U.S. Foreign Policy Articles

The General Assembly Hall as President Barack Obama addresses the general debate of the sixty-ninth session of the General Assembly, Sept. 24, 2014 United Nations, New York (U.N. photo by Mark Garten).
Diplomatic Fallout

U.S. Sidelines Russia at U.N., but Real-World Gains Remain Elusive

By Richard Gowan
, , Column

Last week’s U.N. General Assembly showed that the U.S. can still dominate the U.N. when it wants to, and that a majority of other countries are relieved to follow an American lead. But it also showed that the U.N. is only really relevant in two regions: Africa and the Middle East. more


Strategic Horizons

Can U.S. Build a Better Iraqi Army the Second Time Around?

By Steven Metz
, , Column

For the U.S., getting out of Iraq required rebuilding the Iraqi army. But the raw material that U.S. military advisers and trainers had to work with was not optimal. To defeat the Islamic State group, the Iraqi army will have to be organized on professional and not sectarian grounds. more

Strategic Horizons

U.S. Strategy for Defeating the Islamic State Group Won't Work

By Steven Metz
, , Column

President Barack Obama’s strategy for dealing with the Islamic State group appeals to a weary nation, but it is unlikely to work because it violates two cardinal rules of strategy: The resources are not commensurate with the objectives, and the coalition’s objectives are not in sync. more

Strategic Posture Review: South Korea

By Richard Weitz
, , Report

As a fully democratic and developed country, South Korea has realized its aspirations to become a major international player. Nonetheless, the persistent threat from North Korea, along with the challenge of having three of the world’s most powerful countries as neighbors, continues to constrain South Korea.

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Strategic Horizons

Assessing Obama’s Legacy in National Security Policy

By Steven Metz
, , Column

Obama’s national security legacy will be an important benchmark for future American national security strategy. If seen as a success, it will serve as a model. If seen as a general failure, it will offer a warning. Therefore it is important to begin thinking about it now. more

The Politics of Advocacy: Setting and Vetting the Global Agenda

By Charli Carpenter
, , Feature

A U.N. conference this year on fully autonomous weapons, or “killer robots,” raises the question: Why do some issues and not others attract global policy attention? This article explores the channels through which humanitarian concerns are guided from grassroots activism to the highest levels of the international political agenda. more

Strategic Horizons

The Price of Defeating the Islamic State

By Steven Metz
, , Column

Destroying the Islamic State would be a very good thing. The danger is that American political leaders and strategic thinkers will reprise their tradition of overestimating U.S. power and underestimating the costs of destroying a fanatical transnational terrorist organization. more

Special Report

Zero Solutions: Challenges Mount for Erdogan's Turkey

By The Editors
, , Report

Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s shift from the prime ministership to the presidency symbolizes a deeper shift for Turkey. While Erdogan has made progress towards peace with the Kurdish minority, he faces criticism for an increasingly autocratic ruling style, and Turkey’s international relations are under strain.

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Strategic Horizons

2016 Election Will Redraw Road Map for U.S. National Security

By Steven Metz
, , Column

The United States is at a transitional point in its national security strategy perhaps as crucial as the opening years of the Cold War. During the 2016 presidential campaign, debate about America’s role in the world will move into the limelight as differing visions within and between the Democratic and Republican parties clarify policy options and choices. For U.S. and global security, much will be at stake. more

U.S., India Seek to Move Defense Ties Beyond Arms Sales

By Saurav Jha
, , Briefing

Last week, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel visited India to sound out Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Defense Trade and Technology Initiative, the “centerpiece” of the U.S.-India security relationship. To sustain ties with a new Indian government focused on leveraging weapons manufacturing for jobs, Washington realizes it must move beyond arms sales to co-development and co-production agreements. more

Strategic Horizons

The Rise of the Islamic State and the Evolution of Violent Extremism

By Steven Metz
, , Column

From Yemen to Africa, violent extremists are leaving al-Qaida-affiliated groups and joining the ultra-radical and violent movement now known as the Islamic State. This gives some worrisome hints about the future of extremism in the Islamic world. That the U.S. is attacking the Islamic State rather than al-Qaida shows militants exactly who Washington considers to be the largest threat. more