The Origins of New US-Turkish Relations

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For several years, there has been a significant shift underway in U.S. strategy toward the Middle East, where Washington has consistently sought to avoid...

The Pressure on China

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The Chinese People’s Liberation Army has begun minor operations to try to quell the unrest in Hong Kong. This is a step that the...

The Geopolitical Logic of the US-China Trade War

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The dispute was decades in the making.

US Military Options in Iran

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The United States has openly accused Iran of being behind the drone and cruise missile attacks on Saudi Arabia’s largest oil refinery. Now the...

Socialism and Capitalism

Socialism is a global political movement that emerged from the French Revolution. Its goal was to speak for the dispossessed, only sometimes as a democratic political party. In all of its guises, it has been a powerful political force in most of the world. In the United States, however, it has been relegated to the political margins, seen largely as alien to the American ethos. It has now emerged explicitly as a subject of debate in American politics and therefore requires some thought. Origin Stories The important difference between socialism and capitalism – even more important than what each actually preaches – is that capitalism is less an intellectual or moral system than a reality born of the industrial revolution. Socialism, on the other hand, has always been an intellectual movement, crafted by intellectuals such as Saint-Simon, Fourier, Lassalle and Marx, all of whom made the moral case for socialism and imagined what such a system would look like. These intellectuals loathed inequality and despised the intellectual shallowness of the rich and sought to create a political movement that could bring their vision to life. It was commandeered by politicians such as Karl Kautsky in Germany, and Vladimir Lenin in […]

Modeling the US Reaction to the Coronavirus

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The United States is under enormous pressure. The nature of the particular pressure is unique, though pressure on the United States from various forces...

George Friedman’s Thoughts: Compromising on Corona

Battling the coronavirus is essential. But the battle has costs, which are invariably measured against the gain. “No matter what the cost” – the approach many countries appear to be taking – is a principle that can be disastrous, particularly when the cost is so high that it cannot be borne socially. With the coronavirus, like all new and lethal diseases, alarm shapes the responses. As the cost starts to emerge, there is an inevitable recalibration. We are approaching that point of recalibration. First the risk. The coronavirus seems as difficult to contain as other coronaviruses like the common cold. Some people do not know they have been infected, and many who never fall ill carry the disease. Everyone is suspect. The only safe course is complete social isolation. That is of course impossible. Jobs must be worked, children must go to school, food must be bought and consumed, and so on. Humans are inherently social animals, and the perpetual threat of infection undermines a fundamental human imperative: to be with other people. Coronaviruses are persistent; they appear, disappear, reappear, mutate. There will be no clear moment at which the virus is eradicated, no moment at which the dread of […]

From China to India

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U.S.-China relations have been in decline for a long time. The United States had for years provided China with relatively free access to the...

D-Day and Stalin

Editor’s Note: The following analysis was published on the anniversary of D-Day in 2019. It has been lightly edited. Over 70 years after it was fought, D-Day remains one of the most vividly recalled battles in history. It was also one of the most decisive. There are those who will argue that the Allies would have won World War II regardless of the outcome of the Battle of Normandy. Indeed, similar arguments are made for most decisive battles. Two years ago, I wrote about the Battle of Midway, on the 75th anniversary of that campaign, and argued that a defeat there would have been disastrous to the global balance. But some readers rejected this, saying that, even if the U.S. had been defeated, it would have deployed ships into the Pacific and recovered. That might well be true, but as I will try to show, the invasion of France’s Calvados coast was a turning point in the war. Had it failed, the Allies likely would not have been able to recover. Far From Over The pivot was the Soviet Union. By the time the D-Day invasion was launched, the Soviet Union had been fighting the Germans for three years. Germany […]

Command of the Sea

Command of the sea is the foundation of American national security. Adm. Alfred Thayer Mahan, the greatest strategist in American history, identified it as the core American interest (though he wrote before the war on terrorism began and before the development of nuclear weapons). The United States, he argued, can be threatened only by an enemy naval force that could both invade its territory and curb its access to the oceans. Therefore, the foundation of America’s national security, as with Britain’s, had to be the command of the sea. Indispensable Sea Lanes Command of the sea guarantees security and trade. Ancient Rome certainly understood as much, focused as they were on controlling Mare Nostrum (or Our Sea, referring to the Mediterranean), which forced North African threats like Carthage to attack Rome on its flanks and ensured access to Egyptian crops. The land routes around the Mediterranean were powerful but slow. The naval routes were rapid but lighter, and commercially, they were indispensable. China and Iran are now trying to secure their sea lanes, or at least deny others access to them. For China, now a massive trading power, access to the world’s seas is an economic necessity. Its fear is […]

Iran and the United States: What Comes Next

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In order to understand the current confrontation between Iran and the United States, we might begin with the Persian-Babylonian wars. Alternatively, we could begin...

Turkey Makes Its Move

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In “The Next 100 Years,” I described Turkey as an emerging regional power that would over time extend its sphere of influence to resemble...