Time to Rethink Arms Sales to Taiwan

Even if Joe Biden wins the election, don’t expect the U.S. to stop selling arms to Taiwan anytime soon. For its part, the Trump administration has gone all in on arming the self‐​governing island. On Oct. 26, the Trump administration notified Congress of plans for a $2.37 billion sale of Harpoon missiles to Taiwan, which followed an …

2020 Arms Sales Risk Index

To promote debate and help improve U.S. decision making about arms sales we created the Arms Sales Risk Index, now in its third year. By identifying the factors linked to negative outcomes of arms sales, such as dispersion, diversion, and the misuse of weapons by recipients, the index provides a way to measure the risk involved with …

The U.S. Is Selling Arms to Riskier Clients

Arms sales have been a fixture in American foreign policy since the advent of the Cold War. Selling weapons is a popular strategy in Washington because government officials believe that arms sales provide them a low-risk and flexible tool for reinforcing alliances and containing adversaries while benefiting the US economy. And despite Donald Trump’s skepticism …

Trump’s Dismal Drone Policy

The Trump administration is looking to allow U.S. defense contractors to expand the sale of drones, including armed drones, worldwide. Advocates point to the economic benefits and suggest it will strengthen U.S. partnerships in the fight against terrorism, but their arguments are misguided. In addition to bolstering authoritarian regimes, recent history suggests that selling drones comes with …

Trump Extends Travel Ban to 6 Countries — but Is OK with Selling Arms to Those Same Places

The Trump administration announced Friday that it is adding six new countries to the existing travel ban, joining the seven already on the list. The ban means that citizens living in these nations cannot get visas to travel to the United States without getting a special waiver, dramatically reducing the number of people from these countries visiting the United States. …

Will Trump End the Endless Wars?

Donald Trump made headlines in 2016 when he stood on a debate stage with 16 other Republican candidates and called the war in Iraq “a horrible mistake.” More recently Trump decried America’s need to exit “endless wars” when he tweeted that the United States would withdraw 2,000 American troops from Syria. But despite Trump’s rhetoric, the …

Explaining U.S. Arms Sales

This past June, the U.S. State Department inspector general who was fired by President Trump, revealed that the administration discouraged him from investigating arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which the administration has pursued despite intense opposition in Congress in light of Saudi Arabia’s disastrous war in Yemen and the murder of Washington Post journalist, Jamal Khoshoggi. These investigations …

The Democrats’ Search for a New Foreign Policy

Biden is in good shape to win the White House next month. What will his foreign policy look like? As I wrote last year in an article for the German magazine Internationale Politik, Biden offers the closest thing to yesterday’s foreign policy vision of any of the major contenders this year. But more broadly there …

What Ukraine Tells Us about Trump

According to a formal whistleblower complaint, President Donald Trump withheld Congressionally-appropriated aid from Ukraine in an attempt to pressure Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate Trump’s 2020 political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. In addition to seeking dirt on Biden, Trump also asked Zelensky to help locate the computer server allegedly used by …

Trump’s Iran Strategy: Maximum Pressure, Minimum Impact

President Trump is at it again, taking to Twitter to announce that he had directed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to ratchet up sanctions on Iran in the wake of the missile strike against Saudi oil facilities. But while the world can be glad that Trump hasn’t yet decided to start a war with Iran, Trump’s latest sanctions are another chapter …