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
Iran is a dangerous place these days, at least in a car. Traffic in the cities here moves like Tetris, with drivers pushing their cars into any open space that will fit. Trips begin in chaos and play out in confusion. How it ends is always up to God’s will, everyone says.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who on Monday presented what he claimed was evidence of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons program, may have added fuel to a looming foreign policy crisis for the United States. On May 12, President Donald Trump is expected to decide to re-impose sanctions on Iran under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. That will significantly increase the chances of war – and may be exactly the outcome Washington seeks.
Soon after Secretary of State-designate Mike Pompeo completes his confirmation hearings, he will spend his first day of work confronting the missiles of spring. In one case, President Donald Trump and Pompeo have signaled they want to back away from the Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran; in the other both men seem intent on securing a similar deal with North Korea. It will be Pompeo's counsel to Trump that will help shape the nuclear landscape of America’s foreign policy.
Donald Trump has unexpectedly agreed to become the first sitting U.S. president to meet with a leader of North Korea. The reaction has ranged from cautious optimism to warnings about the inexperience of the Trump administration to flat-out criticism. The criticisms are easily dispelled.
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.