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.”
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.
Among many challenges revealed during the 2016 presidential election to the Obama adminisration’s rebalance to Asia, Sheila A. Smith, senior fellow for Japan studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, notes “it is the United States’ own commitment to the region that seems the most fragile.”
InFailure to Adjust: How Americans Got Left Behind in the Global Economy, Council on Foreign Relations Bernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow Edward Alden explains why the political consensus in support of trade liberalization has collapsed, and how to correct the course. The United States has contributed more than any other nation to writing the rules that created the competitive global economy of today, helping support stronger growth in much of the world. Yet successive U.S. administrations have done far too little to help Americans succeed under those rules, says Alden.
When transition planning gets underway in earnest this fall, one of the hardest memos to write will be the outbrief from the current National Security Council (NSC) team on what to do about China’s ongoing campaign of cyber espionage targeting the intellectual property of U.S. companies. While long a focus of both the president’s cyber and China teams, there is little chance that in the coming months the issue is going to be brought to any type of resolution. Instead, the next president will inherit a partially implemented plan that has produced positive results in the short term, but its long-term sustainability remains uncertain. He or she would be wise to follow the playbook left by the Obama administration, with a redoubled focus on the investigation and prosecution of cybercrime.
The traditional U.S. economic agenda in East Asia needs to be complemented with a push for the policies needed to bring East Asia’s savings down to a level that the region can more easily absorb internally.
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon highlights the need for renewed attention on the war in Afghanistan. Nearly 10,000 U.S. troops remain in the country and U.S. casualties are close to 2,300, but little about Afghanistan has made headlines in recent years or received mention by political leaders.
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 »