Jessica Tuchman Mathews was President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace from 1997 until last year and is now a Distinguished Fellow there. She has served in the State Department and on the National Security Council staff in the White House.
 (March 2016)

The Death of Our Treaties

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during Netanyahu’s visit to Washington, D.C., to speak against President Obama’s policy on Iran’s nuclear program before a joint session of Congress, March 2015
The Constitution gives control over matters of war and peace to the president and Congress, in the words of Alexander Hamilton, as a “joint possession.” This pretty much guarantees continuing strife between the two branches. Yet after two centuries of a seesawing contest for primacy, lines have been crossed in …

What Foreign Policy for the US?

Afghan National Army soldiers on patrol with US Marines in Narang village, Kunar province, Afghanistan, 2005; photograph by Stephen Dupont from his book Generation AK: The Afghanistan Wars 1993–2012, to be published this month by Steidl
“The incoherence in American foreign policy has been growing for twenty-five years,” asserts Ian Bremmer. That’s a considerable overstatement, and from an expert in the field, but there is no question that, at home and abroad, American policies (from long before the current administration) evoke widespread angst, uncertainty, and criticism.

The New Deal

US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Secretary of State John Kerry, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, and Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Lausanne, Switzerland, March 2015
The weeks ahead are of enormous consequence to US national security, not only with respect to Iran, but to our long-term ability to frame and execute a coherent foreign policy not determined solely by partisan motives.

The Road from Westphalia

Henry Kissinger meeting with Zhou Enlai during his secret trip to China, July 1971
Almost from the beginning of its history, America has struggled to find a balance in its foreign policy between narrowly promoting its own security and idealistically serving the interests of others; between, as we’ve tended to see it in shorthand, Teddy Roosevelt’s big stick and the ideals of Woodrow Wilson. Just as consistently, the US has gone through periods of embracing a leading international role for itself and times when Americans have done all they could to turn their backs on the rest of the world.

Is There an Answer for Syria?

The front line in the Bustan al-Basha neighborhood of Aleppo, October 2012
The drastic shift in priorities for every country in the Middle East occasioned by the frighteningly rapid rise of ISIS over the past several months may have made it possible to reexamine deeply buried core assumptions.

Iraq Illusions

The story most media accounts tell of the recent burst of violence in Iraq seems clear-cut and straightforward. In reality, what is happening is anything but.

Iran: A Good Deal Now in Danger

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at a rally during his presidential campaign in front of a poster of Ayatollah Khomeini, Tehran, June 1, 2013
In recent weeks, Iran and the United States, for the first time, have broken through more than a decade of impasse over Iran’s nuclear program. Significant differences remain, but at long last, both governments appear ready to work their way toward a resolution. Yet the US Congress, acting reflexively against Iran, and under intense pressure from Israel, seems ready to shatter the agreement with a bill that takes no account of Iranian political developments, misunderstands proliferation realities, and ignores the dire national security consequences for the United States.