U.S. Politics | Wilson Center

U.S. Politics

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Thinking About American Power: A Primer for the Candidates

American political campaigns often seem a contest about machismo. The current presidential race is no different. Leading candidates of both parties compete to demonstrate their toughness, especially in foreign affairs. (Bernie Sanders and to a lesser extent Rand Paul are the principal exceptions.) President Obama is deemed to have been too soft in dealing with Iran, Syria, Russia, China, extremists and terrorists of various stripes, and even American friends and allies. The two female candidates, Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina, are no less assertive than their male rivals.

Foreign Policy Breakthroughs: What Can We Learn From Cases in Successful Diplomacy?

With their new book, co-editors, Robert Hutchings and Jeremi Suri want to help practitioners and scholars reinvent diplomacy by learning and applying the lessons of success. By focusing on cases in successful diplomacy, the book provides a host of lessons learned through foreign policy diplomatic breakthroughs. That’s the focus of this edition of  Wilson Center NOW.

Debate: Are the U.S. and China Long-Term Enemies?

In a spirited Intelligence Squared U.S. debate, Asia Society Policy Institute President Kevin Rudd and Kissinger Institute Director Robert Daly faced off with University of Chicago Professor John Mearsheimer and Heritage Foundation Senior Fellow Peter Brookes over this provocative notion: “China and the U.S. are long-term enemies.”

9,800 U.S. Troops Won’t Fix Afghanistan. Here’s What They Can Do.

Barack Obama wanted to be the president who brought all U.S. troops home under his watch. But his legacy considerations have taken a back seat to increasingly troubled realities in Afghanistan.

Obama Halts Troop Withdrawal From Afghanistan

Asia Program Senior Associate Michael Kugelman explains why he thinks President Obama’s decision to halt troop withdrawals from Afghanistan will have a positive impact.

Four Things That Aren't Helping the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

While the worst Israeli-Palestinian violence in years escalates, rivaling that of 2014, the United States is sitting on the sidelines. Prudence is, of course, wise. Still, Secretary of State John Kerry, the Energizer bunny of U.S. diplomacy, is sending signals–almost all the wrong ones–that Washington is getting ready to engage. How the Obama administration should deal with the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict is far from clear. But it is clear that these four things are not helping Mr. Kerry or the situation:

After 14 Years, Still Fighting in Afghanistan

This week marked 14 years since the start of the U.S.-led offensive in Afghanistan—the longest war in U.S. history.

As I have written previously, and many polls have shown, most Americans seem eager to put this war behind them. “Raising the topic of Afghanistan these days is like mentioning morality,” one observer writes. “There’s a profound desire to change the subject.”

The war’s popularity has fallen considerably from the support it had in initial years. The conflict has also largely receded from headlines.

D.C. and Delhi: Dysfunctional Democracies?

When I was in India recently, the political landscape seemed oddly familiar. Whether inside Washington’s Beltway or New Delhi’s Ring Road, the political countrysides bore remarkable similarities. In India and the United States, charismatic, forceful national leaders were trying to move forward with programs for economic change. Unfortunately, Prime Minister Modi, not unlike President Obama, had run squarely into a large dose of legislative politics as usual. What is it about these two important democracies that seems to produce dysfunction in law making?