U.S. Foreign Policy Program

The U.S. Foreign Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations seeks to understand the challenges and opportunities the United States faces overseas and to assess the pressures and political dynamics shaping its foreign policy choices. The program's goal is to provide insightful analysis and recommendations that help policymakers, business leaders, journalists, and the general public better understand how the United States weighs its interests and values when it makes foreign policy decisions.

The United States faces a unique and growing set of international challenges as it navigates a rapidly changing world. The rise of emerging powers like China, India, and Brazil provides new opportunities for partnership, but it also creates potential challengers to U.S. influence and interests. The spread of transnational problems such as climate change, infectious disease, and terrorism blurs the line between domestic and foreign policy, and it draws a wider range of government agencies into the decision-making mix on foreign policy. Meanwhile, bitter partisan disagreement at home frustrates efforts to formulate and sustain policy, potentially hinders the U.S. ability to lead by example, and raises questions about whether the United States will remain a reliable ally and partner. An American public skeptical that Washington is striking the right balance between foreign and domestic policy and concerned that it is not concentrating on the right foreign policy priorities further complicates the debate about America's proper role in the world.

By analyzing the forces driving and shaping foreign policy, the U.S. Foreign Policy Program aims to understand how the United States makes decisions about the many challenges it faces in the world today.

Featured Projects

U.S. Foreign Policy Roundtable Series

Director: Robert D. Blackwill, Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy
September 1, 2010—Present

The U.S. Foreign Policy Roundtable Series is an ongoing series that provides a forum for discussion with leading experts on the major issues and developments that impact U.S. foreign policy. The series has covered a broad range of topics, such as domestic and international counterterrorism efforts, the global financial crisis, evolving media coverage of international news developments, and U.S. policy in the Greater Middle East, especially in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.

Featured Publications

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U.S. Foreign Policy Experts

  • Robert Blackwill Robert Blackwill

    Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy

  • Isobel Coleman Isobel Coleman

    Senior Fellow and Director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative; Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program

  • Gayle Lemmon Gayle Lemmon

    Senior Fellow for Women and Foreign Policy

  • Jared Cohen Jared Cohen

    Adjunct Senior Fellow