Robert Kuttner

Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, and professor at Brandeis University's Heller School. His latest book is Debtors' Prison: The Politics of Austerity Versus Possibility. He writes columns for The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe and the New York Times international edition. 

Recent Articles

Steve Bannon, Unrepentant

Trump’s embattled strategist phones me, unbidden, to opine on China, Korea, and his enemies in the administration.

(Rex Features via AP Images)
(Rex Features via AP Images) Steve Bannon on the phone, December 9, 2016 Y ou might think from recent press accounts that Steve Bannon is on the ropes and therefore behaving prudently. In the aftermath of events in Charlottesville, he is widely blamed for his boss’s continuing indulgence of white supremacists. Allies of National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster hold Bannon responsible for a campaign by Breitbart News, which Bannon once led, to vilify the security chief. Trump’s defense of Bannon, at his Tuesday press conference, was tepid. But Bannon was in high spirits when he phoned me Tuesday afternoon to discuss the politics of taking a harder line with China, and minced no words describing his efforts to neutralize his rivals at the Departments of Defense, State, and Treasury. “They’re wetting themselves,” he said, proceeding to detail how he would oust some of his opponents at State and Defense. Needless to say, I was a little stunned to get an email from Bannon’s assistant midday...

U.S. vs. North Korea: The Winner? China

China has no reason to restrain Kim too soon, or for too modest a price.

Fred Dufour/Pool Photo via AP
Fred Dufour/Pool Photo via AP China's President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. This article originally appeared at The Huffington Post. Subscribe here . I keep thinking of the October 1962 Cuban missile crisis . This terrifying episode was a very complicated game of diplomatic maneuvering and military posturing, with a thermonuclear exchange between the U.S. and the USSR as the consequence of a misstep. But that apocalyptic situation had one big advantage over the present one: John Kennedy, Nikita Khrushchev, and Fidel Castro were all sane, rational beings. The same cannot be said about the two protagonists to the Korea crisis, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. In Kim, Trump has met his match. The United States may have the arsenal to deliver on Trump’s threat to bring fire and fury to North Korea, but Kim has a hostage in millions of South Koreans who would be killed before Kim’s weaponry would be neutralized. Even Trump must have some sense of this constraint. In...

The Fatal Triangle: Trump, Kelly, Mueller

(AP Photo/Rex Features)
(AP Photo/Rex Features) Robert Mueller departs the Capitol on June 21, 2017. R obert Mueller’s investigation of Donald Trump has kicked into higher gear, with witnesses being called before the grand jury, new demands for information from the White House, probes of the connection between the Trump family business operations and his official decisions as president, as well as a deepening investigation of ties with Russia. One can only imagine how all this grates on Trump. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, directly contradicting Trump’s fishing expedition claim, says Mueller can investigate any crime that he uncovers in the course of investigating Russian influence in the 2016 campaign. As the water keeps rising around Donald Trump, it is impossible to believe that Trump will not escalate his campaign of vilification of Mueller and his associates. Trump is happiest firing people who get in his way. The intriguing question is what the new White House chief of staff, John Kelly, will...

Trump’s Coming Saturday Night Massacre

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite Special Counsel Robert Mueller departs the Capitol after a closed-door meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. An earlier version of this article appeared at The Huffington Post . Subscribe here . D onald Trump’s vendetta against Attorney General Jeff Sessions has gone underground for a few days, as the president deals with the serial firings of White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Anthony Scaramucci. But Trump’s rancor at Sessions has not gone away. His obvious motive in wanting Sessions out is getting an attorney general willing to do Trump’s bidding and fire the special counsel, Robert Mueller. In this chess game, key Republican senators have indicated their support for Mueller, even warning Trump that they would refuse to confirm a successor and that they would block a recess appointment by keeping the Senate technically in session during the August break. But the string of recent firings reinforces the sense that Trump, even...

How Trump Energizes Other Dictators

(Jakub Wlodek/Sipa USA via AP)
(Jakub Wlodek/Sipa USA via AP) Protesters gather in Main Square in Krakow, Poland, on July 22, 2017. P olish President Andrzej Duda surprised nearly everyone Sunday by vetoing legislation strongly supported by his partisan ally, Law and Justice Party leader Jarosław Kaczyński, intended to destroy the independence of Poland’s courts. Duda acted after massive street demonstrations, opposition by Poland’s previous prime ministers, and stern warnings by the officials of the European Union, which requires member nations to be democracies. Conspicuously absent in this chorus of protest against Kaczyński’s assault on Poland’s judiciary was one Donald Trump. Earlier this month, Trump went out of his way to make an increasingly autocratic Poland the first stop on his European trip. In Warsaw, he gave a fawning speech praising the current Polish government for holding back the assault on Western civilization. The speech included scarcely a word about some of the most important contributions of...

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