Judah Grunstein is World Politics Review’s editor-in-chief. His coverage of French and American politics, foreign policy and national security has appeared in World Politics Review, the International Herald Tribune, the American Prospect online, the Small Wars Journal, Foreign Policy online and the Los Angeles Review of Books. He is a regular guest commentator on France 24, as well as a published playwright.
Articles written by Judah Grunstein
When historians look back at 2014, they will likely be struck by how many contradictory trends co-exist in today’s world. Such a world, in which everything and its opposite are simultaneously true, makes it difficult to draw conclusions, let alone formulate policy and engage in strategic planning. more
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s last-minute tour of European capitals in the run-up to the Nov. 24 deadline for reaching a nuclear deal with Iran is about getting U.S. allies on the same page as much as it is about getting Iran to agree to a final deal. more
Despite obvious differences, the U.S. military missions against the Islamic State group and the Ebola virus share many similarities. Perhaps most significantly, both can be contained with limited interventions, but to defeat them will require resources the U.S. is unlikely to commit. more
The Israel-Hamas war has highlighted continuity with shifts in France’s policy toward Israel as well as its broader foreign policy alignment begun under former President Nicolas Sarkozy. President Francois Hollande’s response to the current conflict, combined with his foreign policy approach to date, suggest the shifts have achieved a bipartisan consensus in Paris, although not an uncontested one. more
The recent attacks against synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses on the margins of pro-Palestinian demonstrations in France have shocked many, despite being only the latest in a string of anti-Semitic incidents and violence in the country over the past few years. But to focus only on the anti-Semitic nature of the violence is to make the mistake of paying attention only to the tip of the iceberg. more
As has become increasingly evident, we live in a Gramscian moment of crisis, where between an old order on its deathbed and a new one not yet born, “a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” The latest of these symptoms is on display in Ukraine, where Russia’s armed intervention highlights the waning power of the post-Cold War liberal order, even as consensus over what should replace it remains elusive. more
The agreement signed in Geneva over the weekend by the P5+1 powers and Iran is inarguably good news. If the deal holds, the next six months will be the first time in eight years that Iran’s nuclear program has been slowed for reasons other than technical difficulties and outside sabotage. The agreement is but the first step in what remains an arduous task, but it is a significant and welcome first step. more
In the aftermath of the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program over the weekend, too much emphasis is being placed on the “failure to reach a deal” and not enough on the fact that leaving Geneva without a signed agreement represents not a breakdown, but simply a strategic and in all likelihood short pause. more
By demonstrating a willingness to escalate hostilities regardless of international pressure, Israel has re-established its deterrent with regard to both Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. The moral implications of this method of deterrence are alarming. The strategic implications are no more reassuring. Israel has successfully defended a status quo that is not necessarily sustainable.
As President Barack Obama turns his sights to his second term, he has the benefit of four years of executive experience and is buoyed by the political capital that comes of even the most modest electoral victories. Both could translate into a more determined hand at the helm of the ship of state. But for the Obama administration to solidify what has to date been an uneven record, a number of shifts are necessary. more
With the U.S. presidential campaign entering the home stretch, it is evident that foreign policy will not play a major role in the election outcome. Neither candidate has offered a vision of how America should engage with the world to advance American interests in such a way that the benefits are widely shared. In short, how will the U.S. exercise global leadership in a world that increasingly has other options? more
The challenge for a French president in managing relations with Africa is twofold: finally weaning ties off of the existing patronage networks; and actually promoting democracy and respect for human rights without being perceived in Africa as arrogant, paternalistic and hypocritical. more
Days after demonstrators stormed the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, and the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, a wave of anti-American protests has swept through the region. For now, the demonstrations remain limited, and they are likely to fade relatively quickly. Nevertheless, the protests highlight the challenges facing the U.S. as it tries to navigate the changing political landscape of the Middle East. more
As President Barack Obama’s first term in office draws to a close, attention has naturally turned to assessing his foreign policy record over the past four years. And while partisan debates in the run-up to November’s election are certain to feature more caricature than reasoned argument, even nonpartisan observers diverge when it comes to Obama’s foreign policy legacy to date.
Following the death of four French soldiers in Afghanistan on Satruday, French President François Hollande reaffirmed his decision to withdraw French combat forces from the country by the end of 2012. Militarily, the withdrawal of French troops will have little impact on the war effort. But for a number of reasons, it represents an unforced error on the part of the recently elected French president. more
With state-building no longer a politically acceptable mission, the debate over Syria has made it clear that no ready alternative exists. We have entered a period where there is no strategically satisfying argument for limited military intervention in any but the most strategically insignificant cases. more
As is customary for a NATO summit, reports of the alliance's imminent demise will be greatly exaggerated. Nonetheless, the fundamental and persistent questions that continue to dog the alliance cannot be easily dismissed -- not only because of their implications for the future of trans-Atlantic security ties, but also because of what they suggest about Europe's future role as a global power. more
The importance attached to tomorrow’s G-8 summit vindicates those who defended the G-8 against charges of irrelevance over the past few years. The G-8 was unfairly and prematurely dismissed as a relic from a bygone era. Unfairly, because it continued to address issues that remain outside the G-20’s mandate; prematurely because it remains the most effective trans-Atlantic forum for economic issues. more
A quick look at French President-elect François Hollande’s agenda in the coming weeks underscores the degree to which foreign policy concerns will weigh upon the early days of his presidency, as well as the questions that remain about his foreign policy orientation. One aspect of Nicolas Sarkozy’s activist legacy is worth noting in this regard: that of national security and defense. more
With fewer than 100 days left until the first round of France’s presidential election, President Nicolas Sarkozy is behind in the polls and facing an uphill battle for re-election. Although his principal rival, François Hollande, has been losing ground at an alarming rate, Sarkozy’s numbers have stagnated, and there is no shortage of candidates who might benefit from a protest vote. more