You are here

Foreign Affairs

Subscribe to Foreign Affairs feed
Updated: 1 month 1 week ago

The United Nations: a Prospectus

Sat, 08/10/2011 - 03:01
GOVERNMENT," said Alexander Hamilton, "ought to contain an active principle." Political institutions which advance the welfare of their human constituents achieve an internal state which is cohesive and dynamic and produce an external environment which is sympathetic and receptive. Those are the conditions needed for survival and growth. The United Nations Organization is charged with positive tasks. That at least gives it a chance to be potent in the world. Whether the chance is realized will depend primarily upon the General Assembly. The rôle of the Security Council is predominantly negative. Its task is to stop the nations from public brawling. But it has no mandate to change the conditions which make brawls likely.

Hitler's Reich

Sat, 08/10/2011 - 02:54
Writing in 1933, Hamilton Fish Armstrong describes the collapse of the Weimar Republic and Adolf Hitler's ascent to power.

The Platt Amendment

Sat, 08/10/2011 - 02:52
THE desire of the Cubans to become a free people among the American nations which had broken away from European rule provoked a series of bloody revolutions in the course of the nineteenth century. The last of these, captained by our three great generals, Maximo Gomez, Antonio Maceo and Calixto Garcia, broke out with the cry of "Independence or Death," and caused a cruel war in which the Cuban population was decimated and Cuban territories were devastated. Save for the individual efforts of a few heroic volunteers, the Cubans received no help from other countries, down to the day when the Congress of the United States voted its famous Joint Resolution of April 18, 1898, to which the President affixed his signature on April 20. The text of this document was as follows: Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled: First. That the people of the Island of Cuba are, and of right ought to be, free and independent.

Our Foreign Policy: a Democratic View

Sat, 08/10/2011 - 02:51
In our century and a half of national life there have been outstanding periods when American leadership has influenced the thought and action of the civilized world towards international good will and peace; and there have been moments—rare ones, fortunately—when American policy either has been negative and sterile, or has earned for us dislike or fear or ridicule. I believe many millions of citizens in the United States share my conviction that the past nine years must be counted on the debit side of the ledger.

Our Foreign Policy: a Republican View

Sat, 08/10/2011 - 02:51
WHEN the Republican Administration came into power on March 4, 1921, the country had given a clear and unmistakable indication of the line which it desired that our foreign policy should take. The preceding campaign had been fought largely on the issue of whether this country should abandon its traditional policy of independence in foreign affairs and should substitute for it a policy under which our independence of action might be subordinated to the decision of other nations. Even during the war our traditional policy had been scrupulously maintained. President Wilson had been careful to specify the conditions on which we entered into a limited partnership with other nations for the conduct of the war, and had insisted that that partnership be described as "The Allied and Associated Powers". Having entered the war on our own terms and for certain designated objectives, when those objectives had been attained and peace had been secured, the nation showed that it was ready to put an end to the temporary partnership and in the future to conduct its foreign relations in accordance with the historic American policy.

Abyssinia and the Powers

Sat, 08/10/2011 - 02:50
THE Abyssinian representatives in Geneva had proclaimed their intention of making a formal speech of protest at the autumn session of the Assembly of the League of Nations against the recent Anglo-Italian agreement which, despite reassuring statements in London, was regarded in many quarters -- particularly in Paris -- as a prelude to the division of Abyssinia into spheres of economic interest between Great Britain and Italy. London and Rome at the last moment induced Abyssinia to adopt a different course. The Empire of Abyssinia -- or, as it is now officially styled, Ethiopia -- has an area of about 350,000 square miles and a population of something like 10,000,000. Of these only about 3,500,000 belong to the Abyssinian ruling race. The rest are of Galla or other Hamitic stock or, in the conquered equatorial regions, are negroes. Though the Abyssinians proper are one of the oldest of Christian nations, at least half the total population are Mohammedans: indeed, a few years ago, after the death of the late King Menelek, it looked as if the Mohammedans might get the upper hand.

Nationalism and Internationalism

Sat, 08/10/2011 - 02:47
Alfred E. Zimmern argues that, in post-WWI Europe, the real obstacle to the Wilsonian vision of international cooperation and coordination is not resurgent nationalism, but the myopic, self-interested behavior of states and statesmen.

September 11 in Retrospect

Fri, 19/08/2011 - 17:39
It’s tempting to see the 9/11 attacks as having fundamentally changed U.S. foreign policy. It’s also wrong. The Bush administration may have gone over the top in responding, but its course was less novel than generally believed. A quest for primacy and military supremacy, a readiness to act proactively and unilaterally, and a focus on democracy and free markets—all are long-standing features of U.S. policy.

Al Qaeda’s Challenge

Thu, 18/08/2011 - 00:33
On 9/11, the global jihadist movement burst into the world's consciousness, but a decade later, thanks in part to the Arab Spring and the killing of Osama bin Laden, it is in crisis. With Western-backed dictators falling, al Qaeda might seem closer than ever to its goal of building Islamic states. But the revolutions have empowered the group's chief rivals instead: Islamist parliamentarians, who are willing to use ballots, not bombs.

Agreeing on Afghanistan

Wed, 22/06/2011 - 06:12
When the White House reviewed U.S. strategy in Afghanistan in 2009, it opted for an adversarial decision-making process, with each camp fighting for its position. This time around, the administration has wisely chosen a process aimed at reaching a consensus -- a decision that should make executing the strategy easier.

Why Middle East Studies Missed the Arab Spring

Mon, 20/06/2011 - 02:49
Middle East experts were as surprised as everyone else by the Arab revolts. Focused on explaining the stability of local autocracies in recent decades, they underestimated the hidden forces driving change. As they wipe the egg off their faces, they need to reconsider long-held assumptions about the Arab world.

Demystifying the Arab Spring

Wed, 01/06/2011 - 06:00
Why have the upheavals in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya followed such different paths? Because of the countries' vastly different cultures and histories, writes the president of the American University in Cairo. Washington must come to grips with these variations if it hopes to shape the outcomes constructively. This article appears in the Foreign Affairs/CFR eBook, The New Arab Revolt.

Terrorism After the Revolutions

Sun, 03/04/2011 - 20:33
Although last winter's peaceful popular uprisings damaged the jihadist brand, they also gave terrorist groups greater operational freedom. To prevent those groups from seizing the opportunities now open to them, Washington should keep the pressure on al Qaeda and work closely with any newly installed regimes.This article appears in the Foreign Affairs/CFR eBook, The New Arab Revolt.

The Rise of the Islamists

Sun, 03/04/2011 - 20:31
The recent turmoil in the Middle East may lead to the Arab world's first sustained experiment in Islamist government. But the West need not fear. For all their anti-American rhetoric, today's mainstream Islamist groups tend to be pragmatic—and ready to compromise if necessary on ideology and foreign policy.

The Heirs of Nasser

Sun, 03/04/2011 - 20:27
Not since the Suez crisis and the Nasser-fueled uprisings of the 1950s has the Middle East seen so much unrest. Understanding those earlier events can help the United States navigate the crisis today -- for just like Nasser, Iran and Syria will try to manipulate various local grievances into a unified anti-Western campaign.This article appears in the Foreign Affairs/CFR eBook, The New Arab Revolt.

Understanding the Revolutions of 2011

Sun, 03/04/2011 - 20:26
Revolutions rarely succeed, writes one of the world's leading experts on the subject—except for revolutions against corrupt and personalist "sultanistic" regimes. This helps explain why Tunisia's Ben Ali and Egypt's Mubarak fell—and also why some other governments in the region will prove more resilient.

China's Search for a Grand Strategy

Sun, 20/02/2011 - 06:00
With China's clout growing, the international community needs to better understand China's strategic thinking. But China's core interests are to promote its sovereignty, security, and development simultaneously -- a difficult basis for devising a foreign policy.

Mubarakism Without Mubarak

Fri, 11/02/2011 - 16:49
Now that Mubarak has stepped down, the army may step in as a transitional power, recognizing that it must turn power over to the people quickly. More likely, however, is the return of the somewhat austere military authoritarianism of decades past. This article appears in the Foreign Affairs/CFR eBook, The New Arab Revolt.

Morning in Tunisia

Sun, 16/01/2011 - 21:31
Last week's mass protests in Tunisia were less a symptom of economic malaise than of a society fed up with its broken dictatorship. Should the other autocratic regimes in the Middle East and North Africa be afraid? This article appears in the Foreign Affairs/CFR eBook, The New Arab Revolt.

Less Than Zero

Sat, 01/01/2011 - 06:00

Once again, a global movement is afoot to free the world of nuclear weapons. Unlike the Easter marches of the 1950s and 1960s or the nuclear freeze movement of the 1980s, however, this time around, the policy elites themselves are leading the charge. The list of supporters of Global Zero, the new campaign's flagship organization, reads like a Who's Who of international strategy: from Zbigniew Brzezinski and Lawrence Eagleburger to Strobe Talbott and Philip Zelikow, from Carl Bildt and Hans-Dietrich Genscher to Igor Ivanov and David Owen.

In April 2009, moreover, U.S. President Barack Obama aligned himself with the cause, declaring global disarmament a top priority. Two months later, Vice President Joe Biden stymied a Pentagon plan for a new generation of warheads as a threat to the administration's credibility. And the consensus runs from the White House to City Hall: last June, cheering "U.S. participation in [the] global elimination of nuclear weapons," the U.S. Conference of Mayors called on Congress to "terminate funding for modernization of the nuclear weapons complex."

Read More