Peter Van Buren
Jeff Mason is a White House Correspondent for Reuters and the 2016-2017 president of the White House Correspondents’ Association. He was the lead Reuters correspondent for President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign and interviewed the president at the White House in 2015. Jeff has been based in Washington since 2008, when he covered the historic race between Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Jeff started his career in Frankfurt, Germany, where he covered the airline industry before moving to Brussels, Belgium, where he covered the European Union. He is a Colorado native, proud graduate of Northwestern University and former Fulbright scholar.
Twitter handle: @jeffmason1
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over Islamic State on Dec. 9, 2017. And while there will still be some fighting, the real war is over. Yet there were no parades, no statues pulled down, no "Mission Accomplished" moments. An event that might a few years ago have set American front pages atwitter wasn't even worth a presidential tweet.
Donald Trump's formal recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, reversing some seven decades of American policy, is arguably the most unnecessary decision of his time in office and one that will have consequences lingering far past his tenure. The decision may yield some domestic political advantage among Jewish and evangelical Christian voters for the president, but at irrationally high expense globally.
Donald Trump may be denying it, but there seems no doubt that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is a marked man.
With Islamic State in fatal decline and the edges of Kurdistan afire, the Middle East is entering a new era, dominated by the Saudi-Iranian power struggle. The United States, which did so much via its unnecessary invasion of Iraq and tragic handling of the post-incursion period to nurture the growth of Islamic State, will be largely missing from the scene. Instead, the struggle will, as it did during the fight against the Sunni extremists of Islamic State, involve shifting Sunni and Shi’ite allegiances.
It seems there’s a template that critics follow for Donald Trump versus the Hurricanes: they say he won’t do enough, that it isn’t being done fast enough, that everything will collapse (ready Katrina headlines) and then the draining, heroic reality of the response takes hold. With post-Maria Puerto Rico the latest example of that trope, it’s time for a better understanding of how disaster management works.
There are many worthy markers that America’s Iraq Wars have been a terrible, terrible waste, but as history loves a signature event, let it be the September 25, 2017 Kurdish independence referendum. While the referendum is non-binding and the final vote tally may not be known for several days (though it will certainly be “yes” to independence), the true results of America’s decades of war in Iraq are already clear.
It was easier for me to enter Cuba than it was for me to come back to the United States. “Be sure to try our rum while you’re here!” said the Cuban immigration official. “You’ll need to pay duty on the rum you declared,” grumped the American customs officer a week later, after the retinal scan, facial recognition scan, photo, passport inspection, agricultural questioning, and bag check that welcomed me home.
Will the defeat of Islamic State in Iraq be a foreign policy victory for Donald Trump? With the fall of Mosul imminent, what happens next?
It hasn't been a good 100 days for the U.S. Department of State. Like the musical Hamilton’s orphaned title character, called out in song for being a “Founding Father without a father,” State is now something of an agency without agency.
Concerns around the State Department that President Donald Trump's transition was in chaos seem mistaken. What if it’s by design? What if Trump decided America doesn't need State and if he can't get away with closing it down, he can disable, deconstruct and defund it?