Stories by Richard Haass

Expert Voices

Trump's Mideast diplomacy in the age of Twitter

Mike Pompeo and the Israeli prime minister shake hands in front of a row of Israel and American flags, standing behind two podiums.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his official residence in Jerusalem yesterday. Photo: Amir Cohen/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

It was another day of diplomacy in the age of Twitter, with @realDonaldTrump tweeting: "After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!"

Why it matters: The president’s tweet calls for a change in U.S. policy toward the Golan Heights but does not actually declare it. There are many reasons for the president not to turn his tweet into policy.  It would all but eliminate what little chance exists for peace between Israel and either the Palestinians or Arab states, such as Saudi Arabia. 

Expert Voices

Mattis exit further destabilizes Trump administration's foreign policy

Secretary Mattis at a lectern
Defense Secretary Mattis at the Pentagon on Nov. 28, 2018. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced Thursday that he will step down, after two difficult years in which he and President Trump were often not on the same page. Mattis underscored their differences in his resignation letter, telling Trump he had the right to a defense secretary with more closely aligned views.

Why it matters: Mattis was a traditionalist who believed in an international order led by the United States, in respecting and supporting its allies, and in keeping its commitments. His departure leaves the administration without an experienced, centrist foreign policy hand.

Expert Voices

At UN, more evidence that Trump is losing the world

President Donald Trump addresses the 73rd United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly on September 25, 2018 in New York City.
President Trump addresses the 73rd UN General Assembly on September 25, 2018, in New York City. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

President Trump's speech at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday morning depicted a United States under siege, finally pushing back after years of unfair trade pacts and free riding among allies. Clear warnings were issued: He rejected the International Criminal Court — echoing John Bolton’s speech two weeks ago — and the new global migration compact; from now on, foreign aid would go only to those the secretary of state deems friends. 

The big picture: President Trump put his America First doctrine forward as a model not just for the United States, but for other countries. He advised them to embrace nationalism over internationalism. The rest of his address hit familiar talking points: boasting about the American economy; praising sovereignty; denouncing globalism, unfair trade, the UN Human Rights Council, OPEC and the Iran nuclear deal; and vilifying China, Iran and Venezuela.