The election of Joe Biden as President of the United States allows American foreign policy the opportunity to return to its pre-Trump norm that held from FDR to Obama of supporting America’s allies against their common authoritarian adversaries, working cooperatively with other countries to deal with common problems through multilateral agreements and institutions, regarding the … Continue reading Foreign Policy Challenges Facing the Biden Administration
The U.S. has alliances with many governments throughout the world. The most basic reason for these alliances is to advance the shared goal of defense against common adversaries. Defense alone, of course, is not the only basis of America’s relations with its allies. Trade and investment are an important feature of U.S. relations with many … Continue reading Three Things They Hate about Us: American Policies that Its Allies Deplore
NATO’s first secretary general, Lord Ismay, is reputed to have quipped that the purpose of the alliance is “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” Post-World War II West Germany and post-Cold War unified Germany, of course, have borne no resemblance to either Wilhelmine or Nazi Germany and have not … Continue reading Maintaining Harmony Among Friends: The Other Purpose of America’s Alliances
One of the main purposes served by America’s alliance relationships is to provide a means whereby the U.S. contributes to the security of its allies in order to protect them from other countries or forces that the U.S. and its allies both regard as threatening. The problem at present, though, is that not only do … Continue reading No Easy Task: Managing Alliance Relations in a Multi-Adversary Environment
A serious problem that the U.S. now confronts is that some of its allies cooperate—or seek to cooperate—with some of its adversaries. Ideally, America’s having so many allies in so many different parts of the world means that it has many partners to confront its adversaries. The problem with this, however, is that America’s different … Continue reading When the Friends of My Friends Are Not My Friends: The Problem of Having Different Allies with Different Threat Perceptions
While different from and perhaps not as easily exploitable as in the late Cold War era, America’s adversaries are now experiencing numerous problems—as well as significant differences among themselves—that the U.S. could take advantage of. And yet the U.S. has not done so—or, at least, not done so very effectively. During the Cold War, American … Continue reading Aren’t There Any Rivalries Between America’s Adversaries that the U.S. Can Exploit?
The current decline of U.S. influence in the world—as exemplified by poor performance in prolonged conflicts, rise of adversaries, friction with allies, and domestic aversion to foreign policy involvement—is not the first time that this has ever occurred. American influence in the world declined under similar circumstances during and after its prolonged unsuccessful military involvement … Continue reading We’ve Been Here Before: How the U.S. Went from Losing Indochina to Winning the Cold War
At the end of the Cold War in 1989-91, it appeared to many that America was the sole remaining superpower in a largely benign world where liberal democracy and free market economics were spreading while authoritarianism and statist economic models were in retreat. Eastern Europe’s communist regimes not only fell, but their democratic successors eagerly … Continue reading American Foreign Policy after the Cold War: What Happened?
At the outset of the 2020s, the United States is in a difficult situation internationally. America has many adversaries—including China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and jihadist forces such as Al Qaeda and ISIS—whose activities are harmful to America’s allies and to America itself. Further, America’s relations with many of its longstanding allies have seriously deteriorated. … Continue reading American Foreign Policy: Can the U.S. Get Out of a Difficult Situation?