Foreign Affairs Article

Fight or Flight

Author: Kenneth M. Pollack

The modern Middle East has rarely been tranquil, but it has never been this bad. Full-blown civil wars rage in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. Nascent conflicts simmer in Egypt, South Sudan, and Turkey. Various forms of spillover from these civil wars threaten the stability of Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia. Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia have risen to new heights, raising the specter of a regionwide religious war. 

See more in United States; Middle East and North Africa; Conflict Prevention

Foreign Affairs Article

The Lost Art of Economic Statecraft

Authors: Robert D. Blackwill and Jennifer M. Harris

Despite boasting the most powerful economy on earth, the United States too often reaches for the gun instead of the purse in its foreign policy. The country has hardly outgrown its need for military force, but over the past several decades, it has increasingly forgotten a tradition that stretches back to the nation’s founding: the use of economic instruments to accomplish geopolitical objectives, a practice we term “geoeconomics.”

See more in United States; Economics

Foreign Affairs Article

The Study-Abroad Solution

Author: Sanford J. Ungar

In the Internet age, the world feels far smaller than it used to. But many Americans still know little about the rest of the world and may be more detached from it than ever. Such a lack of awareness is, in certain respects, understandable. Once the Cold War ended, some 25 years ago, Congress, perhaps out of a false sense of security, cut the foreign affairs budget, which led to the closing of some U.S. overseas posts. 

See more in United States; Society and Culture

Foreign Affairs Article

Diplomacy Disrupted

Author: Cameron Munter

Last December, during a debate among the Republican candidates for the U.S. presidency, Senator Ted Cruz attacked the idea that the United States should pursue regime change in Syria. If Washington tries to topple Bashar al-Assad, Cruz warned, the jihadists of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (also known as ISIS) “will take over Syria, and it will worsen U.S. national security interests.”

See more in United States; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Foreign Affairs Article

A Feminist Foreign Policy

Author: Suzanne Nossel

When Hillary Clinton’s career as a lawyer first drew media attention during the 1992 presidential campaign of her husband, Bill Clinton, she mused that she could have skipped law practice to stay at home and bake cookies. The comment led to a now-famous cookie bake-off between Clinton and Barbara Bush, which the upstart Arkansas governor’s wife handily won.

See more in United States; Culture and Foreign Policy

Foreign Affairs Article

Obama's Way

Author: Fred Kaplan

On January 28, 2009, barely a week into his presidency, Barack Obama met with the U.S. military’s top generals and admirals on their own turf, inside “the tank,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s conference room on the second floor of the Pentagon. A senior official recalled the new president as “remarkably confident—composed, relaxed, but also deferential, not trying to act too much the commander in chief.”

See more in United States; Presidents and Chiefs of State

Foreign Affairs Article

When Congress Gets Mad

Author: Steven Casey

The scholar Edward Corwin famously described the separation of powers between the executive and the legislative branches set out in the U.S. Constitution as “an invitation to struggle for the privilege of directing American foreign policy.” With different parties controlling different branches of government, partisan politics tends to intensify this struggle, and the consequences can be ugly. 

See more in United States; Media and Foreign Policy

Foreign Affairs Article

The Transatlantic Data War

Authors: Henry Farrell and Abraham Newman

Last October, the European Court of Justice struck down the Safe Harbor agreement, a 15-year-old transatlantic arrangement that permitted U.S. companies to transfer data, such as people’s Google-search histories, outside the EU. In invalidating the agreement, the ECJ found that the blurry relationship between private-sector data collection and national security in the United States violates the privacy rights of EU citizens whose data travel overseas.

See more in United States; Europe; Intelligence

Foreign Affairs Article

Big Ben

Author: Adam S. Posen

The biggest revelation offered by Ben Bernanke’s memoir of his time as chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve is just how much the public, the media, and especially elected officials have misunderstood the real lessons of the 2008 financial crisis and the subsequent Great Recession—events that defined Bernanke’s tenure, which began in 2006 and ended in 2014. 

See more in United States; Financial Crises

Foreign Affairs Article

How to Build an Alliance

Authors: Ashlyn Anderson and Amy J. Nelson

The U.S.-India defense relationship has entered a new phase that includes the joint development and manufacturing of defense equipment. Both the United States and India stand to benefit from defense collaboration, but the risks of technology transfer involved in the projects require both sides to be clear about their expectations, write Ashlyn Anderson and Amy J. Nelson.

See more in United States; India; Defense Strategy