While the U.S. remains the world's strongest military and economic power, its place and role on the international stage is shifting. There are potentially dramatic implications for international peace and security from a U.S. foreign policy that is increasingly inward-looking, less predictable, less multilateral, and more reliant on the threat or use of military force to achieve its objectives. In 2017, Crisis Group established its first program dedicated to analysing U.S. policy, understanding who makes and shapes it, and offering recommendations to help guide its trajectory.
The Trump administration is considering designating Yemen’s Huthi movement as a terrorist organisation, in response to allies’ appeals and as part of the U.S. “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran. The idea seems unlikely to reduce Tehran’s influence and could harm diplomatic prospects for peace.
The Trump administration continues its “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran, now with an attempt to restore pre-2015 UN sanctions, a right reserved for signatories to the nuclear deal it abandoned. Other UN Security Council members should disregard this gambit and urge Tehran not to overreact.
Naval incidents in the Gulf have spotlighted the danger that a U.S.-Iranian skirmish could blow up into war. The two sides have little ability to communicate at present. They should hasten to design a military-to-military channel to lower the chances of inadvertent conflagration.
COVID-19 is ravaging Iran, due to government mismanagement exacerbated by the effects of U.S. sanctions. Instead of pointing fingers at each other, and again risking heightened military confrontation, Tehran and Washington should pursue humanitarian diplomacy aimed at containing the virus and releasing detainees.
Talks between the U.S. and the Taliban insurgency are suspended, though an agreement is reportedly ready for signature. The U.S. should resume negotiations and seal the deal, so that a broader peace process in Afghanistan can go forward.
Should U.S.-Iranian tensions escalate to a shooting war, Iraq would likely be the first battleground. Washington and Tehran should stop trying to drag Baghdad into their fight. The Iraqi government should redouble its efforts to remain neutral and safeguard the country’s post-ISIS recovery.
Two successive U.S. administrations have backed the Saudi-led coalition’s intervention in Yemen, helping deepen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Congress should continue pressing the White House to end this support, while working to strengthen its war powers role in the future.
It’s very strange indeed to have the president of the United States say something out loud and then have all the rest of us wondering if it really means anything.
Frankly, there’s a degree of exhaustion with this administration (the Trump Administration) in the Security Council.
[When the U.S. military] is out there laying down so-called ‘nonpersistent smart mines’ that will time out after 30 days, there’s still a field of mines out there.
The outpouring of grief for Qassim Suleimani is the country’s first act of retaliation.
Netanyahu fears this incident lacks a broader U.S. strategy and would either merely escalate dynamics without restraining Iran’s nuclear program and regional activities.
A strike that the [U.S] administration claims was intended to deter Iranian attacks is almost certain to trigger far more of them.
In this week’s episode of Hold Your Fire!, Crisis Group’s Libya expert Claudia Gazzini explains the militia and foreign proxy rivalries that are tearing the country apart to our President Rob Malley and co-host Naz Modirzadeh, a Harvard professor of international law and armed conflict.
Originally published in The Interpreter
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