Big Bets and Black Swans: An Overview

President Obama begins his second term in office facing a world in turmoil and a number of critical challenges to global security and stability.

In response to these and a host of other international crises, the president can choose to place some “Big Bets” that could define his foreign policy over the next four years. However, a number of “Black Swans” –low probability, but high-impact events –may derail  President Obama’s second term foreign policy agenda. Brookings’s Foreign Policy experts have released a set of 20 memos to the president—Big Bets and Black Swans: A Presidential Briefing Book—offering innovative policy recommendations that the administration might pursue.

Martin Indyk, Vice President and Director, Foreign Policy; Suzanne Maloney, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Saban Center for Middle East Policy; and Tamara Wittes, Senior Fellow and Director, Saban Center for Middle East Policy discuss some of these Big Bets and Black Swans, including turning Tehran away from nuclear weapons and a potential collapse of the Camp David Treaty between Egypt and Israel.