Should foreign policy be politicized?
March 28th, 2012
11:55 AM ET

Should foreign policy be politicized?

Editor's Note: Richard Fontaine is a senior advisor at the Center for a New American Security and teaches the politics of national security in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author.

By Richard Fontaine - Special to CNN

It's that time of the election again. As the primaries wind down and the general election looms, foreign policy becomes ever more politicized, and particular events - such as President Obama speaking to Russia's Dmitry Medvedev over an open microphone - generate debate and partisan tussles.

Is that bad?

After all, the only thing more predictable than partisan sniping over foreign policy in the midst of an election year is the weary reaction of foreign policy leaders and experts that we should somehow be above all this. In an interview with Fareed Zakaria earlier this year, President Obama himself remarked that, "In foreign policy, the traditional saying is, 'partisan differences end at the water's edge.'"

The problem is that partisan differences in the United States do not end at the water's edge, and never have. As the 2012 election sharpens the political contest over American foreign policy, we might do well not only to lament the paralysis and bitterness our politics engenders, but also reflect for a moment on the advantages it conveys. FULL POST

China’s cyber moves hurting Beijing
A new U.S. intelligence report calls China the world's most notorious cyber-spies. (Getty Images)
November 10th, 2011
02:31 PM ET

China’s cyber moves hurting Beijing

Editor's Note: Richard Fontaine is a Senior Advisor at the Center for a New American Security.  The following post was originally published in The Diplomat, a stellar international current-affairs magazine for the Asia-Pacific region.

By Richard Fontaine, The Diplomat

A new report by an arm of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence confirms what officials have privately lamented for several years:  the United States is the target of a vast array of cyber attacks, many focused on stealing intellectual property, originating in China.

The report highlights the costs that worry American officials and corporate leaders, including the loss of expensive technology, the theft of military applications, and the undermining of the information-intensive U.S. economy. Indeed, vast economic espionage, conducted largely through cyber-operations, can diminish the United States’ strategic competitiveness. But there’s a flip side to Beijing’s cyber offensive – the strategic costs it imposes on China itself.

To be sure, China isn’t a solitary actor, and Russia and other countries are routinely fingered as major sources of online intrusions and hacking. But in recent years, a multitude of U.S. corporations, universities, government agencies, and other institutions – to say nothing of their counterparts in places like Japan, South Korea, and Europe – have suffered cyber attacks alleged to have originated in China. Indeed, the new report calls Chinese actors “the world’s most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage.” FULL POST

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Topics: China • Internet
India's Arab Spring opportunity
Indian guards of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) change shifts as monsoon clouds cover the skyline over South Block (The Defense Ministry) in New Delhi 27 July 2003. (Getty Images)
August 24th, 2011
05:07 PM ET

India's Arab Spring opportunity

Editor's Note: Richard Fontaine is Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security. Daniel Twining is Senior Fellow for Asia at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. The following post was originally published in The Diplomat, a stellar international current-affairs magazine for the Asia-Pacific region.

By Richard Fontaine and Daniel Twining, The Diplomat

The fall of Libya’s Muammar Gadhafi stands as the latest, most dramatic episode in the explosive changes roiling today’s Middle East. As Libyans—and their counterparts in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, and elsewhere—start down the difficult path of political change, India possesses a historic opportunity. In recognition of its growing global role and its status as the world’s largest democracy, India can play a unique role in supporting the democratic forces that have produced the Arab Spring.

Identifying ways to do so would recognize a central geopolitical fact of our time: New Delhi is increasingly drawn into decision-making in the world’s most critical regions. Earlier this year, India voted with the other great powers on the UN Security Council to sanction Libya following Colonel Gadhafi’s brutal crackdown. Millions of Indians in the Middle East today are literal witnesses to history as Arab publics agitate for the same freedoms Indians themselves enjoy. And New Delhi’s posture toward developments in countries like Syria and Iran are of increasing consequence for decision-makers and publics alike. FULL POST