Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson is by all accounts a shrewd, pragmatic, and successful dealmaker. In another administration, he might have made an excellent secretary of State. Serving a president with a strong moral grounding and certain fixed principles, he might have been successful in sanding off the rough edges and making the compromises necessary to get things done. But under Donald Trump, a man of few if any discernible principles beyond a desire for self-aggrandizement, he would be a dangerous choice because his role will be not just to implement policy but—more than most previous secretaries of State—to shape it.
The Middle East will not find peace so long as President Bashar al-Assad rules over a truncated Syria, writes CFR’s Ray Takeyh. Assad’s victory over the rebels in Aleppo will not result in stability for the rest of the country or the region.
When the Chinese Foreign Ministry expresses “serious concern” about things Donald Trump has said about Taiwan—and a party-controlled newspaper calls him “as ignorant as a child”—it’s clear that Beijing is alarmed. Yet after spending last week in China, I came away struck by the overall complacency of Chinese attitudes toward the president-elect, writes Stephen Sestanovich.
Election hacks and Russia-friendly nominees pose a historic choice of party or principle. The test for Republicans is how they will react given that Trump has publicly pondered the possibility of lifting all sanctions on Russia, has appointed as his national security adviser a retired general who had recently been seen dining with Putin and as his secretary of State an executive who had received an Order of Friendship from Putin.
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon questions whether America’s post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will retake center stage with the potential appointment of a military leader to secretary of defense. According to Lemmon, “If confirmed, Mattis…would force Americans to confront these conflicts at a time when the United States has done a good job forgetting to feel like a country at war.”
Max Boot argues that Petraeus would be a superbly qualified secretary of state—one who already has more diplomatic experience than most of those previously selected for this position. And far from giving a pro-war tilt to the new administration, Petraeus would be an important restraint on a president who has spoken far too freely of bombing various countries and of torturing terrorists.
The Obama obsession with Israeli settlement activity ruined his policy toward Israel, prevented the negotiations he wanted, and was not based on the facts. The Trump administration should take a very different approach, Elliott Abrams argues in Foreign Policy magazine.
As the incoming Trump administration sorts itself out, U.S. allies should develop policy proposals for dealing with pressing global challenges and consider what more they can do on behalf of common defense, writes CFR President Richard N. Haass.
Trump is too mercurial a figure to pursue any policy with any consistency, even a pro-Russia policy. We can only hope that Russia does not succeed in reestablishing its empire and swallowing some of America’s more vulnerable allies in Eastern Europe before Trump wakes up to the fact that Putin is not America’s friend.
Much of the new U.S. administration’s foreign policy is a mystery, but expect broad policy continuity in U.S. relations with India while geopolitical and geoeconomic questions pull the two countries in new directions.
The president of the United States has vast power—nearly unlimited in the realm of foreign affairs. He can order U.S. troops into combat. He can bomb any country he wants. He can round up illegal immigrants. He can spy on millions of people. Soon all that power will be in the hands of Donald J. Trump, hardly the most sober and restrained individual ever to occupy the Oval Office. Checks and balances on a president's national security powers have never been more important, writes CFR's Max Boot.
While Donald Trump was getting himself elected president, various factions of the American Left were fighting over just how much to boycott Israel. Elliott Abrams explains their ludicrous debate in The Weekly Standard.
India now matters to U.S. interests in virtually every dimension. This Independent Task Force report assesses the current situation in India and the U.S.-India relationship, and suggests a new model for partnership with a rising India.
Rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in low- and middle-income countries are increasing faster than in wealthier countries. The report outlines a plan for collective action on this growing epidemic.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2016 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »
The Fall 2016 issue of CFR's member newsletter, the Chronicle, is a guide to CFR's most important news since August 2016, and includes announcements about new programs, partnerships, fellows, meetings, publications, and members. Read it now.
Now Available: Foreign Policy Begins at Home
The biggest threat to America's security and prosperity comes not from abroad but from within, writes CFR President Richard N. Haass in his provocative new book. More