• No, President George W. Bush Did Not Undermine American Power and International Order

    Fareed Zakaria’s recent article in Foreign Affairs regrettably distorts the record of the George W. Bush administration and fails to deal candidly with (read: barely mentions) the records of the other post-Cold War presidencies. This is all the more unfortunate because Zakaria is one of the most prominent and thoughtful observers of the world scene, and he makes some crucial points about the importance and fragility of the international order and the decline of American influence. This decline, as he describes, is a complex and tragic story that blends structural factors in the international system and deliberate choices made by the United States, its leaders, and its people. In blaming everything on the 43rd president, Zakaria seems to pretend that neither the 42nd nor the 44th president did anything that had negative consequences for America’s national interests or global standing.

  • Pentagon White Paper Says U.S. Underestimating Russia's Aggression

    A Pentagon white paper says the U.S. is underestimating the scope of Russia’s aggression. The document was shared with Politico, which reported on it Sunday. Chris Mills Rodrigo writes in The Hilss that the paper, which was prepared for the Joint Chiefs of Staff by the Pentagon and independent strategists, Russian efforts to undermine democracies. The study points to Russia’s use of propaganda and disinformation to sway public opinion across Europe, Central Asia, Africa and Latin America. It also highlights the danger of alignment between Russia and China, both of which fear the United States’ international alliances and share an affinity for “authoritarian stability.” The study recommends the State Department spearhead “influence operations,” including sowing divisions between Moscow and Beijing.

  • Is cutting Central American aid going to help stop the flow of migrants?

    By Carmen Monico

    The United States is now stepping up its pressure on the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to take steps to curtail the migration of their own citizens by constricting U.S. aid. About $370 million in aid money for the three countries included in the 2018 budget will be spent on other projects, the State Department said on 17 June. Like many experts, I argue that slashing aid is counterproductive because foreign assistance can address the root causes of migration, such as violence and poverty.

  • The revenge of geography in cyberspace

    In The Revenge of Geography, Robert Kaplan pinpointed the fall of the Berlin Wall as the day when strategists and commentators ceased to believe that physical and national borders mattered to global affairs. Published in 2012, Kaplan urged readers to recover a “sensibility about time and space” he believed lost “in the jet and information ages.” Katherine Mansted writed in The Bridge that as they have since antiquity, geopolitical factors will continue to shape and constrain world affairs in our digital age. Emerging technologies will only up the ante—as underscored by global debates on Huawei’s involvement in the roll-out of 5G, and China-US trade disputes over data localization. Applying a geopolitical lens to events like these will be an essential first step to crafting good strategy to respond.

  • Time to oust the Venezuelan dictator

    The four-month effort by the last democratic branch of government in Venezuela - the National Assembly - to peacefully remove the Venezuelan dictator, Nicolas Maduro, has not succeeded. It is time for the major democratic powers around Venezuela - Colombia, Brazil and the United States - to militarily intervene to end the dictatorship. 

  • Venezuela’s rebellion that wasn’t

    Venezuelan interim President Juan Guaidó took a big gamble last Tuesday when he stood outside La Carlota air base in Caracas at dawn and called on the military to drop its allegiance to dictator Nicolás Maduro. The call to action provoked street demonstrations across the country, but the plan fizzled. Mary Anastasia O’Grady writes in the Wall Street Journal that “The opposition would have more leverage if it could end the occupation of the country by Cuba, Russia, and Iran. When that happens Mr. Maduro loses his godfathers. But thus far the U.S. and its regional allies have given this axis of evil little incentive to withdraw. On Friday President Trump even played down Moscow’s role in Venezuela after a long phone call with Vladimir Putin. That’s good news for Mr. Maduro, who last week was reportedly giving polygraph tests to military officers he suspected of betraying him. Whether he has any real power, or ever did, remains a question.”

  • DoD defends U.S. intelligence gathering in Venezuela

    Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan on Friday defended U.S. intelligence gathering on Venezuela after U.S.-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido’s effort to inspire mass military defections earlier in the week fell short. Also on Friday, following an hour-long phone conversation with Russian president Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump appeared to reject the assessments by the U.S. intelligence community about the Russian role and goals in Venezuela, and the blunt statements by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton about Russia’s involvement in Venezuela in support of the besieged incumbent Nicolas Maduro.

  • Analysts: China trying to use Belt and Road meeting to counter U.S. influence

    China is getting ready to welcome representatives from 150 nations, including senior leaders of 40 countries, to discuss its international infrastructure program at the second Belt and Road Forum, beginning Thursday and running through Saturday in Beijing. Analysts say it is not merely a conference on infrastructure building, but an attempt by China to display its popularity and power as a political rallying force.

  • Lasting U.S. preeminence: A review of Michael Beckley’s “Unrivaled”

    By Ali Wyne

    The Economist last year proclaimed that the “Chinese century is well under way,” and that China is on its way to replacing the United States as the new global “hegemon.” Tufts University’s Michael Beckley says: Not so fast. He argues not only that U.S. preeminence is safer than most contemporary commentary would have one believe, but also that it is more resilient: “Unipolarity is not guaranteed to endure,” he concludes, “but present trends strongly suggest that it will last for many decades.”

  • U.S. allows lawsuits against foreign companies using property seized by Cuba

    The U.S. will allow U.S. citizens to sue foreign companies and individuals who use property confiscated from them decades ago by the government of then-Cuban leader Fidel Castro. The decision likely will hinder Cuba’s efforts to encourage foreign investment to the island.

  • New air link evidence of Iran's growing influence in Venezuela

    This month’s re-opening of an air link between Tehran and Caracas as the latest evidence of Iran’s growing role alongside Russia and Cuba in bolstering the multilayered security apparatus keeping Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in power.

  • On rogues and peers: Russian, Chinese challenges to U.S. national security

    Russia and China represent distinct challenges to U.S. national security. Russia is not a peer or near-peer competitor but rather a well-armed rogue state that seeks to subvert an international order it can never hope to dominate. In contrast, China is a peer competitor that wants to shape an international order that it can aspire to dominate.

  • Guyana faces "creeping coup"

    Venezuela is not the only country in South America facing political instability and crisis:  After losing a parliamentary vote of non-confidence on December 21st, in the small neighboring country of Guyana, the government of President David Granger has refused to resign or schedule elections, in clear violation of the constitution.

  • Qatar plays key role for peace in the Horn of Africa

    The past year’s unexpected outbreak of peace between former rivals Ethiopia and Eritrea in the Horn of Africa was the result of a decade of patient diplomacy, investment, and military peacekeeping by several regional states, most notably Qatar. The small, oil-rich Emirate in the Persian Gulf has now emerged as a significant regional power.

  • Russia’s hostile measures threaten Europe: Report

    A new RAND report examines current Russian hostile measures in Europe and forecasts how Russia might threaten Europe using these measures over the next few years. “Whatever the U.S. response, preparation for involvement in a wide range of conflicts can help reduce the risk of mismanagement, miscalculation, and escalation,” the report’s authos say.