by Hal Brands
The allure of offshore balancing is largely an illusion. Because it has such wide support as a grand strategy, discussions have remained one-sided and incomplete. Yet upon closer scrutiny, the purported dividends are oversold while the probable costs and risks are badly understated.
by Kenneth M. Pollack and Barbara F. Walter
U.S. strategy for the Middle East must start with its civil wars in Yemen, Libya, Iraq, and Syria. Thankfully, a well-developed body of historically-grounded scholarly work on civil wars tells us much about what causes them to break out, spread, and what helps end them. It is a widely assumed myth to argue that outside powers can’t help. Here’s how they can...
by Paul Meyer
The former Canadian ambassador warns that, in recent years, China and Russia have seized the initiative to develop a set of global norms to govern state behavior in cyberspace. It is time for Western states to initiate a more focused diplomatic process to negotiate the content of these new norms.
by Andrew H. Kydd
North Korea is a failed state waiting to happen, but waiting for it to happen is dangerous. Is there a bargain involving both unification and a reduction of the U.S. role in Korea that the United States, South Korea, and China would prefer to the status quo? If so, what are the obstacles to pursuing it, and can they be overcome?
by Adam P. Liff
Despite concerns that Prime Minister Abe is transformative and polarizing, recent adopted measures to a large extent continue long-term trends initiated by previous governments and have stretched, but not removed, at least five core principles that for decades have defined Japan’s self-restraint.
by Steven Pifer
While President Obama achieved early success in reducing nuclear arms, he is not only falling short of the lofty transformative goals that he laid down at the outset of his presidency, but the scale of nuclear weapons reductions on Obama’s watch pales in comparison to his three predecessors. Three factors (3 R’s) explain why: Russians, Republicans, and reluctance.
by Thomas F. Lynch III
The promised level of military commitment in Afghanistan remains short of barely serious, failing to reasonably safeguard the most basic U.S. and Western security requirements in mid-2015, much less beyond 2016. In the last year, however, ISIS has changed the U.S. political landscape, making a much-needed restructuring of the residual presence in Afghanistan feasible.
by Denise Natali
Dramatic swings in the Kurdistan Region’s behavior underline its condition as a quasi-state, a political entity with no external sovereignty but large internal sovereignty. How does it benefit from political stalemate and the extent to which it can leverage political processes in Iraq?
IS PUTIN THE PROBLEM?
by Kathryn Stoner and Michael McFaul
Neither a ‘‘too soft’’ nor ‘‘too hard’’ U.S. approach to Russia explains the recent return to a bilateral Cold War confrontation, nor was it an inevitable Russian policy. Instead, it is Vladimir Putin’s unique response to Russian domestic political and economic upheaval.
by Kimberly Marten
The upshot of the Russian system under Putin’s reign is that a new version of the Cold War in Europe--this time without ideology--will stay with us for the foreseeable future. But what is it about Putin, the man, and/or the overall nature of the Russian system that makes Moscow’s moves so unpredictable?
by Clifford Gaddy and Michael O’Hanlon
What are Russia’s long-term foreign policy ambitions and military grand strategy? The authors identify eight conceivable future courses for the Russian state into the 2020s, five of which are feasible, and identify the most likely, their consequences, and how the outside world might try to influence Russia’s choice.