Foreign Policy

Foreign Policy Memo Topic Ideas

Below is a list of broad foreign policy issues that you may choose to focus on in your memo. You are free to choose another issue not on the list, as well.

Note that the issues below are general areas and you’d need to narrow them down for the purposes of your policy memo.

  1. US-China relationship (A conflict with China over Taiwan)
  2. Instability post Afghanistan withdrawal
  3. Rethinking the U.S.-Saudi Relationship (For too long, Washington has sacrificed its principles to appease the kingdom—and gotten almost nothing in return.)
  4. Iran’s Nuclear Program Advances
  5. Russia’s war against Ukraine:
    a. The West’s military aid for Ukraine: scale, scope, effect
    b. Ukrainian refugee crisis
    c. Investigation and prosecution of war crimes
    d. Upended global security order (democracies v autocracies?)
    e. Expansion of NATO
    f. Rising energy prices/energy crisis
  6. The global clean energy race
  7. Nuclear proliferation
  8. The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in combat and decision-making
  9. Climate change
  10. U.S.’s vulnerability to cyber attacks
  11. Economic and political instability in Latin America
  12. Overreliance on foreign sources and adversarial nations for critical minerals

Overreliance on foreign sources and adversarial nations for critical minerals – national security implications of critical minerals, their supply chains, and the resilience of the defense industrial base, exploring the challenges and opportunities of reducing US dependency on unfriendly suppliers for critical minerals.

Global demand for critical minerals is expected to increase by 400-600 percent in the coming decades. These critical minerals, like lithium, cobalt, and rare earths, are key components of many modern technologies, making them essential to US national security, economic prosperity, and energy independence. In June 2022, the Biden Administration released the results of its 100-Day Review of supply chains, finding that overreliance on foreign sources and adversarial nations for critical minerals posed a threat to national security. With strategic competition and supply chain disruptions threatening reliable access to these minerals, the Biden Administration is taking steps to increase domestic production and partner with other mineral-producing and consuming nations. If done correctly, diversification could increase overall resilience, supporting the green energy transition and national security more broadly, both in the United States and globally.

Additional resources for topic ideas:

Bad Ideas in National Security

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