Two weeks ago, the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce graduated its 50th class. Having completed not only an 18-month program of study but also a gamut of comprehensive exams, the roughly 30 graduating students are now ready to enter the foreign-policy workforce. But the Patterson School is just one element of an archipelago of schools focusing on international policy that collectively helps staff the Foreign Service, the intelligence community, a variety of non-governmental organizations, and corporations with international divisions. Other schools with the same mission include the Elliot School of International Affairs at George Washington, the Walsh School […]

With U.S. defense spending cuts potentially on the agenda, U.S. policymakers would do well to use the United Kingdom’s experience as a cautionary example. The buildup to the recent defense cuts in the United Kingdom served as a call to battle for the U.K.’s military services. Anticipating steep reductions in funding, each of the three branches opened fire on their sister-organizations in the hope of redirecting budgetary knives. This development was neither surprising nor unintended. Civilian policymakers have long understood that they can benefit from inter-service conflict. When services attack one another, it provides fodder for cost-conscious budget-cutters to kill […]

article card

The U.S. and Australia recently agreed to cooperate on future space-surveillance projects, including tracking satellites and space debris. In an e-mail interview, Kirk Woellert, a U.S. government liaison and analyst for Interorbital Systems, discussed U.S.-Australia cooperation on space surveillance. WPR: What is the current status of bilateral space cooperation? Kirk Woellert: The U.S. and Australia have enjoyed a long history of both civil and national-security cooperation in space. On the civil side, cooperative agreements have been in place to conduct activities such as deep-space tracking, earth observation and high-altitude balloon flights. The Parkes Radio Observatory and the Honeysuckle Creek station […]

TBILISI, Georgia — Since coming to power in the 2003 Rose Revolution, the government of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has declared in no uncertain terms its desire and intention to bring the country into the West’s orbit. That goal has been most visibly illustrated by Georgia’s efforts to join the NATO alliance as a full member. But geopolitical realities continue to interfere with those plans, forcing Tbilisi to adjust its foreign policy accordingly. While pro forma support in Washington is widespread for Georgia’s right to pursue NATO membership, most would give long odds on Tbilisi’s chances of actually gaining acceptance […]

At this week’s Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared that the unauthorized release of U.S. diplomatic documents by the Wikileaks organization “will not in any way interfere with American diplomacy or our commitment to continuing important work that is ongoing.” Clinton is correct: The vital work of international affairs will continue. Diplomacy will not grind to a halt because of the leaks, most of which fall under the category of what Paul Pillar describes as “titillation.” But although the embarrassment will fade away with time, will things then […]

article card

This analysis of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s vision of American power has been making the rounds. According to the author, Wikileaks’ objective is not to release information that the government wants to remain secret just for the sake of releasing the information, but rather to provoke a reaction within the government that will ultimately undermine its ability to function effectively. Andrew Sullivan highlights this passage as the takeaway: [W]hile an organization structured by direct and open lines of communication will be much more vulnerable to outside penetration, the more opaque it becomes to itself (as a defense against the outside […]

article card

Having skimmed a few more write-ups of the Wikileaks diplomatic cables release, I have to sign on with the consensus that the revelations offer a very reassuring inside view on American diplomacy. (Sam Roggeveen here, Andrew Sullivan here, and Fred Kaplan here. Update: And the EU Observer, citing European diplomats, here.) For his part, Art Goldhammer is underwhelmed by this Le Monde summary of the dispatches sent by the U.S. Embassy in Paris regarding French President Nicolas Sarkozy, from both before and after his election to the presidency. Goldhammer rightly states that the account reveals relatively little that any close […]

The world is undergoing a period of significant defense retrenchment. The U.K. has cut back dramatically on its defense budget and is making potentially transformative cuts to the storied Royal Navy. NATO’s members have gone back to the drawing board for a new Strategic Concept to guide the organization’s often-questioned mission. In Asia, the U.S. is assessing its relations with old allies and courting new ones, always with an eye to hedging China’s rise. And elsewhere, regional security organizations seek to define their role. This World Politics Review special report examines the global security picture through articles published from March […]

Among the foreign policy issues on the U.S. Congress’ agenda during its lame duck session is the ratification of the New START Treaty, signed by Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev last April. The treaty is important in and of itself, because it reduces the American and Russian strategic nuclear arsenals and extends nuclear weapons verification measures interrupted when the START I treaty lapsed last December. But New START also represents a critical step in redefining the U.S.-Russian relationship, making it more than just an arms control arrangement. Russia is the world’s largest country, endowed with highly skilled human capital […]