United States


Obama’s Former Middle East Adviser: We Should Have Bombed Assad

Authors: Philip H. Gordon and Jeffrey Goldberg
The Atlantic

In a comprehensive interview with Jeffrey Goldberg for the Atlantic, Philip Gordon discusses President Obama’s strategy in the Middle East, the so-called “Washington Playbook,” the Syria “redline,” and more.  He argues the next administration will have to deal extensively with the Middle East whether it wants to or not.


See more in United States; Syria; Conflict Assessment


America’s Fatal Flaw in its Competition With China Is Thinking Militarily, Not Economically

Author: Jennifer M. Harris
The WorldPost

Last week, Washington attempted two important policy feats aimed squarely in Beijing’s direction. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter grabbed headlines by visitingthe South China Sea, after earlier announcing he would scrap a visit to Beijing amid rising tension over territorial disputes in the region.

See more in United States; China; Economics; Military Operations


Reducing and Managing U.S.-China Conflict in Cyberspace

Authors: Adam Segal and Tang Lan
The National Bureau of Asian Research

While there continue to be significant differences between the perspectives of the U.S. and Chinese governments on issues in cyberspace, recent progress to overcome these challenges suggests a path forward, writes Adam Segal. Substantive cooperation on cybersecurity, cybercrime, and Internet governance can help both countries avoid a conflict over cyberspace.

See more in United States; China; Cybersecurity


Media Call: Debating Policy on China and the U.S. Economy

Presider: Gideon Rose
Speaker: Jacob S. Hacker
Speaker: Stephen G. Brooks

Republican presidential candidates are calling for Washington to get tougher on an assertive China and reduce the size of the U.S. government. In a media call, contributors to the upcoming May/June issue of Foreign Affairs make the opposite case, calling for patience with China and a significant public role in boosting the domestic economy.

See more in China; United States; Economics


ISIL as a Mass Movement

Author: Graeme Wood

In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 12, 2016, Graeme Wood discussed the self-proclaimed Islamic State as a mass movement and laid out the reasons for reasonable versus unreasonable fear of the movement and its constituents’ intentions. Based on his interactions with the Islamic State’s supporters abroad, Wood recommended that future U.S. government policy responses toward the Islamic State take into account not only military and political factors, but also “countercultural, religious, and existential ones,” and that politicians remain simultaneously rational and empathetic for their constituents.

See more in United States; Middle East and North Africa; Terrorist Organizations and Networks; Counterterrorism

Primary Sources

Department of State: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

These reports, mandated by Congress in the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and the Trade Act of 1974, describe the performance of other governments in practicing their international commitments on civil, political, individual, and worker rights, as defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The UN and the Chinese government produce similar reports.

See more in Human Rights; Global; United States


The Unsung Success of Nuclear Nonproliferation

Author: Philip H. Gordon
Nikkei Asian Review

When U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump mused about the possibility of Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia developing their own nuclear weapons, it was probably not his intention to highlight the success of the nuclear nonproliferation regime or the policy of President Barack Obama's administration.

See more in United States; Asia and Pacific; Nonproliferation, Arms Control, and Disarmament; Elections


Donald Trump vs. Barack Obama on Nuclear Weapons in East Asia

Author: Stephen Sestanovich
Wall Street Journal

Donald Trump broke a lot of foreign-policy crockery last week. President Barack Obama dressed him down for encouraging South Korea and Japan to acquire nuclear weapons. NATO’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, has criticized him too. Academics trying to parse Mr. Trump’s statements can’t figure out which “school” of foreign-policy thinking he belongs to. (So far, my favorite scholarly comment has been: “There is no indication that Trump understands the workings of balance of power theory…” Of course, there is no indication that Mr. Trump cares about the workings of any theories—and no real danger that he subscribes to them.)

See more in United States; Elections; Nonproliferation, Arms Control, and Disarmament


If American Jews and Israel Are Drifting Apart, What's the Reason?

Author: Elliott Abrams
Mosaic Magazine

If American Jews and Israel, are drifting apart, what’s the reason? That is the title of Elliott Abrams’s review essay in Mosaic, covering two new books that blame Israel—and its government’s policies—for the apparent drift. But the conventional wisdom is wrong, and the problems lie at home, among American Jews, not in Jerusalem.

See more in United States; Israel; Ethnicity, Minorities, and National Identity; Society and Culture


Why Is Paul Krugman Still Calling for Fiscal Stimulus?

Author: Benn Steil
Weekly Standard

Benn Steil’s latest op-ed in The Weekly Standard examines Paul Krugman’s continuing calls for fiscal stimulus, as well as his defense of government wage intervention and mercantilism.  These have all been grounded in the assertion that the United States is in a “liquidity trap,” in which monetary policy is ineffective.  Steil explains why the theory of liquidity traps is logically inapplicable when the central bank’s policy rate is positive, as it has been in the United States since December, and concludes that it operates as a fig leaf behind which to advocate policies with less scientific rationales.

See more in United States; Monetary Policy


Public Opinion and the 2016 Election

Speaker: Kellyanne Conway
Speaker: Scott Miller
Speaker: Douglas E. Schoen
Presider: Elliot Stein

Experts discuss their insights and polling research on U.S. public opinions and attitudes towards the presidential candidates and the U.S. political system.

See more in United States; Elections