• Articles,  National Interest,  Publications

    The Nuances of Navigating a Politically Charged Northeast Asia

    Seventy-five years ago, on Sept. 2, 1945, dignitaries from nine Allied Powers boarded the USS Missouri to bear witness to history. Three days earlier, the magnificent warship had entered Tokyo Bay. It was flying the same flag flown over the White House on December 7, 1941, the day of the surprise Japanese air attack on Pearl Harbor that catapulted the United States into World War II. Now, almost four years after the attack, a small Japanese delegation joined the gathering on the deck of the USS Missouri and, at the invitation of Gen. Douglas McArthur, two members signed a brief document proclaiming “unconditional surrender … of all Japanese armed forces.” In twenty-three minutes, with a few pen strokes and polite ceremony,…

  • Articles,  National Interest

    These Are the High Stakes of the NATO and Trump-Putin Summits

    Trump and America’s allies must stand firm while also not sleep-walking into war. The summit between President Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin scheduled for July 16 in Helsinki is now a certainty. While all such encounters between the United States and Russia carry strategic weight, this one is crucial. The Russian meeting is preceded by Trump’s fraught attendance at the July 11–12 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit and a next-day visit to an uneasy United Kingdom. This means the Helsinki summit will climax what may prove to be the most-important six-day period so far this century. Every foreign power —not least, China—will watch closely. President Vladimir Putin’s …

  • Articles,  National Interest

    Zapad 2017: Should We Fear Russia’s Latest Military Dress Rehearsal?

    The Russian military is now a sharpened policy tool of choice for an emboldened but strategically defensive regime that relies on preemption. In mid-September, Russia will conduct Zapad “West” 2017, a major quadrennial military exercise that takes place near the borders of the Baltic States and Poland as well as inside independent Belarus and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. Not since the end of the Cold War has a modern-day military exercise prompted as much speculation and concern as this Western-oriented display of Vladimir Putin’s machines of war. The prospect of Zapad 2017 raises tantalizing and worrisome questions. Will it turn out to be a traditional preparedness operation, in which…