Provocations

The Revenge of History

by Bruno Tertrais
Throughout the world, history is making a comeback—with a vengeance. The four main strategic challenges the West faces -- China, Iran, ISIS, and Russia -- are grounded in history. And the West is not ready.

After TPP: the Geopolitics of Asia and the Pacific

by Michael J. Green and Matthew P. Goodman
Trade has always defined order and power in the Asia-Pacific. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), while not perfect, can help positively shape regional order, the balance of power, and a rising China, and ultimately help sustain the post-war US-led global order itself.

Revitalizing the U.S. National Security Strategy

by James Goldgeier and Jeremi Suri
To help frame the most difficult and important foreign policy decisions the new president will face, an effective national security strategy is needed once again. Successful strategies since 1949 yield a set of key lessons learned including that it must be released early in a new administration.

The Perils of Strategic Patience with North Korea

by Jong Kun Choi
U.S. policy toward North Korea is based on wishful thinking: despite repeated predictions of its imminent collapse, the Kim regime has proven it is not going anywhere. Meanwhile, the U.S. policy of “strategic patience” is counterintuitive and counterproductive for two reasons.

Five Dangerous Myths about Pakistan

by C. Christine Fair and Sumit Ganguly
The Pakistani foreign and security policy establishment has propagated at least five egregious and pernicious myths to promote what they deem to be Pakistan’s vital interests, while alienating India and contributing to flawed U.S. policies. All five myths need to be put to rest.

Is India Developing a Strategy for Power?

by Harsh V. Pant
India’s strategic evolution has entered uncharted waters. Despite India’s vulnerabilities and long history of strategic diffidence, there are signs that the Modi government is both using soft power more effectively and rethinking the role of the military, building a new approach to India’s use of power.

The Linchpin to the Iran Deal’s Future: Europe

by Cornelius Adebahr
The U.S. government faces continued domestic resistance to even limited cooperation with Iran. Therefore, the responsibility to advance even this limited agenda will fall to Europe. Despite being absorbed by three crises of its own, here’s how Europe can be proactive...

Lost in the Chaos: the Palestinian Leadership Crisis

by Khaled Elgindy
Recent protests centered on Jerusalem stem from anger not only over Israel’s occupation and the moribund Arab-Israeli peace process, but also deep-seated Palestinian frustration with their own leadership. The basic assumptions that have held the Palestinian national movement together for the last several decades are now coming apart.

SYRIA IN RUINS

 

WINTER 2016  |  Volume 38  |  Number 4

The Weaponization of Water in Syria and Iraq

by Marcus DuBois King
Original research shows that water scarcity has been a driver of conflict in Syria and Iraq. In fact, the use of water in warfare is likely to become an even greater factor unless countervailing strategies are designed and implemented by states committed to defeating the Islamic State and other extremists.

Six Bad Options for Syria

by Daniel Byman
Syria is at a crossroads; so is U.S. policy. The range of choices is wide, but all of them are bad. A more realistic discussion of policy options should reflect their many potential advantages, limits, and costs, outlined here...

Behind the Headlines

The Price of Inattention: A Survivable North Korean Nuclear Threat?

by Mitchel B. Wallerstein
The former Clinton administration official unveils progress that North Korea has made on four parallel nuclear and missile initiatives that could soon amount to a survivable, strategic nuclear capability. As a result, it is time for the United States to state unambiguously that it will impose secondary sanctions and resort to pre-emptive military action if Pyongyang performs additional nuclear or missile tests or deploys certain new and threatening military systems.

Has U.S. China Policy Failed?

by Harry Harding
The United States is immersed in its most intense China policy debate in decades, which will almost certainly get more heated and public in 2016. For a variety of reasons, reviewed here, dissatisfaction with China’s domestic and international evolution has become widespread as has pessimism about the future of U.S.–China relations, leading to a growing debate over three broad ways to revise U.S. policy.

Great Expectations: Iran after the Deal

by Mehdi Khalaji
Iran’s policy toward nuclear talks changed not because of Rouhani’s election in 2013, but because of Supreme Leader Khamenei in 2011. Yet the future of that agreement, whose significance in Iran is comparable to the 1987 ceasefire with Iraq, depends on continuing political will, which could be disrupted by at least three factors inside Iran.

Escaping the Civil War Trap in the Middle East

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...

Who Lost Russia (This Time)? Vladimir Putin

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.

Nuclear Strategies of Emerging Nuclear Powers: North Korea and Iran

by Vipin Narang
Regional nuclear powers have made very different nuclear strategy choices than the Cold War superpowers did. Historically, these different strategies have been associated with distinct types of risk. Which nuclear strategies might North Korea and Iran adopt? The answer should affect the policy choices we make.