U.S. President Donald Trump with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019 (AP photo by Susan Walsh).

America’s foreign policy establishment is at war with itself over the shape of the country’s approach toward a steadily rising China. For now, it is only an epistolary war. But as the debate deepens, its outcome will go far toward deciding how the United States responds to its most serious global rival for economic and geopolitical power for decades ahead. Among a slew of recent op-eds and policy papers about how Washington should manage the perceived challenge that China represents, two statements stand out as poles in the debate and, as such, deserve extended consideration. The first, which appeared in […]

An F-35 fighter jet takes off from Beaufort U.S. Marines Air Base in Beaufort, South Carolina (Photo by Peter Byrne for Press Association via AP Images).

On July 17, the U.S. announced that it had terminated Turkey’s participation in the F-35 fighter jet program, five days after Ankara took delivery of components for four batteries of Russian S-400 air defense systems that Turkey purchased in 2017. The systems will not be assembled and operational until the fall, but in receiving the first shipment, Turkey ignored repeated warnings from Washington that it considered the presence of the S-400 to be incompatible with operating the F-35. The Trump administration gave several reasons for the suspension: the intelligence risk posed by the presence of an advanced Russian data-collection platform […]

U.S. President Donald Trump, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Vice President Mike Pence, after signing an executive order to increase sanctions on Iran, at the White House, Washington, June 24, 2019 (AP photo by Alex Brandon).

Editor’s Note: Guest columnist Neil Bhatiya is filling in for Stewart Patrick this week. On July 18, in the Trump administration’s first punitive measure since Iran announced earlier this month that it would exceed the levels of enriched uranium permitted under the international nuclear deal, the United States expanded sanctions against Tehran to include a network of international companies it said were linked to procuring materials for Iran’s nuclear program. In announcing the sanctions, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said his department was “taking action to shut down an Iranian nuclear procurement network that leverages Chinese- and Belgium-based front companies […]

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, center, speaks to U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, third left, at the presidential palace in Kabul, Jan. 28, 2019. (Photo by the Afghan Presidential Palace, via AP)

If there’s still any question about whether President Donald Trump will actually deliver on his promises to “get out” of Afghanistan, the answer seems simple after this week. No, Trump won’t, not while he remains convinced that he could win the war there in 10 days by killing 10 million people and wiping Afghanistan “off the face of the earth.” Trump’s statement, made in a stomach-churning Oval Office meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on July 22, may have been shocking, but it wasn’t all that surprising. After 19 years at war, the bumbling that has passed for U.S. […]

President Donald Trump during a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in the Oval Office of the White House, July 22, 2019, Washington (AP photo by Alex Brandon).

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan enjoyed a warm visit to Washington this week, with his hosts, from President Donald Trump to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Sen. Lindsey Graham, all affirming the importance in particular of cooperation between the U.S. and Pakistan in Afghanistan. For a Pakistani government that viewed Khan’s visit as an opportunity to reset a relationship that suffered immensely during the early months of the Trump administration, it was an encouraging sign. The bilateral relationship has indeed come a long way since 2017 and 2018, when Trump threatened a harder line on Pakistan, tweeted angrily about […]

New British Prime Minister Boris Johnson outside 10 Downing Street, London, July 24, 2019 (AP photo by Frank Augstein).

In this week’s editors’ discussion on Trend Lines, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein; managing editor, Frederick Deknatel; and associate editor, Laura Weiss, talk about Boris Johnson’s investiture as the U.K.’s new prime minister. They also look at U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s four-country tour of Latin America and the surprisingly warm reception he received. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter to get our uncompromising analysis delivered straight to your inbox. The newsletter offers a free preview article every day of the week, plus […]

Rather than wait out their asylum application process, Central American asylum-seekers board a bus to return home, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, July 2, 2019 (AP photo by Christian Chavez).

Since the early days of his administration, U.S. President Donald Trump has made multiple attempts to limit asylum—an international right defined by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights—as part of an often-virulent anti-immigrant platform. From his so-called Muslim ban to reports this week that his administration is mulling efforts to punish the Guatemalan government by banning its nationals from entering the United States, Trump has shown an alarming lack of understanding of international norms about refugees and asylum-seekers. His administration’s moves to further dissuade migrants and would-be refugees from seeking asylum in the U.S. have exacerbated a humanitarian crisis […]

President Donald Trump at a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban at the White House, May 13, 2019 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

In this week’s Trend Lines interview, WPR’s associate editor, Elliot Waldman, talks with Jake Sullivan about the damage being done to America’s global standing under Trump, how domestic issues tie in with the perception of the United States overseas, and the challenges Democrats face in crafting an effective foreign policy message as they vie to take Trump on in 2020. A former national security adviser to Vice President Joseph Biden and director of policy planning at the State Department, Sullivan is currently a visiting fellow at Dartmouth College. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve […]

President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a session at the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, June 28, 2019 (AP photo by Susan Walsh).

Weeks after Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping agreed to a truce in the U.S.-China trade war on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, negotiations remain on pause, and speculation is growing that neither side is particularly eager for a deal. Last week, reports emerged that American and Japanese negotiators are intensifying efforts to strike a smaller trade deal that Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe could sign during the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September. The news hardly looks like a coincidence. Trump is desperate for a trade deal […]

Wendelll Willkie, who girdled the globe in a tour to observe firsthand the conduct of the war in the Allied nations, rehearses his report to the nation at a radio station, in New York City, Oct. 26, 1942 (AP photo by Murray Becker).

Seventy-seven years ago this summer, Wendell Willkie did something remarkable. The failed Republican presidential candidate, defeated by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940, embarked on a round-the-world tour that helped expand America’s horizons and propel the nation toward a policy of internationalism that shaped the postwar global order. Undertaken at FDR’s behest, Willkie’s 49-day odyssey captured the American imagination and lifted his country in thought and spirit. “One World,” his hopeful account of that trip, quickly became one of the best-selling nonfiction books in American history, with a print run of more than 2 million copies. Its thesis was plain: The […]

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office of the White House, Washington, March 20, 2018 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

This week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to block President Donald Trump’s effort to bypass Congress and complete major arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The resolution will almost certainly be vetoed by Trump, but it nonetheless demonstrates an emerging consensus in Washington on the need to reevaluate close U.S. ties with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies in the wake of human rights abuses like the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. How durable might this shift be? And how else is the U.S. foreign policy consensus evolving in the Trump era? In this week’s […]

South Korean small and medium-sized business owners stage a rally calling for a boycott of Japanese products in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul, South Korea, July 15, 2019 (AP photo by Ahn Young-joon).

As China’s trade war with the United States casts a pall over the global economy, a separate dispute between two of China’s neighbors—and two American allies—is adding to the gloomy outlook. Earlier this month, Japan curbed exports to South Korea of three materials that are necessary for the production of semiconductors and display screens, threatening to upend South Korea’s technology industry and throw a wrench into complex global supply chains for smartphones, televisions and other popular consumer devices. The move is only the latest escalation in an ongoing standoff, rooted in deep historical grievances, that has regional observers and officials […]

First lady Melania Trump walks with Ghana’s first lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, as she arrives at Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana, Oct. 2, 2018 (AP photo by Carolyn Kaster).

Earlier this month, The New York Times created a mini furor on the internet with a job listing for someone to lead its coverage of East Africa. The announcement described it as an opportunity “to dive into news and enterprise across a wide range of countries, from the deserts of Sudan and the pirate seas of the Horn of Africa, down through the forests of Congo and shores of Tanzania.” It went on to speak of the region’s “many vital story lines, including terrorism, the scramble for resources, the global contest with China,” among others. Whether as afterthought or sop, […]

President Donald Trump’s daughter and adviser, Ivanka Trump, and Kwesi Quartey, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, April 15, 2019 (AP photo by Jacquelyn Martin).

During the Cold War, American policymakers frequently pushed nonaligned countries to take sides. The Central Intelligence Agency fomented coups against governments that flirted with communism and the Soviet Union, or that just drifted too far to the left for comfort. The State Department threatened to cut aid flows to countries that voted too often against U.S. priorities at the United Nations. Could sub-Saharan Africa find itself caught in the middle again if a cold war with China breaks out? In a speech at the Heritage Foundation last December, President Donald Trump’s hawkish national security adviser, John Bolton, launched a new […]

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses military personnel and their families at Osan Air Base, south of Seoul, South Korea, June 30, 2019 (pool photo by Ed Jones of AFP via AP Images).

Editor’s Note: This will be Steven Metz’s final weekly column for World Politics Review. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Steve for more than six years of keen insights into U.S. strategy, national security and defense policy, all delivered with pristine logic in a uniquely direct style. Last week, I argued that President Donald Trump’s foreign and national security policy has produced few tangible gains but has caused a dangerous decay in America’s alliances and partnerships and an erosion of U.S. global influence. Under Trump’s direction, the approach to the world that served the United States well for […]

Britain’s former ambassador to the U.S., Kim Darroch, at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, March 13, 2018 (Press Association photo by Niall Carson via AP Images).

Britain’s ambassador to the United States, Kim Darroch, resigned this week after a leak of confidential memos he wrote that described the Trump administration as “dysfunctional” and “clumsy and inept.” In this week’s editors’ discussion on Trend Lines, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and associate editor, Elliot Waldman, talk about Darroch’s resignation and what it says about the state of the “special relationship” between the U.S. and the United Kingdom, as well as the changing face of diplomacy in the Trump era. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up […]

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, right, arrives at a graduation ceremony for Revolutionary Guard Corps officers, in Tehran, Iran, July 5, 2019 (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader photo via AP Images).

Twice in the past two weeks, Iran has breached the limits on its nuclear program mandated by the 2015 international agreement aimed at preventing it from developing a nuclear weapon. First, it exceeded the maximum stockpiles of enriched uranium; then it began enriching to a higher level of purity, a potentially crucial step on the path to a bomb. Tehran didn’t act secretly or even quietly. It announced its plans and made sure the entire world knew it was steadily, if gradually, breaking out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, the deal that President Donald Trump unilaterally […]

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