There is a well-known adage that politics stops at the water's edge, but this tends to be more hope than reality. American history is filled with examples in which political disagreement at home has made it difficult for the United States to act, much less lead, abroad.
Asked by Adepoju Adeola Praise, from Eastern Mediterranean University
The League of Nations was championed by President Woodrow Wilson in a fourteen-point speech to a joint session of Congress on January 8, 1918, and formally began its operations in January 1920. However, the League failed to win Senate approval and is forever remembered as a major example of a communications breakdown between the president and the Senate.
Asked by Jake C., from University of Texas at Tyler
A number of countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Turkey, and Qatar, have been providing support to the opposition in various forms, ranging from humanitarian aid to military supplies, such as weapons, armor, and communication devices. However, these efforts have not been enough to turn the tide, and after three years of fighting, a diplomatic solution still seems unlikely.
Only by getting its own house in order will the United States be in a position to set an example other societies will want to emulate, argues CFR President Richard N. Haass. And only by fixing itself will the United States possess the resources necessary to discourage or deal with the emergence of a serious political and military competitor.
The urge to gloat at America's imperfections and struggles ought to be resisted, says Richard N. Haass. The rest of the world's stake in American success is nearly as large as that of the United States itself.
CFR President Richard Haass calls on Americans to "resolve our political dysfunction, rethink our foreign policy and restore the foundations of American power—and in the process provide another century of American leadership."
Ray Takeyh examines examples of foreign policy failures turned success, including "the shift in U.S. containment policy during the early stages of the Truman presidency; the changed U.S. approach to the Vietnam War after Richard Nixon's 1968 election; and George W. Bush's surge in Iraq."
Asked by Elias El Mrabet, from Universite Libre de Bruxelles
Russia today may have less influence in the Middle East than previously, but it continues to have a stake in the region's stability and sees it as an area in which it has important national interests, often at variance with U.S. goals and objectives.
In 2012, the Obama administration announced a "pivot" to East Asia—a strategy that includes a focus on regional security alliances and a rebalance of U.S. military presence from Europe to the Asia-Pacific.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.