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Campaign 2008

The Candidates and the World

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The Candidates, the World, and CFR.org’s Foreign Policy Journey in the 2008 Campaign

by Robert McMahon, Editor CFR.org

When CFR.org started blogging on the U.S. presidential campaign back in May 2007, the foreign policy terrain appeared relatively uncomplicated. The war in Iraq looked to be the dominant issue. Under the surface, of course, were many simmering issues related to foreign policy and a surprising number emerged as flashpoints during the ensuing campaign – and provided rich mining for our blog – including immigration for the Republicans and trade for the Democrats. The assassination of a Pakistani prime minister and the outbreak of war between Russia and Georgia during the course of the campaigns brought concerns about U.S. policy toward Islamabad and Moscow to the fore. But the main surging issue turned out to be the economy. Like so many of the other issues there were cross-sections for domestic and foreign policy here, as underscored in this CFR.org Issue Guide.

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Confronting Russia

by Robert McMahon, Editor CFR.org

It may not be a new Cold War but a definite chill has set in between the West and Russia following Russia’s military occupation of Georgia and recognition of its two breakaway provinces. The Russia-Georgia conflict has made its way into the U.S. presidential race as well. Seeking to chart a way forward, the Economist has kicked off an important two-week debate in response to the proposition: “The West must be bolder in its response to a newly assertive Russia.”

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Troubled Mix: Georgia, Russia, Democracy, and NATO

by Robert McMahon, Editor CFR.org

kissinger.jpgMINNEAPOLIS — U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney is in Georgia reaffirming U.S ties to its ally in the face of ongoing Russian threats. Meanwhile, on the sidelines of the GOP presidential convention in Minnesota, some analysts have registered concern over how the United States manages relationships with both countries.

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The ‘Soft Power’ of Trade

by Robert McMahon, Editor CFR.org

MINNEAPOLIS — Energy is shaping up as one of the main foreign policy wedge issues between the Republican and Democratic candidates. Trade could be another. Three top aides to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the presumptive Republican nominee, emphasized the importance of a robust free trade policy in a panel discussion today at the Hubert Humphrey Institute here on foreign policy priorities for the next president.

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Rep. Ray Lahood on Intelligence, Security, and Energy

by Robert McMahon, Editor CFR.org

MINNEAPOLIS — Rep. Ray Lahood (R-IL) is one of the country’s most prominent Arab-American lawmakers and is ranking Republican on the Select Intelligence Oversight Panel. Now preparing to step down after 14 years in Congress, Lahood spoke with CFR.org on the sidelines of the GOP convention about some foreign policy developments and priorities. Here are excerpts:

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Navigating the Troubled Greater Middle East

by Robert McMahon, Editor CFR.org

MINNEAPOLIS — It is no stretch to say the region ranging from North Africa to Pakistan, known as the “Greater Middle East,” poses the biggest policy challenges for the next U.S. presidential administration. But solutions to the region’s myriad conflicts defy any quick accounting. A panel of top experts at a meeting convened this morning by CFR on the sidelines of the GOP presidential convention outlined the following most pressing issues:

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A Sobering Foreign Policy Landscape

by Robert McMahon, Editor CFR.org

Picking up where it left off last week in Denver, CFR today convened a panel on foreign policy on the sidelines of the GOP convention in Minneapolis that reinforced the difficulties facing a new administration. Here’s a brief look at the discussion on some of the vexing issues:

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Getting Smart about Soft Power

by Robert McMahon, Editor CFR.org

As the presidential campaign debate intensified today over U.S. military policy in Iraq and Afghanistan, another discussion took place in Washington about the need for deep-seated, bipartisan reform in the projection of U.S. soft power. The touchstone was a survey of U.S. military officers conducted for the Center for U.S. Global Engagement. A main takeaway from the survey, which can be found here, is the importance a great majority of military officers place on using non-military tools such as diplomacy, food, and support for health, education, and economic development programs. A majority of those surveyed believe the government has not done enough to improve either military or non-military capabilities.

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