Daniel DePetris

Daniel DePetris is a fellow at Defense Priorities, a syndicated foreign affairs columnist at the Chicago Tribune and a foreign affairs writer for Newsweek.

Is the special relationship between Israel and America souring?

President Biden doesn’t give many sit-down television interviews, but when he does, he tends to make news. This week he sat down for an on-air session with CNN’s Erin Burnett, who asked him point-blank whether US bombs given to Israel have caused civilian casualties in Gaza. Biden’s response was notable not necessarily because the answer

What Trump gets right about Nato

With the exception of Hungary’s Viktor Orbán and Slovakia’s Robert Fico, it’s safe to assume that Europe is petrified about the prospects of a second Donald Trump presidency. As one European foreign policy analyst told the New York Times last summer: ‘It’s slightly terrifying, it’s fair to say.’ The terror meter went up a few notches this weekend, when Trump addressed

What will US air strikes actually achieve?

The 28 January drone strike in Jordan that killed three American soldiers and wounded 40 more necessitated a US military response. Under no scenario was President Biden not going to retaliate. The question was how strong the retaliation would be. We now have the answer.  Yesterday’s series of airstrikes against the Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard

How the Houthis can frustrate the West

On Thursday, the United States and the United Kingdom launched two rounds of strikes against 72 Houthi targets in Yemen – a turn of events that is unsurprising given the joint statement issued to the Houthis a week prior, which read like an ultimatum. The Houthis have attacked civilian vessels in the Red Sea 27 times since 19 November,

Why 2024 will be tough on Joe Biden

In the United States, presidential elections are rarely won or lost on foreign policy. Domestic matters like the economy, crime, and the overall state of the country are far more relevant to candidates. Even so, incumbents can’t allow the world to degenerate in front of them. Just ask Jimmy Carter, whose 1980 campaign against challenger

Why isn’t Biden being straight with Zelensky?

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to Washington a year ago was a love-fest, characterised by standing ovations from American politicians, lavish praise from president Biden and a commitment to keep the aid flowing. His visit this week, however, occurred in a much different atmosphere. The politics of Ukraine aid have changed, with a growing number of

How Macron is preparing for Trump’s return

We are still fifteen months away from the 2024 U.S. presidential election, but much of the world is already busy trying to decipher the results. With a second Donald Trump presidency in the realm of possibility, governments around the world are holding strategy sessions and informal conversations about how such an event would change U.S. foreign policy, impact their

Macron has a point about Russian war crimes

French President Emmanuel Macron tends to rock the boat whenever he opens his mouth, saying hard truths that many of his European colleagues, both at the state level and in the European Union’s gargantuan bureaucracy, would rather be left unsaid. Examples are legion: his insistence in 2019 that Nato was going ‘brain-dead’; his proclamation in June

Why Saudi Arabia wants to be a peacemaker in the Middle East

The Middle East, etched into the Western psyche as a region prone to conflict, economic malaise and geopolitical rivalry, is now awash in a frenzy of diplomatic activity. Much of the action is springing from an unlikely source: Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS). The young, ambitious Saudi crown prince is making quite a personal transformation—and it’s

China won’t have gained much from its spy balloon

If you didn’t know any better, you might have thought China was preparing to unleash a large-scale invasion on the continental United States. News of a Chinese surveillance balloon loitering over the picturesque landscape of Montana generated a wave of sensationalist coverage and panicked responses from lawmakers. We don’t know much about the balloon other

Why Biden has given MBS immunity over the Khashoggi killing

For US President Joe Biden, Saudi Arabia is the problem that never goes away. First came his decision to refrain from slapping penalties on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) following the kidnapping and murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a former Saudi royal insider who became increasingly critical of the ruling family (the Biden administration did

Is Biden finally finished with Mohammed bin Salman?

Saudi Arabia’s energy minister had some cheeky words for the Biden administration this week: don’t blame us for manipulating the oil markets, and start acting like grown-ups. Standing on stage at the Saudi-organised Future Investment Initiative, known as ‘Davos in the Desert’, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman laid into American officials. Not only was Washington responsible

Iraq is fracturing again

Political turmoil is nothing new in Iraq. The American invasion and occupation turned the country from a brutal dictatorship led by the late Saddam Hussein into a quasi-democracy that spends more time fighting against itself than providing for its citizens. Iraqi politics is laced with sectarianism. When the US helped construct Iraq’s political system, dividing

Why is America bombing Somalia again?

You may not have caught it amidst other international developments, but the United States bombed Somalia last Friday. No, that isn’t a misprint. On June 3, the Somali government announced that the US had conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab militants west of the southern port city of Kismayo, killing approximately five fighters. The Pentagon has

What if the Ukraine war is never won?

In late March, roughly a month into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, an unnamed Nato official told NBC News that the conflict was turning into a meat grinder for both sides. ‘If we’re not in a stalemate, we are rapidly approaching one,’ the Nato official said at the time. ‘The reality is that neither side has

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: what we know so far

Vladimir Putin finally made his move overnight. In a spontaneous address to the Russian people in the early hours of the morning, Putin declared the beginning of a special military operation to demilitarise Ukraine. The missiles started flying almost immediately. Based on the opening hours, it’s safe to say that the Russian military operation is far

Europe has been a helpless bystander in Afghanistan

America’s allies in Europe understood months before President Joe Biden’s fateful April speech to the American people that a full and complete US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan was a very real possibility. Biden talked about the urgency of getting the United States out of what he termed ‘forever war’ conflicts which required tens of billions

Can Iran’s ‘butcher’ president make peace with the Saudis?

It’s official: after eight years of a relatively pragmatic administration, Iran is now under new management. Ebrahim Raisi, a disciple of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the former judiciary chief, was inaugurated this week as Iran’s next president. Clad in a white shirt, black robe and thin-framed glasses, Raisi accepted a task that will