The Obama administration has embraced the most ambitious agenda on trade and investment liberalization in the past two decades, but more must be done to remove trade barriers in services, which is where the United States is most competitive, according to Ted Alden.
In the wake of the preliminary accord reached with Iran, Julia Sweig proposes that the Obama administration pursue a diplomatic resolution to another vexing element of U.S. foreign affairs: the relationship with Cuba.
Americans are conflicted about the U.S. role in the world: a record 52 percent surveyed recently said "the United States should mind its own business internationally," the highest recorded response in fifty years and up from 30 percent just a decade ago. Furthermore, a record 80 percent of the public believe that the United States should address domestic problems over international ones.
Vice President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivered remarks to the press in Tokyo on December 3, 2013. The meeting was the beginning of the vice president's travel in Asia, to discuss the Obama administration's rebalance to Asia and China's announcement of an Air Defense Identification Zone.
The Asahi Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper, conducted a written interview with Vice President Joe Biden on December 2, 2013, before the vice president's trip to China, Japan, and South Korea. The interview covers China's announcement of its Air Defense Identification Zone, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, defense and cybersecurity alliances, and the Obama administration's "pivot to Asia."
Robert D. Blackwill reviews The Blood Telegram, by Gary Bass, a text that smears Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger as "heartless villains" of Pakistan's political stalemate and human rights crisis in the 1970s.
"In the coming weeks, Thailand's political crisis is likely to escalate, not de-escalate, ultimately resulting in either a snap election or some kind of extraconstitutional removal of the government," writes Joshua Kurlantzick.
Senior administration officials preview Vice President Joe Biden's trip to China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea during December 1-8, 2013. According to the briefing, the trip will underscore the Obama administration's "rebalance" to Asia.
The United States maintains important interests in Afghanistan, even as most U.S. and allied troops are withdrawn in 2014. Seth G. Jones and Keith Crane assess the political, security, and economic challenges facing U.S. policymakers in Afghanistan and evaluate a range of policy options.
"[Karzai] would support an alternate center of power in the provinces in order to undermine the official one, such as the governor, that he had formally appointed. That way, both could be controlled by being balanced against each other; two weak allies were better than a single strong one who might break away. The result was perpetual instability. The tragedy of Karzai is that his survival strategy has been one that ultimately promotes weakness rather than strength."
A preview of world events in the coming week from CFR.org: The EU holds its Eastern Partnership Summit in Lithuania; the European Court of Human Rights hears a burqa ban case; and Mali begins parliamentary elections.
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.