u.s.foreign_policy   118

« earlier    

Can Trump Handle a Foreign Crisis?
Feb. 7, 2019 | WSJ | By Peggy Noonan.

He’ll face one eventually, and there’s good reason to worry the administration will be unprepared.

Someday this White House will face a sudden, immediate and severe foreign-policy crisis..... past and present officials of this administration are concerned on how the White House would handle a crisis......History resides in both the unexpected and the long-predicted. Russia moves against a U.S. ally, testing Washington’s commitment to Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty; a coordinated cyber action by our adversaries takes down the American grid; China, experiencing political unrest within a background of a slowing economy, decides this is a good time to move on Taiwan; someone bombs Iran’s missile sites; Venezuela explodes in violence during a military crackdown; there’s an accidental launch somewhere..... historian Margaret MacMillan said ....“I think we should never underestimate the sheer role of accident.”....Everything depends on personnel, process and planning. The president and his top advisers have to work closely, with trust and confidence, quickly comprehending the shape of the challenge and its implications. There must be people around him with wisdom, judgment, experience. They must know their jobs and be able to execute them under pressure. Clear lines of communication are key between both individuals and agencies.....keep their eyes on the million moving pieces, military and diplomatic, that comprise a strategy.......During the Berlin airlift, thought at the time to be the height of the Cold War, Secretary of State George C. Marshall, who’d been Army chief of staff during World War II, was asked how worried he was. “I’ve seen worse,” he replied. He had. ......“No administration is ready for its first crisis,” says Richard Haass, who was a member of George H.W. Bush’s NSC and is author of “A World in Disarray.” “What you learn is that the machinery isn’t adequate, or people aren’t ready.” First crises trigger reforms of procedures so that second ones are better handled. ......There is no way, really, to simulate a crisis, because you don’t know what’s coming, and key people are busy doing their regular jobs. And all administrations, up until the point they’re tested, tend to be overconfident. What can they do to be readier? Think, study, talk and plan.....For a modern example of good process, personnel and management, there is the Cuban missile crisis. .....the stakes couldn’t have been higher.......It might be good to have regular situation-room meetings on what-ifs, and how to handle what-ifs, and to have deep contingency planning with intelligence, military and civilian leaders discussing scenarios. “Put yourself in a position,” says Mr. Haass, “where you’re less unread when a crisis does occur.”.......Margaret MacMillan again: People not only get used to peace and think it’s “the normal state of affairs,” they get used to the idea that any crisis can be weathered, because they have been in the past. But that’s no guarantee of anything, is it?
chance  contingency_planning  crisis  Donald_Trump  U.S.foreign_policy  JFK  Margaret_MacMillan  overconfidence  Richard_Haass  security_&_intelligence  unexpected  White_House  unprepared  accidents  Cuban_Missile_Crisis  luck  Peggy_Noonan  preparation  readiness  George_Marshall  normality  unforeseen 
february 2019 by jerryking
Year in a Word: Thucydides’s trap
December 18, 2018 | Financial Times | Gideon Rachman |

Thucydides’s trap

Coined by Harvard professor Graham Allison to capture the idea that the rivalry between an established power and a rising one often ends in war....The ancient Greek historian Thucydides had observed that the Peloponnesian war (431BC-404BC) was caused by “the growth of Athenian power and the fear that this caused in Sparta”....
Graham_Allison  op-ed  rivalries  Thucydides_trap  China  China_rising  conflicts  endgame  Huawei  security_&_intelligence  superpowers  rising_powers  grand_strategy  strategic_thinking  U.S.foreign_policy  U.S.-China_relations  post-Cold_War  Donald_Trump  confrontations 
december 2018 by jerryking
America, China and the art of confrontation
December 17, 2018 | Financial Times | Gideon Rachman.

Tell me how this ends? was the despairing question attributed to American generals as they contemplated the quagmires in Vietnam and Iraq. The same question needs to be asked by US policymakers now, as they consider the escalating tensions between America and China.

The world’s two most powerful countries are locked into confrontations on a range of issues, including trade, technology, espionage and control of the South China Sea. Broadly speaking, there are two ways of interpreting these clashes. The first is that Donald Trump’s administration is determined to reset the US-China relationship. The second is that the US has now embarked on an effort to block China’s rise.

The first approach focuses on objectionable Chinese behaviour; the second objects to the very idea of China as a rival superpower.

These two ways of thinking point to very different potential endings. The first approach — the reset — ultimately ends with a deal. The second approach — blocking the rise of China — points to a prolonged and deepening antagonism......but, over the long term, both Washington and Beijing must think more profoundly about “how this ends”.

The Chinese need to recognise that there has been a profound and bipartisan shift in American thinking. So trying to hoodwink Mr Trump or wait him out will ultimately not work. Instead, China has to consider much more significant changes in its policies on everything from forced technology transfer, to the South China Sea. It could be its last chance to head off a long-term confrontation with the Americans.

The US also has some thinking to do. The hawks in Washington are relishing the more overt use of US power in their confrontation with China. But they too need to think about “how this ends”.

It is not realistic to think that the US can ultimately stop China’s rise.
China  China_rising  conflicts  endgame  Huawei  rivalries  security_&_intelligence  superpowers  Thucydides_Trap  rising_powers  grand_strategy  strategic_thinking  U.S.foreign_policy  post-Cold_War  Donald_Trump  confrontations  U.S.-China_relations 
december 2018 by jerryking
US abdication in Africa hands political opportunities to China
Save to myFT
David Pilling 13 HOURS AGOAmerica’s shrinking influence in Africa, the second-largest continent geographically and epicentre of a gathering population explosion, did not begin under Mr Trump. The commitment of Barack Obama, his Kenyan roots notwithstanding, fell short of that shown by George W Bush, whose conversion to African causes — particularly the fight against HIV — made him a hero on the continent.

The sense of US withdrawal has accelerated with this administration. Mr Trump’s threat to cut the US aid budget by 30 per cent signals a massive scaling down of its commitment to a health and poverty-reduction agenda that has enjoyed bipartisan support in Washington for decades. A year into the US president’s administration, he is still without an ambassador to Pretoria or an assistant secretary of state for Africa. ....The US business relationship with Africa is almost exclusively extractive. Oil majors, such as Chevron and ExxonMobil, secretary of state Rex Tillerson’s old company, are the biggest investors....GE, Google and Citigroup are among a handful of non-extractives.....there are non-commercial reasons to think harder about Africa. By 2050, the number of Africans will have doubled to more than 2bn and may double again by the end of the century. Within a generation or so, Nigeria is expected to surpass the US to become the world’s third-most populous country.

The danger is that Africa will become home to a restless, jobless urban youth tempted to join the swelling flow of emigrants to Europe or prone to radicalisation at home. The persistence of Africa-based militant Islamist groups, from Boko Haram in north-east Nigeria to al-Shabaab in Somalia, is a worrying omen.

As the US presence fades, that of China — and, to a lesser extent, of India, Turkey and Morocco — has grown. China’s influence is everywhere: in roads, rail, telecoms, infrastructure and in Djibouti, in a naval base.
China  Africa  U.S.foreign_policy  South_Africa  Zimbabwe  China_rising  influence  epicenters  benign_neglect 
february 2018 by jerryking
David Ignatius — Charlie Rose
11/07/2017 | Charlie Rose Show|

David Ignatius, columnist for The Washington Post, talks about Saudi Arabia, President Trump's China visit, and his new spy novel, Quantum Spy.
G-2  China  Saudi_Arabia  David_Ignatius  U.S.-China_relations  U.S.foreign_policy  Charlie_Rose  interviews  security_&_intelligence  authors  books  quantum_computing  novels  fiction  CIA 
november 2017 by jerryking
Canada can no longer rely on U.S. for global leadership, Freeland says - The Globe and Mail
ROBERT FIFE AND MICHELLE ZILIO
OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Jun. 06, 2017

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says the Liberal government will make a “substantial investment” in the military because Canada can no longer rely on Washington for global leadership in the face of threats of Russian adventurism and the need to combat the “monstrous extremism” of Islamic State......Ms. Freeland said Canada has been able to count on the powerful U.S. military to provide a protective shield since 1945 as she argued this country needs to significantly build up the Canadian military with “a substantial investment” to help confront strategic threats to liberal democracies.

“To rely solely on the U.S. security umbrella would make us a client state,” she said. “To put it plainly: Canadian diplomacy and development sometimes requires the backing of hard power.”

Ms. Freeland listed North Korea, the civil war in Syria, the Islamic State, Russian aggression in the Ukraine and Baltic states and climate change as major threats to the global order.

“We will make the necessary investments in our military, to not only address years of neglect and underfunding, but also to place the Canadian Armed Forces on a new footing – with new equipment, training, resources and consistent and predictable funding,” she said.....The minister described how and why Canada’s role in the Second World War allowed the country to help shape the post-1945 multilateral order.

Canada has continued to play a large role in promoting multiculturalism and diversity and providing a home to the downtrodden – refugees fleeing persecution, famine or wars – she said. It has taken a strong stand on the world stage, promoting gender equality and a rule-based international order.
U.S.foreign_policy  Donald_Trump  Canada  Canadian  foreign_policy  leadership  Chrystia_Freeland  ISIS  hard_power  sovereignty  WWII  post-WWII  world_stage 
june 2017 by jerryking
Donald Trump Poisons the World
JUNE 2, 2017 | The New York Times | David Brooks.

This week, two of Donald Trump’s top advisers, H. R. McMaster and Gary Cohn, wrote the following passage in The Wall Street Journal: “The president embarked on his first foreign trip with a cleareyed outlook that the world is not a ‘global community’ but an arena where nations, nongovernmental actors and businesses engage and compete for advantage.”

That sentence is the epitome of the Trump project. It asserts that selfishness is the sole driver of human affairs. It grows out of a worldview that life is a competitive struggle for gain. It implies that cooperative communities are hypocritical covers for the selfish jockeying underneath.

The essay explains why the Trump people are suspicious of any cooperative global arrangement, like NATO and the various trade agreements. It helps explain why Trump pulled out of the Paris global-warming accord. This essay explains why Trump gravitates toward leaders like Vladimir Putin, the Saudi princes and various global strongmen: They share his core worldview that life is nakedly a selfish struggle for money and dominance.

It explains why people in the Trump White House are so savage to one another. Far from being a band of brothers, their world is a vicious arena where staffers compete for advantage......In the essay, McMaster and Cohn make explicit the great act of moral decoupling woven through this presidency. In this worldview, morality has nothing to do with anything. Altruism, trust, cooperation and virtue are unaffordable luxuries in the struggle of all against all. Everything is about self-interest. David Brooks contends that this philosophy is based on an error about human beings and it leads to self-destructive behavior in all cases.

The error is that it misunderstands what drives human action. Yes, people are self-interested but they are also wired to cooperate....Good leaders like Lincoln, Churchill, Roosevelt and Reagan understand the selfish elements that drive human behavior, but they have another foot in the realm of the moral motivations. They seek to inspire faithfulness by showing good character. They try to motivate action by pointing toward great ideals.

Realist leaders like Trump, McMaster and Cohn seek to dismiss this whole moral realm. By behaving with naked selfishness toward others, they poison the common realm and they force others to behave with naked selfishness toward them........By treating the world simply as an arena for competitive advantage, Trump, McMaster and Cohn sever relationships, destroy reciprocity, erode trust and eviscerate the sense of sympathy, friendship and loyalty that all nations need when times get tough.....George Marshall was no idealistic patsy. He understood that America extends its power when it offers a cooperative hand and volunteers for common service toward a great ideal. Realists reverse that formula. They assume strife and so arouse a volley of strife against themselves.
op-ed  climate_change  Donald_Trump  Gary_Cohn  decoupling  human_behavior  worldviews  WSJ  H.R._McMaster  selfishness  U.S.foreign_policy  Greek  morals  realism  George_Marshall  Marshall_Plan  self-interest  autocrats  Thucydides  David_Brooks  transactional_relationships  national_interests  institutions  international_system  values 
june 2017 by jerryking
Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Adviser to Jimmy Carter, Dies at 89
MAY 26, 2017 | The New York Times | By DANIEL LEWIS.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, the hawkish strategic theorist who was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter in the tumultuous years of the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s, died on Friday. He was 89.

His death was announced on Friday by his daughter, Mika Brzezinski, a co-host of the MSNBC program “Morning Joe.”

Like his predecessor Henry A. Kissinger, Mr. Brzezinski was a foreign-born scholar (he in Poland, Mr. Kissinger in Germany) with considerable influence in global affairs, both before and long after his official tour of duty in the White House....
......In 2012 [Brzezinski] once again assessed the United States’ global standing in “Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power.” Here he argued that continued American strength abroad was vital to global stability, but that it would depend on the country’s ability to foster “social consensus and democratic stability” at home.

Essential to those goals, he wrote, would be a narrowing of the yawning income gap between the wealthiest and the rest, a restructuring of the financial system so that it no longer mainly benefited “greedy Wall Street speculators” and a meaningful response to climate change.......A United States in decline, he said — one “unwilling or unable to protect states it once considered, for national interest and/or doctrinal reasons, worthy of its engagement” — could lead to a “protracted phase of rather inconclusive and somewhat chaotic realignments of both global and regional power, with no grand winners and many more losers.”
Zbigniew_Brzezinski  financial_system  Jimmy_Carter  '70s  obituaries  security_&_intelligence  U.S.foreign_policy  PhDs  APNSA 
may 2017 by jerryking
When the President Is Ignorant of His Own Ignorance - The New York Times
Thomas B. Edsall MARCH 30, 2017

How prepared is our president for the next great foreign, economic or terrorist crisis?

After a little more than two months in office, President Trump has raised doubts about his ability to deal with what the former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld famously described as the “known unknowns” and the “unknown unknowns.”

“President Trump seems to have no awareness whatsoever of what he does and does not know,” Steven Nadler, a professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, wrote me. “He is ignorant of his own ignorance.”

During his first 63 days in office, Trump made 317 “false or misleading claims,” according to The Washington Post.
Donald_Trump  ignorance  U.S.foreign_policy  crisis  lying  Donald_Rumsfeld  unknowns  immaturity  self-discipline  self-awareness  SecDef 
march 2017 by jerryking
Freeland moves from the Davos bubble to the real world - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017
......the Davos consensus (i.e. open borders, combined with activist government policies to redistribute income and promote social mobility, are the keys to ensuring global growth and stability. Ethnic and religious diversity as linchpins of modernity, not threats to social cohesion).

It is also a vision inimical to the Trump administration and senior Trump adviser Stephen Bannon, who is tasked with keeping white working-class voters on board the Trump train. In the Bannon world view, globalism, diversity and the nanny state have eroded everything that once made America great. He admires Russian President Vladimir Putin’s skillful cultivation of ethnic and religious nationalism and wants to revive their domestic counterparts in America.....Rex Tillerson has been criticized for putting Texas-based Exxon’s bottom line ahead of U.S. national security interests. But as CEO, that was his job. If he applies himself as effectively on behalf of his country, U.S. foreign policy is likely to be ruthlessly focused. Realpolitik, not values, will dictate policy. Canada may be an afterthought.

Ms. Freeland will need to direct all of her abundant energy to earn the trust of both Mr. Bannon and Mr. Tillerson. The Trump people have no particular animus toward Canada – but they will not do us any favours either on softwood lumber exports or renegotiating the North American free-trade agreement.
Davos  WEF  Chrystia_Freeland  Donald_Trump  Rex_Tillerson  Konrad_Yakabuski  Exxon  CEOs  NAFTA  Realpolitik  U.S.foreign_policy  working_class  whites  social_cohesion  Stephen_Bannon  open_borders 
march 2017 by jerryking
Trump Looks to Ex-Intelligence Officer, Putin Critic for National Security Council - WSJ
By FELICIA SCHWARTZ and PAUL SONNE
March 2, 2017

Ms. Hill is known in Washington policy circles for her clear-eyed view of Mr. Putin, viewing his background in the Soviet security services as critical to the way he approaches power politics and foreign policy. Ms. Hill’s selection was first reported by Foreign Policy.

“In the KGB, Putin learned how to probe people’s vulnerabilities, uncover their secrets, and use compromising information against them,” Ms. Hill wrote in a piece that appeared on Vox.com last summer. “In his view, other world leaders are essentially targets.”

Ms. Hill, currently at the Brookings Institution, previously served as an officer for the National Intelligence Council focusing on Russia and Eurasia. She co-wrote a book about Mr. Putin and his world view, and formerly worked at the Eurasia Foundation.
White_House  appointments  Europe  Russia  NSC  security_&_intelligence  women  U.S.foreign_policy  Brookings  think_tanks  Vladimir_Putin 
march 2017 by jerryking
What Comes After Acheson’s Creation? - WSJ
By PEGGY NOONAN
Feb. 9, 2017

The U.S. military needs to know what the U.S. government seeks from it. The White House need to communicate an overarching plan because if there’s no higher plan they, in turn, can’t make plans to meet the plan.....like tornado victims, those interested in foreign policy have been [shellshocked]—staring in shock at the wreckage of the post-War II international system.

But something has to be rebuilt. Everyone now has to be an architect, or a cement-pourer, or a master craftsman carpenter.

It’s been instructive the past week to reread a small classic of statecraft, “Present at the Creation” by Dean Acheson, published in 1969. As undersecretary and then secretary of state he was involved in the creation of the postwar order.

What is inspiring about Acheson’s first-rate second-rateness is that he’s like a lot of those we have developing foreign policy right now.

Acheson, though he did not present it this way, provides useful lessons for future diplomats in future crises.

• Everyone’s in the dark looking for the switch.
• Don’t mess things up at the beginning.
• Be able to see your work soberly. Keep notes so history will know what happened.
• Cheer up. Good things can come of bad times, great things from fiercely imperfect individuals.
• Even though you’ll wind up disappointed. All diplomats in the end feel frustrated over missed opportunities and achievements that slipped away. “Alas, that is life. We cannot live our dreams.”

Still to be answered: What is America’s strategy now—our overarching vision, our big theme and intent? What are the priorities? How, now, to navigate the world?

That soldier needs an answer to his question: What do you need from us? What’s the plan?
questions  U.S.foreign_policy  post-WWII  diplomacy  Dean_Acheson  Marshall_Plan  Peggy_Noonan  priorities  change  statecraft  books  Cold_War  international_system  rebuilding  dislocations  The_Establishment  crisis  crisis_management  Communicating_&_Connecting  grand_strategy  statesmen  imperfections  U.S._military  note_taking  missed_opportunities 
february 2017 by jerryking

« earlier    

related tags

'70s  1967  21st._century  9/11  accidents  ad_hoc  africa  aggressive  airline_industry  al-qaeda  alliances  america_in_decline?  anne-marie_slaughter  anti-americanism  anti-intellectualism  apnsa  appointments  arab-muslim_world  arab_spring  arduous  asean  asia_pacific  assassinations  asymmetrical  authors  autocracies  autocrats  balance_of_power  baltics  barrie_mckenna  batna  ben_rhodes  benign_neglect  benjamin_netanyahu  bernard_lewis  bilateralism  blueprints  book_reviews  books  bouncing_back  branding  brent_scowcroft  brookings  campaign_2016  canada  canadian  centralization  ceos  chance  change  charlie_rose  china  china_rising  chrystia_freeland  cia  climate_change  cold_war  colin_powell  communicating_&_connecting  complexity  conflict_resolution  conflicts  confrontations  consistency  constituencies  containment  contingency_planning  conundrums  creativity  crisis  crisis_management  critical_thinking  cross-disciplinary  cross-governmental  cross-pollination  crossborder  cuba  cuban_missile_crisis  cyber_warfare  david_brooks  david_ignatius  david_sanger  davos  de-industrialization  dean_acheson  decoupling  deterrence  diplomacy  disequilibriums  dislocations  disputes  donald_rumsfeld  donald_trump  doug_saunders  drones  dual-consciousness  duplicity  east_asia  economic_policy  economy  editorials  endgame  energy  entropy  epicenters  espionage  europe  exits  extremism  exxon  failed_states  false_choices  fareed_zakaria  fiction  financial_system  fishing  flexibility  foreign_aid  foreign_policy  foxes  frameworks  frenemies  future  g-2  g20  gary_cohn  geoffrey_york  geopolitics  george_kennan  george_marshall  george_packer  george_w._bush  gerald_seib  germany  globalization  gop  graham_allison  grand_strategy  greek  gridlocked_politics  h.r._mcmaster  hacking  hard_power  harry_truman  hedgehogs  henry_kissinger  henry_mintzberg  hezbollah  hijackings  hillary_clinton  historians  history  hotspots  huawei  human_behavior  humiliation  ian_bremmer  ignorance  imbalances  immaturity  immigration  imperfections  incentives  incrementalism  india  indispensable  indonesia  influence  infrastructure  insecurity  instability  institutions  intelligence_analysts  interconnections  interdependence  international_relations  international_system  international_trade  interviews  iran  iraq  isi  isis  islam  isolationism  japan  jeffrey_simpson  jfk  jimmy_carter  john_stackhouse  kissinger_associates  konrad_yakabuski  laos  lashkar-e-taiba  lawyers  leadership  lebanon  legacies  lessons_learned  letters_to_the_editor  leverage  log_rolling  long-range  lord_palmerston  luck  lying  madrassas  margaret_macmillan  margaret_wente  maritime  marshall_plan  max_boot  memoranda  messaging  messiness  middle-powers  middle_east  mideast_peace  mike_pence  millennials  missed_opportunities  mitt_romney  moral_equivalencies  morals  multilateralism  multiple_stressors  multipolarity  muslim  myths  naacp  nafta  narratives  national_identity  national_interests  nationalism  nato  natural_resources  negotiations  network_density  network_power  networks  niall_ferguson  nobystanders  normality  north_korea  note_taking  nouriel_roubini  novelists  novels  nsc  nuclear  nuclear_proliferation  obama  obituaries  obl  op-ed  op-eds  op_ed  open_borders  opportunism  orchestration  overconfidence  pakistan  palestinian  pdb  peggy_noonan  pentagon  persian_gulf  phds  philippines  pla  policy_tools  politics  post-cold_war  post-wwii  power  preparation  priorities  promises  proquest  protectionism  provocations  public_diplomacy  public_relations  punitive  quantum_computing  questions  r&d  rand_paul  readiness  realism  realpolitik  rebuilding  red_lines  religion  repression  restorations  restraint  retaliation  retribution  rex_tillerson  richard_haass  richard_holbrooke  rising_powers  rivalries  robert_gates  robert_kaplan  robert_lighthizer  rogue_actors  root_cause  rule_of_law  russia  ruthlessness  saudi_arabia  saudi_arabian  schisms  secdef  sectarian  security_&_intelligence  self-awareness  self-discipline  self-interest  selfishness  shia  shiite  six-day_war  social_cohesion  soft_power  sophistry  south_africa  south_china_sea  sovereignty  speechwriters  statecraft  statesmen  stephen_bannon  storytelling  strategic_patience  strategic_thinking  strategy  sunni  superpowers  synchronization  syria  syrian  taiwan  taliban  tariffs  terrorism  the_establishment  think_tanks  thomas_homer-dixon  thought_leadership  threats  thucydides  thucydides_trap  tom_friedman  tpp  transactional_relationships  trends  tsunamis  tyrants  u.s.-china_relations  u.s.  u.s._military  u.s._navy  u.s._state_department  ukraine  un  unexpected  unforeseen  unilateralism  unknowns  unprepared  ussr  ustr  vali_nasr  values  vietnam  vietnam_war  virtues  vladimir_putin  vulnerabilities  wahhabism  walter_russell_mead  war  wef  white_house  whites  wikileaks  william_burns  william_mcgurn  women  working_class  world_stage  worldviews  writers  wsj  wto  wwii  xi_jinping  yemen  zbigniew_brzezinski  zimbabwe 

Copy this bookmark:



description:


tags: