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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Cities around the world have begun to map their own strategies onto the SDGs to accelerate progress on their own local goals, and Chicago should too.
Democratic breakdown in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the resurgence of authoritarian leaders around the world, suggest that democracy promotion is a failed project. But the United States still has an essential role to play in promoting democratic institutions abroad, argue Ambassador Derek Mitchell and Daniel Twining.
Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, a former health minister of Rwanda, takes a minute to answer questions about Rwanda’s health system and the lessons other countries can learn from its success rebuilding after the 1994 genocide.
The US Congress has not approved a use of force since 2002. Oona A. Hathaway of Yale Law School joins Deep Dish to lay out a step-by-step plan for Congress to revive its war powers.
The 2019 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for his role in ending a 20-year military stalemate between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Journalist Graeme Wood, author of The Way of the Strangers: Encounters With the Islamic State, takes a minute to discuss the difference between ISIS and Al Qaeda, and if ISIS has truly been defeated.
More than 1,200 days have passed since Britain's referendum to leave the European Union, but little has been decided in that time about how Brexit will actually take place.
Dr. Alaa Murabit, a UN High-Level Commissioner on Health Employment and Economic Growth, takes a minute to answer questions on gender equality, its role in global security, what part education plays in promoting gender equality, and what individuals can do to promote gender equality as well.
On October 1, the Chinese Communist Party marks seven decades in power, and yet the troubled legacy of revolutionary founder Mao Zedong looms over the People's Republic of China still today.
National security, alliances, immigration, and trade wars have already surfaced in debates and speeches by 2020 US presidential candidates. But how do the candidates’ ideas match those of Americans overall?
Australia has long been a strong ally of the United States, but new challenges and opportunities, including the rise of China, confront the alliance in the twenty-first century.
Council Women, Peace, and Security Fellow Katelyn Jones takes a minute to answer questions on equality, equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that Israel will annex part of the Jordan Valley if he stays in power after elections on September 17. The decision comes as tensions with Hezbollah in Lebanon and with Iran-backed militias in Syria flare up.
Flames raging across the Amazon have captured the world's attention, but Brazil faces other pressing economic, political, and conservation consequences due to deforestation as well.