Alexander Kirss

Precept, Aspiration, and the Foreign Policy Debate Under Trump

Given the vagueness, some might say vacuity, of the foreign policy slogans being offered by Donald Trump’s presidential administration—chief among them the bumper sticker ready “America First” whose limits even his own top advisors don’t appear to fully understand—Francis Gavin’s recent critique of foreign policy buzzwords certainly is timely. More than that, it is also…

Mattis Shouldn’t Steer Trump’s Foreign Policy Ship

In a presidential administration veritably stuffed with characters, retired four-star General James Mattis, who serves as Secretary of Defense, remains one of the most studied though least understood personalities. An original member of the “Axis of Adults” tasked with moderating the impulsive behavior of President Trump and the more scurrilous members of his staff, Mattis…

President Trump, Please Don’t Bomb North Korea

North Korea likely cannot currently hit the United States with a nuclear weapon, but could be able to by the end of Donald Trump’s first term in office. It’s certainly a difficult situation for the United States to be in, and one that foreign policy hawks will almost certainly leverage to argue for either preventive…

Trump Can’t Have His Deterrence Cake and Eat It Too

In the wake of Donald Trump’s tomahawk missile strike against Syria, pundits and policy observers have been quick to crow about the deterrent value of such strikes. Even Vice President Mike Pence couldn’t pass up the opportunity to comment while on an official visit to East Asia, noting that “the world witnessed the strength and…

The Bloom is Officially Off the Trump Foreign Policy Rose

A little over a year ago, then presidential candidate Donald J. Trump laid out his foreign policy ideology in the New York Times. Trump noted that he was open to rethinking the United States’ relationship to other countries, and, although “not an isolationist,” was decidedly “America first.” The most notable thing about Trump’s early foreign…

The End of the Asian Century Doesn’t Require U.S. Leadership

You wouldn’t know it from reading daily headlines, but—setting aside the wellspring of salacious rumors and accusations surrounding contacts between the campaign team for Donald Trump and the Russian government—arguably the most pressing foreign policy area for now-President Trump’s first term may very well rest in East Asia rather than Eastern Europe. Over the past…

Breaking Down the Trumpian Foreign Policy Realignment

Donald Trump has sown disagreement and division in the American electorate like few other presidential candidates, much less presidents, in the history of the United States.  Amidst this widespread disagreement, however, the Trump-fueled realignment in the realm of foreign policy thinking stands out for its distinct pattern of fracture. Initially, it was tempting to analyze…

The Costs of Eradicating Radical Islamic Terrorism

President Donald J. Trump vowed in his inaugural address to “unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.” He repeated the promise the following day in contested remarks delivered at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). While such hyperbolic language was ripe for applause on…

Donald Trump’s Paper Tiger World

The paper tiger fallacy, portraying an opponent as incredibly strong yet eager to concede, is a tried and true trope of foreign policy punditry for good reason. It rectifies a critical flaw in premeditated policy arguments by allowing the user, if unchallenged, to sustain the fiction that their preferred course of action will not only…

The United States Shouldn’t Roll Over for Russia in Ukraine

Writing recently in The National Interest, Jeffrey Burt, James Hitch, Peter Pettibone, and Thomas Shillinglaw argue that the first step in a three-step strategy for Donald Trump’s presidential administration in regard to the simmering conflict in Ukraine is for the United States and Russia to “accommodate themselves to ‘agreeing to disagree’ on the status of…

Precept, Aspiration, and the Foreign Policy Debate Under Trump

Given the vagueness, some might say vacuity, of the foreign policy slogans being offered by Donald Trump’s presidential administration—chief among them the bumper sticker ready “America First” whose limits even his own top advisors don’t appear to fully understand—Francis Gavin’s recent critique of foreign policy buzzwords certainly is timely. More than that, it is also…

Mattis Shouldn’t Steer Trump’s Foreign Policy Ship

In a presidential administration veritably stuffed with characters, retired four-star General James Mattis, who serves as Secretary of Defense, remains one of the most studied though least understood personalities. An original member of the “Axis of Adults” tasked with moderating the impulsive behavior of President Trump and the more scurrilous members of his staff, Mattis…

President Trump, Please Don’t Bomb North Korea

North Korea likely cannot currently hit the United States with a nuclear weapon, but could be able to by the end of Donald Trump’s first term in office. It’s certainly a difficult situation for the United States to be in, and one that foreign policy hawks will almost certainly leverage to argue for either preventive…

Trump Can’t Have His Deterrence Cake and Eat It Too

In the wake of Donald Trump’s tomahawk missile strike against Syria, pundits and policy observers have been quick to crow about the deterrent value of such strikes. Even Vice President Mike Pence couldn’t pass up the opportunity to comment while on an official visit to East Asia, noting that “the world witnessed the strength and…

The Bloom is Officially Off the Trump Foreign Policy Rose

A little over a year ago, then presidential candidate Donald J. Trump laid out his foreign policy ideology in the New York Times. Trump noted that he was open to rethinking the United States’ relationship to other countries, and, although “not an isolationist,” was decidedly “America first.” The most notable thing about Trump’s early foreign…

The End of the Asian Century Doesn’t Require U.S. Leadership

You wouldn’t know it from reading daily headlines, but—setting aside the wellspring of salacious rumors and accusations surrounding contacts between the campaign team for Donald Trump and the Russian government—arguably the most pressing foreign policy area for now-President Trump’s first term may very well rest in East Asia rather than Eastern Europe. Over the past…

Breaking Down the Trumpian Foreign Policy Realignment

Donald Trump has sown disagreement and division in the American electorate like few other presidential candidates, much less presidents, in the history of the United States.  Amidst this widespread disagreement, however, the Trump-fueled realignment in the realm of foreign policy thinking stands out for its distinct pattern of fracture. Initially, it was tempting to analyze…

The Costs of Eradicating Radical Islamic Terrorism

President Donald J. Trump vowed in his inaugural address to “unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.” He repeated the promise the following day in contested remarks delivered at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). While such hyperbolic language was ripe for applause on…

Donald Trump’s Paper Tiger World

The paper tiger fallacy, portraying an opponent as incredibly strong yet eager to concede, is a tried and true trope of foreign policy punditry for good reason. It rectifies a critical flaw in premeditated policy arguments by allowing the user, if unchallenged, to sustain the fiction that their preferred course of action will not only…

The United States Shouldn’t Roll Over for Russia in Ukraine

Writing recently in The National Interest, Jeffrey Burt, James Hitch, Peter Pettibone, and Thomas Shillinglaw argue that the first step in a three-step strategy for Donald Trump’s presidential administration in regard to the simmering conflict in Ukraine is for the United States and Russia to “accommodate themselves to ‘agreeing to disagree’ on the status of…