November 9, 2016

What this election means for U.S. foreign policy and next steps

The following post appeared on the Brookings Institution's Order from Chaos blog on November 9, 2016. 

It’s done. A bruising election that defied almost every expectation is now over. The United States will now have to lick many self-inflicted wounds and confront a world that it no longer has the ability to unilaterally shape and mold. The challenges at home—to American democracy and the economy—will naturally be paramount. But it will not be long before the next president will have to make important decisions regarding the United States’ three big strategic challenges: China’s rise in the Indo-Pacific; turmoil in the Middle East and Afghanistan-Pakistan; and Russia and the future of Europe. In each of these arenas, regional actors will be looking for cues from Washington. For the first two challenges, and possibly even the third, a deep and multi-faceted partnership with India is necessary. This is a reality that both the Bush and Obama administrations realized many years ago. A strong, prosperous, and democratic India not only ensures a multi-polar Asia, but could also symbolize a model for democratic growth just as questions are beginning to creep in the world over about the future of democracy, growth, and globalization. India, not being a U.S. ally nor yet a major trade partner, has remained relatively untouched by the sometimes heated rhetoric that we have witnessed during this election cycle. The next president should therefore move early—and firmly—in setting the India-U.S. bilateral relationship on the right track.