• ArgumentBeware a China-Russia Nexus in Central Europe Amid US-EU Neglect

    Until recently, Russian and Chinese influence across Europe generally reflected their distinct strategic aims. But their interests increasingly converge. Common to both Vladimir Putin’s and Xi Jinping’s strategies is the decoupling of the United States and Europe. Jakub Janda and Richard Kraemer write that leaders on both sides of the Atlantic will have to act in concert – and fast – to forestall an even greater corrosion of the democratic norms that have kept the peace – or helped restore it, in the case of the wars in the former Yugoslavia – for three-quarters of a century.

  • Iran’s nukesU.S. Ending Sanctions Waivers on Iran's Civilian Nuclear Program

    The United States has announced it will end sanctions waivers that allow Russian, Chinese, and European firms to carry out civilian nuclear cooperation with Iran, effectively scrapping the last remnants of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, a move dismissed by Tehran as “desperate.”

  • Iran’s nukesSnapback of Sanctions under the Terms of the Nuclear Deal Is Fully Justified Today

    By David Albright

    “If Iran today wants a serious discussion about sanctions relief, it should start by abandoning the key threat Tehran poses to international peace and security: its uranium enrichment program,” writes David Albright, a nuclear weapons expert and the president of the Institute for Science and International Security. “Instead, Iran holds its own people hostage over the deadly coronavirus outbreak in a cynical campaign for wholesale sanctions relief.” The willingness of Iran’s leadership to refuse epidemic aid and thus dramatically, and unnecessarily, increase the number of sick and dying Iranians; the willing of the leadership to intensify and deepen the severe economic deprivation and misery across the country – and do all that in order to grow an economically nonviable, menacing uranium enrichment program — “That alone should lead all to consider just what is the real purpose of Iran’s enrichment program,” Albright writes.

  • PerspectiveMapping the China Debate

    The debate over U.S. foreign policy toward China is often reduced into the usual hawk-versus-dove metaphor. Hawks see U.S.-China great power competition as requiring a more aggressive posture, while doves worry about the downsides of an adversarial relationship. Ganesh Sitaraman writes that this dualist frame glosses over the fact that neither camp has a shared set of views. Rather, both hawks and doves contain a variety of subgroups—and some subgroups disagree with others on critical policy questions. “But without tractable categories for analysis, the debate over policy toward China is too often imprecise and confusing.”

  • PerspectiveA Healthy Dose of Realism: Stopping COVID-19 Doesn’t Start with the WHO

    There’s a proven approach to combating the global threat of the novel coronavirus, Frank L. Smith III writes. It was used to eradicate smallpox during the Cold War. Rather than relying on the World Health Organization (WHO), success depends on a “great-power concert.” Today, this means concerted action by the United States and China.

  • Hemispheric securityVenezuela to Escort Fuel Tankers from Iran Despite U.S. Threat

    Planes and ships from the Venezuelan armed forces will escort Iranian tankers as soon as the vessels, carrying barrels of fuel for the South American country, enter Venezuela’s  exclusive economic zone, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said on Wednesday. Padrino said he was thankful for Iran’s solidarity as the coronavirus pandemic adds to its economic woes. Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves, but its capacity to refine is limited.

  • GlobalizationHas COVID-19 Killed Globalization?

    Even before the pandemic, globalization was in trouble. The open system of trade that had dominated the world economy for decades had been damaged by the financial crash and the Sino-American trade war. Now it is reeling from its third body-blow in a dozen years as lockdowns have sealed borders and disrupted commerce. The Economist writes that those three body-blows have so wounded the open system of trade that the powerful arguments in its favor are being neglected. Wave goodbye to the greatest era of globalization—and worry about what is going to take its place.

  • China syndromePressured by China, EU Softens Report on Covid-19 Disinformation

    Bowing to heavy pressure from Beijing, European Union officials softened their criticism of China this week in a report documenting how governments push disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, according to documents, emails and interviews. European officials, worried about the repercussions, first delayed and then rewrote the document in ways that diluted the focus on China, a vital trading partner — taking a very different approach than the confrontational stance adopted by the Trump administration.

  • ArgumentThe Limits of the World Health Organization

    President Trump has characteristically tried to divert public attention from his botched response to the coronavirus pandemic by blaming others—Democrats, governors, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, China. Eric Posner writes that in the World Health Organization (WHO), however, he has found the ideal piñata. It is tempting to blame the WHO itself for its problems—its notoriously complex bureaucracy, its decentralized structure, its “culture” or the persons who run it. But, Posner writers, all of those things are a result of the political constraints it operates under, as many reform-minded critics have observed.

  • Guyana electionThe Guyana Election Results: PPP 51%; APNU 47%

    On 2 March 2020, Guyana, a small but newly oil-rich country in South America, held national elections. As of now - seven weeks later - the official results have yet to be certified, due to actions by the government party in Guyana to suppress or falsify the actual vote results. By all accounts, the opposition PPP has won the election, but the governing APNU appears determined to stay in power, and has engaged in what international, regional, and local election observers say is election fraud.

  • CybersecurityCybersecurity Requires International Cooperation, Trust

    By Melanie Lefkowitz

    Most experts agree that state-sponsored hackers in Russia are trying to use the internet to infiltrate the U.S. electrical grid and sabotage elections. And yet internet security teams in the U.S. and Europe actively seek to cooperate with their Russian counterparts, setting aside some of their differences and focusing on the issues where they can establish mutual trust.

  • ArgumentPandemics Can Fast Forward the Rise and Fall of Great Powers

    Fortunately for the United States, my research shows that democracies generally outperform their autocratic competitors in great power rivalries. Still, there is no time to lose. As U.S. leaders formulate their response to the coronavirus, they must think not only in terms of the immediate public health crisis, but also about the very future of American global leadership.

  • Western hemisphereAmerican Observers Threatened over Guyana Election Results

    Tensions are rising in newly oil-rich Guyana with nearly 100 percent of the votes now reported from Monday’s national election. The governing APNU party appears to have lost to the opposition Peoples Progressive Party (PPP). International elections observers – mostly Americans – are now being menaced and threatened by APNU to leave or face arrest. Guyana’s election is being watched closely because the winner will be in control of a coming oil boom which will transform Guyana. In December Exxon began commercial exploitation of a huge 2016 oil discovery off the coast, and production is expected to grow from 52,000 barrels per day to over 750,000 by 2025.

  • ArgumentOn the Current Confrontation with Iran

    Robert Jervis, the eminent scholar of international relations, writes that in trying to predict the next move in the U.S.-Iran confrontation, “Most obviously, humility is in order”: “Most of our generalizations are probabilistic,” Jervis notes. He writes that Trump may have calculated that the bold move of killing Soleimani would deter Iran from continuing to pursue the kind of malign activities Soleimani had orchestrated, and coerce Iran to be more accommodating on other issues, for example, the nuclear issue. But for the target country, being deterred or coerced is a matter of choice – a costly choice, but still a choice. And we should not discount the unexpected: “World politics rarely follows straight paths,” he writes.

  • ArgumentA Bigger Foreign-Policy Mess Than Anyone Predicted

    Every four years the U.S. National Intelligence Council publishes a report looking ahead to the next two decades in global affairs. Thomas Wright writes that the NIC’s 2012 report, “Alternative Worlds,” described two scenarios—the best plausible case and the worst plausible case. In the worst-case scenario, “the risks of interstate conflict increase. The U.S. draws inward and globalization stalls.” The 2010s were far more disruptive than the National Intelligence Council’s worst-case scenario envisioned.