Reality Check

Aug 4, 2021

Reality Check #9: Ensure US security sector assistance serves US interests and values

By Aude Darnal, Evan Cooper

The United States must review its security sector assistance strategy, which frequently assist security forces that commit abuses against the people they are supposed to be serving, contradicting the United State's espoused mission to promote human rights and democracy.

Africa Conflict

Reality Check

Jun 24, 2021

Reality Check #8: Rethinking US military policy in the Greater Middle East

By Robert A. Manning, Christopher Preble

The core assumptions underpinning US policy in the Middle East—ensuring oil flows, maintaining Israel’s security, preventing the rise of a dominant hegemon, and countering terrorism—have been upended by new realities.

Conflict Defense Policy

Reality Check

Jun 14, 2021

Reality Check #7: Red-teaming the Interim National Security Strategic Guidance

By Emma Ashford

The Biden administration has released an Interim National Security Strategic Guidance (INSSG), a stepping-stone to a full National Security Strategy (NSS). Although this document presents a more realistic vision of the world than the Trump administration’s NSS did, the INSSG still contains some questionable assumptions.

China Middle East

Reality Check

May 14, 2021

Reality Check #6: The consequences of an ‘America First’ vaccine policy

By Evan Cooper, Mathew Burrows

The Biden administration has been slow to distribute surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to countries in need or to facilitate foreign manufacturing of vaccines, squandering a diplomatic opportunity and potentially endangering US security.

China Coronavirus
Korean DMZ Joint Security Area

Reality Check

Apr 26, 2021

Reality Check #5: Learning to live with a nuclear North Korea

By Robert A. Manning

North Korea's nuclear program is firmly established. Living with a de facto nuclear North Korea may be the least-bad option for now, requiring continued pressure and stronger deterrence measures.

Arms Control Defense Policy

Reality Check

Mar 5, 2021

Reality Check #4: Focus on interests, not on human rights with Russia

By Emma Ashford, Mathew Burrows

The Biden administration should seek to build a less aspirational policy toward Russia, minimize the use of sanctions, and look for incentives that might induce Moscow to take steps in line with US interests.

Politics & Diplomacy Russia

Reality Check

Mar 1, 2021

Reality Check #3: The uses and abuses of deterrence

By Erica Borghard

Policymakers tend to describe as “deterrence” actions or situations that are, in fact, coercive. Confusing these terms leads to muddled strategy and poor communication.

Politics & Diplomacy
Port de Barcelona at night

Reality Check

Feb 22, 2021

Reality Check #2: Economic sanctions should not always be the go-to foreign policy tool

By Erica Borghard

US policymakers should focus on whether sanctions are likely to produce the desired effect, rather than serving as simply a tool to signal displeasure.

Economic Sanctions Politics & Diplomacy

Reality Check

Feb 18, 2021

Reality Check #1: Build cooperation cycles, not security spirals

By Emma Ashford

Confidence building measures could help to prevent escalation and create a virtuous cycle of cooperation and reciprocity.

Politics & Diplomacy Security & Defense