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The Changing Fundamentals of US-China Relations

by Evan S. Medeiros

Longer-term structural and short-term cyclical drivers are both pushing US-China relations in a more competitive direction, while classic buffers and stabilizers are arguably inoperative. US-China competition is, thus, more of a condition than a strategy, leading the former NSC senior director for Asia to argue that calling for competition with China is not enough; the key debates are how the United States competes—with what tools, on what issues, and at what costs.

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Unity, Democracy, and Anti-Americanism in China

by Weizhan Meng

Many American scholars and pundits have concluded that US engagement policy toward China has been a failure. Rather than abandon it, a Chinese perspective here proposes how the United States can reform its engagement policy to help make China less anti-American and move toward political diversification and economic liberalization, while simultaneously helping the United States gain more strategic benefits.

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India and China: A Managed Nuclear Rivalry?

by Rajesh Basrur

Although tensions seem to have subsided since their 2017 Doklam confrontation, India and China’s essential situation remains unchanged, having entered a nuclear rivalry—sharing five characteristics with five other sets of nuclear-armed rivals—that could, conceivably, and possibly rapidly, deteriorate into sharpened confrontation and crisis.

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China, NATO, and the Pitfall of Empty Engagement

by Jonathan Holslag

Even if European allies overcome their reluctance to endorse a role for NATO toward China this fall, engagement needs a strategy, which should ideally consist of these four layers. The failure of NATO to formulate a proper answer to China's ascent could undermine the alliance’s relevance and further increase frustration on both sides of the Atlantic.

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Provocations

Economic Statecraft in the Age of Trump

by Daniel W. Drezner

A statecraft gap is emerging, with the United States getting worse at economic diplomacy just as other countries are getting better. The United States needs to develop a reliable doctrine on when to threaten networked sanctions, how to resist being the target of other actors’ efforts to weaponize interdependence, and how to use carrots as well as sticks.

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The BJP’s Puzzling Victory: Was It about Hindu Nationalism?

by Sumit Ganguly and Himanshu Jha

In May 2019, India handed a categorical victory to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Why did it win so resoundingly? And with an anemic opposition, a comfortable majority in parliament, and an able foreign policy team in place, what will the second Modi regime do in its foreign policy?

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Great Expectations: Asking Too Much of the US-India Strategic Partnership

by Sameer Lalwani and Heather Byrne

A sustainable US-India strategic collaboration would benefit from some realism about four limitations on the relationship or risk misallocation of resources, miscalculation of strategy, misestimation of leverage, and potentially disappointment, resentment, and hostility from outsized expectations of the US-India partnership.

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Does Al Qaeda Have a Future?

by Daniel Byman

After the 2019 defeat of the Islamic State’s territorial caliphate, will Al Qaeda make a comeback? How much of a threat do Al Qaeda and its affiliates pose to the United States and other Western countries today?

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Broken Partnerships: Can Washington Get Security Cooperation Right?

by Bilal Y. Saab 

Drawing down militarily in the Middle East and paying more attention to the Indo-Pacific will require that the United States do security cooperation right. But the unpopular truth is that a major ailment of security cooperation is internal to the United States, and it will take nothing short of a dramatic interagency culture change to get it right.

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Behind the Headlines

Strong insights from previous issues

Beijing's Bismarckian Ghosts: How Great Powers Compete Economically

by Markus Brunnermeier, Rush Doshi, and Harold James

Much focus on great power competition is military, but the central battlefield may now be economics. Yet, the twenty-first century United States-China rivalry holds an uncanny resemblance to the nineteenth century Anglo-German one, yielding a useful guide for policymakers to understand four areas of subtle and sophisticated economic competition likely to be employed, beyond the blunt levying of tariffs, and the risks likely to be incurred. From our Fall 2018 issue.

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Will Europe Get Its Own Bomb?

by Bruno Tertrais

The context for a “European nuclear deterrent” is changing. The vague expression, which this paper seeks to define, is clouded by intellectual and political confusion and includes some unrealistic options. Will the current NATO nuclear arrangement continue to exist? Now would be a good time for all Europeans to re-engage in this nuclear policy debate. From our Summer 2019 issue.

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How Strong is the Nuclear Taboo Today?

by Nina Tannenwald

The author who wrote the classic book revisits the state of the nuclear taboo over ten years later. In a new nuclear era and with the global normative order at risk of unraveling, she asks and answers: How strong is the taboo against the use of nuclear weapons today? How can it be strengthened? From our Fall 2018 issue.

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The Day after Trump: American Strategy for a New International Order

by Rebecca Friedman Lissner and Mira Rapp-Hooper

Defending the liberal international order as an end unto itself today is a mistake. Instead, foreign policy strategists must begin to craft a new US grand strategy now. Thoughtful plans for rebuilding new and needed forms of order will require advanced preparation, beginning with reassessing three fundamental assumptions of the extant international order, diagnosing threats from without and within, and designing and defining the limits of a new system. From our Spring 2018 issue.

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Perils of Polarization for U.S. Foreign Policy

by Kenneth A. Schultz

A source of the decline of U.S. standing in the world comes from within: a long-term trend of partisan polarization in American politics which has made it harder for the United States to conduct foreign policy and to wield its diplomatic and military power in the world in four ways. Recognizing these problems may help mitigate their worst effects. From our Winter 2017 issue.

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