In a recent essay in The New York Times, former undersecretary of state Nicholas Burns writes about one of the central challenges of the Obama administration’s foreign policy: balancing diplomatic engagement with deterrence. His essay centers on Iran, but this challenge can be seen across many fronts. Take Syria, where former Obama advisor Dennis Ross says the United States hesitated to do more than offer pronouncements—creating a destabilizing power vacuum throughout the Middle East. Or look at China, which the Financial Times reports is ramping up activity in the contested waters of the South China Sea, despite US resistance.
By no means is this balancing act easy. Often, it takes strong and committed allies—which, for the United States, seem hard to come by these days. Old allies such as Saudi Arabia appear to be adding gasoline to a sectarian conflict that has engulfed the Middle East. Europe, meanwhile, is consumed with a migrant crisis, slow economic growth, and rising nationalism, all of which put a strain on transatlantic cooperation. Nevertheless, finding this balance between diplomacy and deterrence will be essential to grappling with America’s most difficult foreign policy challenges today and in the future.
With that, here are some of this week’s recommended reads:
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On a recent trip to Europe, people kept coming back to me with one question: Will the United States really withdraw from NATO this year?
China announced its slowest annual growth rate since 1990. At the same time, Beijing and Washington remain locked in a trade war.
Britain’s holiday from history was supposed to end this week. However, Parliament voted 2-to-1 against Theresa May's Brexit deal.
China is investing billions of dollars in Africa each year. But is Beijing’s largesse made with the best of intentions? See Council President Ivo Daalder's response in the latest installment of #AskIvo.
It is not possible for the president to make well-considered decisions without the detail and knowledge of seasoned officials, including unpopular and dissenting views revealed in the memoranda that emerge from the Sit Room.
President Trump's decision to withdraw US troops from Syria will have wide-ranging consequences for US policy in Syria.
President Donald Trump's recent decisions have added new urgency to an old debate: Should the European Union have its own army?
Three reports in the WPS space released in late-2018 underscore the need to rethink gender and conflict by challenging dominant understandings of genocide, jihadist groups, and gang violence.
The second largest Ebola outbreak in history is raging on in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and international response has been comparatively quiet. Given the DRC’s recent historical similarities to Sierra Leone, the country that suffered the most cases and deaths during the 2014 outbreak, it is imperative that the world take notice and provide a rapid and holistic response.
German Marshall Fund president and former member of the National Security Council, Karen Donfried answers questions on a post-Merkel Germany, if Russia can be contained without the United States, and why Americans should care about European affairs.
A president's ability to enact a vision is constrained by international laws and by the willingness of allies and partners to go along with what the White House wants.
Lost amid the fallout from President Trump’s Syria decision were reports that the commander in chief had also decided to withdraw half of the 14,000 US troops deployed in Afghanistan.
Against the advice of his entire national security team, President Donald Trump has ordered the full withdrawal of 2,000 US ground troops from Syria within 30 days.
The massive Marriott records breach was the latest in a series of economic espionage cases attributed to China. Top cybersecurity experts Lesley Carhart and Adam Segal join this week's Deep Dish podcast to discuss the evolving tactical and policy challenges involved in managing international cyber space.
David Sanger, national security correspondent and senior writer for the New York Times, answers questions on cyberattacks: why they've become the new weapon of choice for foreign adversaries, the most likely suspects behind the next cyberattack, and who he'd most like to interview on the subject.