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Analysis

Is a U.S.-Russia Reset Possible?

Since the end of World War II, virtually every president has attempted to reset U.S.-Russia relations. Harry S. Truman confided in his diary that he was tired of “babying” the Soviets when they didn’t carry out the obligations they had undertaken at Yalta. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Spirit of Geneva” sought to make a new start with Stalin’s successors. John F. Kennedy sought to recalibrate relations with his disastrous Vienna summit, in June 1961, which paved the way for the Berlin Wall and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Richard Nixon sought détente with the increasingly sclerotic Brezhnevite leadership. Jimmy Carter also tried to change the terms of U.S.-Soviet relations early in his term, as did Ronald Reagan, who famously proposed a new strategy—“We win, they lose.” Some of these resets were based on the need to get tougher with Russia and some were based on a desire to find common ground. But after the Cold War, all of the efforts went unrequited. The specific irritants in each case were different, but at the end of the day, all of them failed because the Russian reform project faltered in the late 1990s. As a result, rather than joining the liberal international order, Russia became a revisionist state whose fundamental orientation limited the scope for successful engagement with Moscow. That is why Trump’s reset will almost certainly fail—and a good thing, too, since accommodating Moscow’s current demands would almost certainly mean sacrificing traditional U.S. interests.

Analysis

The Sane Way to Live with North Korea’s Nukes

Donald Trump’s threat to rain “fire and fury” on North Korea as punishment for its military provocations is the epitome of irresponsible leadership. By invoking the prospect of apocalyptic destruction, Trump risks alienating U.S. allies, distracting attention from North Korean misbehavior, and escalating an already fraught situation.

Analysis

A Defense Buildup in the Near Term?

Procedural and political hurdles make it difficult to see how a substantial defense buildup on the order of the $54 billion proposed by the Trump administration, the $621.5 billion agreed to by the House Armed Services Committee and the Appropriations Committee Defense Subcommittee, or the $640 billion proposed by the Senate Armed Services Committee can be realized. 

Analysis

Modern Missiles Outflank the Tyranny of Distance

From time to time Australia has feared foreign invasion, whether by France, Russia, Japan or even (in the early 19th century) a rising US. The threat became real during World War II when the Asian order collapsed, bringing Japanese military forces to Australia’s front door. 

Analysis

From Wales to Brussels: Analyzing NATO in the Trump Era

The heads of state and government of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members met in Brussels on May 25, 2017. The agenda was packed, reflecting the severity of both the European and international security environments.