List of It’s Debatable articles
Intervention or Restraint? The Atlantic Council’s Emma Ashford and Matthew Kroenig debate pressing issues for policymakers.
Is Europe Serious About Self-Defense, or Free-Riding?
As U.S.-China tension increases, so does discussion about whether European states are pulling their weight.
What Does Turkey’s Election Mean for the World?
Erdogan’s strong first-round showing could mean five more years of headaches for Washington and NATO.
Is Decoupling Destabilizing the Global Economy?
Major speeches from Janet Yellen and Jake Sullivan double down on Biden’s strategy of linking U.S. national security with economic policy.
When Fighting Is More Rational Than Peacemaking
Sudan’s power struggle is a textbook case of the credible commitment problem in international relations.
Will Finland’s NATO Accession Make a Difference?
One of the alliance’s long-awaited new members has joined, but it won’t necessarily bring Europe closer to strategic autonomy.
What Does Xi’s Visit to Russia Mean for the World?
China’s embrace of Russia seems politically risky but Beijing is also benefiting economically and emerging as the dominant power.
Does the United States Have More Leverage Over Israel Than It Thinks?
The beleaguered Netanyahu government needs Washington’s backing on Iran—but unpopular judicial reforms and casual talk of ethnic cleansing could imperil it.
Why Can’t the World Agree on Ukraine?
Combatting the West’s strategic narcissism with some strategic empathy would be a good start.
Is the U.S. Reaction to China’s Spy Balloon Overdue or Overblown?
Beijing’s botched high-altitude surveillance has provoked a backlash among Biden administration officials and the American public.
Will Tanks Turn the Tide for Ukraine?
Germany and the United States are sending Leopards and M1 Abrams tanks—but Washington’s desired endgame is still a mystery.
Is Turkey a Crucial or Corrosive NATO Ally?
Erdogan’s foot-dragging on Sweden and Finland is causing headaches for Western leaders.
Are Autocratic Allies Damaging U.S. and EU Credibility?
From Equatorial Guinea’s leverage over Washington to Qatar’s scandal in Brussels, small resource-rich states are flexing their diplomatic muscle.
A U.S.-Iranian Standoff at the World Cup—and Beyond
Off the playing field, Iran’s protests and ongoing uranium enrichment have heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran.
Will U.S. Midterm Results Affect Washington’s Foreign Policy?
A Republican-led House could mean a more hawkish stance on China and less aid for Ukraine—or more of the same.
Is Biden’s National Security Strategy a Match for a Chaotic World?
The long-awaited document leaves more questions than answers about the White House’s approach to global crises.
Can Vague U.S. Threats Deter Russia From Using Nukes?
Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Ukrainian territories raises the risk of nuclear confrontation, but it’s unclear whether Washington’s rhetoric will stop him.
How Should the West Respond to Putin’s Military Mobilization?
Doubling down on support for Ukraine could lead to wider conflict—or force the Kremlin to back down.
What Does Biden’s Confrontational Speech Mean for U.S. Foreign Policy?
Framing geopolitics in terms of democracy and autocracy won’t necessarily help bring peace.
Who Benefits From a New Iran Deal?
A revival of the nuclear deal might only delay an Iranian bomb—but it could help the West deal with the looming winter energy crisis.
Will an Attack on Crimea Change the Course of the Ukraine War?
Kyiv has shown that it can hit far behind enemy lines, but putting Crimea in play may deal a psychological blow without altering the territorial endgame.
What Does the Pelosi Taiwan Uproar Mean for U.S. China Policy?
The controversy over Nancy Pelosi’s proposed trip highlights the contradictions of U.S. policy toward the island.
Should Biden Backtrack on His Campaign Promises?
The president’s trip to Saudi Arabia and talk of regional security guarantees are a dramatic departure from his rhetoric during the 2020 race.
Will the Kaliningrad Crisis Lead to War?
Lithuania’s muscular move to enforce EU sanctions by blocking Russian rail cargo could risk escalating the Russia-NATO conflict.
What Is Biden’s Policy in the Persian Gulf?
Talk of security guarantees for the UAE and a thaw in Washington-Riyadh relations could enhance—or weaken—U.S. standing in the region.
Is Biden Being Machiavellian or Misguided on Taiwan?
The U.S. president’s surprise statement could deter China—or increase the risk of war.
What’s the Endgame in Ukraine?
As Washington prepares to send another $40 billion in military aid and Europe seeks a Russian oil embargo, the West’s ultimate goal is still unclear.
Is Weakening Russia a Bad Idea?
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s comments raise questions about Washington’s endgame in Ukraine.
Does the New U.S. National Defense Strategy Make Any Sense?
The Pentagon is scrambling to deter China while adjusting to war in Europe—but does its new approach amount to more than just rhetoric?
Would a Peace Deal Between Russia and Ukraine Do More Harm Than Good?
While a serious negotiated settlement could end Ukrainians’ suffering, a premature peace deal could be the worst possible outcome for Kyiv.
Would Putin Use Nuclear Weapons?
The urge to do more to help Ukraine is running up against concerns over nuclear escalation with Russia.
Is There a Risk of a NATO vs. Russia War?
Putin’s invasion of Ukraine marks a tectonic shift in world politics and increases the danger of superpower confrontation and the militarization of Europe.
Is There a Diplomatic Offramp in Ukraine?
As Russia masses troops along the border—and in Belarus—the prospects for peaceful resolution are fading, but there are options.
Is Defending Ukraine Vital to U.S. Security?
As Putin prepares to invade, Washington and its allies still appear undecided on whether Kyiv is worth fighting for.
Will Unrest in Kazakhstan Inflame Tensions Between Russia and the West?
A sudden wave of protests has spooked the Kremlin and precipitated an unprecedented intervention by Moscow and its allies.
Will 2022 Bring More War and Chaos?
2021 has been a lesson in the limits of U.S. foreign policy.
The World Is Starting to Doubt Biden’s Promise That ‘America Is Back’
From omicron restrictions to the Iran deal and the democracy summit, Washington is making questionable calls that don’t inspire confidence in U.S. leadership.
Is Russia Preparing to Invade Ukraine?
Moscow’s military buildup is raising eyebrows in Washington as Belarus ups the ante in its standoff with the EU.
Will COP26 Solve Anything?
Climate apocalypse still looms while world leaders haggle over haggis in Glasgow.
Will China’s New Missile Lead to Escalation or Stability?
Beijing’s FOBS delivery system could provoke an arms race—or a more stable deterrence relationship.
Is Defending Taiwan Worth the Risk?
Chinese incursions and U.S. training of Taiwanese forces raise the specter of war. Is it a conflict the United States can handle?
Will AUKUS Hit China Where It Hurts?
The submarine deal could reshape the balance of power in the Pacific—and draw Australia into future conflicts.
Is Lithuania the West’s First Line of Defense?
The small Baltic nation is facing down threats from authoritarian regimes in Russia, Belarus, and China.
What Should Biden Have Done in Afghanistan?
Withdrawal was always bound to be chaotic, but wishful thinking, poor planning, and glacial bureaucracies have made a difficult situation worse.
The Geopolitical Stakes of Olympic Perfection—and Defection
The Tokyo Games have brought a surge of nationalism and laid bare the methods of autocrats like Belarus’s Aleksandr Lukashenko.
Can the World Avoid War in Cyberspace—and in Space?
Billionaire rocket launches and ongoing cyberattacks reveal that, without norms governing conflict, there could be chaos.
Does Beijing’s Belligerent Birthday Party Herald a New Arms Race?
The Chinese Communist Party’s anniversary celebration is taking place amid a nuclear buildup.
Was the Biden-Putin Summit a Success?
The White House set clear red lines on cyberwar, but don’t expect much progress in the months to come.
Can Biden Do Anything About Belarus?
Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko’s brazen air piracy and increasing closeness to the Kremlin demand a response, but Washington’s next move isn’t obvious.
Can Biden Sell His Domestic Agenda as a Win Against China?
From climate change policy to COVID-19 relief, Biden’s domestic and foreign-policy goals are coming under fire.
Is Leaving Afghanistan Misguided or Overdue?
Biden’s withdrawal announcement is meant to end a 20-year war, but Washington has been dragged back into conflicts before.
Will Biden’s Approach to China and Russia Work?
The new administration’s interim national security guidance gets many things right—but it has its shortcomings.
Who’s to Blame for Stalling U.S.-Iran Negotiations?
Biden was expected to revive the nuclear deal quickly—but as pro-Iran militias attack U.S. forces in Iraq and Washington strikes back in Syria, direct talks aren’t on the horizon.
Should Biden Ditch All of Trump’s Policies?
From Afghanistan to China, the new administration seems likely to hold on to some ideas from the previous one.
Will Biden Have to Choose Between U.S. Interests and Human Rights?
A coup in Myanmar and Russia’s sentencing of Alexei Navalny raise questions about whether promoting U.S. values could weaken Washington’s hand when it comes to great-power competition.
What Do the Confirmation Hearings Tell Us About Biden’s Foreign Policy?
With Avril Haines and Lloyd Austin confirmed, key officials are starting to offer hints of what’s in store.