This post originally appeared in Gotham Gazette on September 26, 2017. The introduction is available here, and you can read the full piece at the link below:
What does it mean for a City to have a foreign policy? And specifically what would it mean for New York City to have a foreign policy? At first sight, this question might seem somewhat absurd. It is, of course, the US Government that has a State Department and a Defense Department and embassies all around the world, not New York City. Diplomacy and international affairs are the work of the sovereign, are they not? Why would New York need to, or even be able to, duplicate the work that Washington is already doing here? In short, is New York distinct enough to need, or to be able to benefit from, an autonomous “Metropolitan Foreign Policy?” And how would this even be accomplished?