U.S. Foreign Policy

A woman wearing a mask in Iran

Democrats Push Back on Sanctions, Citing Coronavirus Fears 

They want waivers to speed medical supplies and humanitarian aid to Iran and other sanctioned nations hit hard by the pandemic.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks next to new National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien

Trump Finally Has the Dangerous Foreign-Policy Process He Always Wanted

The U.S. president's new national security advisor has replaced the White House’s previous chaos with a new type of dysfunction.

Iranian clergymen watch the launching of a Shahab-3 long-range ballistic missile in the desert outside the holy city of Qom on Nov. 2, 2006.

The Only Sensible Iran Strategy Is Containment

The most effective plan against the Islamic Republic has always been the most obvious—and the one nobody in Washington seems willing to try.

Then-Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders walks with President Barack Obama as he arrives at the White House for an Oval Office meeting on June 9, 2016.

Obama’s Foreign Policy Is Winning the 2020 Democratic Primary

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are ready to move past the Obama administration—except when it comes to military intervention.

The six leading Democratic candidates at the presidential primary debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 14.

In the Latest Democratic Debate, Finally, Some Foreign Policy 

With a trimmed-down field, Democratic hopefuls sparred over Iraq, Iran, military deployments, and the threat from climate change.

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the Oval Office of the White House on May 10, 2017.

Why Is the United States So Bad at Foreign Policy?

It’s not just Trump. Washington hasn’t had a coherent strategy for decades.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Sen. Bernie Sanders participate in a Democratic presidential debate in Atlanta, Georgia, on Nov. 20.

Democratic Frontrunners Are Wrong About Aid for Israel

Putting America’s annual $3.8 billion of military assistance to Israel on the chopping block makes for good politics. But it makes no sense for U.S. national security.

U.S. President Donald Trump at the United Nations General Assembly

World Leaders Stood Behind Bill Clinton When He Was Impeached. Not So Trump.

The allies Trump has snubbed are shrugging off his impeachment—or just laughing.

U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the NATO summit in London on Dec. 4.

NATO Is Struggling Under Trans-Atlantic Tensions

After this week’s summit, members must keep turmoil in the political side of the alliance from undermining its military purpose.

Candidate portraits by uli knörzer for Foreign Policy

For the 2020 Democrats, It’s America First, Too

The slate of Democratic candidates includes two Rhodes scholars, two ex-soldiers, and a former chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. But don’t count on them to resurrect a Pax Americana.

Gordon Sondland, the U.S ambassador to the European Unio

How Impeachment Forced Foreign Policy Back Into the 2020 Race

The Democratic candidates didn’t really want to talk about the rest of the world. But the devastating testimony on Capitol Hill this week—however it ends up—ensures they will.

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks at the Environmental Justice Presidential Candidate Forum at South Carolina State University on November 8, 2019 in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

Warren’s Plan to Rebuild the State Department Doesn’t Go Far Enough

Adding 8,000 foreign service officers won’t solve America’s diplomatic problems. State needs to prioritize data science, expand strategic planning, and encourage mid-career training, too.

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir arrives at Juba international airpor

South Sudan’s Proposed Unity Government Is Still Divided

Another delay won’t help achieve lasting peace. What the world’s youngest country needs is an exit strategy for its old-guard leaders.

The U.S. State Department in Washington.

Praising U.S. Diplomats for Their Testimony Is Not Enough

State Department officials who find themselves wrapped up in the Trump impeachment inquiry will need public support for years to come.

A convoy of U.S. armored vehicles in northeastern Syria on Nov. 3. (Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images)

The Realists Are Wrong About Syria

Neither Trump nor the international relations experts who cheered his choice to withdraw U.S. troops have wrestled adequately with the costs of departure.

Saudi Defense Ministry spokesman Turki bin Saleh al-Malki displays materials recovered from an attack targetting a Saudi Aramco facility during a press conference in Riyadh on Sept. 18.

U.S. Deterrence in the Middle East Is Collapsing

The withdrawal from Syria is part of a broader pattern of weakness, especially in response to Iran.

James Jeffrey, the U.S. special representative for Syria engagement (center); Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (right); former National Security Advisor John Bolton (left); and Joel Rayburn, the U.S. special envoy for Syria (bottom left).

How the Iran Hawks Botched Trump’s Syria Withdrawal

Beginning with special representative James Jeffrey, U.S. officials consistently misread the threat from Turkey.

U.S. President Donald Trump signs an executive order imposing new sanctions on Iran as Vice President Mike Pence, right, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin look on, in the White House on June 24.

To Make Maximum Pressure Work, Washington Should Cancel Iran Nuclear Waivers

Iran is flouting and bypassing its nonproliferation promises. If Trump is serious about stopping an Iranian bomb, he should cancel or suspend nuclear waivers for the Fordow and Arak facilities.