Time Looks Ripe for Japan-NATO Cooperation

NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg welcomes the Japanese defense minister, Tomomi Inada, in Brussels, January 5
NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg welcomes the Japanese defense minister, Tomomi Inada, in Brussels, January 5 (NATO)

Strategic thinkers have proposed closer cooperation between Japan and NATO for more than a decade. The circumstances are now such that this could become a reality. Read more

Possible Russian Collusion Matters Less Than Trump’s Cover-Up

American president Donald Trump speaks on the phone during a flight on Air Force One to Pennsylvania, January 26
American president Donald Trump speaks on the phone during a flight on Air Force One to Pennsylvania, January 26 (White House/Shealah Craighead)

The cover-up is worse than the crime. It’s a cliché, but Donald Trump proves it.

Last week, we learned that the president had asked the director of the FBI, James Comey, to end an investigation into the foreign ties of his security advisor, Michael Flynn. When Comey refused, Trump fired him. He admitted as much in an interview with NBC.

Now The Washington Post reveals that Trump asked two of America’s spy masters to undermine the FBI investigation by publicly denying there was any evidence of collusion between his 2016 presidential campaign and Russia. Read more

European Military Cooperation Need Not Weaken NATO

Italian and Portuguese army units take part in a NATO exercise in Santa Margarida, Portugal, October 21, 2015
Italian and Portuguese army units take part in a NATO exercise in Santa Margarida, Portugal, October 21, 2015 (Sebastien Frechette)

Tomáš Valášek, the director of Carnegie Europe, argues that European allies cannot assume Donald Trump’s aversion to NATO is an anomaly and the next president will put things right. The United States have been cooling on NATO for years, he writes:

A number of factors — a crisis in Europe that grips Americans’ imagination, an articulate pro-European leader in Washington, a crisis in the United States that the European allies help resolve — could revive America’s flagging interest in the alliance it created nearly seventy years ago. But for now, the passage of time and memories work against NATO.

Valášek is nevertheless uneasy about Europeans exploring a “backup” to the Atlantic alliance, arguing that continental security cooperation cannot come close to what Europe and North America have now.

Without plans, commands and sophisticated weapons in meaningful numbers, the Europeans may not on their own impress Russia, he warns — “and may therefore be unable to deter it from misbehaving.” Read more

Trump Gave a Surprisingly Intelligent Speech to Muslim Leaders

American president Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, arrive at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 20
American president Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, arrive at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 20 (White House/Shealah Craighead)

This could have gone a lot worse. The speech Donald Trump gave on Islam and terror in Riyadh on Sunday was surprisingly intelligent.

According to his prepared remarks, the president rejected the clash-of-civilizations paradigm some of his fanatical underlings, like Steve Bannon, have promoted.

“This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects or different civilizations,” Trump told an assembly of Muslim leaders.

This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it.

That is quite right — and a reversal from Trump’s previous rhetoric. Read more

What Will It Take for Republicans to Turn on Trump?

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence of the United States walk together on the White House grounds in Washington DC, May 11
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence of the United States walk together on the White House grounds in Washington DC, May 11 (White House/Benjamin Applebaum)

What does Donald Trump need to do for Republicans to lose faith in him?

The latest revelation from The Washington Post is that Trump disclosed highly classified information to Russian officials during a meeting in the Oval Office.

The president reportedly bragged about the “great intel” he was getting and went on to discuss aspects of an Islamist threat the United States learned through the espionage capabilities of a key partner. Read more

May Adopts Energy Policy Her Predecessor Called “Nuts”

British prime minister Theresa May delivers a news conference together with Carwyn Jones, the first minister of Wales, in Swansea, March 20
British prime minister Theresa May delivers a news conference together with Carwyn Jones, the first minister of Wales, in Swansea, March 20 (The Prime Minister’s Office/Jay Allen)

British prime minister Theresa May has adopted a policy her Conservative predecessor, David Cameron, once described as “nuts”.

When the opposition Labour Party proposed to freeze electricity rates in 2013, Cameron, then the Conservative Party leader, ridiculed it.

Now May has taken it over. Read more

Elect Macron to Move France Forward

Former French economy minister Emmanuel Macron speaks with farmers in Châlons-en-Champagne, September 1, 2016
Former French economy minister Emmanuel Macron speaks with farmers in Châlons-en-Champagne, September 1, 2016 (Facebook)

For once, the French are spoilt for choice.

Their presidential elections used to be a battle for the center between the mainstream left and the mainstream right. Now there are five candidates with a reasonable chance of qualifying for the second voting round in May, including a big-government socialist, a small-government conservative, a nationalist of the left and a nationalist of the right.

Our sympathies lie with the fifth man in the middle: Emmanuel Macron. Comfortable with neither the statist inclinations of the Socialist Party nor the social conservatism of the Republicans, he launched his own progressive movement last year for the rejuvenation of France. It represents the best alternative to the anti-globalism of Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Marine Le Pen. Read more