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Showing posts for "U.S. Foreign Policy"

South Korea’s Strategic Choices: Separating the Forest from the Trees

by Scott A. Snyder
Protesters gather and occupy major streets in the city center for a rally against South Korean President Park Geun-hye in Seoul, South Korea December 3, 2016. (Reuters/Chung Sung-Jun/Pool)

This post was coauthored with Sungtae (Jacky) Park, research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations.

South Korea is in turmoil, with President Park Geun-hye having been suspended from office by the South Korean national assembly after being implicated as an accomplice in the criminal investigation of her close friend, Choi Soon-sil. Consequently, the South Korean conservatives have lost popularity among the public, and the center-left Minjoo Party’s Moon Jae-in has emerged as the front-runner in South Korea’s looming presidential election, which must be held within sixty days if Park’s impeachment is upheld at the South Korean constitutional court. Read more »

A Lack of Oversight—Dating Back Decades

by Joshua Kurlantzick
bin laden raid U.S. President Barack Obama (2nd L) and Vice President Joe Biden (L), along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011. (White House/Pete Souza/Reuters)

Between 1961 and 1973, in a civil war in the tiny Southeast Asian country of Laos, the Central Intelligence Agency oversaw a massive paramilitary operation. CIA operatives, working with the U.S. embassy, Thai commandos, U.S. military advisors, and others, helped build an army of tens of thousands of anticommunist Laotians, mostly from the Hmong ethnic group. Read more »

How Will the Australia-China Relationship Adapt?

by Guest Blogger for Joshua Kurlantzick
trump-australia A pedestrian looks at a newspaper headline regarding U.S. President Donald Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in central Sydney, Australia, on February 3, 2017. (David Gray/Reuters)

Professor James Laurenceson is Deputy Director of the Australia-China Relations Institute (ACRI) at the University of Technology Sydney.

A common assessment among Australian opinion leaders is that the start of the new U.S. administration has pushed Australia closer to China. Hugh White, a Professor of Strategic Studies at the Australian National University, said last week that the now infamous phone call between President Donald Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had shown Australians that they can no longer trust the United States. Read more »

The Laos War and its Long-Term Impact on U.S. Relations with Southeast Asia

by Joshua Kurlantzick
obama-laos U.S. President Barack Obama delivers an address at the Lao National Cultural Hall, on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit, in Vientiane, Laos on September 6, 2016. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

In my new book, A Great Place to Have a War: America in Laos and the Birth of a Military CIA, I examine how the covert war in Laos, during the 1960s and early 1970s, dramatically changed the Central Intelligence Agency. But the war also forever altered Laotian domestic politics, and Vientiane’s relationship with Washington. Within the country, the war’s effects continue to shape politics. After 1975, Laotian security forces usually viewed Hmong communities with suspicion, and harshly repressed all political activity, as the post-1975 Laotian government instituted one of the toughest authoritarian regimes in the world. Read more »

Cracks in the U.S.-Australia Relationship

by Guest Blogger for Joshua Kurlantzick
trump-turnbull U.S. President Donald Trump (L), seated at his desk with National Security Advisor Michael Flynn (2nd L) and senior advisor Steve Bannon (3rd L), speaks by phone with Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. on January 28, 2017. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

James Curran is Professor of History at the University of Sydney and the author of the recent Lowy Institute Paper Fighting With America: Why Saying No to the United States Wouldn’t Rupture the Alliance.

Now that much of the tumult over the recent phone call between Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and U.S. President Donald Trump has abated, there remain some uncomfortable conclusions to be drawn from this drama in U.S.-Australia relations. And the conclusions are relevant not only for these two longstanding allies. Read more »

SecDef Mattis’s Mission in Northeast Asia: Provide Reassurance from the Trump Administration

by Scott A. Snyder
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis (L) shakes hands with South Korea's acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn (R) prior their meeting at the Government Complex in Seoul, South Korea February 2, 2017. (Reuters/Song Kyung-Seok/Pool)

Northeast Asia is facing profound political uncertainty: South Korea is immobilized by a political scandal that has resulted in the impeachment of its president, Park Geun-hye, and ensnared top business elites; Japan has been left high and dry after U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership, arguably the country’s best chance at growth; and North Korea is getting closer and closer to becoming a nuclear power. Read more »

Assessing U.S. Policy Options Toward North Korea

by Scott A. Snyder
Newspapers with pictures of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un addressing the ruling Workers' Party congress are placed inside one of halls of the Kim Jong Suk Pyongyang textile mill during a government organised visit for foreign reporters in Pyongyang, North Korea May 9, 2016. (Reuters/Damir Sagolj)

On January 31, 2017, I testified together with Dr. Nicholas Eberstadt from the American Enterprise Institute before the Senate foreign relations committee on policy toward North Korea. My opening statement appears below, and my written testimony and a video recording of the hearing can be found here. Read more »

How the Laos War Transformed the CIA

by Joshua Kurlantzick
Book jacket photography by John Quintero/Getty Images.

From 1961 until the early 1970s, the Central Intelligence Agency undertook, in Laos, what remains the largest covert operation in the history of the United States. Tiny Laos, which had not even existed as a coherent entity twenty years earlier and which had a smaller population than Los Angeles, suddenly was propelled to the center of U.S. foreign policy universe, only to vanish completely from that radar fifteen years later. Read more »

The CIA Isn’t Necessarily Going to Lose Out in the New Administration

by Joshua Kurlantzick
trump-3 U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks during a visit to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Langley, Virginia U.S. on January 21, 2017. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

During the transition period between November and January, President-elect Donald Trump developed perhaps the most publicly antagonistic relationship with U.S. intelligence agencies of any incoming president in at least decades. He compared the intelligence agencies to Nazis, repeatedly disdained their reports as fake, and dismissed their assessments of foreign interference in the 2016 election. In an interview published in the Wall Street Journal last Monday, outgoing CIA director John Brennan called Trump’s allegations “repugnant.” Other intelligence officials have reportedly expressed a sense of dread about what’s to come. Read more »

The World Economy is Already Responding to the Presidential Transition

by Joshua Kurlantzick
trump-2 U.S. President-Elect Donald J. Trump speaks at the USA Thank You Tour event at the Wisconsin State Fair Exposition Center in West Allis, Wisconsin, U.S., on December 13, 2016. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

As the Trump administration steps up its transition planning, the details of its proposed economic policies remain unclear. During the campaign, Trump took multiple positions that were at odds with Republican orthodoxy on economics, slamming current and potential U.S. free trade deals, calling for possible tariffs on China, Mexico, and other countries, and vowing to unleash a wave of spending in America that could, he argued, bolster infrastructure and revive withering manufacturing industries. Read more »