Wednesday Water Cooler

Today’s Featured Event

The American Enterprise Institute will convene a discussion among foreign policy experts on what the US can do to halt the latest surge in Israel-Hamas violence.

9:30 AM
Elliott Abrams, Council on Foreign Relations
Ghaith al Omari, American Task Force on Palestine

Danielle Pletka, AEI

EU Weighing Sanctions On Russia
The European Union is preparing to impose their first sanctions today against Russian companies that are acting to undermine Ukraine, reports Bloomberg News.

As a result of the threatened sanctions, Russian shares were down for the third straight day.

International mediators accuse pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine of lacking willingness to reach a truce with the government as fighting continues unabated.

Does US Domestic Policy Make It Mistake-Prone In Foreign Affairs?
Dingding Chen contends that U.S. foreign policy “suffers from two major structural problems: fragmentation, with  certain key players and/or interest groups having too much influence as a result, and an expansionist liberal ideology.

He adds that, unlike China, American foreign policy is obsessed with democracy promotion abroad, which is might be a futile pursuit as “military intervention cannot generate sustainable democratic institutions” in most cases.

“Perhaps the U.S. is too ambitious and tries to do too much too soon; it is time now to slow down and do less with restraint, as one prominent strategist argues. Unfortunately again, given the dominant position of liberal ideology within U.S. domestic politics, restraint will never be a popular option unless the U.S. were to suffer a catastrophic defeat,” he writes in The Diplomat.

US Can Run But It Cannot Hide From Global Affairs
The Republican Party is currently engaged in a heated debate about the direction US foreign policy should take in the next decade. Many Americans are “war-weary” and opposed in most circumstances to foreign engagement.

US Sen. Rand Paul, a potential presidential candidate, reflects a growing portion of Republicans – and Americans – who want to pull back from the global stage. David Hodges, however, notes in Commentary that retreating will neither shield the US from danger, not make the world any more safe than it is now.

“In each of these cases, the statesman is presented with options that range from bad to worse. But the duty of a statesman is to make those hard choices. To be sure, they can be messy. We have limited resources, and the people who execute policy are flawed. Nonetheless, the statesman must strive for the best possible outcome in a world of bad options. This requires weighing, on one side, the possibility that withdrawing from commitments may encourage adventurism by adversaries against, on the other, that doubling down may require enormous investments of blood and treasure. It involves understanding that our freedom and prosperity don’t emerge out of the ether but are the result of our global commitments and the men and women who enforce them,” Hodges asserts.


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