Foreign policy is messy--and also incredibly interesting. Every day, decisionmakers must formulate and modify the US’s stance towards states like Russia, China, Germany, Iran, Syria, and Israel and tackle cross-cutting issues that touch on human rights, climate change, poverty, human insecurity, nuclear arms proliferation, and economic collapse. In Contemporary American Foreign Policy: Influences, Challenges, and Opportunities, authors Richard Mansbach (Iowa State University) and Kirsten Taylor (Berry College) examine modern foreign policy problems from a variety of angles, not just through the lens of a so-called “national interest.” In each chapter, they focus on today’s most pressing contemporary challenges, exploring their origins and backgrounds. They systematically shed light on the competing forces that influence them, outline the various policy options available to decisionmakers for addressing them, and explore the potential consequences of those policies. Throughout, they also look at foreign policy at all levels: international, society, government, “role”-specific, and individual.
Chapter 8: Energy and the Environment The Limits of U.S. Leadership
Energy and the Environment The Limits of U.S. Leadership
Demonstrators protest the Keystone pipeline.
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
In September 2008, TransCanada filed an application for a cross-border permit to begin work on the Keystone XL pipeline to carry heavy crude oil, known as bitumen, from Alberta’s tar sands to refineries on the Gulf Coast of Texas. The regulatory review process that followed in Washington was plagued by controversy about the pipeline’s environmental effects.
Environmentalists viewed the proposal as a test of the Obama administration’s commitment to confronting climate change. In 2012, as NATO heads of state met in Chicago, environmental activists demonstrated outside the Canadian Consulate to protest the proposed pipeline. Some protestors chanted “No pipeline,” while others ...