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 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 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 […]

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. […]

A soldier with the California Army National Guard exits a gas chamber during a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear event, San Luis Obispo, Ca., Nov. 2, 2016 (Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Andres J. Viveros).

Movements like the self-proclaimed Islamic State must innovate or die. An insurgency is always weaker than the government or governments it faces, so it must make the most of its limited resources and whatever advantages it does enjoy. Often what it has in its favor is a lack of restraint and a willingness to carefully orchestrate violence to maximize its effects. That is why groups like the Islamic State rely on terrorism, using it to generate fear disproportionate to the resources it takes to execute an attack. In strategic terms, terrorism is cheap but potentially effective, particularly if the victim […]

Supporters of the government and of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at a rally in Caracas, Oct. 28, 2016 (AP photo by Ariana Cubillos).

When Donald Trump won the Republican nomination for the presidency of the United States, many in Latin America started watching U.S. politics with a sharper interest. The tone, the content, the flamboyance and the egomania that Trump put on display during the campaign had a familiar ring. That’s because Latin Americans had seen similar personalities take the stage before—and seen them win. In the United States, populist politicians are new to most voters. In Latin America, they’re old hat. After Trump’s surprising upset in the Nov. 8 election, many Venezuelans, in particular, cast knowing glances at the U.S. electorate. Trump’s […]

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 […]

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 […]

President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump following their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House, Washington, Nov. 10, 2016 (AP photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais).

Now that the initial shock of Donald Trump’s U.S. presidential election victory has begun to fade, it is possible to think more clearly about the implications of his presidency. For those who believe in an America committed to its highest values of inclusiveness, pluralism and equality under the rule of law, and embedded in a rules-based, liberal global order, the task is twofold. First, vigilance and scrutiny with regard to Trump’s administration at home and abroad, to prevent the most worrisome instincts he displayed during the election campaign from installing themselves durably in the American body politic and damaging America’s […]

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 […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin during a Cabinet meeting, Moscow, Russia, Sept. 7, 2016 (AP photo by Mikhail Klimentyev).

Historians and politicians will mine the astonishing 2016 U.S. election for years to come, drawing countless lessons about voter dissatisfaction, political acrimony and resistance to social change, among many other mostly domestic problems brought to the surface by the tumultuous campaign. But one of the unexpected mileposts marked by America’s electoral exercise this year lies in the use of a new weapon in global power politics: weaponized social media as an aggressive tool of foreign policy. If war is politics by other means, as the 19th-century military strategist Carl Von Clausewitz famously said, the U.S. election demonstrated that in the […]

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 […]

Worshippers on their way to perform Friday afternoon prayers in the courtyard of Ezzitouna Mosque, Tunis, Tunisia, Oct. 23, 2015 (AP photo by Mosa'ab Elshamy).

As the U.S. presidential campaign finally wraps up, the Middle East is taking away some very negative messages about American culture that will diminish America’s ability to be a model for good governance and to influence outcomes in the region. Iran’s media has even used a broadcast of the U.S. presidential debates to validate the regime narrative of America’s corruption and weak moral values, and Iran’s own preference for strict religious codes of conduct. But Arab states working to avoid extremism and authoritarianism still seek virtue in the American experience, even if they are not yet ready to embrace democracy […]

Syrian rescue workers after an airstrike in the town of Darat Izza, western Aleppo province, Syria, Nov. 5, 2016 (Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets photo via AP).

Russia is planning to confront the next U.S. president with the dilemma of how to manage a bloody defeat in Syria on his or her first day in office: As Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton hurtle around America looking for last-minute votes, Moscow has been positioning its forces for a final assault on Aleppo. Despite pushes by rebel forces to gain ground, there is a very high chance that the Russians and their Syrians allies will secure total control of the city before the next president’s inauguration. Moscow is likely to dismiss residual efforts by the Obama administration, and other […]

U.S. presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump during the third presidential debate, Las Vegas, Oct. 19, 2016 (AP photo by Mark Ralston).

When Dwight Eisenhower took office as president in January 1953, he was deeply concerned about the trajectory of America’s security strategy. Much had changed in the years leading up to his election the previous November, as hopes that the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, France and China—would collaboratively manage global security were dashed by the emergence of the Cold War. By the time Eisenhower moved into the White House, no one doubted that containing the Soviet Union was America’s most pressing strategic task. What worried him was how to […]

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