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  • Author: C. Raja Mohan
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: One of the major contributions of Barack Obama's presidential campaign during 2007—08 was his political success in shifting the focus of the U.S. foreign policy debate away from Iraq and toward Afghanistan. The reversal of fortunes in the two major wars that President George W. Bush had embarked upon during his tenure (a steady improvement in the military situation in Iraq during the last two years of the Bush administration and the rapidly deteriorating one in Afghanistan) helped Obama to effectively navigate the foreign policy doldrums that normally sink the campaigns of Democratic candidates in U.S. presidential elections. Throughout his campaign, Obama insisted that the war on terror that began in Afghanistan must also end there. He attacked Bush for taking his eyes off the United States' ''war of necessity,'' embarking on a disastrous ''war of choice'' in Iraq, and promised to devote the U.S. military and diplomatic energies to a region that now threatened U.S. interests and lives: the borderlands between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, South Asia
  • Author: Charles E. Cook
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: It would seem to be impossible not to recognize the historical significance and symbolism that Barack Obama's election represents, regardless of whether someone supported Obama, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, or any of the other thirteen contenders for the presidency. Just 45 years after Dr. Martin Luther King's ''I Have a Dream'' speech and Birmingham Public Service Commissioner Bull Connor directed fire hoses to be aimed at civil rights demonstrators, an African-American was elected president of the United States. No matter how Obama fares as president, this is a remarkable milestone in U.S. history.
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, America
  • Author: Thomas G. Weiss
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: By nominating his confidante, Susan E. Rice, as ambassador to the United Nations and restoring the post's cabinet status, President Barack Obama enunciated his ''belief that the UN is an indispensable_and imperfect_forum.'' He not only announced that the United States has rejoined the world and is ready to reengage with all member states, but also that multilateralism in general and the UN in particular would be essential to U.S. foreign policy during his administration by stating the simple fact that ''the global challenges we face demand global institutions that work.''
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Thomas Wright
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The past eight years have been a period of retreat and revival for multilateralism. Retreat in the face of the most concerted unilateralist strategy undertaken by a U.S. administration in half a century, and revival because, during the Bush administration's second term, there was an emerging political consensus that multilateralism was a critical element of U.S. power. Revival, however, promised not simply restoring multilateral institutions in U.S. strategy, but reforming or even replacing those institutions themselves. The ongoing financial crisis_with the Group of 20 (G-20), including leaders from Argentina, China, India, and South Africa, among others, taking on a leading role_has merely been the latest sign that greater multilateral cooperation is both necessary and difficult.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, India, South Africa, Argentina
  • Author: Lewis Dunn, Dallas Boyd, James Scouras
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Asked shortly before leaving office to identify his ''greatest accomplishment'' as president, George W. Bush expressed his pride in ''keeping America safe.'' Political commentator Peggy Noonan observed that the judgment ''newly re-emerging as the final argument'' for Bush's presidency is that he succeeded in preventing another attack on the scale of September 11, 2001. Noonan suggested, however, that ''It is unknown, and perhaps can't be known, whether this was fully due to the government's efforts, or the luck of the draw, or a combination of luck and effort.''
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Dalia Dassa Kaye, Frederic M. Wehrey
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: One of the most significant effects of the Iraq war is Iran's seemingly unprecedented influence and freedom of action in regional affairs, presenting new strategic challenges for the United States and its regional allies. Although Middle Eastern governments and the United States are in general agreement about diagnosing Tehran's activism as the war's most alarming consequence, they disagree on how to respond. The conventional U.S. view suggests that a new Arab consensus has been prompted to neutralize and counter Tehran's rising influence across the region in Gaza, the Gulf, Iraq, and Lebanon. Parallels to Cold War containment are clear. Indeed, whether consciously or unwittingly, U.S. policy has been replicating features of the Cold War model by trying to build a ''moderate'' Sunni Arab front to bolster U.S. efforts to counter Iranian influence. Despite signals that the Obama administration intends to expand U.S. engagement with Iran, the foundations of containment are deeply rooted and engender bipartisan backing from Congress. Even if the Obama administration desires to shift U.S. policy toward Iran, containment policies will be difficult to overturn quickly; if engagement with Iran fails, reliance on containment will only increase.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Tehran, Arabia, Gaza, Lebanon
  • Author: Teresita C. Schaffer
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Two snapshots convey the flavor of India's pursuit of a larger role in global governing councils. The first dates from India's most recent accession for a two-year term to the United Nations Security Council in January 1991, just as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was coming apart and the end of the Cold War was in sight. The first major issue to come before the council was the package of resolutions that would end the first Iraq war. Harried Indian diplomats, faced with draft resolutions being pressed on them with great insistence by their U.S. counterparts, spoke of their need to ''find the non-aligned consensus.'' Whatever decision India made was bound to alienate an international constituency it cared about. For Indian officials, this moment captured both the advantages and drawbacks of participating in the world's decisionmaking. The then—Indian ambassador to the United States, Abid Hussein, expressed considerable frustration in a private conversation with me at the time: ''Do you realize that we will have to do this for two years?''
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States, India, Soviet Union
  • Author: Christopher F. Chyba, J. D. Crouch
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 requires the U.S. secretary of defense to conduct a nuclear posture review (NPR) in consultation with the secretaries of energy and state, and to report the results to Congress before the end of 2009.The NPR, therefore, will be the Obama administration's forum for reviewing U.S. nuclear weapons policy, posture, and related programmatic and technical issues. Navigating and choosing among sharp disagreements in each of these areas, in order to map the wisest path forward for national and international security, is a difficult task. President Barack Obama has already made decisions on a number of important nuclear issues, but the NPR will need to relate these to the overall nuclear weapons posture. How will his desire to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) relate to the size and capabilities of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex? Should the United States arm some Trident submarines with conventionally/-tipped ballistic missiles? Should it pursue new arms control agreements with Russia beyond negotiating a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START)? What should medium/-term U.S. objectives for strategic and non/-strategic warhead numbers and types be? What about ballistic missile defense? The list of important questions is long and, unless integrated into a broader strategic vision, presents a disparate jumble of choices.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Author: Thomas J. Christensen
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: President Barack Obama ran a successful campaign on the theme of change. Yet, for addressing what is perhaps the greatest long-term strategic challenge facing the United States—managing U.S. relations with a rising China—change is not what is needed. President George W. Bush's strategy toward China is an underappreciated success story and the Obama administration would be wise to build on that success rather than attempt to radically transform U.S. policy toward China.
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Abraham F. Lowenthal
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Because the new administration of President Barack Obama inherited the most demanding agenda, both at home and abroad, that any U.S. government has faced in many decades, few observers expected that it would devote much attention to U.S. relations with Latin America and the Caribbean. None of the countries of the Americas presents an imminent threat to U.S. national security. None is likely to be the source or target of significant international terrorism. With so much else to attend to, the Obama administration might well have relegated Latin America to the distant backburner.
  • Topic: Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, America