U.S. and foreign policymakers increasingly pursue their national objectives through narrower and more flexible frameworks whose membership varies with situational interests, shared values, and relevant capabilities. The trick for the United States and other major governments is to design à la carte mechanisms that complement and reinvigorate, rather than undermine and marginalize, the prix fixe menu of formal international organizations upon which the world continues to depend, argues Stewart Patrick.
In mid-February, the United States government's long-standing position that it does not opine on sovereignty disputes in the East and South China Seas was given an important and long-implicit caveat: Washington does insist that all sovereignty claims accord with international law, and as has long been stated, these cannot rely on coercion.
As protests roiling developing countries have spiraled into government collapse, general instability, and—in the case of Ukraine, at least—possible war, numerous observers have blamed the Obama administration for its seeming passivity.
Sheila A. Smith and Research Associate Charles T. McClean argue that U.S. interests are affected by all three of Japan's territorial disputes with its neighbors. While the United States cannot resolve these disputes, it can and should do all that it can to promote peaceful dispute resolution and a lessening of military tensions.
With Ayatollah Khamenei set to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with a "fawning admirer" of his choosing, Ahmadinejad may be missed for his ability to challenge the Islamic Republic's ruling religious hierarchy.
With widespread protests in Istanbul and a dozen other cities throughout Turkey, Steven A. Cook argues on the Washington Post that the European Union should reengage Turkey's stalled membership bid as a way to encourage Prime Minister Erdogan to implement democratic reforms at home.
Grounded in a realistic assessment of technology, Matthew C. Waxman and Kenneth Anderson outline a practical alternative with which to evaluate the use of autonomous weaponry that incorporates codes of conduct based on traditional legal and ethical principles governing weapons and warfare.
Stewart Patrick writes about the theoretical and practical implications of significant changes to the international political system over the past two decades in Geir Lundestad's International Relations Since the End of the Cold War: New and Old Dimensions.
With the recent revelation of a United Nations inquiry into U.S. drone strikes policies and practices, Micah Zenko says the UN has actually been investigating U.S. drones for ten years—but to no effect.
In the third of threeexcerpts from his new book, Democracy in Retreat, Joshua Kurlantzick says that emerging powers like India, Brazil and South Africa were supposed to be democracy's greatest proponents, but that it hasn't worked out that way at all.
Jerome A. Cohen says, "Beijing's pending prosecution of deposed Politburo member Bo Xilai and the recent murder conviction of his wife, Gu Kailai , have again brought China's criminal justice system to world attention."
With the passing of International Human Rights Day, Jerome A. Cohen says China still has no effective means of enforcing the rights enshrined in its constitution. Yet, once again, new Communist Party leaders reignite hopes for bringing government and the party under the rule of law.
Kenneth Anderson and Matthew C. Waxman say some view automated technology developments as a crisis for the laws of war. But provided we start now to incorporate ethical and legal norms into weapons design, the incremental movement from automation to genuine machine autonomy already underway might well be made to serve the ends of law on the battlefield.
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