Russia

  • Picks of the Week | Big Challenges Await Next President

    Why Americans Still Think the Economy is Terrible | New York Times Senators call U.S. effort to train Syrians to fight Islamic State ‘a joke’ | McClatchy DC Russia is Setting up a Forward Operating Base in Syria, Pentagon Confirms | Defense One   President Barack Obama waded into the 2016 Republican primary debate this week when he said, “Despite the perennial doom and gloom that I guess is inevitably … Read More

  • Second Italian Renaissance Revival Rural Villa Style, IRS, Washington DC

    IRS Hacked…Again!

    Although many people may seek to avoid phone calls from the IRS, this is one you’ll want to take—the IRS is contacting nearly 100,000 people because hackers stole their personal (and sensitive) tax information. In addition, the hackers attempted to pilfer an extra 100,000 tax returns but were unsuccessful, according to the agency. The IRS breach is just the latest bullet point in an endless list of cyber exploits that … Read More

  • photo USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier in the South China Sea

    The Will to Fight

    U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter stirred reaction in Baghdad and Washington this weekend when, in an appearance on CNN, he blamed the loss of Ramadi to an outnumbered force of ISIS militants on the Iraqi military’s apparent unwillingness to fight. It was a striking statement by a senior American official—and it was refreshing. Secretary Carter didn’t break news—even a casual observer of the Iraqi military’s previous fights with ISIS would … Read More

  • Chinese and Russian flags in juxtaposition

    A Pivot to the East in the Struggle for Power in Cyberspace

    As the U.S. relationship with China and Russia continues to deteriorate—cyber-espionage accusations straining relations with the former, the crisis in Ukraine complicating ties with the latter—the two Eastern superpowers joined forces last week to sign a new cybersecurity pact. The deal between China and Russia unites our main cyberspace adversaries and signals Russia’s pivot to the East, all of which will likely exacerbate cybersecurity tensions all around. According to the … Read More

  • close up of the capitol building on a United States bank note

    Follow the Money

    In a conversation about campaign finance reform years ago, a friend and former colleague told me that he believed “money is a form of speech.”  The same argument underpinned the majority opinion in the Supreme Court’s ruling on Citizens United and poses a fundamental threat to our democracy. Any question about the corrosive and dangerous effects of money in our electoral system can be resolved with a quick look at … Read More

  • Trying to Understand U.S. Foreign Policy

    The Western-allied government in Yemen, which had been hailed by President Obama last fall as a successful example of his counter-terrorism approach, has fallen. The resulting chaos has now seen air strikes by a coalition of Sunni-Arab nations, led by Saudi Arabia, fighting the Iranian-backed Shiite Houthi for control of Yemen. In Iraq, the United States finally launched airstrikes against ISIS elements hunkered down in Tikrit where they held off … Read More

  • Ukraine and Russia: It’s Not Getting Better

    In response to the growing war clouds to its East, Lithuania this week approved a law to reinstate compulsory military service.  In Poland, young men and women are joining paramilitary units, with government support, and pledging to defend the Polish republic “at all costs.”  The American military is deploying armored units to the Baltic members of NATO for exercises, and planning to leave the equipment in place.  The Russian military … Read More

  • Authorizing the Use of Force

    Obama’s Request for Congressional Authorization to Fight the Islamic State: Full Text | Washington Post Why Arming Kiev is a Really, Really Bad Idea | Foreign Policy National Security Strategy (February 2015) | NSA Archive This was a big week for national security wonks.  In less than a week, the Obama White House issued a new national security strategy—it’s first since 2010, speculation swirled over whether the United States should … Read More

  • Picks of the Week | “Citizens United” and SCOTUS, Russian Aggression

    Russian Aggression Understanding Putin’s plans | The Economist Modi listening, Obama assails Putin on Ukraine | The Indian Express In a television interview two months ago, I lamented that despite Russian aggression in Ukraine, U.S. policy in Syria and Iran depended on support from Russian President Vladimir Putin, making Russia, ironically, the “indispensable nation” in American foreign policy.  Despite the teeth in U.S.-backed economic sanctions against Moscow—and on some level, … Read More

  • Picks of the Week | The Impact of Cheap Oil; SOTU and Cybersecurity

    Cheap Oil and Security Falling oil prices hit Venezuela, Iran and Russia hard | The Washington Post Russia ends US Nuclear security alliance | The Boston Globe Americans are thrilled with the drop in gas prices over the last six months—I know I am.  Every time I fill my car up for $35 instead of $55, I smile.  But the drop in oil prices that underlies the drop in gasoline … Read More