Bart Marcois | All Articles

Bart Marcois
Bart Marcois
Public Affairs Consultant
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      Bart Marcois

      Bart Marcois, a former career foreign service officer and former principal deputy assistant secretary of energy, is a consultant based in Washington, D.C.

Trumping NATO

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump smiles as he speaks at the start of a campaign victory party after rival candidate Senator Ted Cruz dropped after the race for the Republican presidential nomination, at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, U.S., May 3, 2016.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

When candidate Trump called on NATO allies to pay their fair share of defense costs, the salons in Georgetown and Brussels reacted with horror, proclaiming him a subversive, a threat to the transatlantic alliance.  But at the base of Trump’s challenge lay a hard truth: the commitments each NATO member itself has made repeatedly in summit meetings over the years.  At the Wales Summit in 2014, each member state committed to spend 2% of its GDP on defense.  This was a simple reiteration of long-standing policy, since at least 2002.  But in Wales, they added the commitment to ensure that 20% of that spending was on major defense systems, not on fuel, salaries, and other non-lethal line items.

What lies behind North Korea’s saber-rattling?

10:43 AM 04/04/2013

KUWAIT CITY, KUWAIT --- As I have watched Kim Jong Un making more outlandish pronouncements each day, until he sounds crazy enough to genuinely like Dennis Rodman, I’ve wondered what his game is. Wrapping up an international conference in Bahrain and then visiting old friends in Kuwait may have provided me with a perspective fresh enough to throw some light upon it.

Madness and transformative transcendentalism

11:56 AM 02/28/2013

During the 2008 primary campaign, Barack Obama made no secret of his contempt for the Clinton administration’s policy of “playing small ball.” He aimed instead for the Reagan model, to be a transformative president, transcending the triangulating caution of the Clinton machine.

Asking the wrong questions about Libya

4:25 PM 10/18/2012

Kerry Ladka is disappointed, and rightly so. The questioner from the Hofstra debate told a Washington Post blogger yesterday that President Obama didn’t answer the question he asked Tuesday night, “Who was it that denied enhanced security [to our embassy facilities] in Libya, and why?”

Obama’s weakness coming home to roost

3:09 PM 09/12/2012

Violent extremists stormed America’s embassy in Libya yesterday, killing four innocent people, including our ambassador, Chris Stevens. Killing diplomats is one of the most provocative acts of war, and this is the first time in decades that an American ambassador has been killed. What emboldened our enemies enough to commit this evil act?

Mitt Romney, the media and Sisyphus

8:00 PM 03/20/2012

Will Mitt Romney’s victory in Illinois prompt the media to declare him a strong front-runner? Will the story be that he has put the game away, and that it is time for the other candidates to throw in the towel? Or will the media say he didn’t win it by a convincing margin (as the media did after his victories in Ohio and Michigan) or that it was to be expected (as the media did after New Hampshire, Florida, Nevada, Arizona, etc.)? Or will reporters and pundits ignore his win altogether (as so many did after Romney’s victories in Hawaii and the U.S. territories)?

Sarah Palin tips her hand

3:36 PM 02/16/2012

Has Sarah Palin just announced her candidacy for president? On Wednesday night she told Fox Business host Eric Bolling that she still has the fire in her belly and is still game to run for office. More telling, however, is what she said about the current GOP nomination battle and the possibility of a brokered convention.