President Donald Trump's first overseas visit was "Trumpist" in its ambitions, ambiance, and expanse: the three monotheistic religions, NATO, EU, and G-7 gatherings; a whirlwind of cultural experiences; and "finally Make America Great Again" with commercial and arms sales, investments, and gestures. But the core of the visit was reassurance ...

Twenty-five years of failed negotiations with North Korea.  Since 1993, our efforts to halt North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons have failed. What have we learned from this experience? The 1994 Agreed Framework froze North Korea’s plutonium program, but it did not halt North Korea’s desire for nuclear weapons. Thus, ...

President Trump’s first foray into the world of foreign affairs hinged on one issue: can he convey a sense of trustworthy personal and U.S. leadership? Rhetorically, he did fine but at home he proposed a budget that guts his ability to follow through. In Riyadh and at NATO, he proclaimed ...

President Trump’s first trip overseas beginning Friday will test his ability to stay on script, limit impulsive, off-hand, public remarks, and stop controversial tweeting, all of which have caused him trouble here at home and abroad. The schedule will take him first to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he will meet ...

In a wide-ranging address to State Department employees Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson laid out his vision for the future of the department, the Trump’s Administration’s “America First” approach to foreign policy, and global issues touching nearly every continent. Tillerson’s speech, his second to department workers since being sworn ...

A quarter of a century after the normalization of relations between India and Israel, the strength of Indo-Israeli ties can be measured by the continuing attention and coverage the subject receives in the media and in academic circles. While the scope of bilateral trade is not significant (hovering around $6 ...

Donald Trump entered the presidency committed to improving U.S. ties with Russia, but less than three months into his term, the President says the relationship is at “an all-time low.” Trump’s comments come in the wake of last week's U.S. missile strike on Syria’s Shayrat Air Base in response to ...

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in Moscow for meetings with Russian officials at a time when U.S. rhetoric toward Russia has intensified in the wake of a deadly chemical weapons attack in Syria. The U.S. launched 59 Tomahawk missiles at Syria’s Shayrat Air Base last week in response to ...

At 8:40PM EDT last Thursday, as the two were wrapping up a ceremonial dinner with their families, President Donald Trump informed President Xi Jinping that the United States was concluding a cruise missile strike against a Syrian airfield involved in a chemical weapons attack against rebels earlier in the week. ...

In his first summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping offered his counterpart a Chinese calligraphy scroll with the aphorism “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Despite the lofty stakes involved in one of the world’s most important bilateral relationships, the achievements ...

In their first summit, Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping needed to demonstrate their leadership and authority to their respective publics. President Trump needed to show he was in charge and restore momentum after a major legislative defeat over health care reform. A validation of President Xi’s ability to manage ...

The U.S. military launched dozens of Tomahawk missiles from two naval warships in the Mediterranean Sea at the Shayrat air base near Homs in Syria, on Thursday night. The Pentagon said the base was used by the Assad regime to store chemical weapons. It was the kind of direct intervention ...

It is fashionable in Washington to deride, or even condemn, every move President Donald Trump makes that is a departure from past, staid U.S. foreign policy.  Secretary of State Tillerson's terse public statement on Wednesday's North Korean KN-14 missile test into the Sea of Japan was the latest example of ...

Contacts between India and the Jewish people, whether in ancient Israel, in India itself, or in the Diaspora, go back to remote antiquity. But it was only in the 20th century, when both India (1947) and Israel (1948) achieved independence that these contacts became geopolitically relevant.  Today, there are four ...

The Cipher Brief sat down with S. Samuel Rajiv, Associate Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses based in New Delhi, India, to discuss the deepening relationship between India and Israel. According to Rajiv, “Israel is an important partner for India as it aims to achieve its developmental ...

With the Middle East mired in a constant state of turmoil, reoccurring tectonic shifts across the region have encouraged new partnerships, sometimes between unlikely players. One such blossoming relationship is the India-Israel alliance. “Israel and India have a firm alliance, between two peoples and two states with illustrious and greatly ...

Four top State Department officials were reported Thursday to have resigned, and the head of the U.S. Border Patrol left his job. The Washington Post reported that those heading out the door at State include Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy, Assistant Secretary for Administration Joyce Anne Barr, Assistant Secretary for ...

Among his numerous campaign promises, U.S. President Donald Trump’s pledge to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem continues to reverberate across domestic and international politics. “We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem, and we will send a clear signal that ...

The Cipher Brief sat down with Aaron David Miller, Former advisor to Republican and Democratic Secretaries of State on Arab-Israeli negotiations to discuss the potential for reviving Israeli-Palestinian negotiations under the Trump Administration. According to Miller, “The Israeli-Palestinian peace process, can’t be much deader than it is now” and we ...

As has been the case for every one of his predecessors, Donald Trump will attempt to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some resisted for a while, i.e., George W. Bush, while others jumped into the fray fresh after inauguration, such as Barack Obama. Each eventually tried and failed, President Obama most ...

Russia, Iran and Turkey on Tuesday pledged to jointly enforce the fragile ceasefire in Syria, wrapping up two days of peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan. The countries wrote in a statement that they will “seek, through concrete steps and using their influence over the parties, consolidation of the ceasefire” and ...

Syrian opposition officials are meeting in the Kazakh capital of Astana to begin talks on a final peace agreement. Representatives from Russia and Turkey are expected to lead the negotiations with support from Iranian diplomats. A ceasefire deal – brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran – went into effect Dec. ...

In his first news conference since July, President-elect Donald Trump revealed he now agrees with the unanimous verdict of the U.S. intelligence community: Russia was behind the hack on the Democratic National Committee (DNC). "I think it was Russia," he said (though he later caveated “but you know what, it could ...

Donald Trump will take office at the lowest point in Washington’s relations with Moscow since the end of the Cold War.  He has consistently talked about the need to establish a better relationship with Mr. Putin.  Can he do that in a way that serves American interests? The key to ...

As Donald Trump prepares to take office, one of his earliest—and most important— foreign policy decisions will be how to move forward with the United States’ bilateral relationship with Russia. Will he pursue something along the lines of Obama’s reset or take a firmer stance? Given the president-elect’s opaque statements ...

One day after Russia's ambassador to Turkey was killed in Ankara, foreign ministers from the two countries met in Moscow to discuss the crisis in Syria — and to vow they will keep their delicate diplomatic relationship on track in the wake of Andrey Karlov's assassination. During Monday's attack at ...

Although relations between Egypt and Israel have often been referred to as a “cold peace,” the emergence of mutual security threats over the past few years has facilitated a growing partnership between the former enemies. In fact, since Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi assumed office in June 2014, many foreign ...

Despite a historically tenuous relationship, current ties between Israel and Egypt are far better, explains David Schenker, Director of the Program on Arab Politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. In an interview with The Cipher Brief, Schenker explained that while “cooperation on the Sinai has largely driven ...

Washington understandably is exercised over the controversy between the Trump transition team and the Intelligence Community (IC) concerning the apparent Russian government hacking of websites related to the Presidential election.  This controversy obviously has immediate implications for the Trump Administration's relations with Moscow, and longer term ones for the climate ...

In the recent past, every new U.S. administration has attempted to improve relations with Russia to address mutual security threats such as combating terrorism. Both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama sought to repair damaged relations with Russia early in their administrations, but, unfortunately, their hopes were eventually ...

Exxon Mobil Chief Rex Tillerson, like almost all post World War II Secretary of State nominees, if confirmed, will come to the job with extensive international experience and a global network of high level contacts. International business experience with its focus on underlying political and economic trends, as in Tillerson's ...

North Korea informed the U.S. on July 10th that it would cut off the New York channel of communication to the U.S. Government.  If American policymakers lament their own lack of leverage against North Korea, this move demonstrates the limited options Pyongyang has with which to respond to the July ...