The situation on the Korean Peninsula is dangerous and incredibly challenging, but we aren't bound to make any progress toward peace if we can't overcome our decades-long fixation with one country and our reluctance to directly engage with another that truly represents the larger nuclear threat.
The need is to reexamine what the clear, compelling U.S. vital interests are in the Arab World. These countries will have instability, violence and bad actors no matter what we do, and there's no end in sight.
Like almost everyone, I find Putin's policies objectionable, and I think he's potentially dangerous. I'm certainly not sympathetic to him, nor do I admire him. But I think he's shrewd. I also think we have largely underestimated him as a leader and his hostility toward the West.
We should not forget the successes we've had in the fight against terror. At the same time, surveying the current landscape suggests that the U.S. and its allies need to up their games considerably in dealing with ISIS and other terrorist groups.
Some say our national security was well served by so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques," but the efficacy of torture and other coercive actions in counterterrorism efforts are difficult to gauge. The benefits of such actions are not clear.
At a public meeting I recently attended, a woman stood up and asked me a question that gave me some pause: Why do the Arabs hate us so much? On its surface, hers was a simple, straightforward question. But when you stop to really think about it, the question is rather complex.
Wherever I go, the question is almost always the same, and it's to be expected, considering my past co-chairmanship of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, more commonly known as the 9/11 Commission. The question: Are we safer now?
Missing from much of the discussion, though, is a frank assessment of what exactly the U.S. and its European allies seek to accomplish outside the more immediate aim of keeping the Russians out of Ukraine.
We are an America that, right now, is reluctant to fully embrace a world leadership role, but not quite ready to abandon it. We're far from isolationist, but we're not that interested in policing the world either.
Achieving any sort of deal would be a major accomplishment, as it would help alleviate a large number of problems that continue to plague the Middle East, including the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.