CSBA’s research on the most pressing issues in US national security continues to shape the defense agenda. CSBA’s research focuses on four main areas:

Today, the United States confronts a number of challenges to its national security: the rise of China, a revisionist Russia, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and disruption, and the spread of Islamic extremism. The United States finds itself tackling these challenges at a time when its primacy is increasingly contested and its economic foundation eroding. CSBA seeks to inform the development of U.S. strategy by developing innovative options to reconcile ends and means, and by identifying sources of enduring advantage to help the U.S. sustain its position and meet challenges of the 21st century.


Why Is the World So Unsettled? The End of the Post-Cold War Era and the Crisis of Global Order

U.S. foreign policy is likely to be wracked by crises in the coming years. Yet crises are often symptoms of deeper structural transformations, and the fundamental fact of international politics today is that the post-Cold War era has reached its end. That period was defined by uncontested U.S. and Western primacy, a marked decline in ideological struggle and great-power conflict, and a historically remarkable degree of global cooperation in addressing international disorder. Today, however, the international system has reverted to a more contested state. The core characteristics of the emerging era are the gradual but unmistakable erosion of U.S. and Western primacy, the return of sharp great-power competition across all three key regions of Eurasia, the revival of global ideological struggle, and the empowerment of the agents of international strife and disorder. Moreover, the impact of these forces is magnified by growing uncertainty about whether the traditional defenders of the post-Cold War system will be able and willing to play that role in the future. Dealing with the dangers and dilemmas posed by the new global politics will be a generational task. Yet understanding the basic nature of the age is the critical first step.

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