In President Obama's upcoming counterterrorism speech, Robert Chesney and Matthew Waxman explain that the president should focus on three areas that his administration has not followed through in a serious way: closing Guantanamo, working with Congress to put forceful counterterrorism actions on sound legal footing, and making targeted killing more transparent.
Asked by Adepoju Adeola Praise, from Eastern Mediterranean University
The League of Nations was championed by President Woodrow Wilson in a fourteen-point speech to a joint session of Congress on January 8, 1918, and formally began its operations in January 1920. However, the League failed to win Senate approval and is forever remembered as a major example of a communications breakdown between the president and the Senate.
Michael A. Levi, CFR's David M. Rubenstein senior fellow for energy and the environment, and director of the program on energy security and climate change, leads a conversation on President Obama's climate change policies.
Isobel Coleman says that while President Obama's State of the Union address focused on domestic policies, unpredictable events in the rest of the world are unlikely to allow his second administration to stay above the fray in its foreign policy.
Micah Zenko says, "Most analysts and journalists have focused on President Obama's expanded scope, intensity, and institutionalization of targeted killings against suspected terrorists and militants. However, perhaps the enduring legacy of the Obama administration will be its sustained, rigorous effort to shape and define-down the idea of war."
In order to gain more congressional support for national security and foreign policy measures, "The Obama administration will need to pick its legislative priorities more deliberately, engage with allies and opponents in Congress more actively, and be willing to negotiate compromises or wage aggressive campaigns on key issues," says Matthew C. Waxman.
"What is clear is that there is no shortage of challenges or opportunities beyond America's borders. What may matter most when it comes to this country's national security, though, is whether it can put its own economic and political house in order," says Richard N. Haass.
Joseph Biden, Barack Obama's "single most influential foreign policy adviser," is poised surpass Dick Cheney as the most powerful vice president in American history in the president's second term, writes David Rothkopf.
John B. Bellinger III says, "Over the last 230 years, the Senate has approved more than 1,500 treaties. In 2013, Mr. Obama must demonstrate leadership by putting greater effort in securing Senate approval of essential treaties that advance American interests, including the Law of the Sea Convention."
Listen to CFR Senior Fellow Shannon K. O'Neil and former foreign minister of Mexico Jorge G. Castañeda discuss President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto and the future of U.S.-Mexico relations.
In an op-ed that appeared this week in USA Today, O'Neil argued that the main obstacle to better relations between the two countries is Americans' perceptions of Mexico and its people:
"In Americans' psyches, drugs dominate. When advertising firm GSD&M and Vianovo strategic consultants asked Americans to come up with three words that describe Mexico, nearly every other person answered 'drugs,' followed by 'poor' and 'unsafe.' Other questions reveal Americans see Mexico as corrupt, unstable and violent, more problem than partner. Americans had more favorable views of Greece, El Salvador and Russia."
In the November/December issue of Foreign Affairs, Castañeda and historian Héctor Aguilar Camín claim that there is a political mandate in Mexico that calls for less corruption, greater rule of law, and improved economic justice:
"Mexicans' clamor for prosperity is no longer negotiable, and today, the country is less than a generation away from becoming the full-fledged middle-class society it aspires to be. But only if it gets to work now."
Elliott Abrams says, "The next three to six months in the Middle East will make Obama administration officials look back to 2012 with nostalgia as a quiet time when they were able to focus on the campaign. The coming year will be much tougher—starting now."
Joshua Kurlantzick examines how the Obama administration relies on the Pentagon to serve as diplomatic interlocutor in Southeast Asia and argues against U.S. military cooperation with the region's most oppressive countries.
Analyzing the relevance of the electoral college in the 2012 presidential election, Julia E. Sweig says, "Although slavery has since been abolished and we have universal suffrage, this unfair electoral college system painfully, and somewhat quaintly, lives on."
In the Middle East, there is a perception that President Obama and the United States cannot be relied upon. But Obama's reelection is now an opportunity for the president to show his leadership and reliability in the region, says Ed Husain.
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.