Politics and Strategy

Interactive

Timeline: U.S.-Cuba Relations

Following Fidel Castro's ascent to power, U.S.-Cuba ties have endured a nuclear crisis, a long-lasting U.S. economic embargo, and ongoing political hostilities. Well beyond the end of the Cold War, the diplomatic relationship between Washington and Havana remains frozen.

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Must Read

Muftah: Of Transitology and Counter-Terror Targeting in Yemen

Author: Sheila Carapico

"Washington does not have a Yemen policy, much less a progressive vision for the country. Instead, American policies in the Peninsula privilege the permanence and prosperity of the GCC monarchies, notably the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Neither the Bush nor the Obama administrations have regarded Yemen as a real place with real politics."

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NYT: Obama’s Strategic Shift to Asia Is Hobbled by Pressure at Home and Crises Abroad

Authors: David E. Sanger and Mark Landler

"The premise of Mr. Obama's strategy — that American power must follow its economic interests in a region where a growing middle class yearns for everything from iPhones to the new Ford Mustang — still makes sense, his advisers say. But they acknowledge that it faces acute challenges, which will demand a delicate balancing act."

See more in Asia and Pacific; Politics and Strategy

Op-Ed

Obama Is on the Right Course with His Reorientation Toward Asia

Author: Thomas E. Donilon
Washington Post

Questions have arisen in recent months about the sustainability of the United States' rebalance toward Asia. The costly cancellation of President Obama's trip to the region during the U.S. government shutdown last fall fueled that skepticism, which has only grown as urgent foreign policy challenges have required U.S. leadership in the Middle East and Europe.

See more in Asia and Pacific; Diplomacy and Statecraft

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NYT: Investigating Family’s Wealth, China’s Leader Signals a Change

Authors: Michael Forsythe, Chris Buckley, and Jonathan Ansfield

"Some political analysts argue that a leader of Mr. Zhou's status would not face an inquiry of this kind unless Mr. Xi regarded him as a direct threat to his power… But another school of thought is that Mr. Xi considers the enormous agglomeration of wealth by spouses, children and siblings of top-ranking officials a threat to China's stability by encouraging mercenary corruption and harming the party's public standing."

See more in China; Politics and Strategy

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New America Foundation: Strategic Empathy

Author: Matt Waldman

"Empathy can provide insights into how other actors are likely to perceive and react to what the United States does, and expose false assumptions that sometimes underpin strategic mistakes.This kind of information is critical as the United States weighs options for action–coercive or otherwise–in Syria, Ukraine and beyond. The case of Afghanistan shows that the human, financial and geopolitical costs are too high for empathy to be ignored."

See more in United States; Afghanistan; Politics and Strategy

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World Politics Review: Australia’s Abbott Seeks to Balance Japan, South Korea and China on Asian Trip

Author: Roxana Horton

"Japan and Australia share an important ally in the United States, and lest the U.S. pivot to Asia be forgotten, Japan and Australia reaffirmed the importance of strong U.S. engagement in the Asia-Pacific region and expressed strong support for what the U.S. now calls the rebalance. But how can Australia pull this off without antagonizing Beijing?"

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Article

Planning for Withdrawal in Afghanistan May Be Smart, But It’s Not Wise

Author: Daniel S. Markey
Defense One

Votes are still being counted in Afghanistan's presidential election, but preliminary results suggest that no candidate won a majority. If these results hold up and no backroom deals are cooked up between Afghan politicians, a runoff poll will follow and the victor will not likely be declared until late summer. That timeline is making U.S. and NATO military planners very nervous.

See more in Afghanistan; Diplomacy and Statecraft; Defense Strategy

Primary Sources

The Landon Lecture

On April 15, 2014, Thomas E. Donilon delivered the 165th Alf Landon Lecture at Kansas State University. He discusses why "America is not in decline but will continue to be the world's leading and most powerful nation for a long time to come."

See more in United States; Politics and Strategy