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Sunday Book Review: 2020 Commission

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kim trump dmz
By The White House from Washington, DC – President Trump Meets with Chairman Kim Jong Un, Public Domain.

The situation with North Korea seems to be developing in a more positive direction as of the past few days, but things could still go south. Over at the Diplomat, I reviewed Jeff Lewis’ excellent speculative novel, The 2020 Commission Report. It’s short and effective, and is useful in thinking through how decision-making in the Trump administration could go bad, not just in Korea but also elsewhere…


Lewis’ handling of the cabinet situation in the Trump administration is adroit. Lewis guesses wrong with respect to which members of the Trump administration survive into 2019; James Mattis remains secretary of defense, playing a large role in the war, while John Bolton and Mike Pompeo have been fired (by tweet) at the time of the novel’s action. Nevertheless, Lewis captures the dysfunction of Trump’s foreign policy team with what feels like authenticity. If anything, the extant situation, in which the United States has lacked a secretary of defense for the last six months, would have made the events of the novel even more terrifying.

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