Stimson in the News

Gordon Adams is quoted in Washington Times on the foreign policy challenges facing the US in 2014

in Program

Obama admin to hold firm in pursuit of neutrality amid ‘global rebalancing’


The U.S. pullout from Afghanistan, Syria‘s raging civil war and missed deadlines to disarm, a potential breakthrough nuclear deal with Iran, Chinese military muscle-flexing in Asia, a rapidly evolving and amorphous al Qaeda terrorist threat, a global backlash against American spying activities – Secretary of State John F. Kerry‘s
first full year as the top U.S. diplomat promises to be busy in a
foreign policy landscape increasingly resistant to American dominance.

But analysts predict that the Obama administration
is likely to hold firm to its pursuit of neutrality on the world stage
by seeking diplomacy over confrontation and steering away from
expensive, conventional U.S. military engagement as a strategy for
containing the world’s troublemakers.

Any number of single, unpredictable events could shake the
international order in ways unseen, as was the case in mid-2013 when the
horrific chemical attack blamed on the Syrian regime of President Bashar Assad suddenly killed more than 1,400 people, bringing the White House
to the brink of military action before a surprising cooperative push by
Moscow and Washington struck a deal to destroy Syrian chemical weapon
stocks.

The biggest foreign policy challenge for the Obama administration
this year will center on how to maintain deep and sustained U.S.
influence in such situations, in a world where a growing number of
rising powers are gaining leverage and bent on dominating the economic,
political and military developments in their own regions.

“There is a global rebalancing going on,” said Gordon Adams, a professor of U.S. foreign policy at American University
in Washington. “It’s really messy and I think it’s going to pose the
biggest challenge to American leadership not only over the next year but
in the several coming years as well.

“Not only China, but Iran,
the Saudis, the Turks, the Brazilians, they’re all asserting themselves
in their own regions and they are not listening to the U.S.,” he said.
“It’s not because we don’t carry a big stick; it’s because they’re doing
their own rebalancing. We can’t tell people what to do anymore. We
spent 50 years doing that because those assets, and our economy, were so
powerful that we could. That’s all changing very quickly.”

 

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