The Pentagon's recently issued National Military Strategy, the first update since 2011, depicts today’s international security environment as being more challenging for the U.S. due to the diffusion of military technologies and the rise of revisionist great powers, in particular Russia.
A spat with Saudi Arabia exposed the tension for Sweden, the world’s 12th-largest arms exporter, between promoting defense sales and advancing democracy and human rights. But in Europe’s worsening security climate, the Saudi episode will hardly change Swedish minds about arms sales, even to non-democracies.
Though the world currently looks like an ungovernable place, ongoing talks in Vienna on Iran’s nuclear program represent a rare bright spot of great-power cooperation. A successful deal with Tehran could provide the impetus for better diplomacy and a new framework to address other pressing issues.