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  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Defense Priorities
  • Abstract: The U.S. is strong and safe—North Korea is weak, deterred by U.S. power, and desperate for economic relief.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, International Security, Sanctions, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Jessica J. Lee
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
  • Abstract: President Trump contends that “very rich and wealthy countries” like the Republic of Korea should pay more for American troops stationed in their countries. While a more balanced burden-sharing arrangement is necessary, the U.S.’s demand for a five-fold increase in South Korea’s contribution, from $924 million to $5 billion, threatens to tear apart the bilateral relationship and undermines U.S. interests on the Korean Peninsula. The issue demanding attention is not who pays how much, but whether the existing terms of the U.S.–ROK security relationship remain pertinent or must be revised. The long-term goal of U.S. grand strategy should be to facilitate the creation of a peaceful global order consisting of fully sovereign, law-abiding states capable of providing for their own security. Any state that hosts foreign forces and relies on those forces for its defense is not fully sovereign: It is dependent upon others to ensure its security. This describes the Republic of Korea today.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons, Liberal Order, Alliance
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Maral Noori, Daniel Jasper, Jason Tower
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In 2011, U.S. president Barack Obama announced plans to "pivot" toward Asia. In 2012, Chinese president Xi Jinping expressed his hope for "a new type of relationship" with the United States. A lack of strategic trust between the two countries, however, prevents critically needed productive cooperation. This Peace Brief addresses the misunderstandings behind this mistrust and a possible way to move beyond them.
  • Topic: International Relations, Communism, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Alex Brouse, Dustin McDonald
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: High tensions in Northeast Asia are cause for considerable alarm. Of particular concern for the maintenance of global security are the disputes over Senkaku/Diaoyu and Dokdo/Takeshima islands. Strong grievances rooted in history and rising nationalistic sentiment in China, South Korea and Japan have made the positions of the respective parties currently irreconcilable. The tension surrounding the issue of territorial control, particularly between China and Japan, has the potential to spark a military confrontation. Due to a lack of empathy and the propensity to overestimate threats from neighbours, the region is especially volatile. Public commitments by US President Barack Obama in support of the US-Japan Mutual Security Treaty could ensure that any military confrontation between China and Japan might quickly escalate and draw the United States into direct conflict with China. In order to improve empathy, a concerted effort must be made to change the channel and work on issues where interests do align. Nowhere do the interests of China, South Korea, Japan and the United States align more than on the issue of North Korean denuclearization. By working together on an issue of mutual concern, these four countries can counter the rapid erosion of trust. By cultivating a cooperative attitude, tensions can be lowered, increasing the prospects for peaceful management of current acute disputes.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, South Korea
  • Author: John Lee, Charles Horner
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: U.S. administrations and officials are consistently caught flat-footed by the increasing assertiveness of the People's Republic of China (PRC) over disputed territories in the East China and South China Seas. This assertiveness is strident, yet controlled. Beijing's objectives in the region, with respect to maritime issues in particular, have been apparent for several decades. While the United States is well aware of the PRC's "talk and take" approach—speaking the language of negotiation while extending de facto control over disputed areas—U.S. policy has been tactical and responsive rather than strategic and preemptive, thus allowing China to control the pace and nature of escalation in executing talk and take.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Franklin D. Kramer
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: As the Ukraine crisis demonstrates, in an unpredictable world, military capabilities can be a critical factor. The longstanding goals of the United States and its NATO allies have been to create a Europe whole and free, and globally to support such goals through collective defense, crisis management, and cooperative security. Ukraine raises the issue of how best to accomplish those ends. As part of the Ukraine response, there have been and will continue to be diplomatic, economic, and energy efforts. However, one key element will be to create more effective integrated capabilities that will support NATO's military tasks, and thus the values and goals that NATO represents.
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Ukraine, North America
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's September visit to the United States allowed for the "soft reset" of a strategic partnership that has been in search of greater focus in recent years The smiles and handshakes served to ease the anxieties that had been building on both sides and had contributed to increased squabbling in the bilateral relationship Mutual frustrations are likely to continue in areas such as intellectual property rights and multilateral trade negotiations, where there has been no reconciliation in the two countries' largely incompatible points of view The U.S. and India share clearly convergent interests in both combating Islamist militancy and in balancing against a rising China Although the partnership's full potential is far from realized, these two geostrategic issues are sufficient to keep the trajectory positive and to sustain widely-held hopes that ties between the world's two largest democracies will continue to deepen.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, South Asia, India
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: Iran is attempting to link greater cooperation against the so-called Islamic State (IS) organization to concessions by the P5+1 (US, UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany) in negotiations on Iran's nuclear program Iran and the P5+1 remain far apart on the core issue of Iran's uranium enrichment program, increasing the likelihood that the talks will be extended beyond the current deadline of November 24 Iran requires a nuclear deal to satisfy public expectations and to increase its influence on regional events, including the US-led effort against IS A key Iranian goal is to dissuade the coalition from expanding the anti-IS campaign to include destabilizing the Assad regime in Syria.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, United Kingdom, Iran, Middle East, France, Germany, Syria
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: In a region that recently has produced virtually nothing but bad news, Hassan Rouhani's 4 August swearing in as Iran's president offers a rare and welcome glimmer of hope. There are still far more questions than answers: about the extent of his authority; his views on his country's nuclear program, with which he long has been associated; and the West's ability to display requisite flexibility and patience. But, although both sides can be expected to show caution, now is the time to put more ambitious proposals on the table, complement the multilateral talks with a bilateral U.S.-Iranian channel and expand the dialogue to encompass regional security issues.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Democratization, Diplomacy, Islam, Nuclear Weapons, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Ondřej Ditrych
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: The Putin regime seems to have chosen to publicly expose Ryan Fogle not simply as a “tit-for-tat” for the embarrassing release of footage by the FBI of the meetings of “illegals” detained in the U.S. (2010) with Russian diplomats, but to gesture toward domestic audiences and to humiliate the U.S. in order to weaken its position in mutual negotiations, knowing that Washington may not be in the position to retaliate.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Intelligence, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Author: Evanthia Balla
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: The South Caucasus, situated as it is at the crossroads of Eurasia's major energy and transport corridors, continues to play a vital role in the world's security affairs. After the end of the cold war the South Caucasus emerged as a key region in the geopolitical contest among regional and global powers. The South Caucasus states of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia are constantly performing a balancing act in their relations with the U.S., Russia, Turkey and Iran. Armenia has developed strong political and economic ties with Iran in order to counter the Turkish-Azerbaijani axis. Azerbaijan seeks to reinforce its links with the West, especially the U.S., as its main extraregional source of diplomatic and economic support, while it remains cautious towards both Russian and Iranian ambitions in the region. Especially after the 2008 war with Russia and the loss of its provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Georgia has reinforced its links to Western powers and structures while strengthening its ties with Turkey. Both Turkey and Iran are trying to increase their influence in the region, while promoting their national interests in the international arena.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Islam, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Michele Dunne, Barry Pavel
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In President Barack Obama's first term, his administration withdrew US forces from Iraq, ratcheted up pressure to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions, began the adjustment to relations with post-authoritarian governments in Arab countries including Egypt, struggled with how best to handle an increasingly bloody rebellion in Syria, and attempted to restart diplomacy on the Israeli/Palestinian problem. At the beginning of his second term, US interests are at significant risk as the region continues to undergo profound changes, and Arab and European allies are asking for greater US engagement. The region also presents the United States with unanticipated opportunities, such as the development of Arab democracies and a reduction in Iranian influence. The challenge facing the United States is how to lead without dominating, and how to protect and promote US interests without absolving other actors of responsibility. Thus, the task for this administration is to develop a strategy: to match the president's positive rhetoric with meaningful follow-up in terms of diplomacy, assistance, and security cooperation.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Security, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, North Africa, North America
  • Author: Celeste Wallander
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The Obama administration's goals for arms control and security cooperation with Russia are the right ones, but they cannot be achieved as long as US-Russian strategic stability is in question. Unless leaders in both capitals confront the new requirements for strategic stability in the twenty-first century, they will fail to seize the opportunity for further arms reductions and enhanced national security.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Author: Priscilla Clapp, Suzanne DiMaggio
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: In January 2012, an Asia Society delegation visited Burma/Myanmar to engage in a Track II dialogue with the Myanmar Development Resources Institute (MDRI), a newly created, independent think tank based in Yangon. The MDRI participants in the dialogue include advisors with a mandate to provide policy advice in the areas of political, economic, and legal affairs to President Thein Sein and his government. The goal of this informal dialogue is to establish an ongoing channel of communication between experts from both countries and to explore opportunities to advance U.S.–Myanmar relations during a particularly fluid and fragile period of transition in Myanmar.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization, Development, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, Southeast Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Nick Bisley
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell has just completed a lightning visit to Australia for formal discussions with newly installed Foreign Minister Bob Carr. In spite of the political turmoil that brought Carr to office, the Australia-US alliance is in the best shape of its 60-year history. Having begun as a Cold War convenience, about which the United States was not enthusiastic, it has become a key part of Washington's regional role and a cornerstone not only of Australia's defense and security policy, but of its broader engagement with the world. The arrival in early April of the US Marine Corps to begin six-month training rotations in Darwin is emblematic of the alliance's standing and its evolution.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Cold War, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Asia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Robert Sutter
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: As Sino-American competition for influence enters a new stage with the Obama administration's re-engagement with Asia, each power's legacies in the region add to economic, military and diplomatic factors determining which power will be more successful in the competition. How the United States and China deal with their respective histories in regional affairs and the role of their non-government relations with the Asia- Pacific represent important legacies that on balance favor the United States.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, Asia
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Human Rights First
  • Abstract: When to press China's leadership on human rights, how hard, and with what tools has been an ever-changing calculation, as successive U.S. administrations have tried to balance America's strategic and economic interests in the expanding U.S.-China relationship with America's leadership as an advocate for and protector of universal rights and freedoms.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: John Bowlus
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: On December 26, 2011, in response to US, European, and potential Asian sanctions on Iranian oil exports, the government in Tehran issued a threat to “cut off the Strait of Hormuz.” The US Defense Department responded that any blockade of the strait would be met with force. On first read, it is easy to dismiss such saber rattling as another chapter in the new Cold War in the Middle East between Iran and its allies – including Syria, Hamas, and Hezbollah – and the US, Israel, and the Sunni Gulf States, mostly notably Saudi Arabia. Iran has since backed away from its threat, but the event still carries importance because it is unclear how both the US and Iran will continue to respond, particularly as the diplomatic and economic pressures grow more acute while Iran's controversial nuclear program advances. Could such a verbal threat by Iran to cut off the Strait of Hormuzignite a military conflagration in the region? The relationship between military conflict and oil supply disruptions is well established; however, policymakers and analysts tend to focus on the incidents in which military conflict causes disruptions in oil supplies and sharp increases in prices. The first and most obvious example of this dynamic was the Arab-Israeli War of 1973. The subsequent oil embargo by the Arab members of the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) against the United States and the Netherlands for their support of Israel caused prices to soar as oil-consuming nations endured supply shortages. The Iranian Revolution from 1978 to 1979 was another event that curtailed Western nations' access to oil and caused prices to spike. When thinking about the relationship between military conflict and oil supply disruptions, however, policymakers and analysts should also recognize that the competition over oil – and even verbal threats to disrupt oil supplies by closing oil transit chokepoints – have either led directly to military conflict or have provided a useful cover under which countries have initiated military conflict. By examining past episodes when countries issued threats to close oil transit chokepoints, this Policy Brief helps illuminate the dangers associated with the current crisis over the Strait of Hormuz.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Arabia
  • Author: Sean R. Roberts
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In looking at twenty years of independence in the former Soviet region of Central Asia, Kazakhstan stands out in most respects as a stable oasis in a desert of uncertainty. It is the wealthiest country in Central Asia. It has not suffered any serious conflict since gaining independence, and the development of its economy, financial sector, and private sector has been steadily moving forward as has its engagement with the global economy. It is little wonder, therefore, that the most stable and fruitful bilateral partnership for the United States in the region over the past twenty years has been with the Republic of Kazakhstan. US-Kazakhstan relations have never experienced a significant crisis, and there has been ongoing cooperation between the two countries in a variety of areas, including nuclear non-proliferation, economic development, and energy extraction.
  • Topic: Democratization, Diplomacy, Economics, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Central Asia, Kazakhstan
  • Author: Karim Mezran, Fadel Lamen
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The fragile progress towards a more pluralistic, if not yet democratic, Libya is threatened by several serious security problems. Car bombings, political assassinations of high ranking officials, attacks on foreign diplomatic staff and NGOs, and violent quarrels between armed militiamen have become daily events. It is in the interests of the United States and other members of the international community to aid Libya's nascent government in achieving national reconciliation to avoid an otherwise inevitable descent into anarchy.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Democratization, Diplomacy, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: United States, Libya, North Africa
  • Author: Ashley J. Tellis
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Although meaningful cooperation in the region surrounding Afghanistan is of vital importance, it has been elusive because Afghanistan\'s key neighbors have significantly divergent aims. Engineering a successful regional solution would require the United States to fundamentally transform either these actors\' objectives or their dominant strategies. Achieving the latter may prove more feasible, most crucially vis-à-vis Pakistan. The region\'s history of discord is mainly rooted in the troubled relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Although Pakistan\'s involvement in Afghanistan is colored by its rivalry with India, its relations with Afghanistan are a geopolitical challenge independent of India because of its fears of disorder along its western borders, the unwelcome idea of “Pashtunistan,” and a related long-standing border dispute. Pakistan\'s reaction to these problems has only exacerbated them. As Islamabad, by supporting the Taliban insurgency, has sought to exercise preponderant, if not overweening, influence over Kabul\'s strategic choices, it has earned Kabul\'s distrust, deepened the Kabul–New Delhi partnership, and increased the risk to its relations with Washington—not to mention threatening the lives of U.S. and other coalition forces operating in Afghanistan. Despite widespread support in Afghanistan for ending the war through a negotiated settlement if possible, the Afghan Taliban leadership is unlikely to consider reconciliation unless it is faced with the prospect of continued losses of the kind sustained as a result of coalition military operations in 2010. A regional solution is similarly unlikely as long as Afghanistan and its neighbors, including India, perceive Islamabad as bent on holding Kabul in a choking embrace. Solving these problems lies beyond the capability of American diplomacy, and right now even of the promised diplomatic surge. The best hope for progress lies in continuing military action to alter the realities on the ground— thereby inducing the Taliban to consider reconciliation, while simultaneously neutralizing the Pakistani strategy that is currently preventing a regional solution. To increase the probability of military success, however, President Obama will need to forgo the politically calculated drawdown of combat troops this summer and instead accept the advice of his field commanders to maintain the largest possible contingent necessary for the coming campaign in eastern Afghanistan. Hard and unpalatable as it might be for the president, this course alone offers a solution that will protect the recent gains in Afghanistan and advance American interests over the long term.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements, War, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, America, Washington
  • Author: Joshua Marks
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) led by President Joseph Kabila faces the prospect of collapse. Popular disaffection has grown as a consequence of endemic corruption and a failure to provide broad and sustained economic growth. The possibility of widespread violence around national elections scheduled for November 2011 as well as the emergence of antigovernment movements in the Kivus, Bas Congo, Katanga, or Equateur provinces could precipitate a major political and humanitarian crisis with destabilizing consequences for the region. Having provided billions in foreign assistance and UN peacekeeping support to the DRC and eager to avoid another violent catastrophe in central Africa, the United States faces a looming foreign policy challenge.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States
  • Author: Charly Salonius-Pasternak
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: President Barack Obama's view and handling of foreign policy challenges can be described as pragmatically progressive. His foreign policy blends a realist mindset and pragmatic approach with liberal and, at times, idealistic and far-reaching goals. Obama's foreign policy decision-making process is deliberate. This is not always compatible with the expectations of the modern political and media environment. Two years into his presidency, Obama has engaged with the five major national security issues he outlined as a candidate, meeting initial success in four of them. When faced with unexpected events largely beyond his control, Obama seems not to make snap decisions based on a particular ideology, preferring to take the time to see how events unfold. When faced with crises that build up slowly or were previously identified in scenarios, Obama's administration has responded robustly and deliberately.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Mauricio Cá¡rdenas, Joshua Meltzer
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: A trio of trade agreements now pending before Congress would benefit the United States both economically and strategically. Carefully developed accords with South Korea, Colombia and Panama will boost U.S. exports significantly, especially in the key automotive, agricultural and commercial services sectors. Among the other benefits are: increased U.S. competitiveness enhancement of U.S. diplomatic and economic postures in East Asia and Latin America new investment opportunities better enforcement of labor regulation and improved transparency in these trading partners' regulatory systems.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Kenya, United States, Israel, Colombia, Latin America
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As the situation in Egypt continues to unfold, U.S. policy has evolved with breathtaking speed. Just last week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared that the Mubarak regime was stable, but by Tuesday evening, President Obama was making the remarkable statement that Egypt's transition needs to begin "now." This is not only the most serious foreign policy challenge to this U.S. administration, but also one in a list of unforeseen and improbable challenges. Unlike scenarios involving, for example, a North Korean provocation against the South or even a catastrophic terrorist attack -- for which the United States plans and prepares -- the swift demise of Hosni Mubarak's presidency, along with the virtual disappearance of the ruling National Democratic Party and the potential fall of a regime that has been a pillar of U.S. standing in the Middle East for thirty-five years, is an unimagined challenge.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Emma Sky
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Since the fall of the former regime in 2003, there has been continuous concern that fighting might break out between the Arabs and the Kurds over Kirkuk and the boundary of the Kurdistan Regional Government.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Diplomacy, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Stephanie Flamenbaum, Megan Neville
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Following March 2011's “cricket diplomacy,” there is reason to be optimistic about progress on South Asian normalization as India and Pakistan have resumed bilateral dialogues. Improved relations are critical to U.S. interests in South Asia with respect to the stabilization of Afghanistan, reduction in Pakistan-based militant threats, and alleviation of regional nuclear tensions. Terrorism and the Kashmir issue remain the most toxic points of divergence which could derail progress as in past bilateral talks. Bilateral economic agreements should be pursued in order to enable commercial progress to facilitate political reconciliation. With the looming drawdown of international forces from Afghanistan in 2014, and the subsequent shift in the regional power balance, it is imperative that the international community utilize its leverage to ensure that Pakistan-India talks progress.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, South Asia, India
  • Author: John K. Naland
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: While the U.S. government has long employed special envoys for occasional diplomatic missions, the Obama administration's 24 special envoys represent an unprecedented expansion of this mechanism after the Bush administration, which generally did not use them.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Huma Yusuf
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The nine-week standoff between the United States and Pakistan over the fate of Raymond Davis, an American arrested in Pakistan after shooting two men at a traffic stop, ended on March 16 with his sudden release from jail. Davis was freed under Islamic law, which allows a murderer to receive pardon from the family of his victims on payment of compensation, or “blood money” Religious parties protested the decision, stating that the law had been applied incorrectly to satisfy US demands for Davis' release. Still, media and analysts inside and outside Pakistan have termed the development a “win” for the country.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States
  • Author: Iskander Rehman
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: In March 1996, the waters of the Taiwan Strait were roiled by Chinese live missile firings and massive military exercises. Washington answered Beijing's blunt demonstration of coercive military diplomacy by promptly dispatching two aircraft carriers to the scene.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Washington, Taiwan
  • Author: Thomas de Waal
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The historic normalization between Armenia and Turkey has stalled and it is critical to prevent relations from deteriorating further. If Armenia and Turkey eventually succeed in opening their closed border, it will transform the South Caucasus region. But the concerns of Azerbaijan, Turkey's ally and the losing side in the Nagorny Karabakh conflict, need to be taken into account. The international community needs to pay more attention to the conflict and work harder to break the regional deadlock it has generated. The annual debate over the use of the word genocide to describe the fate of the Ottoman Armenians in 1915 has turned into an ugly bargaining process. It is time to take a longer view. President Obama should look ahead to the centenary of the tragedy in 2015 and encourage Turks to take part in commemorating the occasion.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan
  • Author: Jeffrey J. Schott
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) was signed on June 30, 2007. Since then, the Korean National Assembly has vetted the agreement and the pact cleared a major legislative hurdle when the Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee approved it in April 2009; the full assembly has deferred final passage pending comparable action by the US Congress. In the United States, the ratification process has not yet begun; neither President George W. Bush nor President Barack Obama has submitted implementing legislation to Congress.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Law
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Asia, Korea
  • Author: Richard Gowan
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: Barack Obama's critics argue that he is a naïve believer in global governance. This is mistaken. When it comes to multilateral diplomacy, the President has proved to be a pragmatist and – suitably for a man with a reputation as a 'calculating' poker player, according to a 2008 article in The New Yorker – ready to gamble. In the last year, he has taken a bet that the US can lead a radical reorientation of international cooperation. This is based on three assumptions.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Organization
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The recent clash between a Chinese fishing vessel and the Japanese coast guard in the East China Sea demonstrates continuing potential for conflict between China and Japan over territory and maritime resources, one that could affect the United States. China's stronger navy and air force in and over the waters east and south of the country's coast is one dimension of that country's growing power. But the deployment of these assets encroaches on the traditional area of operations of Japan's navy and air force - and a clash between Chinese and Japanese ships and planes cannot be ruled out.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On Friday, August 20, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the resumption of direct peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, to be launched in Washington next week. On September 1, President Obama will welcome Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas, as well as Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah. Direct talks between Netanyahu and Abbas are scheduled to begin the next day, with the objective of reaching agreement on the permanent-status issues of borders, security, Jerusalem, and refugees within a year. The meeting will mark the first time that Israeli and Palestinian leaders have discussed these issues directly during the Obama administration.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Egypt
  • Author: Stephen Hadley, Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The two-state solution is widely accepted as the ultimate outcome of any Middle East peace process. Despite this consensus, progress toward a solution has slowed to a near halt. The difficulty Israel's right wing coalition faces in making concessions on key issues has proven a major obstacle to negotiations, while the split between a Palestinian Authority-controlled West Bank and Hamas in Gaza further diminishes the probability of reaching a solution in the foreseeable future.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Politics, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With smiles, compliments, and a strong dose of hospitality, President Obama did his best to provide a dramatically improved backdrop for U.S.-Israeli relations during Binyamin Netanyahu's July 6 visit to the White House, compared to the climate that greeted the Israeli prime minister upon his strained April visit. This included strikingly specific commitments on key issues important to Israeli security. Netanyahu, in turn, responded with generous and deferential praise for U.S. leadership on the broad array of Middle East policy issues. Given the near-term political and policy imperatives of both leaders, the result was a meeting doomed to succeed. Lurking behind the warmth and banter, however, remain tactical obstacles on how to proceed in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations as well as strategic uncertainty about how each side views the other's regional priorities.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Ash Jain
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Four years ago this week, Israel launched a military campaign in Lebanon in retaliation for a brazen Hizballah attack on its soldiers. The goal, according to an Israeli official, was "to put Hizballah out of business." But neither war nor subsequent U.S. diplomatic efforts aimed at weakening the group have succeeded, and some in the Obama administration now appear to view direct engagement as an option worth exploring. Reaching out to Hizballah, however, at a time when it is politically and military emboldened, would be an exercise in futility that could prove counterproductive.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Lebanon
  • Author: Daniel Serwer
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Balkans face more trouble in Kosovo as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina unless the United States and European Union take dramatic steps to get both back on track towards EU membership. In Bosnia, the international community needs to reconstitute itself as well as support an effort to reform the country's constitution. In Kosovo, Pristina and Belgrade need to break through the barriers to direct communication and begin discussions on a wide range of issues. This brief proposes specific diplomatic measures to meet these needs.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, Balkans
  • Author: Matt Waldman
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: There are reasons for skepticism about government-insurgent talks, especially as both sides are known for abusive, unjust and discriminatory policies. However, given the constraints of counterinsurgency, obstacles to an anticipated security transition, and the threat of worsening conflict, the potential for negotiations should be explored. Field research indicates that the coalition's military surge is intensifying the conflict, and compounding enmity and mistrust between the parties. It is therefore reducing the prospects of negotiations, which require confidence-building measures that should be incremental, structured and reciprocal. Strategies should be developed to deal with powerful spoilers, on all sides, that may try to disrupt the process. The form of pre-talks, and the effectiveness of mediators and “track two” interlocutors, will be critical. Pakistan provides assistance to, and has significant influence over, the Taliban. Talks require Pakistan's support, but giving its officials excessive influence over the process could trigger opposition within Afghanistan and countermeasures from regional states. The perceived threat from India is driving Pakistan's geostrategic policies, thus concerted efforts are required to improve Pakistan-India relations. Negotiations could lead to a power-sharing agreement, but implementation would be highly challenging, especially due to multifarious factional and other power struggles. An agreement could also involve constitutional or legislative changes that curtail fundamental civil and political rights, especially those of women and girls. Genuine reconciliation efforts are required to build better relations between hostile groups. For legitimacy and viability, any settlement must be both inclusive and just: it should therefore seek to reflect the aspirations of all elements of Afghanistan's diverse society. It should also seek to address underlying causes of the conflict, especially the abuse of power.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, India
  • Author: John Feffer
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: "I need a little space." When lovers utter these words, it's usually a bad sign for the relationship. They feel suffocated. They're reexamining their commitment. They're checking out other options. But they don't have the courage to make a clean break.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Affairs, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, North Korea
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: Recognizing the strategic potential for expanding cooperation on regional and global challenges and the shared values among the United States, Japan and India, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), and the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA) initiated the U.S.-Japan-India Strategic Dialogue in June 2006.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, India
  • Author: Daniel Markey
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: President Barack Obama publicly unveiled his administration's so-called AfPak (Afghanistan-Pakistan) strategy on March 27, 2009. Over the subsequent weeks, the White House has also briefed relevant congressional leaders and committees, the media, NATO allies, and other regional and international partners. The U.S. House of Representatives has moved ahead with its own legislative debate (the PEACE bill), and the administration recently submitted a 2009 supplemental budget request consistent with its new strategy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Terrorism, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Asia
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: For perhaps the first time since Iran and the U.S. broke ties in 1980, there are real prospects for fundamental change. The new U.S. president, Barack Obama, stated willingness to talk unconditionally. Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, implicitly blessed dialogue, and presidential candidates are vying to prove they would be the most effective interlocutor. Yet, while U.S. objectives and tactics are relatively familiar, little is known of Iran's thinking, even as much is assumed. Western interaction with its opaque political system and decision-making has both shrivelled and been narrowly focused on the nuclear file. Under-standing Iran's perspective is critical if engagement is to succeed. This briefing, based on meetings with officials and analysts, seeks to shed light on what Tehran thinks about dialogue, its goals and visions of a future relationship. It concludes that while full normalisation might be out of reach for now, there is a chance to achieve a more realistic objective: the start of a long-term dialogue that minimises risks of confrontation and advances areas of mutual interest.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Tehran
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: A new truth of geopolitics has emerged during 2009. It is that the complex and rapidly evolving Sino-American relationship has become the most important bilateral relationship either country has. To this observation, made recently by William C. McCahill Jr. in the November 13 special issue of The China Report, must be added another claim: the course of the Sino-American relationship in both the economic and the political spheres will play a growing role in determining the levels of global economic and geopolitical stability. Trips like President Barack Obama's three-day visit to Shanghai and Beijing November 15–17 will probably be made with increasing frequency in coming years.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, Shanghai, Beijing
  • Author: Liu Xuecheng, Robert Oxnam
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: Young and charismatic Barack Obama won a historic victory in the U.S. presidential election. This victory has sparked an international frenzy filled with hope and expectations. Obama, who ran on a platform of “change,” has vowed to rebuild U.S. national power, reshape its international image, and renew its global leadership. However, he will face daunting internal and external challenges—fighting the disastrous financial crisis and economic recession, bringing the war on terror to an end, and coping with emerging powers, including China. What relevance does his victory have for U.S. policy toward China? Will Obama's China policy be one of change or continuity? What would we expect from the Obama administration in cultivating the future course for a China-U.S. constructive and cooperative partnership? These questions are the real concerns of the Chinese people as political power changes hands in the United States.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Having raised Arab expectations months ago with the idea of a settlement freeze, the Obama administration now has the unpleasant task of coaxing Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas to tacitly accept an agreement on settlements that offers less than expected -- if more than was offered in the past. Therefore, it is uncertain whether the United States will succeed at arranging a trilateral summit involving President Barack Obama, President Abbas, and Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the UN next week that would culminate in the announcement of a formal relaunching of peace negotiations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Singh
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With Iran's September 14 acceptance of a meeting with the P5+1 countries on October 1, the Obama administration finally appears poised to engage in direct talks with Iran. In entering these talks, Washington faces two obstacles: first, Iran's reputation for recalcitrance in negotiations and its stated refusal to discuss the nuclear issue, upon which American concerns center; and second, the perception that the administration is lending legitimacy to a regime fresh from violent repression of its political opponents.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Washington, Middle East
  • Author: Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In a September 7 interview with al-Jazeera, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stated, "The more that our Arab friends and allies can strengthen their security capabilities, the more they can strengthen their cooperation, both with each other and with us. I think this sends the signal to the Iranians that the path they are on is not going to advance Iranian security, but in fact could weaken it." His comments reflect a dawning realization in the face a growing Iranian nuclear threat: that a new conventional military balance is slowly emerging in the Persian Gulf.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Islam, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: J. Scott Carpenter
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Nearly three months have passed since Iran's bloody crackdown on the mass protests over the controversial June 12 presidential election. The Obama administration, however, has yet to determine a strategy to support the first serious challenge to the regime since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Last week's statement by Iran's top leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei -- that he saw no proof the British or the West were behind the protests -- should encourage the United States to pursue a more assertive approach to support Iranians working for change. Nevertheless, the State Department's Iran Democracy Fund -- currently the only tool available for promoting democracy in Iran -- has been extremely cautious in its funding decisions since President Barack Obama's inauguration.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Diplomacy, Islam, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iran