The Saudi Snit
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has just had a tantrum. A day after winning one of the rotational seats on the United Nations Security Council, the Saudis announced they would not take the seat.
Iran and the Quelling of Congressional Troublemaking
The attempt to play chicken with government operations and the nation's creditworthiness, and the shutdown and anxiety in financial markets resulting from the attempt, already have harmed U.S. foreign relations and interests overseas.
Nixon's Principles and a Multipolar Middle East
Perhaps the most successful U.S. diplomacy of the past half century was the management by Richard Nixon, aided by Henry Kissinger, of relations with other major powers in the early 1970s, and in particular the triangular diplomacy involving the Soviet Union and China.
The Anarchist Tendency
One has to struggle to find any principles or consistency in the ongoing effort at extortion that has involved shutting down government operations and threatening default on the national debt. The most common lines of analysis of what is happening, having to do with such things as gerrymandering and tea party primary challenges and the role of money in politics, have nothing to do with principle. Those lines of analysis are mostly correct and explain most of what needs to be explained.
The Evolving Scorecard on Libya
Many episodes, or aspects of episodes, in American foreign policy quickly get pigeon-holed as successes or failures. The label gets stuck to the episode, as a frozen judgment from an earlier time, and then the episode gets repeatedly referred to in such terms. The Western intervention in Libya two years ago customarily gets labeled this way as a success.
The Shutdown and American Power, Hard and Soft
The outrageous shutdown of the federal government's operations has multitudinous effects on foreign relations and national security. Some of the effects are easy to see. Others are less discernible or measurable but may over the long term be more important.
Which, and Whose, Concrete Actions?
It certainly was a whirlwind week for Iranian-U.S. relations. A very good week, too, for anyone interested in the peaceful resolution of differences between the United States and Iran—and anyone genuinely interested in avoiding an Iranian nuclear weapon, a goal achievable with assurance only through the peaceful resolution of differences.
A Message to the Israeli People About Iran
Benjamin Netanyahu will not support any agreement between the United States and Iran. Or to be more precise, he will not support any agreement that is at all reasonable and in both U.S. and Iranian interests and thus has any chance of being negotiated.
Syria and the Burden of Incumbency
Debate about U.S. policy toward Syria has clearly exhibited some of the downsides of a reality about any discourse on foreign policy: that everyone is free to criticize anyone else's position or recommendations, but the incumbent president is the only one who has to come up with a real policy and try to make it work.