In 1996, Ehud Barak, who was then Israel’s foreign minister and would later serve as prime minister, characterized Israel as “a modern and prosperous villa in the middle of the jungle.” Twenty years later, as political turmoil and violence engulf the Middle East, that harsh metaphor captures better than ever the way most Israelis see their country and its place in the region.
When the world focuses on the Arab-Israeli crisis today, the plight of the 4.6 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank gets most of the attention. But another pressing question haunts Israeli politics: the status and future of Israel’s own Arab citizens, who number around 1.7 million and make up around 21 percent of its population.
Soon after Benjamin Netanyahu began his second term as Israel’s prime minister in March 2009, he ordered the country’s military to develop a plan for a unilateral military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Was the feud between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, first over settlements and then over Iran, a watershed? Netanyahu, it is claimed, turned U.S. support of Israel into a partisan issue.
Two years ago, I argued in these pages that America was suffering from political decay. The country’s constitutional system of checks and balances, combined with partisan polarization and the rise of well-financed interest groups, had combined to yield what I labeled “vetocracy,” a situation in which it was easier to stop government from doing things than it was to use government to promote the common good.
For the first time in recent memory, large numbers of Americans are openly questioning their country’s grand strategy. An April 2016 Pew poll found that 57 percent of Americans agree that the United States should “deal with its own problems and let others deal with theirs the best they can.”
Just because a U.S. presidential candidate bashes free trade on the campaign trail does not mean that he or she cannot embrace it once elected. After all, Barack Obama voted against the Central American Free Trade Agreement as a U.S. senator and disparaged the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as a presidential candidate.
In May 2013, when I became commander of U.S. European Command and NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe, I found U.S. and NATO forces well suited for their requirements at the time but ill prepared for the challenges that lay ahead.
Over the past two decades, Germany’s global role has undergone a remarkable transformation. Following its peaceful reunification in 1990, Germany was on track to become an economic giant that had little in the way of foreign policy.
The relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia has come under unprecedented strains in recent years. U.S. President Barack Obama has openly questioned Riyadh’s value as an ally, accusing it of provoking sectarian conflict in the region.
In the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and the Great Recession that followed, many economists worried that even if the U.S. economy improved, unemployment would remain high for years to come. Some warned darkly of a “jobless recovery.”
The promises of science fiction are quickly becoming workaday realities. Cars and trucks are starting to drive themselves in normal traffic. Machines have begun to understand our speech, figure out what we want, and satisfy our requests.
The United States needs a civilian capacity to foster better-functioning institutions in chaotic countries, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) should lead that effort. To embrace a state-building mission, however, USAID will have to be transformed. Max Boot and Michael Miklaucic argue that the agency will need to do less but do it better, and limit its efforts to strategically important states while enhancing its focus on building core state functions.
The next president's trade policy will affect millions of Americans, as well as the health and competitiveness of the country’s economy. This video breaks down the decisions the president will face in developing a trade policy that promotes growth, while helping Americans adjust to new competition and ensuring regulatory standards.
Ambassador Robert Blackwill discusses the rise of geoeconomics in modern statecraft. Blackwill argues that the United States, historically a geoeconomic powerhouse, is no longer adept at pursuing its national interests through the use of geoeconomic instruments, and suggests a path to restore geoeconomics to its rightful role in American grand strategy.
Authors: Georgia Levenson Keohane and Saadia Madsbjerg
Assessments of how governments and international organizations have dealt with global challenges often feature a familiar refrain: when it comes to funding, there was too little, too late. The costs of economic, social, and environmental problems compound over time, whether it’s an Ebola outbreak that escalates to an epidemic, a flood of refugeesthat tests the strength of the EU, or the rise of social inequalities that reinforce poverty.
Ever since the emergence of mass democracy after World War II, an inherent tension has existed between capitalism and democratic politics; capitalism allocates resources through markets, whereas democracy allocates power through votes.
In his memoir, The Lion Awakes, Ashish Thakkar describes how, as a young entrepreneur selling computer parts across Africa in the 1990s, he noticed that flights within the continent seemed to take longer than the distances on a map would suggest. “Were the planes slower?” he wondered.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2015 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »