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?
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.
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?