Degrees in History, Politics and Iranian Studies. Wrote in the past for http://Fivethirtyeight.com. https://twitter.com/DanielBerman2
Reckoning With the Costs of Iraq 20 Years On
Next month will mark the two-decade anniversary of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. It deserves a more impartial evaluation than it has received.
Taiwan's Election and US Planning
While Washington is treating Beijing's intentions like a mystery box, Beijing is very clear that its approach to Taiwan is political first, with military to only follow a failure.
The United States and the Turkish Elections
The United States will face a careful balancing act as Erdogan confronts the greatest challenge to his rule in over two decades. A wrong move could push Turkey into the arms of Moscow and Beijing.
Brazil's Violent Transition
Contrary to the charges of conspiracists the United States played no role in the recent violence in Brazil's capital. A failure to reckon with polarization there will be rebound against the United States nonetheless.
Latin America's Unstable Pink Tide
For all the discussion about a "Pink Tide" in Latin America, the only left-leaning governments which are not in trouble are those which have yet to take office.
A Letter from London's New Winter of Discontent
A winter in a London on strike, without access to the NHS, with friends forgoing heat, and a government drifting aimlessly recalls stories of the 1970s.
Khamenei, the Succession, and the Collapsing Iranian Regime
A narrowing inner-circle, purges of the entire state apparatus, and popularity conflated with sedition. Khamenei's management of the Islamic Republic resembles the Shah's final years.
The Geopolitics of the World Cup
Protests over Gay Rights in Qatar reveal the declining influence of the West in large parts of the world.
Biden, the Politicization of Ukraine Aid, and Declining Support
The Biden Team have done well to champion aid to Ukraine, but the efforts to wield the issue as a weapon against Donald Trump and his supporters at home have contributed to declining public support for aid.
Netanyahu's victory reinforces the fact that for now he is the only man able to bridge Israel's divides and coopt the nation's fragmented political forces.
The Fall of Liz Truss
The fall of Liz Truss solves one of the City of London's problems, but few of the Conservative Party's and none of Britain's.
Putin's Nuclear Threats
Putin's nuclear threats should be taken for what they are. Expressions of frustration, not an indicator of immanent action.
The Challenge Facing Liz Truss
Damned if she does, damned if she doesn't. Liz Truss confronts a British economy in long-term decline with few tools.
The coverage of Italy's elections is high on alarmism about an inflated "fascist" threat and scarce when it comes to analysis of what actually transpired.
Iran Doesn't Want a Deal
The Biden Administration has been slow to grasp that internal dynamics in Iran mean that Tehran is not interested in a new nuclear accord.
The Battle to Replace Boris Johnson
Originally published by AMAC at https://amac.us/the-battle-to-replace-boris-johnson/
No one is engaging with the need for a sustainable endgame in Ukraine
( This was originally featured on Amac under a different title https://amac.us/ukraine-silences-doubters-and-takes-the-first-steps-to-win-war-with-russia/)
Europe’s Energy Crisis Approaches Breaking Point
(Originally published on AMAC https://amac.us/europes-energy-crisis-approaches-breaking-point/)
Iraq's Unrest is the product of a long series of American failures
(Originally published on AMAC https://amac.us/bidens-next-foreign-policy-disaster-destroying-iraq/)
Mikhail Gorbachev: A Noble Failure
(Originally published on AMAC https://amac.us/mikhail-gorbachev-a-noble-failure/)
Biden Risks Driving Saudi Arabia into Beijing's Arms
The United States cannot afford passive-aggression with a Saudi Arabia which has other options, and enormous political capital within Washington. (From AMAC https://amac.us/biden-driving-saudis-into-chinas-arms/)
How Biden’s Sanctions on Russian Energy Are Playing Right into Putin’s Hands
(Originally published on AMAC https://amac.us/how-bidens-sanctions-on-russian-energy-are-playing-right-into-putins-hands/)
Ontario's Conservative Election Victory
The sweep of Ontario's elections by Rob Ford's Progressive Conservatives highlights many of the same demographic forces realigning American and British politics. (Originally on AMAC )
Baby Formula Politics
The "Baby Formula Crisis" highlights once again how vulnerable global supply-chains are and the need for indigenous manufacturing capacity.
The Only Solution to the War in Ukraine Is on the Battlefield
(Originally published by AMAC https://amac.us/the-only-solution-to-the-war-in-ukraine-is-on-the-battlefield/)
(Originally published on AMAC https://amac.us/australias-election-is-a-reminder-that-deeds-matter-more-than-words/)
Orban's victory was not based on gerrymandering, but excellent political skills, an exploitation of the situation, and the errors of his opponents. Not to mention his own record in government. (Originally on AMAC)
Why I Think Momentum has turned in favor of Boris Johnson
Johnson's opponents never understood why previous efforts to unseat him both internally and externally failed, and hence are now committing the same mistakes.
What is Vladimir Putin Really Up To?
For all the panic about a prospective Russian invasion of Ukraine, little time has been invested in trying to determine what Putin might hope to achieve.
The only way to control the border is cooperation with Mexico and Central America
Biden cannot be blamed for migrants wishing to come to America. The responsibility for antagonizing the neghbors whose cooperation is vital to a functional border policy is entirely on him.
The Biggest Nation-Building Failure of the Last 30 Years Isn’t Afghanistan—It’s Russia
With the benefit of three decades, the greatest failure of US foreign policy was not failing to nation build in Afghanistan or Iraq, but the refusal to invest even minimal capital in making Russia's transition a success
Liberal Justin Trudeau, on the Precipice, Faces a Reckoning in Canada
After three elections, countless scandals, and three American Presidents, Justin Truedeau's luck may be about to run out.
Democracy Didn’t Fail in Afghanistan, Anti-Democratic Liberalism Did
Almost everything the US did in Afghanistan failed. But Democracy did not, as it was never seriously tried. (Originally published by AMAC https://amac.us/democracy-didnt-fail-in-afghanistan-anti-democratic-liberalism-did
Reflections on the on the fate of the Republic
The events at the US Capitol were not a victory for the Constitution or for Congress. Like most failed coups, the winners were political actors other than the protagonists.
We have a deal!
That the UK and the European Union concluded a trade agreement is far from any triumph of diplomatic skill. The real significance of Brexit lays in what the process revealed about both sides.
What if there was an election and no one cared? Venezuela's Opposition goes out with a whimper
Official turnout in Sunday's Venezuelan National Assembly election was a paltry 31% indicating that Maduro and his ruling PSUV did not even have to bother to rig. The opposition had all but ceased to exist beforehand.
A Deal at what cost?
Rumors of a breakdown in talks at the last moment between the UK and the EU in the past have been the prelude to the announcement of a new deal, it is unclear why this time should be different.
Present at the Restoration
Joe Biden's National Security team represents a belief that the Trump years were an aberration. It was the same conclusion Obama's incoming drew in 2009 regarding the Bush years.
Which Polls are right? Thoughts on the state of the race
After 2016. it was a given that skepticism would exist about Presidential polling. That uncertainty has manifested in two polling universes. One show ing a close EC race and a 3-4 point Biden lead and the other a blowout
A War No One Wants
The Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict has not only set back the development of both states, it has crippled the economic and political ambition of Turkey, Russia, Iran, and the West in the region. Yet it continues.
Present at One's Own Funeral: David Cameron's Memoirs
There is one character missing from David Cameron's memoirs, whose motives, thoughts, and feelings remain a mystery after hundreds of pages. The author
The Great Laziness: "The Great" Abandons Historical Accuracy for a Less Compelling and Backwards Fiction
Deviations from the historical record are common in entertainment. What is less common is deviations which make the past appear more backwards socially and less interesting dramatically.
Covid19: Where I am watching the numbers? - Updated Daily(Latest 4/27/2020)
For all the focus on Covid19 in Europe and the United States, it is the rise in cases and deaths outside of those continents which poses a longer-term threat to a quick economic recovery
How the Outbreak of the Corona-virus in Iran May Cause a Geopolitical Earthquake
All signs point to an uncontrolled outbreak of Ncov19 among Iran's political and military elite. The virus has the potential to not just topple the Iranian regime but reshape the Middle East.
Merkel Alone: Merkel's System is Sturdy But Lacks a Future
The resignation of Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauern was not a blow to the Chancellor per se. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer had already failed. But it raises questions whether anyone else can continue it.
The Real Problem with the Democratic Race is not Ideology but Boredom
After years of 24/7 crisis coverage by MSNBC and CNN, and complex intercene squabbles on left twitter, the Democrats have produced the most insider-friendly campaign in history. No wonder the public is tuning out
Why Republican Should Be Wary of Bernie Sanders
Republicans are eager to face Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders this fall, but should be wary of rushing into a manichean battle against Socialism without the proper groundwork having been laid
A Way out of the Brexit Impasse
Discussion has focused on Parliament's passage of legislation outlawing "No Deal" in terms of British domestic politics. But by allowing the EU to submit extensions to a Commons vote it opens a different option.
Jeremy Corbyn Holds No Deal in His Hands
A majority in Parliament probably will be able to stop a No Deal Brexit and almost everyone assumes it will. But all such assumptions rest on Jeremy Corbyn cooperating. The real question is why should he?
The Only Way for the Conservatives to Win on Brexit is to Lose
There is a lack of reality about the Conservative leadership contest that goes beyond basic math or parliamentary arithmetic. No one considers what they hope Brexit will accomplish.
Brexit at High Tide: Remain is winning the Guerilla War on Brexit
The Brexit Party won the 2019 European Elections in the United Kingdom, but Brexit as a cause lost. By failing to breakthrough outside traditional right-wing voter circles, all incentive for Labour to back Brexit is gone
Thoughts on the European Elections Part 1: Europe Wide
It was not a good night for the far-right in Europe or Brexiteers in the UK, but it was nowhere near as much of a success for their opponents as some seem to believe.
Theresa May united her party in the end
Theresa May's resignation represents not Conservative divisions over Brexit, but an increasing consensus. Whatever the merits of the policy, the Tories must go down as the party of Brexit.
The Farcical Self-Inflicted Disaster that is the Venezuelan Opposition
The Venezuelan opposition's efforts to remove Maduro have done more than anything else to ensure his continued survival, and Juan Guaido's bid for power is a farce that is in danger for transforming into tragedy
Parliament Fiddles, While Remainers Push Britain Towards the Cliff
Steve Baker may have not been at his most reflective when he lashed out at the House of Commons' grandstanding over indicative votes, but he was absolutely right to describe it as pantomime carried out by cowards.
The EU Gives the UK a Final Chance to Determine its Fate
The results of the EU Summit on March 21-22 were a major humiliation to Theresa May, as the EU bypassed her to issue an ultimatum directly to the UK Parliament. But they did so with little hope it would be taken up.
The EU Contemplates Letting the UK Fall Off the Cliff
While I still believe the UK is headed for a long Article 50 extension, I increasingly feel the EU is contemplating the prospect of a "Temporary No Deal" to remove the threat of an A50 revocation and teach a lesson
Vice: A 120 Minute Trip Into An Alternate History Mytopia
Someone, someday, should try to make a biopic about Richard Cheney. Vice, by contrast, is a satircal film about how its director and intended see American politics. Conspiratorial, incomprehensible, and tainted.
Brexit Endgame December: A Choice of Poison
The decision to pull the vote on her proposed agreement with the EU may have saved Theresa May a defeat in the Commons, but it may have forfeited a chance to force a confronation with the bankrupcy of almost all options
Brexit Endgame November
With a "deal" imminant, Theresa May faces the likihood of defeat in the Commons as MPs of all stripes vote for Schrodinger's rejection. But Jeremy Corbyn, not Remainers or Leavers, , holds almost all the card
What does the EU think it is doing on the Kosovo-Serbian border agreement?
Germany has a long tradition of adopting stubborn stands in the Balkans out of misplaced principle leading to disaster, from 1914 to 1991. But the opposition to a land swap between Kosovo and Serbia is truly absurd
Merkel, and the avoidable migration political crisis within the EU
Critics are right to suggest that the current fight over migration is motivated as much by political ambitions as security threats. But Angela Merkel has done more than anyone else to make it that way
Why the US Congress is Headed to a Shutdown over DACA
It is an article of faith among the American political elite that the DACA program is universally popular and a political winner for Democrats. That premise is being put to the test this week.
Polling, Media Narratives and the Virginia Governor's race
The temptation for journalists to focus on the "horse race" of campaigns has always existed, but few have seen their coverage as totally determined by the results of questionable polls than today's Virginia elections
How to lose a constitutional struggle 101
The inexplicable inaction of the Catalonian government following the referendum vote shifted the political initiatative back to the Spanish government, and has left seccesionists divided and demoralized
"Both Sides are in the Wrong" Seccesionist Gamesmanship in Spain and the Myth of Excessive Force
The Spanish government was in a no situation with regards to the Catalan referendum. Precedent showed that allowing it to proceed would have established its legitimacy, whereas enforcing the law was a PR disaster
The Fatal Lack of Republican Messaging on Healthcare
A flaw of Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare has been a lack of agreement on why they are doing so. With the most recent effort, there seems to have been a abandonment of even trying to claim healthcare will improve
European Elections 2017: The Far-Right recedes?
Upcoming elections in Austria, Germany, and Norway appear likely to be dissapointments for the far-right. But with the exception of Norway, this owes more to a resurgence of the center-right than a leftward swing
The cult of Robert E. Lee and may have served its purpose, but we need an alternative not erasure
The criticisms of the cult of the Confederacy in the South, that it excludes African Americans and minimizes the crimes of slavery are beyond a doubt true. But critics seem more interested in destroying idols than unity.
Interesting Numbers in Venezuala
Venezuela's recent Constituent Assembly elections were a mockery, but so is every other aspect of governance in the country at this point. The struggle is no longer about ideology, but rather power.
The Overdue Decision to Cut America's Losses in Syria
US aid to the Syrian opposition never had a political objective, and therefore lacked any viable military goals as well. The decision of the Trump Adminstration to terminate it will be spun as Pro-Russian, but is overdue
The "Soft Brexit" myth: If "Hard Brexit" is off the table, the UK should withdraw Article 50
It is now clear that on Brexit there is no "deal" to be made. If British voters truly value immigration control more than economics they need to be prepared to walk. And if they value economics, "Soft Brexit" is a fraud
Thoughts on the 2017 UK General Election
The implications of the Conservative government of Theresa May losing its majority in the House of Commons on June 9th, 2017 have dominated media discourse. Momentous enough, exageration has taken the place of analysis
Iran's Other Elections
For all the focus on Rouhani's reelection as President, the real shift in Iran happened downballot a delayed effect of how important the transfer of the Presidency in 2013 actually was despite the limitations.
Closing the Gap? The UK Elections 14 Days Out
Even before last nights YouGov and Survation polls the gap was already closing between Labour and the Tories. The dynamics of the campaign made this inevitable, just as they ensure the tough part lies ahead for Corbyn
28 Days out: The UK 2017 Elections
The first of several looks at the polling, campaigns, and dynamics of the UK 2017 election..
General Jackson is Dead Sir
Recent comments about the Civil War have reopened a debate that wrongly focuses on "what the Civil War was about?" rather than the more interesting question of why it had to be fought.
The Worst of Timing: Why Scotland's Second Bid for Independence Will Earn a Cold Shoulder From the EU
The decision of the Scottish Government to seek a second referendum is a gamble that the panic surrounding Brexit will disguise the fact that the prospects for an independent Scotland are worse than in 2014
A Feature, Not a Bug: Why May is using the status of EU Nationals to tempt her enemies into destruction
Theresa May's stubborness on the right of EU nationals to remain in the UK will force hard choices on many MPs. That is precisely why the Prime Minister is so insistent on doing it.
Why not break up Bosnia?
Twenty years after it successfully ended a war, the Dayton structure has failed miserably at building a stable and united Bosnia in peace. Why not allow the state to split up?
Germany's Boring Election: Is Merkel's Reserve of Political Lives Growing Short?
As Germans prepare to go to the polls, the greatest threat to Angela Merkel is neither anger over her asylum policy, nor populism of the right or left. Nor even is it new SPD leader Martin Schulz. It is boredom itself
Symbiotic Polarization: How Intersectionality Birthed the Alt-Right
For all the venom directed at "Facists" by leftwing activists throughout history, the truly revolutionary forces on the right have always taken their inspirationn from the example set by their leftwing counterparts
The Politics of TPP and Mexico City
By connecting killing TPP and the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy on abortion, the Trump Adminstration handed orginized labor their greatest politican win in decades while ensuring foes would only talk abortion
When did Obama abandon the Syrian opposition? And why did he never let his UN Ambassador know it?
For all the talk of an Obama-doctrine giving way to a Pro-Russian Trump policy, the shift back to realism already occured during the Syrian conflict.
Old Statesman Merely Fade Away: Ali Akbar Rafsanjani 1934-2017
The dominant figure in Iran following Khomeini's death in 1989, Rafsanjani tried to build a political order on personality rather than ideology or policy and found himself adrift and distrusted by all sides.
In defense of the choice of David Friedman as Ambassador to Israel and Trump's new policy
It needs to be accepted that the Peace Process in Israel is currently comotose and will remain so until it is recognized that any settlement will have to be on Israel's terms or the result of military force.
The events in Aleppo are tragic, but they are also the inevitible result of a policy based on moral outrage rather than strategic calculation, or even an effort to limit human suffering.
2016: The Year History Ended
A decade ago it was common for neoconservative thinkers to claim that 9/11 marked the end of the "End of History" that began with the end of the Cold War. With hindsight, it merely marked the midpoint.
Where Predictions went wrong
It is easy to blame this election on the polls, but looking back, everyone took for granted that voters who supported John Kerry and then Obama twice would never vote for Donald Trump. And no evidence could shake that.
Initial Thoughts on the Brexit Rulling
The High Court ruling is a defeat for the May government, but it is a defeat that if they did not actually court, nevertheless serves their interests very well.
Hillary's Health Non-Issue
Clinton's campaign has issues, but her health is the factor least likely to turn the election in Trump's favor.
The Problem With Debates About Russian Expansionism: A Historical Consideration of Empire and Russian Foriegn Policy
What the West sees as Russian expansionism into Europe in fact represents a dillema no Russian leader mas managed to solve in three centuries. How ensure that its neghbors are not anti-Russian absent occupation.
America After Both Trump and Clinton
Forget the focus on where the Republican party goes after a Trump defeat. The party remains poised for 2018 gains, and only a presidential victory in 2020 may stand between it and the power wielded in Poland or Hungary.
Trump's Post-Convention Implosion: The real damage Trump is inflicting on the GOP is to deny it a message
The sheer randomness of the Trump campaign has hitherto innoculated the candidate against any individual offense. But his own heresies have prevented the wider party from finding any sort of message in 2016.
Hitting Trump on Russia cannot disguise the fact that Clinton does not have a Russia policy.
The attempt to turn the leak of emails from the Democratic National Committee into a debate over whether Trump is "soft" on Russia or Putin is exactly the sort of inflexible thinking that has ruined US policy in Syria.
The boring Republican National Convention and the uneventful presidential campaign
One of the most interesting Presidential primaries in history has given way to one of the least eventful general election campaigns, something that Clinton has no reason to change, and likely will not until the debates.
More July 20th 1944 than Reichstag Fire: Thoughts on the seriousness of the Turkish coup
The complexity of Friday's has led to a focus on whether or not the coup was somehow "staged".That is to miss the importance of how politics in Turkey has become about one man, and effective opposition about killing him.
Fiasco: How the Brexit Coup Failed
If Brexit was a coup, then it must stand alongside the August 1991 effort in Moscow as one of worst fiascos in history. In the end, it entrenched those already in power, and left their enemies prostrate before them.