FROM David Satterfield
More Troops? More Diplomacy? Both? The United States finally sat down with Iran and Syria in Baghdad on Saturday, a departure from past policy that appears to have changed almost nothing. Nevertheless, yesterday an Iranian spokesman called it a "constructive first step" and said it was looking forward to another meeting at the foreign minister level. Meantime, on his trip to South America, President Bush announced a call to Congress for 8200 new troops--4800 to bolster the Baghdad security plan. The Los Angeles Times reports that Pentagon planners have begun "plotting a fall back strategy that includes a gradual withdrawal of forces and renewed emphasis on training Iraqi fighters." Was it the first step in a long process or a dead end? What did other nations from around the region have to contribute? We speak with journalists in the US and Middle East, political scientists, the last senior US diplomat to speak one-on-one with Iranian officials in 2001 and the current senior Iraq advisor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
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?
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?