Global Governance

Foreign Affairs Article

Obama and the Middle East

Author: Marc Lynch

Critics of U.S. President Barack Obama’s Middle East strategy often complain that Obama lacks a strategic vision. This is almost exactly wrong. Obama came to office with a conviction that reducing the United States’ massive military and political investment in the Middle East was a vital national security interest in its own right.

See more in Middle East and North Africa; International Organizations and Alliances

Foreign Affairs Article

Obama and Asia

Author: Thomas Christensen

China’s rise poses two broad challenges for U.S. foreign policy: how to deter the People’s Republic from destabilizing East Asia and how to encourage it to contribute to multilateral global governance. Although China is not yet a military peer competitor of the United States, it has become powerful enough to challenge U.S. friends and allies in East Asia and to pose serious problems for U.S. forces operating there. 

See more in Asia and Pacific; International Organizations and Alliances

Foreign Affairs Article

Obama and Europe

Author: Anne Applebaum

Even now, gazing back through the jaundiced lens of subsequent experience, Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign speech in Berlin still seems an extraordinary occasion. Tens of thousands of mostly young Germans gathered in the center of the city to listen to the American presidential candidate, in an atmosphere The Guardian described as “a pop festival, a summer gathering of peace, love—and loathing of George Bush.” 

See more in Europe; International Organizations and Alliances

Foreign Affairs Article

Obama and Latin America

Author: Michael Reid

In April 2009, just three months after he took office, U.S. President Barack Obama traveled to Trinidad and Tobago for the Summit of the Americas. There, he told Latin America’s leaders that he wanted to begin “a new chapter of engagement” and an “equal partnership . . . based on mutual respect and common interests and shared values.”

See more in Latin America and the Caribbean; International Organizations and Alliances

Foreign Affairs Article

Obama and Africa

Author: Nicholas van de Walle

When Barack Obama was elected U.S. president in 2008, the news was greeted with enormous hope in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as among the small coterie of Americans who follow the region closely. This son of a Kenyan father would not only understand the continent better than his predecessors in the White House, the thinking went, but he would also treat it as a strategic priority and direct more resources its way. 

See more in Africa (sub-Saharan); International Organizations and Alliances

Foreign Affairs Article

Banker to the Poor

Author: Jim Yong Kim

Conceived at the 1944 Bretton Woods conference to help rebuild postwar Europe, the World Bank has expanded over the ensuing 70 years into a global organization dedicated to promoting economic growth and reducing poverty -- goals it aims to meet by giving the billions of dollars in gets in contributions from developed countries to developing ones in the form of loans and grants. 

See more in Global; International Organizations and Alliances

Foreign Affairs Article

Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West's Fault

Author: John J. Mearsheimer

According to the prevailing wisdom in the West, the Ukraine crisis can be blamed almost entirely on Russian aggression. Russian President Vladimir Putin, the argument goes, annexed Crimea out of a long-standing desire to resuscitate the Soviet empire, and he may eventually go after the rest of Ukraine, as well as other countries in eastern Europe.

See more in Russia and Central Asia; International Organizations and Alliances

Foreign Affairs Article

The War of Law

Authors: Jon Kyl, Douglas J. Feith, and John Fonte

In the era of globalization, policymakers are increasingly debating the proper role of international law, and a group of legal scholars have embraced transnationalism, the idea that growing interconnectedness should dissolve international boundaries. But that approach is at odds with basic American principles.

See more in Global; International Law; Treaties and Agreements

Foreign Affairs Article

The Long Arm of International Law

Author: Pierre N. Leval

Thanks to a once-obscure law passed in 1789, foreign victims of foreign human rights abusers can use U.S. courts to sue their abusers. But the Supreme Court may soon ban such suits. That would be a shame, since they offer victims some measure of solace and give substance to underenforced human rights laws. The law should be upheld, and other countries should follow the U.S. lead.

See more in Courts and Tribunals; Human Rights; Global

Foreign Affairs Article

Gangster's Paradise

Author: Peter R. Andreas

Despite media hoopla, cross-border crime -- illegal drugs sales, evasion of taxes, intellectual property theft, and money laundering -- is hardly a new phenomenon. For much of history, moreover, the United States was as much perpetrator as victim. Recognizing this awkward truth should help cool down overheated debates about today's transnational problems and how to respond to them.

See more in Trade; Transnational Crime

Foreign Affairs Article

Own the Goals

Author: John W. McArthur

Since their inception in 2000, The Millennium Development Goals have revolutionized the global aid business, using specific targets to help mobilize and guide development efforts. They have encouraged world leaders to tackle multiple dimensions of poverty simultaneously and provided a standard for judging performance. As their 2015 expiration looms, the time has come to bank those successes and focus on what comes next.

See more in International Organizations and Alliances; Poverty; Global

Foreign Affairs Article

Deterrence Lessons From Iraq

Author: Amatzia Baram

Debates about the possibility of containing a nuclear Iran often hinge on judgments of whether the regime there is rational. But as a wealth of recently released Iraqi documents about Saddam Hussein's tumultuous reign in Iraq show, even an arguably rational leader can be unreasonable -- and very hard to deter.

See more in Global Governance; Iraq