Trump Call On Afghan Surge: Another Step Away From ‘America First?’

Trump is “having trouble sticking to the ‘America First’ approach to foreign policy that he advocated in the campaign, and there’s a reason for that,” says public policy professor Bruce Jentleson, a former State Department policy planning official. “He’s finding out that ‘America First’ is hard to do in a way that doesn’t leave you shooting yourself in the foot.”

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On Israeli Airstrikes in Syria — Lawful and No Need for Transparency

“… The facts are scarce about what intelligence or legal theory the Israelis relied upon to launch their attack (assuming it was them).  However, my guess is that they knew there were Hezbollah weapons in the warehouses that were being transshipped to the Israeli frontier, and that for legal justification, they relied upon the concept of anticipatory self-defense,” writes law professor Charles Dunlap.

Read More at Just Security

Risky Brinkmanship With an Unstable North Korean Regime

“We should hope that the United States is not resolved to risk major catastrophe in an exchange in which a victory only produces marginal gains. In this case, an adage from another early 1980s movie, ‘WarGames,’ applies: ‘The only winning move is not to play,’ ” writes political scientist Kyle Beardsley.

Read More in The Cleveland Plain Dealer

U.S. Cyber Defense ‘Terrible,’ Former NSA Director Says

“Over the last decade cyber has become an element of national power used by us and by our adversaries. We need the defensive architecture that allows industry to defend itself long enough for government to (then) come in and help,” Gen. Keith Alexander, former commander of U.S. Cyber Command and former director of the National Security Agency said in a speech at Duke.

Read More on Duke Today

Khizr Khan: ‘The Country Remains Divided’

Khzir Khan is a lawyer whose son was killed while serving in the Iraq war. He and his wife, Ghazala, entered the national spotlight when he addressed the Democratic National Convention in July and offered to lend Donald Trump his personal pocket Constitution. Since then, he has continued to speak out on behalf of Muslim-Americans and veteran families. “Now, as we continue to speak, the country remains divided,” Khan told Zach Fuchs, managing editor of Duke Political Review.

Read More in Duke Political Review


3 Questions Trump Must Answer After His Syria Strike

“Candidate Trump repeatedly promised that he would not simply conduct American foreign policy in the way Obama did. By punishing Assad for his brazen violation of international law and basic human decency, Trump took a significant step forward in fulfilling that campaign promise,” writes political scientist Peter Feaver. “But Trump also promised that his approach would produce more lasting success than Obama’s. Whether he fulfills that promise will depend on what comes next, not on what happened Thursday.”

Read More in Foreign Policy

How to Handle North Korea? Apply Pressure — Then Wait

“Last year alone, North Korea conducted two nuclear weapons tests and 24 missile tests, with more this year, including a new missile test on April 5, clearly intended to overshadow and complicate the first meeting this week between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. To avoid past failures in trying to thwart North Korea, the Trump administration should initiate bilateral diplomatic talks with the communist nation immediately,” writes Andrew Byers, a visiting assistant professor of history and an intelligence analyst.

Read More in The Hill

Trump and His ‘America First’ Philosophy Face First Moral Quandary in Syria

President Trump has vowed to follow a radically new approach to foreign policy that jettisons the costly mantle of moral leadership in favor of America’s most immediate economic and security interests. But it’s unclear how the crises in Syria would produce a significant shift in policy. “They have not yet figured out what they are trying to do,” says political scientist Peter Feaver. “What looks like recalibration might be multiple voices.” 

Read More in The Washington Post

The U.S. Response to Syria and North Korea

Law professor Charlie Dunlap shares insights on Trump’s foreign policy challenges. “I think the jury is still out as to how exactly Trump’s ‘America first’ stance will influence foreign policy. My bet is that it will be very situation-specific, and in the case of North Korea, it won’t differ, initially anyway, too much from the Obama approach except to say that Trump may believe he can better motivate China to help with a solution than his predecessor was able to do,” he says.

Read More at Duke Today

Civilians In Mosul Remain Trapped As ISIS Digs In

Law professor Charlie Dunlap, a retired major general in the U.S. Air Force, talks about U.S. military operations and urban warfare in Mosul, where some 400,000 civilians remain trapped. More than 100 civilians were reportedly killed in a recent U.S. air strike, and Dunlap and military officials have noted that ISIS is using civilians as human shields. “In the case of Mosul the enemy has had 2 1/2 years to prepare for this assault” and they have burrowed in, Dunlap says. He added that urban combat is always very dangerous for civilians. “Every civilian casualty is a tragedy and the military has to work very hard to avoid them.”

Listen on NPR’s “Morning Edition”


Admiral: U.S. Relies Heavily On Allies in Latin America

The biggest security challenge facing the U.S. in in the Caribbean and Central and South America is monitoring the smuggling networks that operate there and have connections to other parts of the word, says Adm. Kurt Tidd, the U.S. Navy admiral in charge of the region. Also speaking at the event this week at Duke were U.S. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, retired Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman and a Duke alum who’s now a researcher at the university. Political scientist Peter Feaver moderated the talk.

Read More in the Herald-Sun


Sadly, We Have To Expect More Civilian Casualties If ISIS is to be Defeated

“The truth is that even with the most precise weaponry, restrictive rules of engagement, and meticulous adherence to international law, it’s inevitable that more civilians are going to be killed if ISIS is going to be ousted from Mosul and put on the path of complete destruction,” writes law professor Charlie Dunlap. “It’s a grim reminder that there is no such thing as immaculate war if evil is going to be stopped.  Let’s have the fortitude to see the mission through even as we grieve the cost.”

Read More in Lawfire