When Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives in Ankara on Thursday, he will find Turkey unrecognizable as the ostensibly Muslim democracy and close ally that U.S. officials once held up as a model for the Islamic world. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is poised to complete his long transformation of Turkey from a raucous -- if imperfect democracy -- to an autocracy, one ruled by caprice and fear.
President Trump’s latest quick-fix approach to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear program creates an untenable policy dilemma. Because the deal sacrificed significant U.S. leverage upfront, right now there is currently little Congress can accomplish singlehandedly in trying to strengthen it, and much the administration would place at risk in abruptly leaving it.
“If you’re a combat veteran, your chances of getting promoted are greater, (but that) means that you have deep searing personal experiences with a certain type of warfare,” said Thomas Mahnken, head of the Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessments. “That didn’t serve the British and French militaries well” at the start of World War II, he said, when they were so intent on not repeating the horrors of trench warfare that they were blindsided by the new and much more mobile threat of blitzkrieg.
No one can say we didn’t see it coming. Since the end of the Cold War, and even before, it has been obvious that a rapidly rising China could eventually menace America’s position and influence in East Asia—and, perhaps, globally as well.
The U.S. Air Force plans to phase out its B-1B and B-2 bomber fleets as the new B-21 bomber, currently being built in Palmdale by Northrop Grumman Corp., becomes operational in the mid-2020s. Mark Gunzinger, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said the move to phase out the B-1Bs and B-2s is likely budget-driven. The Air Force needs to modernize and reinvest in a number of its key assets, including its fighter jets, bomber forces and unmanned systems, and that is a "daunting challenge."
There’s a real danger of a clash between U.S. and Turkish forces. The administration should make clear that it won’t tolerate any more bad behavior—now.