FROM Barry Posen
Finding Friends to Fight ISIS in Syria The US set out to train and equip some 5000 so-called "moderate" rebels in Syria, but fewer than 60 have qualified. The US demands they pledge to fight only against ISIS, not against the regime of Bashar al-Assad — even though it’s what made them rebels in the first place. Critics say the Obama Administration is failing. Some advocate renewed focus on getting rid of Assad. Others say there are no better options — and that Assad might be the best of the unacceptable alternatives.
Is the U.S. Doubling Down in Iraq? In 2011, President Obama withdrew US combat forces, hoping to see the last of American involvement in Iraq. Now, he’s authorized US airstrikes against the expanding forces of the Islamic State. Is the U.S. doubling down in Iraq?
The NATO Summit in Bucharest The North Atlantic Treaty Organization alliance was formed 59 years ago after the end of World War II. Its mission is often described as avoiding World War III by keeping the Germans down, the Russians out and the Americans in. It succeeded. The Cold War is over, and NATO membership has grown from twelve countries to 26. Most US allies wanted to wait until the sixtieth anniversary next year, but President Bush wanted another summit before he left office, and he's now in Bucharest, Romania for three days of meetings . He wants more NATO troops in Afghanistan, more member nations, and approval of applications from Ukraine and Georgia. Russia's President Putin could not ignore that challenge, and it's not expected to happen. We look at the prospects for Afghanistan. Is the alliance itself becoming a two-tier institution, with some members letting others do the heavy lifting? Has NATO outlived its usefulness?
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.