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What do the upcoming Presidential Elections mean for US Foreign Policy?

With so much political rhetoric surrounding the US Presidential Elections it is difficult to gain an understanding of how the elections will effect US Foreign Policy decisions going forward.  A recent report prepared by the Former US Diplomat & Foreign Policy Expert  and Chartwell speaker, James Rubin and Robert Kagan from the Center for a New American Security and endorsed by a number of leading Democratic and Republican foreign policy experts and former officials, offers genuine and bi-partisan insight into key factors a future President needs to address.

Here are the key points as highlighted by a Washington Post Editorial this weekend:

  1. The post-WWII world order has paid enormous benefits for the United States but is now endangered. “The past 70 years have seen an unprecedented growth in global prosperity, lifting billions out of poverty. Democratic government, once rare, has spread to over 100 nations. Above all, for 70 years there have been no cataclysmic wars among great powers of the kind that devastated Europe and Asia in the first half of the 20th century.”
  2. Without a strong U.S. presence in the world order and our security and prosperity will collapse under the weight of  “powerful and ambitious authoritarian governments like Russia and China, radical Islamic terrorist movements, long-term shifts in the global economy, the rise of non-state actors, the challenges of cyberspace, and changes in our physical environment.”
  3. The US must spend more money on Defence . “An urgent first step is to significantly increase U.S. national security and defense spending and eliminate the budgetary straitjacket of the Budget Control Act. A second and related step is to formulate policies that take advantage of the substantial military, economic, and diplomatic power Washington has available but has been reluctant to deploy in recent years.”
  4. In Asia, China is on the offensive so “the United States should do more to leverage its dramatic advantage in allies and regional security relationships. In that regard, a new diplomatic strategy of coordinating Asia policies with long-standing U.S. allies in Europe should be instituted. Such an approach plays to U.S. strengths and will add to perceptions of U.S. power.” This also includes passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It is argued that the US has failed “to respond to the new and unprecedented challenge from a rising increasingly assertive China.
  5. In Europe, the group urges enhanced coordination in defeating the Islamic State and providing “Ukrainian armed forces with the training and equipment necessary to resist Russian-backed forces and Russian forces operating on Ukrainian territory” as well as economic assistance. They argue that “to deter Russian efforts to destabilize these nations, it is necessary to build upon the European Reassurance Initiative and establish a more robust U.S. force presence in appropriate central and eastern Europe countries.”
  6. With regards to ISIS, the US must deny the Islamic State a free haven. To accomplish that “the international effort against ISIS is scaled up substantially. The United States should be prepared to lead such an effort, the aim of which should be to uproot ISIS from its sanctuary. The anti-ISIS alliance should have a global strategy that synchronizes military, intelligence, law enforcement, financial, and diplomatic operations. It should involve other major powers from around the world, and as many local and regional forces on the ground as possible.”
  7. In Syria, it is argued that the crisis has been dealt with appallingly and big steps need to be taken to solve it:  “The crisis in Syria, which has already claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, is now spilling over that country’s borders in a dramatic way, destabilizing neighbouring countries in the Middle East and threatening the security and stability of Europe. The massive flows of refugees, measured in the millions, will become even more unmanageable if a political solution to the civil war ravaging Syria is not found sometime soon. Any such political solution must include the departure of Bashar al-Assad (but not necessarily all members of the ruling regime), since it is Assad’s brutal repression of Syria’s majority Sunni population that has created both the massive exodus and the increase in support for jihadist groups like ISIS.  . . .  [I]n light of this grim reality, the United States, together with France and other allies, must employ the necessary military power, including an appropriately designed no-fly zone, to create a safe space in which Syrians can relocate without fear of being killed by Assad’s forces and where moderate opposition militias can arm, train, and organize.”

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Post first published on LinkedIn by Raleigh Addington, Managing Director (Asia Pacific).

John Hulsman warns of the dangers of Republican China bashing

John Hulsman speakerWriting in the south SCMP, John Hulsman, expert geopolitical speaker, describes the Republican ‘China bashing’ narrative as a ‘fruitless intellectual path of least resistance’.

John believes that the Republicans are praying on Americas uneasy middleclass.  Trump, amongst others, are blaming “China” for America’s relative diminution in world power – an inevitable result of globalisation and increased economic competition.

Although this populist theory is making gains in the American electorate in the short term John warns of the dangers further down the line.  The problem with this idea, John postulates, is that it encourages Americans to believe that China are part of the problem, rather than serving as part of the solution during a time when global economic growth is ‘desperately scarce’.

John implores all ‘true American grown-ups’ to shout down this dangerous rhetoric at every opportunity, or China – US relations will become so strained that their vital cooperation needed for world growth will be in peril.

Click here to read the full article.

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John Hulsman gives his expert opinion on the US and the Taliban..

John Hulsman, the leading expert on the politics of the EU, US and Middle East was one of three guests on DW broadcasters’ current affairs talk show ‘Agenda’ last month.

With the subtitle ‘Afghanistan and the Taliban – Is the US sending the wrong signals?’ John was invited to commentate on Washington’s plan to invite the Taliban to the negotiating table as the US prepares to withdraw their military from Afghanistan.

He begins by pointing out that the US’s focus now is on nation-building at home and that Obama is “winding down excesses” in order to leave the country. Talking to the enemy is a strategic move in order to get out of Afghanistan on the best terms possible.

When asked why, back in 2001, the US didn’t talk rather than going into war, John says that many, including himself warned it wouldn’t work. He reminds that since Alexander the Great people have invaded Afghanistan and that each time the country is unified but reverts back to a tribal structure when invaders leave.

The full episode is worth watching not only for John’s expert political opinion but also his input to discussion on the Brazil protests and German prostitution laws.

Click here to watch the episode online.

Lanhee Chen: Rare opportunity for bipartisan cooperation on US Medicare

Last week prominent Republican thinker, Lanhee Chen, was published an op-ed in Bloomberg on Medicare reform.

He noted: On Medicare, Republicans and Democrats don’t agree about much, except this: The current fee-for-service system is unsustainable, and the broken formula used to pay doctors who treat Medicare patients is a big reason why.

Lanhee goes on to explore a potential point of consensus for US politicians on this usually polemic point of debate. Interesting to watch as the debate goes on.

Bloomberg: Fix Doctors’ Pay and Improve Health, Too

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