Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

The Top 5 Foreign Policy Lessons of the Past 20 Years

| November 18, 2014

From Russia to China to the United States, from hubris to ultimatums to power plays, the good, the bad, and the ugly of (recent) world politics.

Tell me, friend: Do you find the current world situation confusing? Are you having trouble sorting through the bewildering array of alarums, provocations, reassurances, and trite nostrums offered up by pundits and politicos? Can't tell if the glass is half-full and rising or half-empty, cracked, and leaking water fast? Not sure if you should go long on precious metals and stock up on fresh water, ammo, and canned goods, or go big into equities and assume that everything will work out in the long run?

Today's world is filled with conflicting signals. On the one hand, life expectancy and education are up, the level of violent conflict is down, and hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty over the past several decades. Private businesses are starting to take human rights seriously. And hey, the euro is still alive! On the other hand, Europe's economy is still depressed, Russia is suspending nuclear cooperation with the United States, violent extremists keep multiplying in several regions, the odds of a genuine nuclear deal with Iran still look like a coin toss, and that much-ballyhooed climate change deal between the United States and China is probably too little too late and already facing right-wing criticisms....

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For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Walt, Stephen M..“The Top 5 Foreign Policy Lessons of the Past 20 Years.” Foreign Policy, November 18, 2014.

The Author

Stephen Walt