Democratic revolutionaries always confront the same problem: how to replace the old order without replicating its flaws. A new biography of the French revolutionary Maximilien Robespierre's reveals that today's radicals might learn from Robespierre's failure to resolve that dilemma.
Michael Cohen and Micah Zenko argue that Mitt Romney's foreign policy speeches both wrongly inflate the threats that America faces and project weakness by having no confidence in America's ability to meet any such challenges.
Judged by the standard of protecting U.S. interests, things have worked out quite well for the Obama administration; judged by the standard of midwifing a new global order, they remain a work in progress.
A pair of books by Charles Mann describe life in the Americas before and after Columbus linked the hemispheres and kicked off the first era of globalization. It turns out that the New World was far more technologically advanced than subsequent generations have realized, with plenty to teach the Old -- especially about how to simultaneously exploit and preserve key natural resources.
Gone are the days when the United States led major powers in the decisions that ruled the planet, writes Ian Bremmer at the Daily Beast. Could Obama or Romney make the most of our new reduced role in international affairs?
Obama's recent foreign policy has focused on asking for space to delay or stop history until after the 2012 elections. But Jackson Diehl points out that the problem with making space is that it tends to get filled by others.
CFR's James M. Lindsay remembers President Harry Truman's announcement on April 11, 1951, that he had dismissed General Douglas MacArthur as commanding general of U.S. forces in Korea, and discusses the principle of civilian control of the military.
CFR's James M. Lindsay remembers the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty in Washington, DC, on April 4, 1949, and discusses the difficulty inherent in pursuing fundamental changes to a nation's foreign policy.
Historical precedent shows that fears of Romney following a popularly dictated foreign policy are unjustified; as president, Romney would have leeway in fashioning popular opinion, especially on war policy, writes Robert W. Merry in The National Interest.
CFR's James M. Lindsay remembers Adolf Hitler's announcement in 1935 that he would reintroduce conscription in Germany, and discusses instances when a country should be confronted rather than accommodated.
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.
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
The author examines Pakistan's complex role in U.S. foreign policy and advocates for a two-pronged approach that works to quarantine threats while integrating Pakistan into the broader U.S. agenda in Asia.