Surging violence in the Middle East, massive refugee flows from the region, and the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and here at home have brought renewed focus to the fight against terrorism. The strategies are strikingly familiar—a new international military coalition, the return of US troops to the region, an increase in security assistance to regimes in the region. But if what’s past is prologue, these strategies, taken alone, will fail to secure our interests.
CGD Policy Blogs
The Obama administration released a remarkable set of decisions on Egypt policy yesterday which, if followed through and supported by Congress, could signal a dramatic shift for US-Egypt relations.
President Obama’s new national security strategy appropriately defines the limits of military power. But with the President’s request to Congress to authorize a new war on terror, over $5 billion in supplemental funds appropriated for the military fight against ISIL, and over $10 billion requested to fight ISIL and support other counterterrorism efforts in the President’s FY2016 budget, the administration’s counterterrorism approach hasn’t caught up to the message.
Having studied more than 200 episodes of economic sanctions in the 20th Century, people often ask me to identify the greatest sanctions success story that my colleagues and I uncovered. My answer is usually along the lines of, hmmm, well, I can think of lots of spectacular sanctions failures—for example the 50-year long embargo against Castro’s Cuba. But there are no equally spectacular successes. There were times when sanctions were decisive in achieving foreign policy goals, but most often it was when those goals were relatively modest.