America Must Lead on Nuclear Energy to Maintain National Security

by Laura S. H. Holgate and Sagatom Saha
While Russia and China are today’s major market players in nuclear energy, the United States has been reduced to a minor competitor, potentially eroding its diplomatic influence as well as nonproliferation and security standards. But there is a new window of opportunity to revitalize the U.S. nuclear industry based on new reactor designs to meet rising demand.

Abstinence or Tolerance: Managing Nuclear Ambitions in Saudi Arabia

by Nicholas L. Miller and Tristan A. Volpe
Since 2015, a Saudi nuclear hedging strategy has come into focus, raising the risks of a spiraling proliferation race with Iran toward nuclear latency. How should the U.S. attempt to manage the Saudi nuclear program? Perhaps surprisingly, in ongoing Saudi-U.S. negotiations, the authors argue a standard nuclear cooperation (123) agreement is superior to one with “Gold Standard” constraints on enrichment. Here’s why...

Is India Ready for the Indo-Pacific?

by Harsh V. Pant and Abhijnan Rej
The significance of the “Indo-Pacific” in the U.S. National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy cannot be overstated, situating India firmly in U.S. grand strategy. Yet while India endorses the idea rhetorically, three issues prevent actual operationalization of the concept for New Delhi with consequences for future U.S.-India cooperation.

The Hard Part: The Art of Sanctions Relief

by Richard Nephew
Though most attention to international sanctions focuses on their design and application, removing sanctions is potentially more important. Sanctions relief often generates resentment and frustrations for three common reasons: if their objectives are unclear, confused or misaligned; because politics can be entrenched; and because business interests are complex.

The New American Way of War: Special Operations Forces in the War on Terrorism

by Daniel Byman and Ian A. Merritt
Special operations forces (SOF) have become a critical component of U.S. counterterrorism strategy. Yet, despite countless tactical and operational successes, SOF are used with little strategic direction and a high operational tempo that takes a heavy toll. It is time for a renewed debate about the role of SOF in U.S. counterterrorism and foreign policy today.

Subduing al-Shabaab: The Somalia Model of Counterterrorism and Its Limits

by Paul D. Williams
Unwilling to deploy a large number of troops to Somalia, since 2007 the United States has used a “tailored engagement strategy” with the African Union (AMISOM) to degrade the terror threat from al-Shabaab. In what ways has it worked? Can and should the United States use similar tailored engagement strategies in other theaters?


SUMMER 2018  |  Volume 41  |  Number 2

Democracy’s Future: Riding the Hegemonic Wave

by Seva Gunitsky
The evolution of the global spread and retreat of modern democracy over the past century has followed a surprisingly specific pattern. Domestic regime changes often cannot be explained by the specifics of local revolts but a broader geopolitical process of tectonic shifts in the structure of global power, or hegemonic shocks. What does that mean for the future of global democracy?

Non-“Western” Liberalism and the Resilience of the Liberal International Order

by Paul D. Miller
The history of the relationship between liberalism and the West is not a blueprint for the future of liberalism or its prospects outside of the West. Non-Western liberalism exists: it is demonstrably possible to have democracy in a place that did not experience Western history, and is in fact strong evidence for the resilience of the liberal international order.

Countering China’s “United Front”

by Bates Gill and Benjamin Schreer
Under Xi Jinping, China is now investing powerful resources to compete for global political influence. What are China’s activities (what it calls its “united front”)? How can Washington and its allies work to counter it? And how can the United States resurrect convincing leadership to friends in support of the liberal international order?

Cyber Proxies and Their Implications for Liberal Democracies

by Tim Maurer
Non-liberal democracies are delegating, orchestrating, or passively supporting cyber proxies to conduct offensive cyber actions, affecting international peace and security. Developing a more robust and comprehensive strategy, particularly in international law enforcement among other approaches, is needed to more effectively address cyber proxies in the long term.

Behind the Headlines

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 U.S. 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.

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.

What If California Had a Foreign Policy? The New Frontier of States’ Rights

by David Freeman Engstrom and Jeremy M. Weinstein
A range of new efforts on issues such as climate change, human rights and immigration by actors like California are testing the legal limits of federal power in foreign affairs. How much latitude will the courts ultimately grant to the states? Policymakers, on both sides of the aisle, would be wise to get ahead of the courts and think strategically about the benefits and risks of an evolution in legal thinking about federalism’s boundaries.

No More Sunshine: The Limits of Engagement with North Korea

by Inhan Kim
President Moon Jae-in appears to be reviving Seoul’s 1998-2008 “sunshine policy” toward Pyongyang. Yet that experience and the policy’s underlying assumptions–which actually violate well-established theories of economic interdependence, engagement, and aid–make economic engagement with North Korea a false promise today.

Inside the Iran Deal: a French Perspective

by Laurent Fabius
The then-French Foreign Minister (2012–2016) provides a fascinating insider’s account of the monumental effort from experts, diplomats, scientists, and other leaders to successfully negotiate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran—including France’s reaction upon discovering the existence and substance of the secret U.S.–Iran talks in Oman—and draws his lessons learned.