Why Trump Is the Islamic State’s Dream Candidate

The GOP candidate’s reaction to terrorism — his anti-Muslim rhetoric and his misunderstanding of Middle Eastern politics — is exactly what extremists want in a U.S. president.

Foreign Policy

SEPT 19, 2016

Every time there is a terrorist attack attributed to Muslim extremists anywhere in the world, Donald Trump will rush forward to claim, as he did after an Easter bombing in Pakistan, that he alone can solve the problem of radical Islamic terrorism. His eagerness to score political points has come back to hurt him in the past, as when, following this summer’s mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, he sent a tasteless tweet bragging: “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!” He must have been deeply disappointed that the Orlando attack, which resulted in the deaths of 49 people, did not give him a boost in the polls. But, he apparently figures, there is still time to make political hay out of the suffering of others.

Read more: Why Trump Is the Islamic State’s Dream Candidate

It’s All Fun and Games, Until Someone Unleashes Death Squads

Anyone wondering how the bare-knuckle populism of Donald Trump’s campaign would translate to office should take a look at the Philippines.

Foreign Policy

SEPT 15, 2016

Listening to Donald Trump’s outlandish pronouncements, it’s all too easy to think: “He’ll never do that once in office. He’ll be restrained by wise advisors and act much more thoughtfully as president than he does as a presidential candidate.” Maybe so, but recent events in the Philippines demonstrate the dangers of voting into office an ignorant demagogue with a big mouth.

The new president of the Philippines, Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte, caught the attention of Americans recently by referring to President Barack Obama as the “son of a whore,” but, in the greater context, that is the least of his sins. There is a reason he is being called “Duterte Harry” and the “Trump of the Philippines” — and those monikers are not intended as compliments. Duterte is showing just what bare-knuckle populism looks like in action, and it’s not a pretty picture.

Read more: It’s All Fun and Games, Until Someone Unleashes Death Squads

Who's better for his people? Putin or Obama? The answer is obvious.

Los Angeles Times

SEPT 13, 2016

Donald Trump has gotten a lot of well-justified criticism for his paeans to Vladimir Putin, Russia’s anti-American dictator. Just last week Trump said that Putin has “very strong control over a country.… Certainly in that system he’s been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader.”

Read more: Who's better for his people? Putin or Obama? The answer is obvious.

Trump will never be ready to lead on foreign policy

Republican presidential nominee can't stop with 'rookie mistakes.'

USA Today

SEPT 12, 2016

Back in July, when Donald Trump suggested that he might not defend NATO allies if they are attacked by Russia, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell chalked it up to a “rookie mistake.” Well it’s now September, and Trump has been running for president for more than a year. Yet he continues to make jaw-dropping statements on the subject of national security.

Read more: Trump will never be ready to lead on foreign policy

Soft Power

Major General Edward Lansdale pioneered modern counterinsurgency techniques and played a key role in implementing U.S. geopolitical strategy during the Cold War. Here, historian and national security expert Max Boot reveals the secret of his success: Lansdale knew, like few other people, how to listen. Mastery of this simple but often-overlooked skill is critical to every leader professionally and personally.

Octavian Report

JUL 2016

Edward Lansdale is now all-but-forgotten — a state of affairs I hope to rectify by publishing a new biography of him. But at one time he was a legend.

Read more: Soft Power

In the Shadow of the Towers

In a heartbreaking chapter, Wright recounts the efforts to free five Americans kidnapped by ISIS in Syria. Only one emerged alive.

Wall Street Journal

AUG 23, 2016

No book about the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon has won as much acclaim, and deservedly so, as Lawrence Wright’s “The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11.” Its multi-talented author, a longtime writer for the New Yorker, even staged a one-man play, “My Trip to Al-Qaeda,” about his reporting experiences. Since publishing “The Looming Tower” in 2006, Mr. Wright has gone on to produce two other impressive books: one about Scientology, the other about the Camp David negotiations between Jimmy Carter, Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat.

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“Destined to be the classic account of what may be the oldest . . . hardest form of war.” —John Nagl, Wall Street Journal


"Enormous, brilliant and important…. Terrific… Astute… Boot’s Invisible Armies should be required reading in the White House and Pentagon." —Michael Korda, Daily Beast

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