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.
Next year's NATO summit, slated to take place July 11-12 in Brussels, will clarify just how serious the member states are about recommitting to collective defense. The assembled heads of state will also be in a position to assess how effectively and swiftly the alliance and its individual members are implementing key decisions taken last year at the 2016 Warsaw summit and the Brussels "mini-summit."
Greater cooperation with Russia in the struggle to defeat the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS) and other extremist elements in the Muslim World is now being urged by a number of prominent Americans. Russia and America both have a problem with Islamists, goes the argument, so we should work together to defeat the common enemy.
Those who oppose the gift or sale of defensive weapons to Ukraine have long rested their argument on a simple supposition: that any level of help the West might muster will inevitably be exceeded by Russian military escalation. After all, they argue, Ukraine is more important to Russia than it is to the United States. Lost in this argument, though, is the clear fact that Ukraine is more important to Ukrainians than it is to Russians - including many Ukrainians who are Russian speakers and/or ethnically Russian.
Ukraine is at war. Since the spring of 2014, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has waged a concerted campaign of aggression against its smaller western neighbor. Moscow’s “hybrid warfare” in support of separatist enclaves in Ukraine’s Donbass region has included the insertion of military forces to augment pro-Russian insurgents, large-scale deliveries of military matériel to these fighters, and the widespread use of propaganda. The Kremlin’s efforts have met with political and economic pressure from the West, in the form of multilateral sanctions imposed by the Obama administration and the European Union. However, the strongly negative effects of this pressure on the Russian economy have not caused the Kremlin to change course in any meaningful way.