The International Issues Facing Trump

November 10, 2016

When President-elect Donald Trump takes office in January, a range of foreign-policy challenges awaits. RAND experts have outlined the key decisions he'll have to make, the dangers involved, and the least-bad options that now often pass for good ones. 


This essay from the Rand Review is one piece of a two-part overview of the issues facing America's next president. READ FULL ARTICLE




From Russia to North Korea to the slaughter in Syria, the next president will face foreign-policy challenges that test the very fundamentals of world order.


In recent months, RAND researchers have outlined the decisions that must be made, the dangers involved, and the least-bad options that now often pass for good ones. They have assessed the fight against ISIS, developed a peace plan for Syria, and mapped a future for the world economy.


Senior political scientist Michael J. Mazarr set the scene in a recent op-ed. “U.S. foreign policy over the coming decade,” he wrote, “is likely to focus on the task of managing relations among a collection of tough, ambitious great powers that are determined to shift at least some of the global balance of power away from the United States.”



Caption: Iraqi Army and U.S. Army soldiers collaborate during a simulation at Camp Taji, Iraq, March 3, 2015


ISIS: The Long Fight


The Islamic State has been driven from some of its most important cities and now finds itself under siege in others. But defeating it on the battlefield is only the first step in what will be a long fight to dismantle what it stands for.


Western perceptions of the Islamic State as the command-and-control hub of an international terror corporation are misguided. Instead, it is a three-part threat, RAND experts wrote: the self-declared caliphate itself; its franchisees in places like Libya and Nigeria; and its ideology, open-sourced for anyone to claim.


The coalition fighting ISIS on the ground has made great strides since senior international policy analyst Linda Robinson traveled through the region in the early months of the campaign. She found that the local forces on the front lines were, with some exceptions, fragmented, outgunned, and unprepared to reliably hold ground. Her recommendations, that the United States and its partners provide significantly more training and equipment to those local fighters, have since become strategy.



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