Matthew C. Waxman argues that international law still plays a powerful role in justifying or delegitimizing the case for military action. Just like in the Cuban missile crisis, the United States needs to present a plausible case for self-defense in order to strike Iran.
Will Inboden writes that the historic role of the Democratic Party of vocally opposing Republican policies only to later embrace those policies when they have been proven successful should at the least raise a skeptical eyebrow at the ongoing Democratic denunciations of Romney's foreign policy.
CFR's James M. Lindsay remembers the formation of the America First Committee on September 4, 1941. He discusses the committee's meteoric rise, its claim that the war in Europe did not threaten American security, and its ultimate failure to prevent FDR from moving the United States closer to Great Britain.
Peter Baker discusses the relationship between what presidential candidates say on the campaign trail and what they do once elected and what this relationship indicates about U.S. foreign policy if Mitt Romney wins the presidential election in November.
Leslie H. Gelb says Obama captured the political center at home on foreign policy – a feat for a Democrat – because he avoided costly mistakes abroad. He understood the limits of U.S. power, but not its strengths when encased in a good strategy, and thus failed to achieve solutions to big problems abroad.
Fifty years ago, the Cuban missile crisis brought the world to the brink of nuclear disaster. Every president since John F. Kennedy has tried to learn from what happened back then. Today, it can help U.S. policymakers understand what to do -- and what not to do -- about Iran, North Korea, China, and presidential decision-making in general.
Yet another bout of worry about long-term U.S. decline has generated yet another countersurge of defensive optimism. What new books by Robert Kagan and Robert Lieber miss, however, is the critical role played by multilateral institutions in the perpetuation of the United States' global leadership.
Democratic revolutionaries always confront the same problem: how to replace the old order without replicating its flaws. A new biography of the French revolutionary Maximilien Robespierre's reveals that today's radicals might learn from Robespierre's failure to resolve that dilemma.
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.