FROM Robert D. Kaplan
China's Island Factory The US is increasing naval forces in the western Pacific, where tensions are on the increase between China and neighboring countries. Now China is building five artificial islands in the South China Sea, turning shoals and reefs into islands in waters contested by Malaysia, Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam and the Philippines, a treaty ally of the United States. One observer says they're not really islands, but military runways surrounded by water. He's Robert Kaplan at the Center for a New American Security. He's author of Asia's Cauldron : The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific.
A Moment of Opportunity in US-Iranian Relations? America's rapprochement with Cuba has changed international diplomacy and domestic politics. Could Iran be next? President Obama recently told NPR that Iran has "incredible talent and resources and sophistication" — if it could "break through its isolation." President Hassan Rouhani recently took on his country's hardliners in a speech of "jaw-dropping boldness." That has some diplomats and reporters talking about a nuclear deal that could be a game-changer. Is that wishful thinking? Would Congress and America's allies, including Israel, find it unacceptable?
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
White House budget proposal slashes and burns President Trump's first budget request is considered dead on arrival in Congress — a familiar development in Capitol Hill. We hear what it reveals about the priorities of the new administration. What's likely to die… and what might survive?
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?