Great Expectations
By Alexander T. J. Lennon
The Stanley Foundation recently convened a three-day workshop to provide an opportunity for a handful of Asian and European policymakers to meet with American analysts. This brief draws on this workshop, addressing future directions for US foreign policy and how best to align expectations between the United States and other major powers. In this spirit, both sides of the Atlantic and the Pacific should pay strong attention to the following recommendations:

  • Before the United States can credibly reengage in international negotiations for a post-2012 climate change framework, Washington needs to pass domestic legislation, a hard task given economic anxieties. An approach relying on new technologies would not sufficiently address European concerns.

  • A new US administration is expected to change American nuclear policies, both in preventing Iranian nuclear proliferation and accelerating its own nuclear weapons reductions. Depending on Iranian interests, working-level or multilateral talks may be possible early on, but beyond that Iranian elections and Iraq will delay the process with Iran.

  • While optimism reign over prospective climate change and nuclear security policy, the world, particularly Asia, is pessimistic about the next American administration’s potential trade and economic policy, and with some justification. Presidential campaign rhetoric describes an economy that no longer exists.

  • While a new administration will not act unilaterally as the Bush administration has, skepticism about existing multilateral institutions is widespread in the United States. Such institutions need reforms, but how? Divergent states of international development and views will have to be accounted for.

  • Beyond Iraq and the Middle-East, a new administration will need to pay sufficient attention to Asia.

This page is part of Rising Powers: The New Global Reality, a project from the Stanley Foundation.