Bottom Line Up Front As the recent World War I centenary tribute in Paris foreshadowed, the world order may be shifting, with the contours of a ‘Post-American Order’ slowly taking shape. The defining characteristic of a post-American world would be multipolarity, with revisionist powers like Russia and China growing ...

For decades, former secretary of state and White House chief of staff James Baker has touted his version of a salty military catchphrase as a good-government mantra: “Prior preparation prevents poor performance.” That doesn’t necessarily apply to intelligence; even exquisite inputs from the CIA and other spy agencies cannot guarantee that ...

President Donald Trump has informed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that he will not be attending the summit between the two leaders set to take place in Singapore on June 12, following a series of aggressive statements made by both parties. It is not yet clear whether the cancellation ...

North Korea has threatened to pull out of planned talks between leaders Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump, citing opposition to U.S. demands for unilateral denuclearization and comments made by national security advisor John Bolton that referenced the “Libyan model” for denuclearization. President Trump has clarified that the U.S. ...

Months of fruitful engagement between North Korea, South Korea and the United States may soon turn sour. Yesterday, Pyongyang warned that ongoing joint military exercises and aggressive statements made by the Trump administration were damaging the diplomatic atmosphere. The regime canceled upcoming talks scheduled with South Korea, and threatened to ...

President Donald Trump announced Tuesday afternoon that the United States would withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, or JCPOA, and re-impose harsh sanctions on Iran—including both JCPOA-related sanctions as well as additional economic sanctions.  In response, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced his country would abide by the tenants of the ...

The Panmunjom Declaration gives us hope that denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is possible.  The Summit of South Korean President Moon Jae-in with North Korea’s Kim Jung-un was heavy on atmospherics and compelling with a detailed Declaration that a few months ago would have been viewed as wishful thinking.  Yes, ...

At the time of this writing, Iran’s avuncular Foreign Minister Javad Zarif is about to conclude a six-day visit to New York during which he has conducted a furious outreach to every conceivable advocate of the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Although ...

On Saturday, North Korea announced it was suspending nuclear weapons and ballistic missile testing, ahead of this week’s summit with South Korea and ahead of a planned summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in June. Cipher Brief expert Amb. Joseph DeTrani, former envoy to the Six Party Talks, gave his ...

Cipher Brief experts debated the risk versus blowback of striking North Korea before it has a chance to strike the continental United States, at The Cipher Brief’s 2018 annual Threat Conference, in Sea Island, Ga. Admiral (ret.) James “Sandy” Winnefeld, former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during ...

Public reactions to prospects for a breakthrough at a Trump-Kim summit are proving a triumph of hope over experience. North Korea has been feeling the heat from the Trump administration’s effective “maximum pressure” campaign, and has every incentive to gut its momentum, or reverse it. In response, Kim Jong Un ...

As Russia was announcing who it would kick out over the mass expulsion of Russian spies over a nerve agent attack in Britain, the U.K.’s National Security Adviser Mark Sedwill was in Washington Thursday, conferring with Americans on next steps to check Moscow’s aggression. “It’s mainly about a coherent approach ...

President Donald Trump has agreed to meet with Kim Jong Un and the other players, China and North Korea, are preparing. The question is: How should Trump prepare for the meeting? Experts find a number of reasons to be skeptical about this abrupt announcement, especially the lack of lower-level preparation ...

The U.S., EU and other Western allies announced Monday that they would expel a total of more than 100 Russian diplomats they claim are spies, in retaliation for the nerve agent attack on former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Britain. The U.S., UK and many other ...

The key to understanding the remarkable developments over North Korea in recent weeks is that the two Koreas have been working jointly to manage the perceived risks from the United States and China. This cooperation has been managed on intelligence channels often employing relationships forged during the Sunshine Policy over ...

On Thursday, South Korean national security adviser Chung Eui-yong announced that President Donald Trump had accepted an invitation to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and the meeting will take place “by May” at a time and place to be determined. This development could be referred to as a ...

The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics closed on Sunday, but the games may have opened the door for dialogue between the United States and North Korea. Following a meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean representatives, the South Korean government announced that North Korea was willing to have talks ...

Bottom Line: While the Trump administration has recently pressured South Korea on trade practices, the two nations remain united on pushing North Korea toward denuclearization, despite Pyongyang’s attempts to drive a wedge between the two. It is unlikely that their financial disagreements will disrupt that united front, but the money ...

North Korea’s Olympic delegation has left Pyeongchang, and stuck South Korean President Moon Jae-in with a decision: whether to accept an invitation to Pyongyang for talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. It would be the first time a South Korean president has visited the North Korean capital city since ...

Bottom Line: Multiple rounds of peace talks aimed at ending Syria’s seven-year civil war have failed to yield results or relieve a catastrophic humanitarian crisis throughout the country. While the Trump administration throws its support behind a United Nations-led process that aims to deliver a roadmap for peace, Russia has ...

“Talk today.” That’s the substance of recent advice Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has been giving to President Donald Trump about North Korea. Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton takes a different tack. The essence of his message is “strike now.” Both camps are far too impatient. “Absolutely and ...

Bottom Line: North and South Korean Olympians may be marching together come February after Tuesday’s breakthrough talks – the first between the two sides in two years – but North Korea’s staunch refusal to discuss its nuclear weapons program means a likely return to nuclear impasse after the Olympic games ...

North and Sound Korea have held their first high-level meeting in two years – agreeing to send North Korean athletes to the upcoming Olympics in the South Korean resort of Pyeonchang -- and to reopen a military hotline. It’s a welcome warming to the nuclear chill on the Korean Peninsula, ...

Russia’s annexation of Crimea, intervention in eastern Ukraine, and meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election have escalated distrust and rancor between the U.S. and Russia to levels unprecedented since the Cold War. For two decades, President Vladimir Putin has driven a resurgent Russia to assert its interests globally, often ...

Conflicting signals about whether the U.S. is prepared to resume talks with North Korea raise questions about what conditions, if any, might be imposed and even how unified the administration of President Donald Trump really is on undertaking this kind of initiative. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson suggested during remarks ...

The Trump administration is outsourcing the Qatar crisis to Kuwait, banking on the Kuwaiti monarch to bring the months-long crisis to a close. But ahead of a key Gulf Cooperation Council meeting this week, it’s not clear who is going to show up. Last June, several GCC countries and Egypt ...

The fallout continued Thursday over President Donald Trump’s retweeting of anti-Islam videos originally posted by a British far-right fringe group. British Prime Minister Theresa May, on a foreign trip to Jordan, told reporters that “retweeting from Britain First was the wrong thing to do,” Reuters reported. Cipher Brief experts weighed ...

This has been an unprecedented year for nuclear proliferation in East Asia, namely in North Korea. If not halted quickly, it’s very possible the region will inadvertently stumble into nuclear conflict, with unimaginable casualties. So far, in 2017 North Korea has launched at least 20 missiles – the latest on ...

Imagine a general who says, “I’m the only one who matters here.” The response, as we used to say in junior high, might be, “You and what army?” Yet President Donald Trump can say “I’m the only one that matters,” when asked about unfilled State Department posts, and think he’s ...

“Trust” is not a word I would normally associate with what President Donald Trump says publicly, particularly in answering a question at a press conference. “Subtlety” is also not a normal characteristic of this American president when discussing difficult diplomatic problems such as dealing with North Korea. But I am ...

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday announced their commitment to defeating the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, in Syria and agreed “there is no military solution to the conflict in Syria,” they said in a joint statement. "The Presidents affirmed their commitment to Syria’s sovereignty, unity, ...

U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe both used Trump’s visit to Japan to bolster confidence in the U.S.-Japan alliance as the “cornerstone” of regional peace and security. Focus on the North Korean threat, as well as shared interests in the face of Chinese expansionism, allowed the ...

President Donald Trump’s trip to the region comes at an opportune time. The subject of North Korea will dominate much of the discussion in Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing. Let’s begin in Japan. Prime Minister Abe comes to these discussions after an election victory that gives him greater domestic support and ...

Nearly five months on, the “crisis” between Qatar and a coalition of nine countries led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates has reached a relatively stable equilibrium. The countries’ resultant blockade of Qatar - over its alleged support for terrorist groups and ties to Iran – has not ...

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi published an op-ed in the New York Times on Wednesday, denouncing the “illegal” referendum held by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of Iraq last month, but more importantly, making an impassioned case for Iraqi unity in the aftermath of ISIS’ defeat. The potential break-up ...

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signaled the Trump administration will be leaning on India to offset China’s regional influence, hailing deeper defense cooperation with New Delhi in remarks Wednesday. “Our defense ties are growing,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International ...

President Trump announced on Friday that he will not certify Iran’s compliance to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal. “We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror, and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout.” This move bounces the ...

Five months have passed since Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5 over allegations that Doha is supporting terrorism and that it embraces Iran and its regional agenda. The dispute is not only the most significant of its kind ...

On Sunday, the U.S. embassy announced the suspension of Turkish visa applications for the U.S., stating that “recent events…have forced the United States government to reassess the commitment of the government of Turkey to the security of U.S. mission facilities and personnel.” In retaliation, the Turkish government suspended its own ...

On Sunday, the U.S. embassy announced the suspension of Turkish visa applications for the U.S., stating that “recent events…have forced the United States government to reassess the commitment of the government of Turkey to the security of U.S. mission facilities and personnel.” In retaliation, the Turkish government suspended its own ...

Relations between Turkey and the United States have hit a new low point with tit-for-tat visa suspensions after the arrest of a U.S. embassy employee. "The last time bilateral ties between the two countries hit a crisis point like this would be late 1970s, in the aftermath of the Cyprus ...

President Donald Trump has called North Korean leader Kim Jong-un suicidal, but the CIA’s top Asia analysts said Wednesday that he’s a “rational actor” bent on survival. “Waking up one morning and deciding he wants to nuke” Los Angeles is not something Kim Jong-un is likely to do, said Yong ...

The new U.S. ambassador to Russia will go to Moscow at a grim time for U.S.-Russia relations, but his biggest challenge won’t come from the Kremlin — Washington will be the source of Jon Huntsman’s headaches. The new ambassador, confirmed by the Senate Thursday, faces a difficult balancing act between ...

Donald Trump’s address to assembled world leaders at the United Nations last week raised new doubts about his willingness to renew waivers for Iran and continue with the Iran nuclear accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Until then, there had been encouraging signs that senior cabinet ...

China and North Korea were no doubt as surprised as anyone by Donald Trump’s dramatic electoral victory. They had probably anticipated that a new Clinton Administration, like the Obama Administration before it, would be anesthetized by Chinese diplomacy and continue the policy of “strategic patience”—really, strategic neglect – that had ...

U.S. President Donald Trump and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani exchanged blows at the UN General Assembly in New York this week – taking aim at both the Iran nuclear deal, and each other’s leadership styles. Rouhani on Wednesday called the Trump Administration “rogue newcomers” to the world of politics ...

The dispute between Qatar and its four regional counterparts – Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates – has entered into its fourth month with no end in sight. After severing ties with Qatar, the four Arab countries imposed a blockade on the small Gulf nation and provided ...

The ongoing dispute between Qatar and its neighbors – Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates – has thrown the U.S. into a difficult situation. U.S. President Donald Trump has reaffirmed his support for Saudi Arabia’s policies, but at the same time has continued to work with Qatar, ...

Well into its fourth month, the tense standoff between Qatar and the four Arab nations that severed diplomatic ties with Doha – Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – shows no signs of resolution, as both sides remain reluctant to earnestly negotiate or offer any concessions. ...

At a time when U.S.-Russia relations are at an extreme low, Tuesday’s nomination hearing for the new U.S. Ambassador to Russia attracted less than a full house in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The nominee, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, told the Senators this is a “critical period” in U.S.-Russia ...