Supporters of President-elect Donald Trump during a campaign rally, Sterling Heights, Michigan, Nov. 6, 2016 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

The irony of Fidel Castro’s death is that, in addition to closing the symbolic book on the Cold War, it accentuates the feeling that we are living through the closing moments of the post-Cold War period. While that period has already been declared over at various times over the 15 years since 9/11, it now seems clear that those pronouncements were premature. Certainly America’s unipolar moment has passed, signaling the end of “the end of history.” But though shocking, the attacks of 9/11 and their aftermath—the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the war on terror—as well as the transformational effects […]

A Chinese newspaper on a newstand with a photo of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and the headline “Outsider counter attack,” Beijing, Nov. 10, 2016 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

No matter who was elected president on Nov. 8, there was going to be a pause in U.S. trade policy. During the campaign, neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiated and signed by President Barack Obama. But Trump said he would go much further, threatening to impose new tariffs of up to 45 percent on Chinese imports over Beijing’s currency manipulation and other unfair trade practices, while promising to withdraw from trade agreements that are not renegotiated to his satisfaction. As with other issues, there is uncertainty about what Trump will actually do once in […]

A missile is displayed next to a portrait of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Tehran, Iran, Sept. 25, 2016 (AP photo by Vahid Salemi).

Despite Donald Trump’s tough talk about the Iran nuclear deal during the presidential campaign, there have been some signals since the election that his administration may walk back his threat to cancel the accord. But hostility to Iran seems rampant among Trump’s advisers, meaning the spirit, if not the letter, of the agreement will likely be violated. The costs of reverting to a confrontational approach to Iran would include more regional instability, and doing so would raise serious questions about Trump’s commitment to some international norms and practices. What to do about Iran is one of the prominent foreign policy […]

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley speaking at the Republican Governors Association annual conference, Orlando, Fla., Nov. 15, 2016 (AP photo by John Raoux).

Nikki Haley may find that representing the United States at the United Nations is a bit of a letdown. President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to nominate Haley as his ambassador to the U.N. has been one of his better-received choices. In her current position as governor of South Carolina, she has made some decisions that pleased liberals, most notably removing the Confederate flag from the state house. U.N. officials who feared that Trump would send a unilateralist firebrand to speak for him in New York hope Haley is someone that they can do business with. There has, however, been a good […]

A protest against U.S. President-elect Donald Trump near the Eiffel Tower, Paris, Nov. 19, 2016  (AP photo by Thibault Camus).

The surprise election of Donald Trump as America’s 45th president has upset long-standing assumptions about America’s role in the world. It also calls into question the country’s future trajectory as the guarantor and administrator of the international order, a position that has been so carefully built and nurtured by Washington since the end of World War II. America’s European friends and allies are among those most worried about the future U.S. role in Europe, at a time when the continent is surrounded by instability and faces an increasingly aggressive Russia to its east. This unease is understandable if one considers […]

A protest against President-elect Donald Trump, St. Louis, Nov. 13, 2016 (AP photo by Jeff Roberson).

The Brexit referendum and the U.S. presidential election have offered clear examples of how emotion and affect increasingly drive political behavior. In both cases, resentment and anger over unaddressed grievances, combined with fear and anxiety over radical disruptions to the economy and national identity, won out over reasoned arguments in favor of the status quo. But emotion and affect don’t disappear with the counting of the ballots. Election victories always create euphoria among the winners and despair among the losers. The nature of President-elect Donald Trump’s insurgent candidacy and his upset victory magnify both reactions. The election outcome calls into […]

A man reads a newspaper announcing Donald Trump's election victory, Beijing, China, Nov. 10, 2016 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

European and Asian political analysts are reacting quite differently to Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election. Many European public policy intellectuals are deeply worried about the new team in power in Washington and they see the election outcome as a sign of the decline of the liberal international order. Some distinguished Asian thought leaders, in contrast, see an opportunity to build a new order—one in which Asian powers will be more prominent in setting the rules. In any event, the consensus seems to be that the Trump win will result in the further redistribution of power to regional […]

U.S. President Barack Obama and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto at the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Lima, Peru, Nov. 19, 2016 (AP photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais).

MEXICO CITY — On the morning after the U.S. election, the front pages of Mexican dailies responded to Donald Trump’s win with shock. Given that Mexico found itself in Trump’s crosshairs throughout the race, Mexicans’ fears aren’t unfounded. But the U.S. president-elect might not be able to make good on every threat he made on the campaign trail. Consider the nearly 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border. Trump will face plenty of challenges to building the infamous wall that was a centerpiece of his candidacy. First off, physical obstacles abound, including the Algodones Sand Dunes in southern California; the Coronado National Forest in […]

President-elect Donald Trump at the Trump National Golf Club, Bedminster, N.J., Nov. 20, 2016 (AP photo by Carolyn Kaster).

Is it time to be optimistic about Donald Trump? Since Trump won the U.S. presidential election, liberal foreign policy commentators have split into two camps. Some have stuck to their pre-electoral stances that Trump’s election could signal the implosion of American power and principles. Others have started to reassess their views, resulting in a spate of think pieces explaining why the next president-elect could prove a moderate pragmatist in office. I made my own minor contribution to this somewhat spineless school of literature last week, arguing that Trump could come to recognize the value of United Nations mediators and peacekeepers. […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin during a ceremony receiving diplomatic credentials from foreign ambassadors in the Kremlin, Moscow, Nov. 9, 2016 (AP photo by Sergei Karpukhin).

Russia featured prominently in the 2016 presidential campaign. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton depicted alleged Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s email servers and other high-profile political targets, including her own campaign staff, as evidence of a Kremlin plot to harm her candidacy and promote her Republican opponent, now President-elect Donald Trump. Trump consistently dismissed Clinton’s allegations as desperate political mudslinging and put forward a very different set of ideas for U.S. relations with Russia. One early Russia-related dustup came in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ambiguously translated comment that Trump was a “bright” or “colorful” candidate. Trump, in […]

Senegalese peacekeepers with the U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, Gao, Mali, Dec. 3, 2015 (U.N. photo by Marco Dormino).

Could the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States presage an unexpected boost for United Nations mediators and peacekeepers? It seems an improbable proposition. During the election campaign, Trump frequently criticized the U.N., and he looks likely to disrupt multilateral diplomacy on issues from climate change to human rights. Why should he be any kinder to the organization’s envoys and the blue helmets? The answer is that, having laid out an utterly incoherent vision of international security in his campaign, he may need the U.N. to help fill some of the biggest gaps. Previous Republican leaders have […]

A home in Havana, Cuba, Nov. 8, 2016 (AP photo by Ramon Espinosa).

Cuba was not a major issue in the 2016 presidential campaign, but U.S.-Cuban relations may be collateral damage of Donald Trump’s stunning upset victory. Trump’s campaign was never heavy on policy details, and over the months, he expressed contradictory views about President Barack Obama’s policy of engagement with Havana. At first, he supported the opening, though he said he would have gotten a better deal. Later, he seemed to embrace a more traditional Republican stance of hostility. The language in the Republican Party’s platform was reminiscent of the darkest days of the Cold War. It denounced Obama’s policy as “a […]

Then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives at a campaign rally, Wilmington, Ohio, Nov. 4, 2016 (AP photo by John Minchillo).

When U.S. voters chose Donald Trump to be their president, they entrusted him among other things to handle what two months ago I characterized as the top three threats that currently require international cooperation: climate change, nuclear proliferation and terrorism. Expect the new president to sound a lot different on these issues than President Barack Obama. On terrorism and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, the changes may be more rhetorical than real. On climate change, if the U.S. walks away from its leadership role, the consequences will be grave. As a candidate, Trump expressed strong views on each of […]

The coal-fired Merrimack Station power plant in Bow, New Hampshire, Jan. 20, 2015 (AP photo by Jim Cole).

The timing of Donald Trump’s stunning upset to become the president-elect of the United States couldn’t have come at a more inauspicious moment for global efforts to blunt climate change. As the election returns were pouring in last week, across the Atlantic in Marrakech, Morocco, representatives from nearly 200 nations gathered at the beginning of a major conference following up last December’s historic global climate accord signed in Paris. The Paris Agreement for the first time committed the U.S. and 192 countries to an ambitious international regime to curb global emissions, aiming to cap global temperature rises by the end […]

Then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi in New York, Sept. 19, 2016 (AP photo by Andres Kudacki).

Egypt’s general-turned-strongman, Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, was the first foreign leader to call Donald Trump and congratulate him on his surprising election as president of the United States. Read into that what you will. Back in September, Trump met with el-Sisi in New York during the United Nations General Assembly and didn’t bring up Egypt’s grim human rights record in the three-plus years that el-Sisi has been in power. In her own meeting with Egypt’s president, Hillary Clinton did. Under el-Sisi, tens of thousands of political dissidents and regime opponents have been thrown in Egyptian jails. According to the Trump campaign’s readout […]

President-elect Donald Trump at a roundtable discussion on national security, New York, Aug. 17, 2016 (AP photo by Gerald Herbert).

In the most shocking political upset in American history, Donald Trump has won the presidency. Now there are major questions about whether someone who has never held elected office or exercised leadership in a system based on consensus-building and a division of power can learn to do so on the job, at a time when so much is at stake. Trump’s learning curve will be particularly crucial in the realm of national security strategy, where the president faces fewer checks and balances, and where mistakes can have a cost in blood and even precipitate outright disaster. It is hard to […]

President-elect Donald Trump gives his acceptance speech during his election night rally, Nov. 9, 2016, New York (AP photo by John Locher).

Does Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States signal an existential crisis for the liberal internationalist global order? Will it usher in a period of heightened barriers to trade and dialogue, with one-sided ultimatums replacing diplomatic negotiations and compromise? Will the U.S.-backed security architectures in Europe and Asia crumble into the kind of epochal chaos currently on display in the Middle East? It is easy at times like these to fall prey to panic and despair—to believe, in essence, one’s own campaign rhetoric. But while all of the above scenarios remain possible, for now they are off in […]

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