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  • Author: Marina Ottaway
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The Obama administration will face a Middle East where the problems are enormous, U.S. interests have shifted eastward, and solutions are elusive. Major conflicts appear deadlocked: the peace process, political reconciliation in Iraq, and negotiations with Iran. The situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan is deteriorating rapidly. The new administration promises to bring to all these issues a welcome change from its predecessor's attitudes: during the election campaign, President-elect Barack Obama made it clear that he would resuscitate the idea that diplomacy, not force, is the weapon of first resort, and that diplomatic progress requires a willingness to talk to hostile, even rogue, regimes. While this promised return to diplomatic normality is encouraging, it will not be enough. The United States cannot break the deadlock on most issues without the help of countries of the region, sharing with them the burden and the responsibility. This would not be abdicating the United States' great power role, but rather recognizing changing realities in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Dmitri V. Trenin
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: U.S.–Russian relations matter again. To succeed where Bush has failed, Obama needs to approach Russia strategically: enhancing cooperation where possible, mitigating conflict where necessary. To prevent new conflict and receive Moscow's cooperation, Washington needs to deal seriously with Russian concerns. Leave Russia's domestic politics to the Russians. To keep Ukraine whole and free, the EU integration way is the way. NATO has reached the safe limits of eastward expansion. To protect against missile threats, a pan-European TMD system—which includes Russia—is the best option. On Iran and Afghanistan, Russia should be treated as an equal partner
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, United States, Europe, Iran, Washington, Ukraine, Moscow
  • Author: Karim Sadjadpour
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Although Tehran and Washington appear hopelessly divided, issues of broad mutual concern reveal important overlapping interests. The United States can more effectively support democracy and human rights in Iran with policies that facilitate, rather than impede, Iran's modernization and reintegration in the global economy. The next U.S. president should not immediately seek comprehensive engagement with Tehran, as this might enhance Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's chances of reelection in Iran's June 2009 presidential elections. The United States must deal with those who hold power in Tehran, namely Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Given the widespread mutual mistrust between Washington and Tehran, confidence should be built with negotiations on areas of common interest, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, rather than those of little or no common interest, such as the Palestinian–Israeli conflict or the nuclear issue. When it comes to U.S.–Iranian interaction, the record shows that “secret” or “private” discussions out of public earshot have a greater success rate. Building confidence in the public realm will be difficult, as politicians on both sides will likely feel the need to use harsh rhetoric to maintain appearances. It is imperative that Washington maintain a multilateral approach toward Iran, especially regarding the nuclear issue. Tehran is highly adept at exploiting rifts in the international community and diplomatic efforts to check Iran's nuclear ambitions will unravel if key countries approach Iran with divergent redlines. Powerful spoilers—both within Iran and among Iran's Arab allies—have entrenched economic and political interests in preventing U.S.–Iranian reconciliation.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iran, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Tehran, Palestine
  • Author: Marina Ottaway, Paul Salem, Amr Hamzawy, Nathan J. Brown, Karim Sadjadpour
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: After September 11, 2001, the Bush administration launched an ambitious policy to forge a new Middle East, with intervention in Iraq as the driver of the transformation. "The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution," declared President Bush on November 7, 2003. In speech after speech, Bush administration officials made it abundantly clear that they would not pursue a policy directed at managing and containing existing crises, intending instead to leapfrog over them by creating a new region of democracy and peace in which old disputes would become irrelevant. The idea was summarized in a statement by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during the war between Lebanon and Israel in the summer of 2006. Pushing Israel to accept a cease- fire, she argued, would not help, because it would simply re-establish the status quo ante, not help create a new Middle East. The new Middle East was to be a region of mostly democratic countries allied with the United States. Regimes that did not cooperate would be subjected to a combination of sanctions and support for democratic movements, such as the so-called Cedar Revolution of 2005 in that forced Syrian troops out of the country. In extreme cases, they might be forced from power.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Josh Kurlantzick
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Over the past decade China has downplayed its hard power in Southeast Asia, instead creating a strategy to build its soft power. For the first time in post-WWII history, the United States may be facing a situation in which another country's appeal outstrips its own in an important region, a change sure to shock the United States. Before China's appeal spreads to other parts of the developing world, U.S. policy makers need to understand how China exerts soft power, if China's soft power could be dangerous to developing nations, and whether elements of China's charm could threaten U.S. interests.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Frédéric Grare
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Taliban insurgents and their Al Qaeda allies, once thought defeated in Afghanistan, are regaining strength. Regrouped and reorganized, better equipped and financed, and more sophisticated tactically, they are threatening both the reconstruction process and the U.S.-led coalition forces on the ground. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, sixty-six U.S. troops were killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2005, more than in the previous four years combined.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Middle East, Taliban
  • Author: Ashley J. Tellis
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The widely noted decision to resume F-16 sales to Pakistan and, even more, the largely ignored commitment to assist India's growth in power represent a new U.S. strategy toward South Asia. By expanding relations with both states in a differentiated way matched to their geostrategic weights, the Bush administration seeks to assist Pakistan in becoming a successful state while it enables India to secure a troublefree ascent to great-power status. These objectives will be pursued through a large economic and military assistance package to Islamabad and through three separate dialogues with New Delhi that will review various challenging issues such as civil nuclear cooperation, space, defense coproduction, regional and global security, and bilateral trade. This innovative approach to India and Pakistan is welcome—and long overdue in a strategic sense—but it is not without risks to the United States, its various regional relationships, and different international regimes.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, South Asia, India, Islamabad
  • Author: John B. Judis
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: In putting forth his foreign policy, President George W. Bush speaks of the United States having a “calling” or “mission” that has come from the “Maker of Heaven.” Yet, while he uses explicitly religious language more than his immediate predecessors, there is nothing exceptional about a U.S. president resorting to religious themes to explain his foreign policy. U.S. goals in the world are based on Protestant millennial themes that go back to seventeenth-century England. What has distinguished Bush from some of his predecessors is that these religious concepts have not only shaped his ultimate objectives but also colored the way in which he viewed reality—sometimes to the detriment of U.S. foreign policy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: United States, England
  • Author: Sandra Polaski
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: A UNIQUE AND SUCCESSFUL INTERNATIONAL POLICY EXPERIMENT has been under way in Cambodia for the last six years. In the country's export apparel factories, working conditions and labor rights are monitored by inspectors from the International Labor Organization (ILO), an international public organization. The results of the inspections are published in credible, highly transparent reports that describe in detail whether the factories are in compliance with national labor laws and internationally agreed basic labor rights. These reports are published on the Internet, and a range of Cambodian and international actors use them. The U.S. government uses the reports as a key input for decisions under an innovative scheme that allows Cambodian firms to sell more apparel in the U.S. market if they improve working conditions and respect workers' rights. Private retail apparel firms that buy from Cambodian factories also use the reports. These buyers, conscious of their brand reputations, use the reliable information they find in the reports to steer orders toward compliant factories and away from noncompliant ones.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Cambodia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Michele Dunne
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: President George W. Bush has suggested that other nations— Iran, North Korea, Syria—follow the example of Libya, which increased its own security by ending links with terrorist groups and surrendering weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems. Some commentators are taking a second lesson from the Libya case: The United States will forgo its declared interest in democratization and reform if a country takes positive security-related steps and has enough petroleum to offer. The United States needs to correct this impression. It has the opportunity to do so through pursuing incremental political reform and human rights improvements in Libya even while relieving sanctions and developing relations. From pressing for repeal of limits on free expression to the prosecution of cases of torture, there are many ways Washington can use its leverage to urge long-term political change that will not come about through economic liberalization alone.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Middle East, Libya