The Skeptics

Israel, Saudi Arabia and Russia: 3 Nations America's Next President Must Watch Closely

Whether one believes that the Obama administration’s foreign policy has been pathetically ineffective and overtly cautious or strategically smart and groundbreaking, there are a certain set of facts that are impossible to avoid.  America’s relationship with traditional allies in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe are either under strain or are changing; there are a number of crises that won’t be going away anytime soon; and America’s friends, allies, and partners will still expect the United States to lead the effort to resolve them.

A New Poll Shows America's Reluctance for New Foreign Adventures

Republicans and Democrats disagree on pretty much everything, but there is one broad policy area where the GOP and Democratic establishments are actually more in tune with one another than commonly thought when it comes to foreign policy. The men and women who have dominated the foreign-policy conversation for the last three administrations—statesmen and stateswomen like Madeleine Albright, Samantha Power, the late Richard Holbrooke, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz—have proven to be strong proponents of the theory of American exceptionalism.

Does America Know What It's Doing in the Middle East?

The United States has been heavily involved in the greater Middle East, including the Persian Gulf, parts of North Africa, the Horn of Africa and Afghanistan in Central Asia, for over forty-seven years. The U.S. foreign policy establishment seems determined to stay there for at least another half century, despite that fact that our strategic objectives are unclear at best, and our ability to achieve much beyond short-term military successes has proved wanting.

Syria: 4 Uncomfortable Truths That Washington Is Ignoring

Nobody who has been monitoring the civil war in Syria or who has watched raw footage from civilians and rescue workers can come away from the videos and photos unscathed. The nearly six years of war in Syria have produced so much destruction to the country’s society and so much unaccountability for the political leaders and commanders directing the bombing that one wonders whether the international system is broken beyond repair.

Is Japan Trying to Contain China?

Despite its extensive, multilayered economic relationship with China, the United States has moved gradually but inexorably over the past decade or so to put in place the building blocks of a policy to contain Chinese power. Washington has forged new security relationships with nations that were once regarded as less than friendly. India is the prime example. U.S. officials are not even especially subtle in their courtship of Delhi as a possible ally against Beijing.

Why the Battle for Mosul Could Become a Total Disaster

The long anticipated battle against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Mosul has now officially begun. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is already declaring that his country will “celebrate victory as one" because “Today I declare the start of these victorious operations to free you from the violence and terrorism of Daesh (ISIS).”  While his enthusiasm is understandable, early signs outside of Mosul already augur some troubling problems.

How U.S.-Saudi Relations Got So Twisted

There is something rotten in U.S.-Saudi relations. It was probably unreasonable to think that a hereditary monarchy founded on a very conservative interpretation of Islam would regularly make common cause with a constitutional republic committed to secularism and individual liberty. But an always-awkward relationship has grown testy over the past fifteen years, and taken an even more ugly turn over the last two or three.

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