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In this image released by the Department of Defense on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023, a U.S. Air Force U-2 pilot looks down at a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon as it hovers over the United States on Feb. 3, 2023.

Department of Defense via AP

Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Affairs

The Chinese Balloon Was a Necessary Wake-Up Call

| Feb. 23, 2023

The United States tends to react to unexpected events with a combination of fear, political recrimination, and bravado—not a particularly effective mix when it comes to evaluating and responding to potential crises. Despite widespread expressions of concern, some warranted and some hyperbolic, the Chinese surveillance balloon spotted over Montana (and tracked across the country before a fighter jet shot it down over the Atlantic) did not represent a crisis. In fact, it was a gift from Beijing: a necessary wake-up call about the shortcomings in the United States’ national defense. 

Burned-out cars after clashes on a street in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on January 7, 2022.

AP Photo/Vasily Krestyaninov

Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

Washington Must Step Up Its Engagement in Central Asia

| Jan. 27, 2022

This month, protests in Kazakhstan sparked by a sharp increase in gas prices and caused by discontent with the government spread across the country. The unrest and the ensuing violence serve not only as a cautionary tale for other Central Asian countries but also as a wake-up call for the United States. Washington needs a more coherent and dynamic policy for the region, which lies at the crossroads of Russia and China and is more unstable than many outside observers understand. It is time for the United States to shift its approach and increase its engagement in Central Asia.