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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CNN’s Fareed Zakaria joined a Council audience on September 8 to discuss America's international leadership. Before the event, we asked him what question he wished the audience would ask.
As a source of both social and economic disruption, and as a platform of the elevation of popular grievances, the role of technology in fueling the new populism cannot be discounted.
After a summer of transformational change, the Council on Global Affairs is thrilled to kick off its fall season of insightful programming with a focus on real, impactful conversations on the all-important issue of America’s role in the world, writes Council President Ivo H. Daalder.
Entrepreneurship expert Elmira Bayrasli argues that we need a permanent pathway for welcoming immigrant entrepreneurs.
Hosting the Olympics is a shameful endeavor, says Council Research Associate Brandon Richardson. New infrastructure does not make up for complicity in human rights abuses.
Distinguished Fellow Richard Longworth argues that the Democratic and Republican parties are due for an epochal political transformation as globalization lays bare the divide between each party's "haves" and "have-nots."
Three clips from the Chicago Forum on Global Cities on how the 2016 Summer Olympics will affect Rio.
Career ambassadors Thomas Pickering and James F. Jeffrey weigh in on whether the nuclear deal has led to lasting shift in direction for US-Iran relations.
Despite all the challenges, hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics is an extraordinary moment for Rio de Janeiro, argues Juliana Kerr. The city has accomplished more in the years preparing to host the Olympics than it ever could have without being awarded this international honor, and the investments are crucial to its future as a global city.
Keenes, the nation's top producer of pumpkins, was the top Illinois city requesting H-2As—visas for temporary agricultural workers—in 2014, demonstrating the extent to which immigration is a lifeline across the rural Midwest.
What would a presidential victory by Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton mean for the future of the Iran deal? Career ambassadors Thomas Pickering and James F. Jeffrey weigh in.
We've rounded up five videos featuring experts who look at the future of America's global role.
After decades of economic decline, the Midwest is experiencing something of a business renaissance—much of which can be linked to immigration—and its continuity will depend on immigration reform.
Here are five outstanding Council speakers and panels we think you should see if you missed, or rewatch!
Today marks the the one-year anniversary of the Iran nuclear deal signing. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has complied with its initial obligations of reducing its stockpile of low-enriched uranium and undertaking revisions of its nuclear facilities. But what has the deal meant for nuclear nonproliferation? Career ambassadors James F. Jeffrey and Thomas Pickering weigh in.