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.

Arab Spring or Arab Winter?

Arab Spring or Arab Winter?

Dangers of the Arab Spring

Daryl Cagle,

America’s relations with the Arab world that stretches from Morocco on the Atlantic Ocean to the Sultanate of Oman at the mouth of the Persian Gulf had emphasized stability and expediency rather than values until the “Arab Spring.” U.S. policy aimed to maintain secure sources of oil, support conservative pro-American leaders in the Persian Gulf, limit Soviet influence in the region, contain aggressive foes like Saddam Hussein and Shia Iran, and assure Israel’s security. As the Arab Spring swept across the region in 2011, Washington came to believe that liberal values were the wave of the future. America supported democratic transitions because they reflected U.S. ideals and would secure ...

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