• Articles,  Publications,  The Hill

    Urgent: Extend New START treaty with Russia now

    I was heartened to see the new Biden administration publicly announce its strong interest to immediately extend the strategic New START nuclear treaty with Russia that is set to expire next week, on Feb. 5. This came after Biden announced his commitment to philosophically and substantively reenter the multi-national world by rejoining The Paris Climate Accord and the World Health Organization. Undoubtedly the White House is consulting closely with our close NATO allies, who are almost certainly greatly relieved by President Joe Biden’s accession to office. Russian President Vladimir Putin has also stated several times Russia’s openness to extend the treaty. Other than the ongoing battle with the implacable Coronavirus and grappling with our…

  • Articles,  Publications,  The Hill

    Closing the remaining US consulates in Russia is shortsighted

    Lost in the swirl of American post-election chaos, culminating in the appalling storming of the U.S. Capitol, and the reported major Russian cyber hacks was Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s notification to Congress on Dec. 10 about the State Department’s decision to close its remaining two consulates in Russia. The U.S. Consulate General Vladivostok, in the Russian Far East (RFE) distantly located from Moscow, would be fully shuttered, while the other in centrally located Ekaterinburg, suspended. The cited staffing issues relate to the 2017 tit-for-tat downsizing of diplomatic personnel and missions in the U.S. and Russia, as well as related cost challenges. To be clear: This is a unilateral U.S. decision. It must be emphasized…

  • Articles,  The Hill

    Why Are We Pulling Additional Forces Out of Germany?

    The Trump administration’s decision to unilaterally withdraw additional military forces from Germany is short-sighted and unsettling. Why now? And why during these so unsteady times? We’ve already drawn down so much in Europe and serious, unresolved threats clearly remain. Is this a carefully staffed policy decision or just planning by a small group of administration insiders? Why so little pre-coordination with host nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or even our own military commands in Europe? And why is the White House in such a hurry to get this done by September? Is this, in part, a personal jab toward Germany? These military drawdowns, often involving moving families and shutting bases,…

  • Articles,  Publications,  The Hill,  Uncategorized

    Americans should consider this a preparation drill for ‘The Big One’

    COVID-19 has awakened the most primordial fears and concerns within most of us. It is stealthy, contagious and lethal. It is statistically certain to kill a proportion of our population. It has no borders, no antidote and can spread as fast as we travel. Fueled by 24/7 media coverage, this pandemic has focused us existentially in a way that only a nuclear crisis could. Despite current sorrows and hardship, has its malignant arrival now actually done mankind a favor? In 2005, concerned by the recently concluded SARs pandemic, my U.S. Army 66th Military Intelligence Group in Darmstadt, Germany, conducted a “what if” tabletop exercise about how to survive and manage during…

  • Articles,  Publications,  The Hill

    Stepping back from the brink — and what’s next — in Iran

    Iran inadvertently created an opening for Washington and Tehran to step back from the brink of all-out war by not killing U.S. personnel in its retaliatory missile strike Tuesday night into two U.S. and coalition populated Iraqi airbases. Tehran’s belated admission Friday of accidentally shooting down Ukraine Air Flight 752 hours afterward near Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Airport may also have created a slender opportunity to further deescalate this still-simmering crisis, which began five days earlier when a U.S. drone strike killed the powerful Iranian chief of the IRGC Quds force, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad. I have no doubt that if the Iranian missile strike had killed Americans, a tremendous response…

  • Articles,  Publications,  The Hill

    Averting war in 2020

    In the first week of the new decade, we face another potential war in the Middle East. With last Friday’s early morning strike killing General Qassem Soleimani, the ruthlessly charismatic chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, we have entered uncharted waters. While on first blush I supported the strike, since then I have felt considerable unease, wondering if we are ready to bear the brunt of inevitable “laws of unintended consequences.” It is as if we’ve taken a big stick and overwhelmingly batted down a hornet’s nest. The question now is how and where the many hornets will sting. That Iran and its proxies will retaliate is the only predictable aspect…

  • Articles,  The Hill

    Averting war in 2020

    In the first week of the new decade, we face another potential war in the Middle East. With last Friday’s early morning strike killing General Qassem Soleimani, the ruthlessly charismatic chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, we have entered uncharted waters. While on first blush I supported the strike since then I have felt considerable unease, wondering if we are ready to bear the brunt of inevitable “laws of unintended consequences.”

  • Articles,  Publications,  The Hill

    Why NATO is worth preserving for US, Europe — and even Russia

    © Getty Images President Donald Trump is in London today for a short summit tomorrow with fellow leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Auspiciously it lands on the 70th anniversary year of NATO’s founding in the tense early days of the Cold War where it — along with the Marshall Plan — signaled a deep and long-term American commitment to Europe’s democracy-based freedom and stability. This investment allowed fellow democracies and peaceful nations to safely evolve, creating a global environment where U.S. interests and businesses could flourish. The summit comes at a pivotal time — accentuated by French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent declaration that the alliance was “brain-dead” — where the United…