Obama's opponents have cynically treated these challenges as political footballs, sweeping them into their relentless narrative of a weak, vacillating and dangerous president and a feckless NATO. But NATO's leaders impressively rallied around the administration's plans, approving a sweeping series of actions that should -- but probably won't -- quiet the critics.
At the start of classes one year ago, I was having to explain to my students why the United States appeared to be on the verge of going to war against the Syrian government. At the beginning of this semester, exactly one year later, I'm having to explain to my students why the United States may be on the verge of going to war against Syrian rebels.
With an indefinite ceasefire now agreed upon, there is an urgent need for a new strategy that will be aimed at ending the Hamas stranglehold on Gaza, substantially increase the role of the Palestinian Authority there, and enhance the prospects for progress in Israeli-Palestinian relations. Here are eleven ways to develop that strategy.
Instead of drafting briefing papers describing policy proposals in the abstract, think tanks can consider building software and data visualizations that demonstrate how these same policies might operate in practice. This is not as hard as it sounds -- there are some tried and tested steps worth considering.
Europe is surrounded by a ring of instability. With conflicts festering from Ukraine to Iraq to Libya, the perennially elusive question is what Europe stands for. How do its values, interests, and ambitions fit into an increasingly unruly world? The nomination of the new European foreign policy chief last weekend looks like yet another missed opportunity to provide an answer.
The problem is not that Obama is a shrinking violet on the international scene, it is that the American public and media are so accustomed to their government pulling the trigger (or aiding others in doing so) at the slightest potential for an international problem.
The Russian invasion of Eastern Ukraine comes at a pivotal moment with a major NATO summit convening in Wales this week. A failure to response effectively would imperil the historically successful but increasingly troubled alliance dangerously on the verge of impotence and irrelevance if Putin succeeds with his Ukrainian gambit.
I am told that if a small group of American Muslims drawn from both the Sunni and Shia strands of Islam, and from different ethnicities come together to discuss solutions they will come up with ideas that can lead to breakthroughs.
Israel has previously threatened to carry out attacks against Iran's nuclear installations. Nevertheless, the major dilemma is whether Israel would realistically attack Iran's nuclear facilities.
We should do more to help potential entrepreneurs in places where domestic economies are too weak to assist. If we give this effort a higher priority in our country's foreign policy, we can create a healthier balance of world commerce.
I, for one, am happy that Egypt and the UAE made a unilateral decision without us. I am happy that Egypt orchestrated the Israeli/Palestinian ceasefire. I am glad that we are starting to "lead from behind" in the rest of the world, because maybe that means we can lead our own country.
In short, the War on Terror at home has not changed at all, but the war abroad has, and it is this factor that presents the U.S. with a rare opportunity.
It's hard to pinpoint the exact moment when Afghanistan's presidential election became a complete absurdity.
The West does indeed face a high risk of becoming overstretched. But what is the alternative, other than accelerating chaos, mushrooming security risks and serial humanitarian disasters? For the West, this dilemma cannot be avoided. Today's accumulating crises, accompanied by America's strategic fatigue, are forcing Europe to define what role it will play in the future of Western -- and global -- stability. If the U.S. can no longer bear the burden of Pax Americana, Europe must do more for collective security.
The world must welcome fruitful and sustained negotiations between Tehran and Washington to assuage concerns over Iran's nuclear program, prevent an unnecessary and utterly destructive conflict in the Middle East, and test the power of diplomacy in resolving international crises.