Fall/Winter 2014
Number 27

Editor’s Note

By
Ilan Berman

From the Middle East to Asia, and from Europe to Africa, U.S. foreign policy is in profound flux as new threats test America’s strategic priorities and partnerships. A reevaluation of our alliances, alignments and challenges therefore seems very much in order, and that is the focus of this issue of The Journal.

To assist in our analysis, we’ve enlisted a top-notch roster of authors and specialists. We kick off our coverage with two of today’s leading experts on Russia, Janusz Bugajski of the Center for European Policy Analysis and the Financial Times’ Charles Clover, who examine—respectively—the dynamics of Russia’s current, aggressive foreign policy course and its ideological underpinnings. From there, we shift our focus to Asia, where the Washington Free Beacon’s Bill Gertz argues a rising China continues to challenge the United States politically, militarily and intellectually.

Next up, we address two of America’s contemporary “frenemies”: Turkey and Qatar. Svante Cornell of Johns Hopkins University’s Central Asia–Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program outlines just why the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara has become an increasingly unreliable partner for the West in recent years. Then, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and Luke Lischin of the National War College take a probing look at Doha’s growing links to Islamist actors, and what it means for America.

After that, we examine the most prominent rogue state threats facing the United States. Claudia Rosett of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies details precisely why North Korea remains a serious strategic problem for Washington—an argument made all the more pointed in recent weeks by the DPRK’s hacking of Sony. Iran is also on the agenda, and the American Enterprise Institute’s J. Matthew McInnis does an excellent job outlining the prerequisites for a “good” diplomatic deal with the Islamic Republic, and why we should be skeptical that the West can actually reach it.

We then review of a pair of America’s most significant alliances: one longstanding, and one emerging. Israeli expert Gerald Steinberg takes a look at the current, frayed state of political ties between Washington and Jerusalem—and argues that the realities of the “special relationship” between Israel and the United States mean that the alliance will endure despite the current chill. Jeff Smith of the American Foreign Policy Council provides a comprehensive examination of the rise of what might just be America’s most promising future strategic partner: India’s BJP and its new leader, Narendra Modi. Finally, Katharine Gorka of the Council on Global Security takes a look at the unfolding ideological contest between al-Qaeda and the Islamic State—and outlines the true contours of the struggle, as far as the West is concerned.

Our “Perspective” feature is on hiatus this issue, but will return with our next edition. In the meantime, we have collected a trio of excellent “Dispatches” from Ukraine, Italy and Guatemala. And, as always, we conclude with reviews of three important new books covering Israel’s political legitimacy, an unorthodox alternative to the “two-state solution,” and the political problems presented by Pakistan’s military.

In all, we are pleased to present another issue chock full of fresh insights about the changing international system, and America’s place in it. We hope you find it both interesting and illuminating.

Ilan Berman

Editor