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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
President Barack Obama and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon met on August 4, 2015, to discuss several international initiatives that the United States is addressing with the UN, including climate change, humanitarian crises, political violence, and economic development.
The BRICS as a grouping do not represent a threat to the established world order. But that doesn’t mean that their grievances aren’t worth the time of policymakers in Washington, argues Daniel Chardell.
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.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is expected to welcome India and Pakistan as full members at its fifteenth annual summit in Ufa, Russia. CFR's Elizabeth C. Economy and William Piekos weigh the rewards and risks of expansion.
Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (known as the "BRICS") are forming multilateral bodies intended to reduce Western influence over the global financial system, explains CFR's Stewart Patrick.
Finance ministers from fifty-seven countries met in Beijing in October 2014 and signed a memorandum to establish the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which will focus on funding infrastructure to boost economic development in the Asia Pacific region. The Articles of Agreement were opened for signature on June 29, 2015 and must be ratifed domestically by December 31, 2016. The AIIB was inaugurated on January 16, 2016 with the first board of directors meeting and began accepting investment projects.
Group of Seven (G7), which includes leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission, met in Schloss Elmau, Germany on June 7-8, 2015. They released a declaration on commitments to low-carbon emission strategies, economic issues, and several foreign policy issues, such as the violence in Ukraine, nuclear safety, and addressing health threats such as Ebola and antimicrobial resistance.
In a new Council Special Report, Enhancing U.S. Support for Peace Operations in Africa, Paul D. Williams argues that greater U.S. involvement is necessary to enhance the quality and success of peacekeeping missions.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke at UN University on March 16, 2015. He discussed how Japan has worked with the UN on issues such as post-war reconstruction regarding Korean-Japanese relations and Japan's financial contributions to the UN for development, and its efforts in peacebuilding.
On March 16, 2015, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke at UN University on the seventieth anniversary of the United Nations. He discussed the current security landscape, including crises in Syria and Ukraine and tensions in the Asia-Pacific, peacekeeping efforts, and his appointment of the first envoy to youth.
William Schabas has recused himself from his post as head of the UN Human Rights Council’s investigation into the Israeli operation in Gaza in 2014. In an article for Newsweek, Elliott Abrams explains why this happened too late to prevent a miscarriage of justice.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2015 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »