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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Today, there are nearly 8 billion people on the planet, meaning nearly 8 billion people in need of daily nutritional sustenance. This presents new challenges that threaten our fragile global food system.
The Midwest was America’s first frontier, then the foundation of the country’s agricultural and industrial might. It was the birthplace of great industries and a mecca for migrants seeking a better life and new economic opportunity. As the region forged America’s middle class, much of its success resulted from robust global engagement through trade, immigration, and partnerships.
In our this episode, architect and novelist Lesley Lokko explains urbanism, the importance of culture in cities, and how architecture contributes to a city's culture.
There isn't enough data about women and girls, which is why the data we do have is widely used and influential. It’s also why the revelation that one of the most often cited statistics about women is fabricated shook scholars and practitioners alike.
The 91st Academy Awards take place on Sunday in Los Angeles, but international markets, led by China, have eclipsed the domestic market in importance for the US movie industry, rewriting the rules about what kinds of films get made.
Returning from the annual Munich Security Conference in Germany, Council President Ivo Daalder concludes that both sides of the transatlantic relationship have given up even pretending that the relationship is strong.
The political, economic, and humanitarian crises in Venezuela are getting worse and worse. Council President Ivo Daalder looks at where the long-troubled nation is headed.
In this episode, John Mearsheimer, University of Chicago professor and co-director of the university’s Program on International Security Policy, explains what he thinks is wrong with the liberal hegemonic worldview, why he believes realism serves as a better lens, and whom he’d most like to debate on the subject.
Protesters in high-visibility vests have taken to the streets in France for weeks. Sophie Pedder of The Economist and Benjamin Haddad of the Atlantic Council explain what the demonstrations mean for France and Europe.
With global investments and commitments to sustainable development seemingly strong, one wonders, how are we doing? Is the world on track to achieve these lofty goals?
The chief of naval operations explains how the US Navy can retain its supremacy in the years ahead—and against new and growing threats.
Venezuela has two claimants to presidential power: Juan Guaidó and Nicolás Maduro.
Mrs. Margaret S. Hart passed away on Sunday, January 27, 2019. She was an important donor of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs for over 50+ years and a wonderful partner in building a program series focused on Latin America.
From Berlin to Brussels, what can we expect after German Chancellor Angela Merkel leaves office? See Council President Ivo Daalder's response in the latest installment of #AskIvo.
In this episode, US Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Council Emerging Leader Program alum, answers questions on the top global challenges facing the United States and what issues will be the most important during the 2020 presidential race.