On Syria, the confused state of American policy persists.
This month, the president, Donald Trump, authorised strikes, in tandem with Britain and France, to punish the regime of Bashar al-Assad for its use of chemical weapons in Douma, eastern Ghouta. That might be taken to suggest that the United States and allies were prepared to act – to restrain brutality, to support stability, and to prevent the eruption of general chaos. Continue reading →
Amid the routine chaos surrounding the Trump administration, one recent change in personnel, among many in recent weeks, stands out.
After months of rumour, always followed by denial, Donald Trump announced that John Bolton, once upon a time the American ambassador the United Nations, will shortly replace General H. R. McMaster as the president’s national security advisor. Continue reading →
It was a swift victory, one all the more remarkable for being so unexpected.
After the fall of Mosul, which had taken many months and cost innumerable lives, the attention of the Iraqi state and the international coalition, and the watching world, fell on Tal Afar. It was one of the Islamic State’s last major urban territories in Iraq. Continue reading →
Erik Prince, the founder of controversial security firm Blackwater, has a new big idea. As before, this involves privatising the business of fighting wars and peacekeeping, in effect outsourcing military and foreign policy. Continue reading →
In the West, North Korea used to be a punchline. The hermit state was known to be repressive and its leaders were seen to be deeply cruel. But amid stories of man-made famines and mass starvation, prison systems and summary executions, Western journalists found something else to write about. Continue reading →
When Donald Trump ordered the use of 59 Tomahawk missiles to strike a Syrian air base operated by the Assad regime, many observers were taken almost completely by surprise. There had been rumblings, no doubt, suggestions that, after the terrible chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib governorate, something might be done. But this was merely hinted at, mentioned in line with a range of possibilities. That was a demonstration that options had not been over-hastily removed from the table. Continue reading →