The diplomatic strength and economic power of the United States depend upon a functioning global order and a system of international trade based on uncontested access to the global commons—the world's shared land, sea , air, and space—for all. Command of the global commons is what makes the United States a super power.
Some argue that the best way to restrain North Korea is to strengthen sanctions, principally by putting more pressure on China to reduce its trade with North Korea. Others advocate a diplomatic approach and argue that engagement, not escalation, would be more effective. What all parties need to remember is that actions speak louder than words.
In the past ten years, U.S. special operations forces have honed their counterterrorism manhunting ability with great operational success. They now are at a critical inflection point in their development where resources should be realigned to successfully employ the other of their two basic capabilities—working alongside indigenous forces to combat national and transnational threats.
Cyber weapons are different from conventional weapons in that their effects do not directly manifest themselves in the "real world." There are three broad categories of potential effects of cyberattacks: personal, economic, and physical.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel delivered his first major policy speech as Pentagon chief at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., April 3, 2013. The speech outlined potential departmental changes in acquisition, personnel, and organization, especially with the sequester, and addressed U.S. responses to North Korean threats.
In the wake of President Obama's brokered telephone apology between Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, Charles Kupchan argues for new foundations to an Israeli-Turkish partnership.
North Korea's ratcheting up of tensions requires South Korean and U.S. military forces in Korea to be prepared to defend against North Korean military incursions. Resumption of diplomacy will only be possible when North Korea signals it is ready to resume dialogue and all parties agree on an agenda that includes both tension-reduction and denuclearization.
Charles Kupchan argues that the Obama administration's pivot to Asia does not entail a weakening of the trans-Atlantic partnership. Rather, the United State and Europe are leveraging their relationship to deepen engagement in Asia.
While there was some early discussion on where to base the command (continental United States, Africa, or Germany), its current location in Germany has the existing infrastructure, transportation links, housing, schools, and health facilities to support its personnel, employees, and family members. Any future rebasing discussions will need to take into account a cost-benefit analysis—and in a time of fiscal uncertainty, the cost might be prohibitive.
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.