Currently viewing the tag: "foreign policy"

Security: the unmentionable debate

While there are genuine points of disagreement between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump, the centrality of ‘security’ is not one of them. I wish this were not the case.

Both candidates seem to agree that security ought to be the basis of foreign (or even domestic) policy decision-making. They differ, […]

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Under the Obama Administration, we have seen the humanitarian imperative compromised by counter-terror laws and the politics of alliances. In Somalia and Syria, aid agencies were hampered by the PATRIOT Act from operating in areas in which they might be deemed to be providing assistance, material or symbolic, to groups labeled as terrorists. Preventable humanitarian disasters followed. In Yemen, the U.S. has been party to economic warfare conducted by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, causing famine conditions. In each of these cases, U.S. counter-humanitarianism cost lives, to no political benefit.

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The US is the world’s number one international seller of arms. This is true whichever way you slice the data: using SIPRI’s measure of the volume of major conventional arms transfers, and even more so using the Congressional Research Service estimates of the financial value of orders.

The US distributes its arms widely, selling major […]

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So the US needs a debate on reform of the existing architecture, what strategy to pursue to bring about that reform, and what role the US should play. The debate should take place now, before the US finds itself in a purely reactive mode, responding to initiatives taken by emerging powers and others who are increasingly able to shape the global agenda.

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We need a foreign policy debate that builds on principled concern for civilian protection as articulated in the anti-atrocities policy agenda, which is married to a strategy for protection that expands across and shapes U.S. foreign policy, per se. The question that I would like to see debated, and which has implications for U.S. domestic policy as well is: What would a U.S. policy defined by the goal of de-legitimizing use of force against civilians and prioritizing peace-building look like?

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We are adding to this discussion by highlighting some key foreign policy debates that we would have liked to see discussed–and which we hope might still enter the public debate under a new administration. Our goal is to use this blog as a platform for a wide-ranging discussion of how U.S. foreign policy could be reshaped to contribute to peaceful international relations, while rising to today’s global challenges. We seek an exchange of ideas from those who are in favor of committed internationalism, but support a range of policies and approaches. Please feel free to join in the comments or via Facebook, and add the questions you wished had been seriously debated in the Presidential elections.

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