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  • Author: Craig Kafura, Dina Smeltz, Joshua W. Busby, Joshua D. Kertzer, Jonathan Monten
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: Following four years of former President Donald Trump’s “America first” foreign policy, President Joe Biden is seeking to reorient the US approach to world affairs, placing much greater emphasis on international cooperation. This reorientation has already been evident in Biden’s decisions to return the United States to the Paris climate agreement, extend the New START arms control treaty with Russia, remain in the World Health Organization, reengage with the United Nations Human Rights Council, and commit to rejoining the Iran nuclear deal if Iran returns to complying with it. To what extent do Democratic, Republican, and Independent foreign policy professionals support Biden’s international agenda? The results of the 2020 Chicago Council on Global Affairs-University of Texas at Austin survey of more than 900 US executive branch officials, congressional staff, think tank scholars, university professors, journalists, and interest group representatives indicates there is substantial support among leaders of different political persuasions for a greater emphasis on cooperation and less reliance on coercion in foreign policy. However, this consensus also has a partisan tilt: Democrats and Independents are far more likely to agree on cooperative foreign policy approaches the United States should use, while Republicans are more comfortable with coercive measures. Taken together, these findings suggest that Biden should be able to attract strong support for his foreign policy from Democratic and Independent members of the foreign 2 policy community but will find it much more difficult to gain Republican backing for many of his international initiatives.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Politics, Economy, Business , Trade, Survey
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, North America
  • Author: Karl Friedhoff, Lea Chang
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: In picking fronts that offer the paths of least resistance, trilateral cooperation will maximize the presence of all three countries in ASEAN, maintaining balance in the region and making collective progress toward economic and development goals. Despite its size, economic dynamism, and geographic position, Southeast Asia has received comparatively little attention in US foreign policy. Even as American policy becomes more focused on China, the United States lacks a coordinated strategy to respond to and compete with China’s vast trade and investment in Southeast Asia. But most ASEAN countries are wary of China’s growing influence and would be open to US involvement as they look to diversify. To take advantage of this opportunity, the United States must supplement its focus on the South China Sea with diplomatic and financial efforts on land. These efforts should offer an alternative to China’s largesse but should not seek a direct competition in hard infrastructure or in terms of dollar amounts invested. Nor should the United States go it alone. Instead, it should seek to cooperate with its allies—Japan and South Korea in particular—to pursue their respective competitive advantages. These include identifying and investing in small- and medium-sized enterprises in ASEAN, developing human capital in the region, and conducting joint maritime cleanup activities in coordination with ASEAN countries. Creating coordinated activities with Japan and South Korea in Southeast Asia should be the first step for the United States to roll back China’s influence in the region. But these efforts will need to be calibrated to ensure that they focus on the needs of countries in the region and not just engulf the region in the US-China competition.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Infrastructure, Investment, Trade
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, North America, Southeast Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Dina Smeltz, Craig Kafura
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: 2021 Chicago Council Survey data show a majority of Americans support a range of US policies towards Taiwan: recognition as an independent country, inclusion in international organizations, and a US-Taiwan free trade agreement. Tensions between Beijing and Taipei are running high. Chinese intimidation of Taiwan has increased since 2016, demonstrated by naval drills in the Taiwan Strait, incursions into Taiwanese airspace, and economic coercion targeted at Taiwanese industries. In turn, the United States has sold advanced weapons to Taiwan and normalized US warship transits nearby. While past administrations have not made formal commitments to defend Taiwan, the just-completed 2021 Chicago Council Survey finds that for the first time, a slim majority of Americans now favor sending US troops to defend Taiwan if China invades.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Treaties and Agreements, Public Opinion, Free Trade, Survey
  • Political Geography: Asia, North America, United States of America