Diplomacy and Statecraft

Article

The Dark Heart of ASEAN

Author: Joshua Kurlantzick
Project Syndicate
Next week, at a summit in California, US President Barack Obama will meet with the leaders of the ten countries of Asia’s most important regional grouping: the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The event, the first-ever US-ASEAN summit on American soil, is being touted as a sign of America’s growing interest in Southeast Asia. The question is whether the US, by inviting all members of ASEAN, has allowed its interests to overwhelm its principles.

See more in Asia and Pacific; United States; International Organizations and Alliances; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Book

The Pragmatic Superpower

Authors: Ray Takeyh and Steven Simon

In The Pragmatic Superpower, Ray Takeyh and Steven Simon reframe the legacy of U.S. involvement in the Arab world from 1945 to 1991 and shed new light on the makings of the contemporary Middle East. Cutting against conventional wisdom, the authors argue that, when an inexperienced Washington entered the turbulent world of Middle Eastern politics, it succeeded through hardheaded pragmatism—and secured its place as a global superpower.

See more in Middle East and North Africa; United States; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Op-Ed

David Cameron’s Tea Party Problem

Author: Sebastian Mallaby
Washington Post

The United States is not the only place possessed by populism, and this week the results from Iowa coincided with a new lurch toward the gutter in formerly sane Britain. The country once governed by Bill Clinton-imitating centrists is now beset by its own version of Trump-Cruzery: a xenophobic nativism that would divorce Britain from Europe in defiance of ordinary good sense.

See more in United Kingdom; Diplomacy and Statecraft; Presidents and Chiefs of State

Article

Propitiating Iran

Authors: Ray Takeyh and Reuel Marc Gerecht
Weekly Standard

The recent hostages-for-criminals exchange with Iran is the latest example of the Obama administration’s willingness to concede American red lines, argues CFR’s Ray Takeyh with Reuel Marc Gerecht of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. A permissive and passive diplomatic doctrine only serves to weaken American values and strengthen the resolve of its enemies.

 

See more in Iran; United States; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Primary Sources

Remarks by Secretary Kerry at the World Economic Forum

Secretary of State John Kerry spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 22, 2016, discussing the United States' global commitments in trade, economic development, foreign relations, and conflict resolution. He specifically mentioned the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran, the Paris climate agreement, and the Trans Pacific Partnership.

See more in United States; Global; Diplomacy and Statecraft; Economic Development

Article

China-Korea: A Complex China-ROK Partnership

Authors: Scott A. Snyder and See-won Byun
Comparative Connections

The September China-South Korea summit in Beijing catalyzed the resumption of trilateral talks with Japan in October and the launch of the China-South Korea free trade agreement in December. Beijing’s Korean engagement also included a visit to North Korea in October by Chinese Politburo Standing Committee member Liu Yunshan for 70th anniversary celebrations of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK). Despite new initiatives to expand economic cooperation, Pyongyang’s apparent defiance of Chinese diplomatic efforts on denuclearization suggests further difficulties in China-North Korea relations.

See more in China; South Korea; Diplomacy and Statecraft; Regional Security

Article

North Korea's H-bomb and the Costs of American Indifference

Author: Scott A. Snyder
Washington Examiner

The White House moved quickly to debunk North Korea's exaggerated claim that a Jan. 5 "artificial earthquake" at the site where Pyongyang had conducted three previous nuclear tests was a breakthrough detonation of a hydrogen bomb. The size of the blast was similar to that of North Korea's January 2013 test and had a yield thousands of times lower than the yield expected of a hydrogen blast. But in downplaying North Korea's claim so as not to feed Kim Jong-un's cravings for international attention, the Obama administration risks underplaying the growing danger posed by North Korea's unchecked efforts to develop nuclear and missile capabilities needed to threaten a nuclear strike on the United States.

 

See more in North Korea; United States; Proliferation; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Article

Obama's New Dance With Iran

Authors: Philip H. Gordon and Richard Nephew
Politico Magazine

In Politico, Philip Gordon and Richard Nephew argue that the implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement makes the world safer and buys valuable time. Now the United States must ensure its enforcement; prevent Iran from destabilizing actions in the region; and cautiously explore the possibility of a new and more constructive relationship.

See more in Iran; United States; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Primary Sources

Remarks by Secretary Kerry on the U.S. Foreign Policy Agenda for 2016

Secretary of State John Kerry spoke at the National Defense University about the Obama administration's foreign policy agenda. The main focus of his speech included strategy for defeating the self-proclaimed Islamic State, addressing the humanitarian crisis in Syria, integrating screened refugees, and beginning implementation of several agreements, including the Iran nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), the Paris climate change agreement, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

See more in United States; Grand Strategy; Diplomacy and Statecraft