U.S. Foreign Policy Articles

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry holds a meeting with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif over Iran’s nuclear program, Lausanne, Switzerland, March 18, 2015 (AP photo by Brian Snyder).
Strategic Horizons

Contrasting Strategic Cultures Drive U.S.-Israel Split on Iran

By Steven Metz
, , Column

Unlike Israel, the United States has far-ranging, interconnected global concerns and a uniquely idealistic strategic culture. How the U.S. deals with Iran reverberates outside the Middle East, and done badly, it might advance Israel’s security while degrading American interests elsewhere in the world. more


Special Report

A Study in Contrasts: Governance and Security in Southeast Asia

By The Editors
, , Report

Southeast Asia confronts a diverse range of challenges, from the need for reform in Indonesia to the erosion of democracy in Thailand. Some countries in the region are battling insurgencies at home, while others attempt to counter China’s rising influence abroad. This report draws on articles covering the region over the past year. more

Strategic Horizons

The U.S. Must Prepare for the Dissolution of Iraq

By Steven Metz
, , Column

Iraq is an artificial creation cobbled together from provinces of the old Ottoman Empire by outsiders. Dissolution into three parts—a Sunni Arab west, a Kurdish north and a Shiite section in the south—is so likely that American strategists should be thinking about how to respond. more

Special Report

Back in Business: Modi’s Fresh Start for India

By The Editors
, , Report

When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP decisively won last year’s elections, many were worried about the potential for interreligious tensions. But so far, Modi has allayed those concerns while bringing a new dynamism to India’s foreign policy, as the articles in this report make clear. more

Global Insights

Bond With Modi Helps Obama’s India Visit Exceed Expectations

By Richard Weitz
, , Column

Though Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States last year yielded few concrete results, it created a personal rapport between him and U.S. President Barack Obama. This week, that bond helped the two overcome obstacles in the bilateral relationship to achieve progress in important areas. more

The Realist Prism

For Obama, It’s Now or Never to Define His Legacy

By Nikolas Gvosdev
, , Column

As he returns from his holiday and prepares for his last two years in office, U.S. President Barack Obama must look for signature “legacy” issues that will help to define his administration, while also assessing which questions can be delayed or postponed for the next president to deal with. more

Strategic Horizons

What Are the Real Lessons of the Afghanistan War?

By Steven Metz
, , Column

Whether accurate or not, the recent American declaration of victory in Afghanistan launched a scramble among national security experts to identify the strategic lessons of the war. The stakes of this debate are high, and it is vital to get them right. more

Special Report

Getting to Yes: Cuba’s Slow Path to Reform

By The Editors
, , Report

The announcement that the U.S. will normalize relations with Cuba came as a surprise, but Cuba’s opening has been years in the making. This report includes WPR’s coverage of the island nation going back to 2007, tracing the post-Fidel transition and Raul Castro’s slow but steady reforms. more

The Realist Prism

Obama’s Unpredictable 2014 Leaves Few Clues for 2015

By Nikolas Gvosdev
, , Column

U.S. foreign policy in 2014 has undergone several tectonic shifts, in a seemingly haphazard and unplanned fashion. As we prepare to welcome 2015, the U.S. is dealing with a new Cold War and a new crisis in Iraq. How does this fit with what Obama wants to accomplish in his last two years in office? more

Diplomatic Fallout

Lessons in Secret Diplomacy From the First Christmas

By Richard Gowan
, , Column

The Christmas story is full of joy and wonder, but it also includes a cautionary tale about a diplomatic blunder. The three wise men give away key intelligence to King Herod, allowing him to seize the initiative and massacre innocents. Their failure offers useful lessons for the United States in 2014. more

Strategic Horizons

The Defeat of the Islamic State Would Not End the Violence In Iraq

By Steven Metz
, , Column

After months of military gains by the so-called Islamic State (IS) in Iraq, there is some hope that the tide is turning. Now is the time to begin discussing what comes next when—or if—IS is defeated militarily. Unfortunately, Washington seems to be making dangerous assumptions about Baghdad’s ability to secure the peace. more

Strategic Horizons

To Create Order, the U.S. Needs a Strategic Vision

By Steven Metz
, , Column

America’s global strategy once coherently linked U.S. actions in different places and on different issues. Today it does not, instead treating each security challenge in isolation. The reason for this incoherence is clear: The United States has no unifying strategic vision. more