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Democrats have good reason to confirm Mike Pompeo as secretary of State
By Herman Pirchner, Jr., The Hill, April 19, 2018
 

Mike Pompeo should be promptly confirmed as secretary of State because he is well qualified, but also because this is an extraordinarily dangerous time for the United States to be without an effective secretary of State.

American diplomacy is tasked with advancing the interests of the United States while avoiding war. Any such success depends upon American diplomats credibly issuing threats, guarantees, and offers of help. This essential credibility, in turn, depends upon the relationship of America’s secretary of State with the president. And this is perhaps the most serious reason why Pompeo is an excellent choice to be our next secretary of State.

 
The Other Iranian Threat
By Ilan Berman, Alhurra, April 17, 2018
 

Whatever happened to the Iranian cyberthreat? Not all that long ago, American officials were preoccupied with the growing disruptive capabilities that the Islamic Republic had begun to demonstrate on the World-Wide Web. That, however, was before the start of negotiations over Iran's atomic program in 2013. Those talks allowed Iran's cyber activities to recede from public view, as policymakers in Washington focused their attention on nuclear diplomacy with Tehran, while Iranian hackers temporarily became more cautious in their choice of targets and the visibility of their attacks. More recently, worries about Iran's cyber capabilities have taken a back seat to concerns regarding Iran's growing conventional military might, and its mounting regional adventurism in places like Syria and Yemen.

 
Colombia's Political Problems Are An Opportunity For America
By Christine Balling, The National Interest, April 12, 2018
 

In order to better coordinate his response to the latest developments in Syria, President Trump has cancelled what would have been his first trip to South America. Vice President Pence will now go in his stead to attend the Eighth Summit of the Americas.

 
Hamas Attacks Israel - And The World Condemns Israel
By Lawrence J. Haas, The Hill, April 11, 2018
 

The world "should wait for our great move," said a top Hamas leader, speaking to Palestinian protestors during violent clashes with Israeli forces along the Gaza border, "when we breach the borders and pray at al Aqsa."

With hundreds around him chanting, "We are going to Jerusalem, millions of martyrs," and with 20,000 Palestinians protesting along the border - some burning tires, others throwing Molotov cocktails and rocks - Yahya Sinwar declared during April protests that Hamas was "following in the path of martyr Yasser Arafat in resisting the enemy" and "if we explode we will explode in [Israel's] face."

 
New Sanctions Rightly Tighten The Noose On Russia
By Ilan Berman, The Hill, April 9, 2018
 

The new cold war between Moscow and Washington just got a little bit colder.

On Friday, the U.S. Treasury Department issued a
new round of economic sanctions against 38 separate Russian personalities and businesses. The measure represents a major escalation of pressure against the Kremlin, because it singles out a number of key stakeholders as a way of ratcheting up the costs to Russia's leadership of their country's increasingly hostile international behavior.

 
In AI, Russia Is Hustling To Catch Up
By Samuel Bendett, Defense One, April 4, 2018
 

When Vladimir Putin said last fall that artificial intelligence is "humanity's future" and that the country that masters it will "get to rule the world," some observers guessed that the Russian president was hinting at unrevealed progress and breakthroughs in the field. But a glance at publicly available statistics indicates otherwise. Russia's annual domestic investment in AI is probably around 700 million rubles ($12.5 million) - a paltry sum next to the billions being spent by American and Chinese companies. Even if private-sector investment rises as expected to 28 billion rubles ($500 million) by 2020, that will still be just a fraction of the global total.

 
An Emerging Arab-Israeli Thaw
By James S. Robbins, The National Interest, April 4, 2018
 

A tectonic shift is taking place in Middle East politics. We may be on the verge of seeing a historic normalization of relations between Israel and several major Arab states. And it is all thanks to Iran.

 
Russia Wants to Build a Whole City for Developing Weapons
By Samuel Bendett, War is Boring, March 29, 2018
 

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union organized its vast academic and industrial resources to achieve scientific and industrial breakthroughs for the nation’s military forces. Locked in the global struggle against Washington’s massive military-industrial complex, Moscow needed its best and brightest citizens working on a vast array of technologies and principles to match and potentially “overtake” its rival.

 
America Has A Plan To Dismantle The Iran Deal; Now It Needs One For The Aftermath
By Lawrence J. Haas, The Hill, March 27, 2018
 

With President Trump's pick of John Bolton as National Security Advisor raising the chances of a U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Washington must be ready in its aftermath to pursue a bold, broad, and effective strategy to restrain Tehran's nuclear dreams and hegemonic ambitions.

 
Is This The End Of EU History?
By Rachel Millsap, The Hill, March 21, 2018
 

Remember Francis Fukayama? The American political scientist and author briefly became the darling of the political science set in the early 1990s with his theory, encapsulated in his bestselling book "The End of History and the Last Man," that the end of the Cold War marked the final evolution of mankind's search for a system of governance, and that Western-style liberal democracy had emerged as the clear winner.

 
The End Of The Petrodollar?
By James Grant, The National Interest, March 21, 2018
 

In a move that could portend massive shifts in the global oil game, the Shanghai International Energy Exchange will soon unveil an oil-futures contract denominated in Chinese yuan rather than U.S. dollars (product symbol: SC). Experts warn that the growing clout of Chinese currency in international financial markets could erode the primacy of the U.S. dollar, a long-term economic trend that should greatly trouble Washington.

 
What Moscow Thinks About When It Thinks About War Robots
By Samuel Bendett, War is Boring, March 17, 2018
 

Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu made a significant announcement in mid-March 2018 at a domestic technology forum. "The serial production of combat robots for the Russian armed forces may start already this year," he stated.

Shoigu also implied, in response a question about whether remote-controlled unmanned systems would be utilized in the future, that the concept of a combat unmanned system remotely operated by a human has already been implemented in the Russian armed forces.

 
The Limits Of Saudi Reform
By Ilan Berman, Al-Hurra Digital, March 14, 2018
 

Just how far-reaching are Saudi Arabia's reforms? These days, there is unbridled optimism in official Washington over what are widely seen as sweeping social and economic changes taking place in the historically-stagnant Kingdom.

At first glance, Saudi Arabia does indeed appear to be on the march. Since 2016, when he formally unveiled his
National Transformation Plan, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman - better known as MbS - has presided over an ambitious initiative to overhaul the national economy and Saudi society.

 
What Iran Can Teach Us About North Korea Summit
By Ilan Berman, U.S. News & World Report, March 12, 2018
 

You could call it the Iranian negotiating model.

After months of escalating tensions with the United States, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has offered to meet directly with President Trump, engendering cautious optimism from many who see this as a necessary first step to de-escalation in Asia. The White House has tentatively agreed to the meeting. And yet, without deft handling, this dialogue could allow one of the world's worst rogue states to reap enormous dividends as a result of its irresponsible conduct - much as happened with Iran in the not-so-distant past.

 
The Russian Military Wants Students to Design Its New Underwater Drone
By Samuel Bendett, War is Boring, March 7, 2018
 

In recent years, Russian Federation borrowed one great idea from the United States — creating a federally funded center for breakthrough and innovating technologies. The Foundation of Advanced Studies — basically the Russian DARPA — launched in 2013.

 
Do Merkel And Germany Have A Future?
By E. Wayne Merry, The National Interest, March 6, 2018
 

Germany has a new grand-coalition government (GROKO) in sight thanks to the decision by Social Democratic Party (SPD) rank and file to agree to another link-up with Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU). SPD dues-paying members voted by two-thirds in a postal referendum to play second fiddle once again under Merkel at the national level. Both parties are motivated by palpable fear that failure to agree would provoke new elections in which they could both lose even more votes to the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) than they did in the shocking general election last September.

 
Nervous In North Africa
By Ilan Berman, The Washington Times, February 22, 2018
 

Officials in Morocco are apprehensive. "Africa is approaching a dangerous moment," one of the Kingdom's most senior political figures told me recently in Rabat. His bleak assessment, which I heard in virtually every meeting during my recent visit to the country, stems from what are essentially two factors.

 
Rocketing Toward War?
By Lawrence J. Haas, U.S. News & World Report, February 20, 2018
 

Military skirmishes and escalating threats between Iran and Israel of late are raising the risks of a catastrophic regional war, prompting questions about what the United States should do to prevent it.

To date, President Donald Trump has focused more attention on defeating the Islamic State group in Syria than on preventing Iran from filling the resulting void with its own military and proxy forces and, in the process, further implanting itself in Syria as part of its quest for a land corridor all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.

 
North Korea Wins The Propaganda Gold
By James S. Robbins, U.S. News & World Report, February 15, 2018
 

Whatever other awards North Korean athletes earn at the Winter Olympics now underway in Pyeongchang, South Korea, their country has made a championship level effort at manipulating the international press.

This week, the American media went on overload in praise of North Korean Minister of Propaganda and Agitation Kim Yo Jong, sister to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The minister was praised for her poise, her smile, her fashion sense and her handwriting. The Washington Post compared her to Ivanka Trump, (which even the New York Times found a bit much). There hadn't been this kind of gushing over a dictator's handmaiden since Leni Reifenstahl was hailed as a genius for her Nazi propaganda film about the 1936 Munich Olympics. And North Korea's propaganda minister can return to her brother claiming a gold medal performance.

 
Germany's Social Democrats Meet Their Day of Reckoning
By E. Wayne Merry, The National Interest, February 10, 2018
 

Government formation in Germany is approaching a crunch point. The main center-right (CDU/CSU) and center-left (SPD) parties have reached an agreement on a new grand-coalition government, similar to that which preceded inconclusive national elections last September. The crunch point will be a referendum on that agreement by the dues-paying, card-carrying membership of the Social Democratic Party.