Diplomacy and Statecraft

Op-Ed

Obama Is on the Right Course with His Reorientation Toward Asia

Author: Thomas E. Donilon
Washington Post

Questions have arisen in recent months about the sustainability of the United States' rebalance toward Asia. The costly cancellation of President Obama's trip to the region during the U.S. government shutdown last fall fueled that skepticism, which has only grown as urgent foreign policy challenges have required U.S. leadership in the Middle East and Europe.

See more in Asia and Pacific; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Article

Planning for Withdrawal in Afghanistan May Be Smart, But It’s Not Wise

Author: Daniel S. Markey
Defense One

Votes are still being counted in Afghanistan's presidential election, but preliminary results suggest that no candidate won a majority. If these results hold up and no backroom deals are cooked up between Afghan politicians, a runoff poll will follow and the victor will not likely be declared until late summer. That timeline is making U.S. and NATO military planners very nervous.

See more in Afghanistan; Diplomacy and Statecraft; Defense Strategy

Primary Sources

EU-Ukraine Association Agreement

According to a press release from the European Union, EU-Ukraine Association Agreement is the "first agreement based on political association between the EU and any of the Eastern Partnership countries, and is unprecedented in its breadth (number of areas covered) and depth (detail of commitments and timelines)." After Russia presented an alternative trade agreement, the President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, did not sign the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. Yanukovych was removed from power through revolution in February 2014 and Ukranian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk signed the political section of the agreement on March 21, 2014.

See more in EU; Ukraine; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Article

With Lack of Major Breakthroughs in U.S.-China Relations, the Small Things Matter

Author: Elizabeth C. Economy
World Politics Review

The current state of U.S.-China relations would appear to be in disarray—a number of high-profile efforts at cooperation have fallen short, and domestic politics in both countries offer little reason for hope. But even though there have not been any major breakthroughs, small accomplishments can nonetheless be significant, says Elizabeth Economy, building a strong foundation to the bilateral relationship.

See more in China; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Backgrounder

U.S.-Cuba Relations

Author: Brianna Lee

The U.S.-Cuba relationship remains frozen after fifty years. Despite economic reforms in Cuba and swelling public opinion in favor of resuming diplomatic and economic ties, analysts do not anticipate any normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations in the near to medium term.

See more in Cuba; Diplomacy and Statecraft

News Release

Pushback Against U.S. Retrenchment Still Ahead, Argues Stephen Sestanovich in New Book

The Obama administration's search for a less costly, more "sustainable" foreign policy recalls previous presidents who wound down major wars, according to Stephen Sestanovich, George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. In Maximalist: America in the World from Truman to Obama, Sestanovich argues that the most challenging phase of retrenchment comes after the United States has extricated itself from a stalemated conflict. Postwar cutbacks in the Pentagon budget usually last longer than the surge that preceded them, but political controversies over the direction of American foreign policy begin much sooner.

See more in United States; Diplomacy and Statecraft