Read more…

The Forward »

Bernie Sanders’ Criticism Of Israel Is Radical. And He’s Taking It Mainstream

June 11, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Not many in the media are noticing, which is understandable given the burden of keeping up with Donald Trump, but in the shadow of Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu, Bernie Sanders is dramatically challenging Beltway discourse on Israel.

In 2020, when Sanders likely runs for president, and journalists begin paying attention, they’re going to be shocked. The Israeli government and the American Jewish establishment will be scared out of their minds. Read more…

The Atlantic »

How Sanctions Feed Authoritarianism

June 5, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

The United States has a long history of intervening overseas to solve one problem and inadvertently creating others. In the 1980s, the Reagan administration armed rebels fighting Afghanistan’s Soviet-backed government only to find that some of them later targeted the United States. During that same decade, America armed the government of El Salvador in a gruesome civil war against leftist rebels that spawned the migration that produced the now notorious gang, MS-13. Read more…

The Atlantic »

A Radical Pick for the National Security Council

June 1, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

On Wednesday, National-Security Adviser John Bolton chose Fred Fleitz—who for the last five years served as a senior vice president at the Center for Security Policy—to be the National Security Council’s executive secretary and chief of staff. What makes that choice extraordinary is that, for more than a decade, the Center for Security Policy (CSP) has been arguing that American Muslims who observe shariah, or Islamic law, don’t deserve the protections of the First Amendment. Read more…

The Atlantic »

Trump’s and Bolton’s Instincts Form a Toxic Combination

May 25, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Why did the Trump administration cancel its much-hyped nuclear summit with North Korea? And why the confusing semi-backtrack the following day, in which Trump embraced North Korea’s “warm and productive statement” regretting the cancellation, and left the door open to a meeting he’d ditched barely 24 hours before? The answer lies in the toxic interplay between Donald Trump’s instincts and John Bolton’s. Each man’s foreign-policy views are dangerous enough in and of themselves. Put them together and you have the perfect cocktail for the decimation of American power. Read more…

The Forward »

Trump Has Freed Progressive Democratic Senators To Finally Criticize Israel

May 15, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

The Forward has learned that on Friday night, thirteen Democratic Senators—including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren—sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging the Trump administration “to do more to alleviate the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.” Read more…

The Forward »

Israel’s Choice To Shoot Palestinians Should Horrify — But Not Surprise Us

May 15, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

The other day, a thoughtful acquaintance, who is to my right politically, asked me a question. He asked what I’d advise Israel to do when faced with thousands of Palestinians, some likely bent on violence, who are trying to storm the fence that separates the Gaza Strip from the rest of Israel. (I say “rest of Israel” because I believe Gaza still remains under Israeli occupation). Read more…

The Forward »

How Racism Marred The Jerusalem Embassy Celebration

May 14, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

For more than a century, Palestinians have tried to convince the world (wrongly, in my view) that Zionism is inherently racist. Now they have a powerful new ally: Donald Trump. Read more…

The Atlantic »

‘All Is Shambles’: The Days After the Iran Deal

May 10, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Read some of the most prominent critics of the Iran nuclear deal and you’ll notice something: They seem to be preparing their alibis in case Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from it proves a catastrophic mistake. Trump, wrote Bret Stephens on Tuesday in The New York Times, “was absolutely right” to leave the agreement, “assuming, that is, serious thought has been given to what comes next.” On Twitter, Mark Dubowitz, CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), perhaps the most relentlessly anti–Iran deal think tank in Washington, explained that, “I have concerns. It’s a high risk strategy with potentially big rewards if it can be successfully implemented but dangerous consequences if it isn’t.” Last week, near the end of a series of exchanges at The Atlantic with the former Obama administration official Philip Gordon, in which he repeatedly bashed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran, Dubowitz’s FDD colleague Reuel Marc Gerecht declared that, “It isn’t that hard to devise a credible post-JCPOA approach to the clerical regime.” But he later added, “I do not know whether Trump is capable of pulling this off.” Read more…

The Atlantic »

The Iran Deal and the Dark Side of American Exceptionalism

May 9, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Who, or what, is to blame for Donald Trump’s decision to leave the Iran nuclear agreement? There are lots of candidates: Trump’s assumption that any deal not negotiated by him is a rip-off, his obsession with undoing Barack Obama’s legacy, Israel and Saudi Arabia’s desire to prevent any rapprochement between Washington and Tehran. These all surely played a role. But underlying them is something more fundamental. Trump is violating the Iran deal because of how he interprets American exceptionalism. Read more…