The Foreign Policy Research Institute has this week released an article detailing the main challenges that face the US and the international community this year, and has also identified the main approaches that the Trump administration should adopt in order to overcome these challenges.
The institutes three main points have been summarised below:
- U.S policymakers should be careful not to exaggerate the hard power or global influence of Russia or China. Whilst both countries will important constraints and limitations on their ability to extend their influence to far-flung regions of the globe, their ability to undermine Western influence must not be underestimated.
- U.S policymakers must be sensitive to the risks of an overly ambitious strategy that is principally dependent on military superiority. The risks of U.S military overreach are particularly acute with Russia, especially with renewed suggestions to arm Ukraine with more lethal weapons, in a geographical area where Moscow enjoys escalation dominance, only feeds Russia’s paranoia and fears of NATO encroachment.
- The primary gap in U.S strategy is not a deficiency in military capability. There is a role for U.S military actions designed to contain and restrain Russian and Chinese activities that genuinely endanger vital U.S national interests.
The challenge for U.S policymakers will be to place these military activities within a broader strategy that maximises the contributions of diplomacy, economics, and informational measures.
With Russia, this should include enforcing the punishing set of sanctions that have already been imposed by the U.S. Congress in response to Russia’s occupation of Crimea and it’s destabilising activities in Ukraine. The United States should not tolerate Russian efforts to undermine its democratic process and exacerbate existing societal and political divides in the country
In the case of China, the US should focus on building diplomatic support for regional institutions that will foster economic and commercial growth consistent within existing international trading norms and rules, including the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The US, as should all Western governments, recognise that cooperation with both Moscow and China will be essential to achieving American security objectives in battling terrorism; rolling back nuclear and missile programs in North Korea and Iran that threaten regional and global stability; adhering to arms control agreements that reduce the risk of nuclear confrontation; and facilitating a political resolution to the civil wars plaguing the Middle East.
The US must continue to promote international stability and maintain its comparative advantage as the largely benign leader of the liberal international order.