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President Obama's Foreign Policy Nightmares

As President Obama prepares for his State of the Union Address, Foreign Policy at Brookings issues the 2014 edition of "Big Bets & Black Swans: A Presidential Briefing Book," with new interactive features and a live webcast event on Thursday, January 23 at 11:00 a.m. (EST). Foreign Policy started the Big Bets & Black Swans project in 2013, timed with the beginning of President Obama's second term in office.

 Big Bets, Black Swans

This year, the memos are divided into five categories: Big Bets, Double Downs, Black Swans, Nightmares and Holds.

The memos in each category are previewed here.

The Nightmares, "events that look more likely than a Black Swan and could prove particularly troublesome for U.S. interests and the global order, and for which the administration should prepare," are:

  • Korean Crisis Prompts Confrontation with China, by Jonathan D. Pollack and Richard C. Bush III
  • Iran Nuclear Talks Fail, by Robert Einhorn and Kenneth Pollack
  • Afghanistan's Presidential Election Goes Awry, by Vanda Felbab-Brown
  • Muslim Brotherhood Radicalizes, by Daniel L. Byman and Tamara Cofman Wittes