//  4/23/17  //  Topic Update


As the conflict between the U.S. and North Korea escalates, lawmakers urge President Trump to look to China for help (WaPo).

  • But the U.S. must take into account China’s promise to defend North Korea, explain Julian Ku and Chris Mirasola at Lawfare.
  • Vice President Mike Pence declared “the era of strategic patience is over,” with North Korea during his visit to the region. (NYT) (WaPo) (Politico). 
  • President Trump echoed this sentiment when he said North Korea has ‘gotta behave.’ (Politico).
  • President Trump should be careful to not let overconfidence box him into a showdown with North Korea, explains the Editorial Board of the NYT. 
  • A miscommunication led the White House to announce that an American aircraft carrier was sent into the Sea of Japan as a deterrent signal to North Korea when it was actually in the Sundra Strait (NYT).
  • The White House denied misleading the public about sending an aircraft carrier toward North Korea (WaPo).
  • Gail Collins examines President Trump’s provocative, and ultimately false, claims that U.S. warships were being sent to the region in response to North Korean provocations (NYT).
  • Vice President Pence assured Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that the United States stands “100 percent” behind Japan in working to defuse risks from North Korea’s nuclear program (Associated Press).
  • Secretary Tillerson compared Iran to North Korea in public remarks and offered strong criticism of the Iran nuclear deal (WaPo).
  • Doyle McManus argues that the Trump Administration has executed a “diplomatic pivot” on North Korea that could lead to negotiations (LA Times).
  • The ongoing North Korean threat requires pressure on China and military restraint from President Trump, argues Nicholas Kristof (NYT).

President Trump’s use of “the Mother of All Bombs” does not run afoul of any international humanitarian lawexplain Michael Schmitt and Lt. Cdr. Peter Barker at Just Security.

  • The drastic move may have negative strategic consequences for the U.S. in Afghanistan, argues Max Boot (NYT).
  • Meanwhile, Ali Latifi documents the aftermath of the U.S. strike in Afghanistan (NYT).

The motivations of the Administration matter for analyzing the legality of the United States striking a Syrian airbase, argues Michael Adams for Just Security.

  • Itamar Rabinovich discusses the Administration’s next move in Syria. (Lawfare)
  • Several bills have been proposed to help deal with the Syria conflict. (WaPo).
  • Michael Anton, in an interview with The Global Politico, suggests the President does not intend to use the U.S. military to effect regime change in Syria.
  • Unilateral humanitarian intervention like that in Syria is illegal and potentially criminal, argues Kevin Jon Heller (Opinio Juris).
  • Heller’s post responds to a defense of humanitarian intervention by Jennifer Trahan (Opinio Juris).
  • On Lawfare, Elizabeth McElvein analyzes the polling data on public support for U.S. missile strike in Syria.
  • The strike on Syria was a violation of the UN Charter, but “no one seems to care,” writes Julian Ku at Vox.

The Trump Administration must navigate multiple land mines on the horizon in the United States’ relationship with Iran to avoid crisis, explains Trita Parsi (NYT).

  • Iran’s foreign minister responded with charges of U.S. hypocrisy after Secretary Tillerson publicly criticized the country while the administration nevertheless certified Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal (Politico).

The Trump Administration’s decision to strengthen U.S. ties to Bahrain and remove human rights restrictions will likely result in more instability in the Gulf Region, argues Murtaza Hussain (The Intercept).

The United States foreign policy goal should be motivated by the desire to keep the United States out of a new warargues Jeffrey Sachs for the Boston Globe.

  • Temperament matters in foreign policy, argues Josh Glaser for Cato At Liberty.
  • The Wall Street Journal argues that “it’s dangerous for Presidents to sell a military mirage.”

It is important to distinguish the Trump Administration’s military actions from those of the Obama Administrationhighlights Kate Brannen at Just Security.

President Trump has yet to nominate a State Department official responsible for diplomatic security, a shocking omission after making the 2012 Benghazi attack a centerpiece of his campaign against Hillary Clinton, argues Austin Wright in Politico.


Updates | The Week of January 22, 2018

1/28/18  //  Daily Update

President Trump threatened to take aid away from Palestine if Palestinian leadership remained unwilling to negotiate with Israel. Vice President Mike Pence announced that the new embassy in Jerusalem would open in 2019.

Updates | The Week of January 15, 2018

1/14/18  //  Daily Update

President Trump refuses to certify that the Iranian nuclear disarmament deal is in America’s best interests, but is expected to allow the accord to continue. The Trump administration announces it will suspend most security assistance to Pakistan.

Zachary Piaker

Columbia Law School

Updates | The Week of December 18, 2017

12/24/17  //  Daily Update

President Trump said in a speech on national security that Russia and China “seek to challenge American influence, values and wealth,” but did not directly address Russian interference in the 2016 election. A majority of nations in the United Nations General Assembly voted in favor of a resolution rebuking America's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocate the US embassy to the city.