All posts in the ‘ The Atlantic ’ Category


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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… Read the Rest »

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… Read the Rest »

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‘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… Read the Rest »

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… Read the Rest »

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Iran Hawks Are the New Iraq Hawks

May 8, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Last week, while watching Benjamin Netanyahu unveil secret information that supposedly proved that Iran is deceiving the world about its nuclear-weapons program, I had a flashback. It was to February 5, 2003, when then-Secretary of State Colin Powell unveiled secret information that supposedly proved that Iraq was deceiving the world… Read the Rest »

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Benjamin Netanyahu: TV Star

May 1, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Benjamin Netanyahu’s breathless presentation on Monday about Iran’s nuclear program didn’t reveal anything particularly surprising about Iran’s nuclear program. Using a batch of stolen Iranian documents that detailed the program, the Israeli prime minister purportedly proved that Tehran pursued a nuclear-weapons program before 2003, and has been lying about it ever since…. Read the Rest »

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Trump May Already Be Violating the Iran Deal

April 29, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

As anyone who reads the news knows, Donald Trump will decide by May 12 whether to “withdraw from” or “pull out of” or “abandon” or “scrap” or “jettison” (the synonyms keep coming) the nuclear deal with Iran. Why May 12? Because last October, Trump declared that Iran isn’t complying with the… Read the Rest »

The Atlantic »

Striking the Syrian Regime Is Not Legitimate

April 13, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

The story of American humanitarian war, as expressed over the last quarter-century, is a tragedy. It’s the tale of well-meaning interventionists like Samantha Power and Susan Rice who—haunted by America’s failure to act in Rwanda in 1994, and emboldened by America’s partial successes in Bosnia in 1995 and Kosovo in… Read the Rest »

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Trump’s Dangerous Threat of War

April 11, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

The problem is not simply that congressional leaders won’t stop President Trump from firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and maybe Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and plunging America into a constitutional crisis. The problem is that those congressional leaders—while allowing Trump to do all this—are also allowing him to take… Read the Rest »

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The Deeply Underdeveloped Worldview of John Bolton

March 29, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Survey the history of American national-security advisors going back to the position’s creation in the mid-twentieth century, and two things about John Bolton stand out. The first is his militancy: his incessant, almost casual, advocacy of war. The second—which has gotten less attention but is deeply intertwined with the first—is… Read the Rest »