Aaron MacLean

At Mar-a-Lago, Focus on North Korea

Donald Trump, Xi JinpingThe Trump administration is dealing with a lot. Just consider the agenda this week: a nuclear war for its Supreme Court nominee on Capitol Hill, dueling investigations and political fights over contacts with Russia and the previous administration's handling of intelligence, a renewed push on health care, a visit of the President of Egypt and the King of Jordan to discuss peace in the Middle East, and of course the two-day visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Mar-a-Lago.

What the Jim Webb Debacle in Annapolis Is Teaching the Military

Jim WebbImagine you are a young midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy processing the news that Jim Webb—Annapolis class of '68, recipient of the Navy Cross, former senator and secretary of the Navy, former member of the Annapolis faculty, bestselling novelist and journalist—has been forced by political pressure to decline an award for distinguished alumni at your school this week.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting Chinese Marines

Analysis: The explosive growth of the PLA Marine Corps tells us something important about China's ambitions

Chinese marinesRecent press reports that have received little attention in the West indicate that China is quintupling the size of its marine corps, from roughly 20,000 to 100,000 troops.

Korea on the Brink

Analysis: President Park's spectacular fall means nothing good for U.S.-Korea relations

Protesters gather and occupy major streets in the city center for a rally against South Korean President Park Geun-hye on December 3The speed of now-former South Korean President Park Geun-hye's spectacular fall from power took many foreign observers by surprise. After all, the initial reports last autumn that were to snowball into a generational political crisis seemed pretty bland. The daughter of the president's family friend and "spiritual adviser" Choi Soon-sil had apparently been accepted into a prestigious women's university as a result of political pressure. An "equestrian scholarship" had been invented as a pretext for getting her in despite comparatively weak grades. Students at the school—not fans of the conservative president, unsurprisingly—were protesting.

China’s Dangerous Long Game in Taiwan

Just over twenty years ago, President Bill Clinton responded to Chinese missile tests and amphibious exercises designed to intimidate Taiwan by dispatching two U.S. aircraft carriers to the vicinity of the island, which lies about 100 miles off the coast of the Communist mainland. Times change. In January of this year, China sailed an aircraft carrier—purchased from Russia and commissioned in 2012—leisurely around Taiwan.

Mighty Mouse

Review: John Bew, 'Clement Attlee: The Man Who Made Modern Britain'

Clement AttleeThere are three stories by which an American familiar with the career of Winston Churchill, Britain's savior, could become quickly apprised of that of Clement Attlee, its transformer. The first occurs in Stepney, East London, in January 1911.

Our New Afghanistan Strategy Must Get Tough on Pakistan

Put everything on the table, including Kashmir

Yesterday the Pentagon presented its recommendations to the White House for how to defeat ISIS. It is likely that the military campaign that will follow President Trump's final decision will look a good deal like President Obama's, albeit with looser restrictions, and possibly a dimmer view towards Iranian influence in Iraq. Meanwhile, the Pentagon, the State Department, and the National Security Council are all hard at work formulating a new approach in Afghanistan. They must resist the temptation to recommend a "more-of-the-same-but-with-a-freer-hand" approach to the president.

Count Tessin Went to Paris and All Sweden Got Was This Lousy Museum

Review: 'Treasures from the Nationalmuseum of Sweden: The Collections of Count Tessin' at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City through May 14

Rembrandt's 'Three Thatched Cottages by a Road'As someone who once went out after dinner as a graduate student and spent my last remaining dollars on a used book, figuring that I could squeeze an advance on my next stipend disbursement out of the college dean the next morning, I get what Count Carl Gustaf Tessin was about. Tessin was a Swedish politician, man of letters, memoirist, and art lover who, following the success of his party in 1738, accepted an appointment as an ambassador to the court of Louis XV. Once in Paris, he embarked on a glorious binge of collection, commissioning, and buying vast numbers of paintings and prints.

There Is No Solution in Afghanistan

Analysis: The road to Kabul goes through Islamabad and New Delhi

Afghan national police officersThe American predicament in Afghanistan is at once ridiculous and tragic. More than 8,000 American troops remain in the country, prosecuting the longest war in our nation's history. Overlapping networks of insurgent groups—most prominently the Taliban—had a good year in 2016, seizing terrain and conducting terror strikes to destabilize the U.S.-backed Kabul government. The American commander in the country wants a "few thousand" more troops. Despite the supporting role that the U.S. contingent is meant to play, casualties are still being sustained, sometimes in places with depressingly familiar names—as in Sangin, seized from the Taliban a few years ago at the expense of gallons of British and U.S. Marine blood. Two Americans were wounded there last week.

Here There Be Dragons

Review: Michael R. Auslin, 'The End of the Asian Century: War, Stagnation, and the Risks to the World's Most Dynamic Region'

Michael R. Auslin describes his valuable new book as a "bearish" account of the prospects for a forthcoming Asian Century. A decade ago this would also have been a contrarian analysis, but not in 2017.