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 2015 nuclear deal enters 2021 clinging to life, having survived the Trump administration’s withdrawal and Iran’s breaches of its commitments. When the Biden administration takes office, Washington and Tehran should move quickly and in parallel to revive the agreement on its original terms.
Peace talks in Afghanistan have only inched forward even as the pace of conflict has picked up. As the Afghan government and Taliban await clearer policy signals from the incoming U.S. administration, their primary goal should be to keep the vital negotiations going.
The 2020 U.S. presidential election presents risks not seen in recent history. It is conceivable that violence could erupt during voting or protracted ballot counts. Officials should take extra precautions; media and foreign leaders should avoid projecting a winner until the outcome is certain.
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.
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.
The mob incursion into the U.S. Capitol on 6 January proved that the United States’ transfer of power holds dangers without modern precedent. Political leaders of both parties should urgently explore their constitutional options for protecting the country’s people and institutions from their own president.
The incoming Biden administration faces a tall order in Turtle Bay: healing the wounds its predecessor inflicted upon U.S. relations with fellow Security Council members while addressing differences that go back further than four years. Nevertheless, it has several opportunities for restoring Washington’s international engagement.
This week on The Horn, Freedom House Africa Director Jon Temin joins Alan to reflect on the critical U.S. role in South Sudan’s 2011 independence, why the country’s 2015 peace deal collapsed and how the incoming Biden administration can draw on lessons learned.
Come January 2021, the Biden administration will face the responsibility of mitigating harm caused by President Trump’s destructive policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Its challenge will be to undo Trump’s legacy without merely rewinding the tape to the situation that existed prior to his presidency.