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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This is the most important election in the history of the Islamic Republic, says Saeid Golkar.
Council Fellow Saeid Golkar discusses Iran's political landscape leading up to the upcoming presidential election on May 19.
"No one willed the world’s present interconnectedness into existence," writes Council President Ivo Daalder, but it "is the reality of our age...a reality that cannot be reversed." This Week’s Reads from Daalder examine how concerted global cooperation, be it in combating a deadly virus or in addressing human-made problems, is the only way forward.
“When you focus on Korea, you have to focus on everything,” says Council expert Karl Friedhoff. On the latest episode of Deep Dish, Friedhoff explains the significance of South Korea’s newly elected president and how he will usher in a new era affecting North Korea, China, Japan, and the United States.
The race for the French presidency between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen is approaching its final stage. From the spike in populism to the floundering of primary party leadership, this election will play a major role in determining the direction of political winds across the West.
Dan Drezner, senior fellow on public opinion and foreign policy for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, discusses the positive and negative impacts of a more open ideas industry.
This Week’s Reads help to explain President Trump’s foreign policy messages, and highlight some of the global issues that will continue to shape them.
A tribute to Benjamin Barber, pioneer of global cities studies, who passed April 24, 2017.
This Week’s Reads examine the dynamics of the French election and some of the global issues with which the candidates are grappling.
Often missing from discussions about the US-China relationship is the perspective of the Chinese government. On this week's Deep Dish podcast, Hong Lei, China's Consul General in Chicago, explains how China and the United States may be able to cooperate on global security and the global economy.
During remarks at Chicago's March for Science, Karen Weigert explains how science makes cities like Chicago stronger.
Given recent airstrikes in Syria, use of the MOAB in Afghanistan, and missile tests in North Korea, we asked Council President and former US NATO Ambassador Ivo Daalder about the objectives of current US military deployments.
The foreign policy of the Trump Administration has been marked by a series of dramatic reversals—not so much from the policies of his predecessor, but from President Trump’s own rhetoric and campaign promises.
Cecile Shea explains the consequences of unilateral American military action in North Korea.