Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry

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Recent Commentary

World Puzzle
Analysis and Commentary

Civil Wars & Global Disorder: Threats & Opportunities

by Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry, Stephen D. Krasnervia Journal of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences
Thursday, October 5, 2017

Civil wars run deep through our historical narratives, shaping the political and social consciousness of people in developed countries around the world: Japan, Russia, Spain, China, Mexico, and the United States, to mention only a few. But intrastate conflicts are not merely features of the past. Today, there are some thirty active civil wars, ranging from Afghanistan and Syria to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with the average duration of conflict increasing over the past twenty years. 

US-China Relations

China’s Place In U.S. Foreign Policy

by Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry
Tuesday, June 9, 2015

China is a peculiar combination of a domestic status quo power and a rising international power. An effective U.S. China policy is best built on a thorough assessment of the context in which Sino-American relations exist and operate.

Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

Toward A National Security Strategy

by Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberryvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, June 4, 2015

We need to consider what our institutions are capable of before declaring foreign policy goals. 

Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

A Grand Strategy for Failed States

by Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberryvia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How should the United States handle threats posed by countries like Yemen, Syria, and Nigeria? 

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Thoughts on Unconventional Threats and Terrorism

by Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberryvia Analysis
Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The term “unconventional threat” has often been an imprecise classification tool and has led to a focus on tactics at the expense of strategy in the U.S. struggle against transnational terrorists groups like Al Qaeda.  Combating transnational terrorism requires properly evaluating the threat terrorism poses, a deep understanding of geopolitical context surrounding a transnational terrorist group, and a willingness to be flexible in the tools used to mitigate risk, including focusing on improving countermeasures in the homeland. 

Thucydides Trap

by Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberryvia American Review
Monday, August 4, 2014

Don’t presume that tensions between China, a rising state, and the United States, the status quo power, will lead to conflict

A Framework for Thinking about Domestic Foundations

by Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberryvia Analysis
Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ambassador Karl Eikenberry provides a framework for understanding the domestic foundations of American power and its relevance to foreign policy. Strategy, he says, is the art of applying means to desired ends and a successful strategy must therefore involve a clear assessment of the domestic sources of those means.

Thoughts on U.S. Strategy

by Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberryvia Analysis
Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Karl Eikenberry examines the country’s past national security strategies and finds that their articulation of American interests has been consistent since the early days of the Cold War. What has changed is the underlying set of assumptions about U.S. economic strength and the domestic foundations of power that allow us to pursue those interests.