South Korea’s domestic political vacuum following the impeachment of Park Geun-hye on December 9 overshadows prospects for renewing China-ROK relations in the year ahead. While the current cycle of DPRK provocations and international sanctions has drawn attention to vital Chinese interests in ensuring stability on the peninsula, Beijing’s deteriorating bilateral relationships with the two Koreas and the United States impede immediate regional efforts to break this cycle.
“Although Abe’s quick reach out to Trump in the wake of an election has eased some of the anxiety about the future of the alliance under new U.S. leadership, the larger uncertainty about how the new president will shake up U.S. policy toward Asia continues to shape Japanese attitudes on the transition,” writes CFR Senior Fellow Sheila Smith.
The Trump team should no doubt develop their own strategy for securing the nation in cyberspace but, in doing so, they should build off of the many successes and lessons learned from Obama’s eight years in grappling with these issues, writes Rob Knake.
Argentine President Mauricio Macri and his team can take a bow for their first year in office. Despite Macri’s outsider status and his party’s limited influence in the Congress, he in short order took on the country’s biggest economic distortions—unifying the exchange rate, resolving the fight with international creditors, cutting energy subsidies, reestablishing credible statistics, and eliminating a whole host of tariffs, quotas, and export licenses.
The belief among Egyptian, Turkish, Israeli, Saudi, and Emirati officials that the Donald J. Trump administration will demonstrate better “American leadership” in the Middle East is misguided, argues CFR’s Steven A. Cook. The lack of a coherent foreign policy means that Middle Eastern leaders will more likely than not be disappointed.
The incoming Trump administration inherits a daunting global situation. But rushing to reverse longstanding U.S. policies could generate new challenges and make existing ones harder to resolve, writes CFR President Richard N. Haass.
Thousands of key policymakers — from State to the Department of Defense — still need to be appointed to new positions. But nothing’s happening. Days before Trump steps into office, he has failed to announce enough capable replacements for the 4,000 political appointments that any president must make.
Germany’s foreign minister reports “astonishment and agitation.” The French president protests indignantly about unsolicited “outside advice .” Even Secretary of State John F. Kerry sees behavior that is “inappropriate.” President-elect Donald Trump’s weekend interview, in which he casually predicted the breakup of the European Union, has certainly attracted attention.
If Mr. Trump’s slavish devotion to Putin persists in office, it will continue to raise questions about the exact nature of their relationship. If the president-elect wants to put such suspicions to rest, he should get as tough with the Kremlin as he vows to do with America’s other enemies.
“These are no ordinary times. It will not be business as usual in a world of disarray; as a result, it cannot be foreign policy as usual,” writes Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), in his latest book, A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order—a timely examination of a world increasingly defined by disorder. In three parts, the book contemplates the history of world order from the rise of the modern state system to the end of the Cold War; accounts for the momentous shifts in the last quarter century to shed light on the current state of affairs, and outlines specific steps to tackle the many challenges ahead.
When Rex Tillerson, Exxon Mobil Corp.’s longtime chief executive and now Donald Trump’s choice to be secretary of state, appears before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, he will get a lot of questions about his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. If senators want a better conversation with Mr. Tillerson, they should get him to acknowledge—or dispute—the basic facts of Russian-American relations. Stephen Sestanovich presents three questions aimed at getting Tillerson to admit how much sanctions have accomplished.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2016 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 »