All in Foreign Policy

Commentary | A Tale of Two Summits: Washington and Moscow Advance Opposing Visions for the Middle East

On the 14th of February, two conferences took place on the Middle East. One, featuring representatives from over 60 countries, took place in Warsaw under the leadership of the United States, with generous support from Poland. The other one was a trilateral summit at Sochi, featuring the leaders of Russia, Armenia and Turkey, and organized by Russia. These two summits provide a perfect example of the two approaches that major powers currently employ towards the region, as well as the sharp contrasts in the leadership and effectiveness of Russia and America in the region.

Analysis | China is not a Monolith; Neither is the Belt and Road Initiative

There is a growing tide of opinion in the U.S. that treats China’s Belt and Road Initiative as a grand strategy of epic economic and geopolitical proportions. It holds that China is “methodically assembling a network of client governments in hock to Beijing and advancing its military ambitions.” But China is not a monolith, and neither is the Belt and Road Initiative. BRI, in reality, is a brand — a grab-bag of initiatives and projects that numerous Chinese institutions independently design and advance.

Analysis | How European Foreign Policy is Crafted towards Venezuela

The European response to recent developments of the crisis in Venezuela is a strong example of how European common foreign policy is made and implemented in practice. In areas of policy where EU governments can compellingly argue that they have a better understanding of the situation they can carry real authority. Fellow EU states who may not be invested in a situation at all will be willing to listen and follow their lead.

Analysis | Trust But Verify: The Demise of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force Treaty

The United States has officially announced that it is withdrawing from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Force Treaty in response to what it deems a “material breach” of the Treaty by the Russian Federation. Although the announcement marks the official loss of the Treaty, the unraveling of the INF has been years in the making. Although neither the United States nor Russia are yet able to agree upon who is to blame for the demise of the INF Treaty, there is no doubt that the next move is Moscow’s to make. 

Analysis | What is Security? Everything.

With a return to great power competition, national security priorities are shifting. States, rather than non-state actors like terrorist groups or insurgencies, are the primary security threat. The idea that security encompasses more than military and defense issues alone has returned. The security paradigm of the twenty-first century has expanded to nearly every facet of human life.

Analysis | Geopolitics in the Era of Connectivity: Beijing and Brussels Compete for Central Asia

Both Europe and China recognize the potential for economic growth at home and abroad by bringing the two ends of Eurasia closer together. Yet Beijing and Brussels have diverging views for Eastern Europe and Central Asia and are poised to compete for infrastructure investment. Connectivity — and the means to control it — is the new currency of geopolitics.

Analysis | Refining Strategic Autonomy: A Call for European Grand Strategy

Terms like strategic autonomy and defense union have become commonplace in the face of wavering American commitments to NATO and the transatlantic alliance. The shift in the discussion hints at a move towards greater European collective action on the world stage. With the resurgence of China, the return of Russia, the retreat of the United States, and the rise of the rest, Europe needs to define its own grand strategy.

Analysis | Russia's Tightening Grip on European Energy Supply

The Kremlin often wields access to its oil and natural gas supplies as deft foreign policy tools to pressure nations into political and economic action beneficial for Russia. In the interest of U.S. national security, we should respond with new policies in response to Russian energy weaponization.

Analysis | The New European Triumvirate: Spain as a Leading Power in the European Union

The Global Financial Crisis of 2008 left Spain scrambling to reassemble a broken economy and combat soaring unemployment. European austerity measures and Catalonian dreams of independence have since occupied all of Madrid’s bandwidth and effectively back-seated Spanish foreign policy for over a decade. With the rise of Pedro Sánchez and the wounds of the financial crisis healing, Madrid has turned its attention back to Brussels, and is ready to assume the role of a leading power in Europe. 

Commentary | The Hypocrisy of Trump's Nuclear Disarmament Policy

North Korea has not produced any measurable and verifiable denuclearization measures after the Singapore Summit in June, and yet the United States seems to have no intention of imposing sanctions or applying pressures other than UN sanctions on North Korea. In contrast, the Obama-era Iran Nuclear Deal saw resounding success in demilitarizing Iran’s nuclear program. Yet, despite these achievements, the Trump administration has withdrawn from the pact and reinstated sanctions on Iran.

Analysis | Europe to the Rescue: Saving the Iran Deal

Despite Trump’s apparent drive to torpedo the Obama-era Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), often referred to as the Iran Deal, President Macron seemed cautiously optimistic about the prospect that the United States would remain party to the deal, suggesting the development of an add-on deal or revised JCPOA which would address ancillary concerns in Washington. But the Europeans will have to do much more to save the Iran Deal and bring lasting peace between Brussels, Washington, and Tehran.

Analysis | Operation Olive Branch: Turkey's Afrin Offensive

As ISIS crumbles in the Levant and the variety of anti-ISIS operations reach their crescendo, the Syrian civil war appears to have acquired yet an additional degree of complexity—Operation Olive Branch, a Turkish military campaign against Syrian Kurdish forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces.

Analysis | Knowledge is Power: North Korea and the Art of Preparation

American President Donald Trump has more often than not advocated for military action against North Korea, citing its arsenal of nuclear weapons as a danger to the world. But what would war with North Korea look like? Is the United States ready to go to war with the rogue state? Are the American people prepared for the costs of the conflict? What about the North Koreans? Let's find out. 

Analysis | The Gulf’s Influence Game in Washington

On June 5th, a number of Middle Eastern countries, led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, separately announced an end to diplomatic ties with Qatar. Both Qatar and the Saudi-bloc have sought to promote their narrative of the conflict to officials in Washington. While all of this might seem to simply be “politics as usual”, there are a number of reasons to be concerned about the way the Gulf rivalries are playing out in Washington.

Analysis | Algeria Goes Against the Grain

Algeria may seem like the best candidate to lead military security efforts, but the country faces a number of daunting obstacles in its bid for supremacy. With rapidly diminishing oil and hydrocarbon resources, competition with its neighbor Morocco, and the threat of economic and political chaos on the horizon, Algeria will have to make some tough choices.

Analysis | The Russians Return: New Russian Engagement in Latin America​​​​​​​

While U.S. analysts have a keen eye on activity in Ukraine and Syria, few have seriously considered the fact that Russia has slowly been expanding its presence in Latin America. Last spring a new Russian compound was erected in the jungles near Nicaragua’s capital city Managua. Nicaraguan officials claim that the compound is used to house the surveillance equipment necessary in the fight against international drug trafficking, but some U.S. analysts suspect that the Russians have ulterior motives.

Commentary | The Uncomfortable Politics of the Kurdish Referendum

In the wake of the Iraqi Kurdish referendum on independence the international community has predictably come out in opposition to both the vote and the results. Meanwhile, Iraqi Kurdistan’s neighbors have forcefully opposed the referendum, with Ankara considering cutting off Kurdish access to a lucrative oil pipeline, Tehran threatening further blockade and isolation, and Baghdad contemplating military action. Given this intense opposition from its neighbors, it is difficult to imagine the landlocked Iraqi Kurdistan functioning as an independent state.

Analysis | A Powerful New Al-Qaeda Affiliate is Shaking West Africa

Amidst an already-tangled web of governance and security problems, the 2017 merger of four terrorist groups presents an ever-growing threat to French, UN, and local forces in Mali, who have struggled since 2013 to extinguish the fire of militant insurgency in the north. Despite considerable foreign military intervention, Mali’s terrorist threat is expanding and its humanitarian crisis grows more desperate every day.

Analysis | Is Saudi Arabia Losing at its Own Game? 

By overplaying its hand in sanctioning Qatar, Saudi Arabia is playing straight into the hands of its longtime regional enemy, Iran. Qatar has necessarily had to turn to Turkey and Iran for day-to-day goods and services it can no longer depend upon in the GCC block. Iran would rather sit back and allow Saudi Arabia to continue its self-defeating policy. The question remains; Is Saudi Arabia losing at its own game?