American Diplomacy

Commentary & Analysis
Summer 2018



AFSA  | Preserving America’s Global Leadership by Barbara Stephenson

Science and Diplomacy | A Diplomat’s Perspective on Use of Science and Evidence in Implementing PEPFAR by Jimmy Kolker

Brookings | 4 Essential Elements of a U.S. Strategy on Syria by Michael E. O’Hanlon

Rand | Russian Social Media Influence, Understanding Russian Propaganda in Eastern Europe by Todd C. Helmus, Elizabeth Bodine-Baron, Andrew Radin, Madeline Magnuson, Joshua Mendelsohn, William Marcellino, Andriy Bega, Zev Winkelman

The Hill | Return of the TPP: Trump realizing trade deal aligns with goals on China by Earl Anthony Wayne

Handelsblatt | EU ambassadors band together against Silk Road by Dana Heide, Till Hoppe,  Stephan Scheuer, Klaus Stratmann  

National Security Archives | Department of State’s Dissent Channel Revealed


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The Marshall Plan: Seventy Years Since the Start of a Great Diplomatic Effort
by Thomas E. McNamara

What has often gone unnoticed is that the Marshall Plan was a final effort to avoid a full-fledged Cold War. President Harry Truman and Secretary of State George Marshall offered the plan to all of Europe, including the East Europeans and the Soviet Union. The chance that a paranoiac Joseph Stalin would agree to join the effort was slim to none. Yet, hope remained that the nations of east-central Europe might participate. That none of these did join demonstrated that they lacked the independence to follow their national interests and were, in fact, already satellite states of the Soviet Union. The Marshall Plan did not start the Cold War, but the Marshall Plan rejection by the Soviet Union starkly revealed it.


Interagency Cooperation and the Future of Intervention Policy
by Frances Duffy

One may argue that the failures in Iraq and Libya expose the limits of military intervention and nation building altogether. However, global threats to U.S. national security may continue to tempt administration officials with an interventionist response.Fortunately, the tools at the disposal of the U.S. government are not limited to those of military force. A complete toolkit that also includes diplomacy, economic aid, and sanctions is better suited for the careful management of overseas problems. The Bush administration, the Obama administration, and now the Trump administration have all leveraged a combination of these tools to effectively advance global stability and U.S. interests in other circumstances. An intervention policy that makes greater use of soft power, alongside improved information-gathering and planning, may have more success.

The Limits of Opposition
A Case Study of U.S. Reflagging Operations During the Iran-Iraq War
by Christian Heller

The legal requirement accepted by the international legal community as pertaining to reflagging a vessel is the term "genuine link."30 In other words, the nation taking responsibility for the reflagged vessels must prove that a genuine link exists between the vessel and its operators and the nation reflagging it. Fortunately for the United States, there was no accepted international definition for the term, and the vagueness allowed Washington to benefit from the situation. The international maritime laws governing issues such as the genuine link were established by three international conventions: the 1958 Convention of the High Seas, the 1982 Third United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and the 1986 United Nations Conference on Conditions for Registration of Ships.

The Surprising Allure of Russian Soft Power
by Nicolai N. Petro

"…Russia now believes, with some reason, that it can rely on a core constituency of states to assist it in the face of intense western hostility. The international response to the latest poisoning incident involving Russia illustrates this divide yet again."

U.S.-China Relations and the Art of the Deal
by Beatrice Camp

In 1983, when my husband and I first set foot in the People's Republic of China, we were initially afraid to mention that we had spent the previous year in Taiwan. With no direct flights between Taiwan and the mainland, we had to transit through Hong Kong, swapping our civilian passports for diplomatic ones.

As it turned out, the Beijingers we met in our first days in the capital were delighted to learn that our blue ten-speed bikes, which stood out in the flood of black one-speeds on our commute, were made in Taiwan. To them this meant "Made in China!".

Riding Off Into the Sunset by William P. Kiehl

Now that we have seen more than a year of President Trump in action, we can confidently predict that Rex will not be the last cabinet member to have an un-ceremonial departure nor will the revolving door on White House aides stop turning. There are already rumors about the NSC Advisor and a couple of cabinet secretaries that could be the next to go. That is the new reality and we may have no choice but to make the best of it.

Diplomacy as Risk Management by Chas Freeman

With the fading of previously agreed codes of conduct and the principle of PACTA SUNT SERVANDA ["agreements must be kept"], what could once be taken for granted in managing relations with other states must now be repetitiously renegotiated and affirmed bilaterally. But Washington has demoted diplomacy as a tool of American statecraft in favor of primary reliance on military and economic coercion. Escalating uncertainties are driving nations toward unrestrained unilateralism and disregard for international law. As this century began, the United States popularized contemptible practices like the assassination and abduction for questioning under torture of foreign opponents. A lengthening list of other countries—China, north Korea, Russia, and Turkey, to name a few—have now brazenly followed this bad example. More issues are being deferred as intractable, addressed ad hoc, or dealt with through the threat or use of force.

Previous items

Diplomacy as Risk Management   Freeman, Chas 4/2018
Riding Off into Sunset   Kiehl, William P. 4/2018
The Limits of Opposition: A Case Study of U.S. Reflagging Operations During the Iraq War   Heller, Christian 4/2018
The Marshall Plan: Seventy Years Since the Start of a Great Diplomatic Effort   McNamara, Thomas E. 4/2018
The Surprising Allure of Russian Soft Power   Petro, Nicolai N. 4/2018
U.S.-China Relations and the Art of the Deal   Camp, Beatrice 4/2018
1981: Hollywood Goes to China: First U.S. Film Week in The People's Republic   Pearson, Margaret 2/2018
Diplomacy on the Rocks   Bodine, Barbara K. 2/2018
Let's Talk Seriously About Afghanistan   Cotter, Michael W. 2/2018
Militarization and Marginalization of American Diplomacy and Foreign Policy   Quainton, Anthony C. E. 2/2018
Russia and Turkey-Dalliance or Alliance   Pearson, W. Robert 2/2018
Africa and the Politics of Possibiity   Segesvary, Louis S. 12/2017
Amendments to the Governance Structure of the Holy See and Canon Law during the European Migration Crisis   Ujhazi, Lorand 12/2017
Venezuela: A Situation Report   Duddy, Patrick 12/2017
A Retrospective in Humility: Lessons for Young Development Professionals   Knight, Elizabeth 10/2017
An Atlantic Council Roadmap for State Department Reform   Ansley, Rachel 10/2017
Authoritarian Backlash: An Interregional Comparison of Turkey & Venezuela   Pearson, W. Robert 10/2017
Building Enduring Support for the Foreign Service   Stephenson, Barbara 10/2017
Commitment to the Diversity of the Future State Department Workforce   Glazeroff, Josh 10/2017
India: Policy Implications for the United States   Dorschner, Jon P. 10/2017
Peace Corps' early days: The day the FBI came knocking   Long, John C. 10/2017
Reimagining the Middle East   Freeman, Charles 10/2017
Turkey's complicated relationship with the Middle East, explained by one word   Cagaptay, Soner and Nick Danforth 10/2017
Water as a Basic Human Right within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict   Weinthal, Erika 10/2017
Who Holds the Trump Cards? Tragi-comedies of Error Across the Pond   Cox, Robert 10/2017
Why Keep State Department Special Envoys?   Calamur, Krishnadev 10/2017
Can Science Diplomacy Advance STEM Education Particularly for Women in the Middle East?   Greenbaum &Hajjar 6/2017
For Volos   Jennings, Roger 6/2017
Globalization: Made in the USA   Grappo, Gary A. 6/2017
H. R. McMaster's road to the White House: Reflections personal and historical   Hunt, Michael H. 6/2017

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