As 2014 begins, the Foreign Policy experts at Brookings are offering President Obama and his Cabinet a set of innovative and actionable policy recommendations to address the critical foreign policy challenges in the year ahead. As he does every year, the president must decide which priorities to pursue and how best to exercise U.S. power and influence to manage and shape the global order.
“Big Bets & Black Swans: A Presidential Briefing Book” is a series of memos designed to present President Obama as a suggested “to do” list, addressing the most significant foreign policy challenges in the year to come. This year, the memos are divided into five categories: Big Bets, Double Downs, Black Swans, Nightmares and Holds. The Big Bets are issues where Foreign Policy scholars believe the president should consider investing his power, time and prestige in major efforts that can have a transformational impact on America and the world. Double Downs are derived from the Big Bets of 2013. The Black Swans are low-probability, high-impact events that can divert the president and his administration from higher purposes. Nightmares are events that could prove likely and particularly troublesome for U.S. interests and the global order. Finally, Holds are updated recommendations to stay the course on policy approaches put forward in 2013.
President Obama has just three years left in office to define his legacy in world affairs. Now is the time for him to focus on some Big Bets and avoid or mitigate Black Swans to shape the future of U.S. and global security and prosperity.
Click on the cards below to access the individual memos associated with each category. (A summary, video and link to the full memorandum will appear in the white space beneath):