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It has only been a few days since the New Year fireworks lit up the skies of many of the world’s cities. For a brief moment, it was possible to forget the tumult and flurry of activity that marked the end of 2018, and focus on the festivities.


Unfortunately, not even the arrival of a new year is likely to aid any efforts to temper rising volatility, fractious diplomacy, political headwinds, tepid markets and, generally speaking, a world on the brink. Regardless of the causes of the alarming deve...

Johns Hopkins SAIS Foreign Policy Institute is pleased to launch the new year with the next entry in our "Four Minute Foreign Policy," series, dedicated to providing accessible expert analysis of pressing global developments and starting public conversations on ever-evolving circumstances.

John-Michael Arnold, a DAAD Post-Doctoral Fellow at SAIS FPI, introduces his work on strategic shocks. From the fall of the Soviet Union, to the September 11th attacks, to the Arab Spring uprisings, to the Russ...

Few people in Washington are as knowledgeable about Libya as Jonathan Winer, who was the United States special envoy to the country from 2013 to 2017. He is also a former deputy assistant secretary of state and was counsel to senator John Kerry, later secretary of state.

What has happened there before? What is happening now? Where might it all be heading? Winer knows.

We start with the fact that US President Barack Obama, in 2011, was not keen to join the call for action in Libya because he did no...

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2018 issue of Foreign Affairs. View it here.

Over the last seven years, social upheavals and civil wars have torn apart the political order that had defined the Middle East ever since World War I. Once solid autocracies have fallen by the wayside, their state institutions battered and broken, and their national borders compromised. Syria and Yemen have descended into bloody civil wars worsened by foreign military interventions. A terrorist group...

Over the last seven years, social upheavals and civil wars have torn apart the political order that had defined the Middle East ever since World War I. Once solid autocracies have fallen by the wayside, their state institutions battered and broken, and their national borders compromised. Syria and Yemen have descended into bloody civil wars worsened by foreign military interventions. A terrorist group, the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), seized vast areas of Iraq and Syria before being pushe...

October 25, 2017

Ambassador Eric S. Edelman retired as a career minister from the US Foreign Service on May 1, 2009. He has served in senior positions at the Departments of State and Defense as well as the White House, where he led organizations providing analysis, strategy, policy development, security services, trade advocacy, public outreach, citizen services, and congressional relations. As undersecretary of defense for policy (August 2005-January 2009), he was DoD's senior policy official, overseeing strate...

February 8, 2017


Experts gathered at the Washington, DC campus for a discussion on the consequences of President Trump’s executive order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” The order suspends the US refugee admission program, severely restricts entry from seven majority-Muslim countries, and bars all Syrian refugees from entering the country indefinitely.

Michel Gabaudan said that the order risks conflating victims with perpetrators by associating refugees with terroris...

The World Economic Forum’s annual Global Risks report produced a risk interconnection map that charts out an increasingly integrated and hyper-connected set of problems across multiple dimensions. Risks traditionally categorized as environmental risks can act as both a trigger and recipient to other risks including those that are economic, geopolitical, societal, and technological.

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The end of the Cold War brought a new dimension to the study of international security. The Cold War framed inter...

A Syrian refugee in Lesbos, Greece. CreditYannis Behrakis/Reuters

This article was originally published on January 12, 2016 in the Opinion Pages of the New York Times. It can be found here.

In the aftermath of terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., American support for accepting more Syrian refugees has withered. The Republican presidential hopeful Donald J. Trump has called for blocking all Muslims from entering the United States, saying we are at war with radical Islam. Other pol...

November 12, 2015

There is a debate within U.S. policy circles about Russian president Vladimir Putin's strategy in Syria. While all agree that Putin intervened to shore up the faltering regime of Bashar al-Assad, there are at least two interpretations of what Putin's ultimate objective is.

Secretary of State John Kerry seems to be in the camp that believes the Russian intervention is part of a strategy to strengthen the Syrian state’s hand at the negotiating table. This in turn could provide a pathway for Assad h...

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The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)
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