I think we can all agree that this has been a week of tense talk and unnecessary rhetoric from the White House (once again) – and I’ll get to all that in just a minute – but first, I’d like to bring your attention back to about a week ago for just a moment, when a fun question appeared on Jeopardy! and now, counter with my own Jeopardy!-style question: “October 13, 2017 marks the 242nd birthday of this military branch.” Any guesses?  A hint: I belonged to it for much of my life!

Speaking of the Navy, this week in Bloomberg, I wrote about war games being played out and strategies being designed on the Black Sea. There are geopolitical (read: important military advantages) and economic incentives (read: oil and gas reserves) that are reason enough for Russia to flex its muscles on its southern sea, and they are more than happy to quietly continue doing so while the world has its back turned. In my article, I’ve laid out a prescription for both the NATO alliance, and the U.S. specifically, to consider taking on before Russia marches right through Crimea and onto the Black Sea.

Meanwhile, the reason that Russia’s antics have slipped from our immediate purview is that the media has needed to train its focus on the off-the-cuff remarks and incendiary tweets coming from our president, as I told our friends at Morning Joe on Monday.

Additionally, the President just made what is effectively a non-decision about the Iran nuclear deal – by refusing to certify it, he is effectively kicking the can down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Congress, as I recently told Andrea Mitchell on NBC Nightly News. That is a mistake and will shatter the international consensus surrounding Iran, isolate the United States, and allow Iran to play the victim to American fecklessness.  Instead, we should keep the deal in place and push Iran on a variety of other fronts with our Allies in the region, notably Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Whether he’s hinting at a “calm before the storm” (what storm? Russia? North Korea? Iran?) or, as I told Kristen Welker of NBC Nightly News, dangerously calling for a dramatic increase to our nuclear arsenal, President Trump has a knack for sucking all of the air out of a room – and indeed from our news broadcasts.

Finally, as I’ve mentioned more than once, and wrote about in this TIME Magazine piece, “When the Commander in Chief Disrespects His Commanders,” it’s thanks to his cadre of senior admirals and generals, who have sworn an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States” that we have a military that can stand as a kind of bulwark against the President’s darker angels. But only up to a point.

It is my great hope that all the president’s men and women can continue to avoid the politics of our time and, in private, continue to speak truth to power in the most direct and meaningful ways. Without them, we may find ourselves sailing into choppy seas.

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