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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Italy and the European Union are deadlocked over Rome's budget, threatening a "doom loop" that could consume Italy's economy, the eurozone, and perhaps global markets.
Council President Ivo Daalder answers a question on whether President Donald Trump can make the "ultimate deal" and bring peace to the Middle East.
As the world marks 100 years since the end of World War I, the American public of 2018 looks ever more distant from the isolationism that was rising in the American public of 1918.
Ivo Daalder and James M. Lindsay discuss their new book "The Empty Throne: America's Abdication of Global Leadership" with Brian Hanson.
In this episode, historian and author Michael Beschloss answers questions on presidential history, the system of checks and balances, and offers advice for President Trump and Congress.
The conventional wisdom is that Americans prefer to stay out of world affairs. But the conventional wisdom is wrong.
With Brexit drawing near, this an important moment to note that the Chicago Council on Global Affairs has not been a passive observer of the awkward association between Britain and Europe. On three separate occasions, at critical moments in the UK's relationship with Europe, the Council provided a platform for leading Conservative Party politicians to make waves from across the ocean. From the Council's archive emerges a curious tale of treachery, tantrums, angry editors, and airport pizza.
Both the United States and Germany are seeing evolving economies in their respective “rust belts,” formerly robust engines of the industrial era. Both are developing strategies to address these challenges but, unlike President Trump's approach, Germany is focused on accelerating change so the region will thrive in the future.
Jair Bolsonaro won Brazil's presidency with a far-right populism that drew comparisons to President Donald Trump.
It has been a month since journalist Jamal Khashoggi died in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. But answers about his murder have not been forthcoming.
Will ties stay strong between Washington and Riyadh? Find out what Council President Ivo Daalder thinks in the latest #AskIvo.
With midterm elections fast-approaching, professor and author Francis Fukuyama answers questions on the rise in identity politics, its effects on democracy, and how countries can build inclusive identities.
Britain is slated to exit the European Union in March 2019. No one yet knows whether a deal will be reached or what happens if negotiations fail.
The burgeoning US-China trade war has dominated headlines. But the larger story of China’s economy is just as intriguing—and is the subject of this week's Deep Dish podcast.
Since its creation, the Women, Peace, and Sercurity agenda has driven the UN to be increasingly concerned with women’s empowerment as well as inclusive policymaking and implementation. Grasping the agenda’s scope can shed light on ways that different stakeholders can work to advance the agenda.