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Council on Foreign Relations The World This Week
Highlights from CFR

May 3, 2013

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

A World Without America

Richard N. Haass

The United States must put its house in order–economically, physically, socially, and politically–if it is to have the resources needed to promote order in the world. The alternative to a world led by the United States is not a world led by China, Europe, Russia, Japan, India, or any other country, but a world that is not led at all. Read the Op-Ed »

Obama Heads to Mexico

Shannon K. O'Neil

President Obama's visit to Mexico this week highlighted the need for the United States to recognize and embrace the economic ambitions of its southern neighbor, while also ensuring that security cooperation doesn't falter. What really matters is what happens after the visit and how the U.S. government works with all of these elements and directions in Mexican President Peña Nieto's cabinet. Read More on Latin America's Moment »

Beyond Bin Laden: Grading Global Counterterrorism Efforts

Stewart M. Patrick and Alexandra Kerr

Two years after the death of Osama bin Laden, a new report card finds that by remaining vigilant against persistent threats, the international community and the United States have made progress in countering terrorism. Read More on The Internationalist »

CHEMICAL WEAPONS IN SYRIA

History Doesn't Side With Intervention

Leslie H. Gelb

President Obama was wrong to declare Syria's use of poison gases to be a "red line" that required U.S. military action. But he is right to insist now on a new standard that calls for proof of "systematic" use of chemical gases. He should also publicly chart a far more plausible policy that shows what we can and can't do. Read the Op-Ed »

Why Interventionists Fall Short

Micah Zenko

The horrors committed by the Assad regime make the humanitarian impulse to intervene in Syria understandable, but interventionists have failed to define strategic objectives in that country, and how the use of military force can accomplish them. Read the Op-Ed »

The Angst in Foggy Bottom

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

Past intelligence failures and the public's war exhaustion loom over the entire discussion of what to do when it comes to Syria. But among many at the State Department, as the death toll from the conflict climbs toward 100,000 people and the refugee population soars into the millions, a sense of huge frustration is growing. Read the Op-Ed »

Erase the Red Line

John Mueller

Although repugnant, Assad's use of chemical weapons in Syria should not change the United States' calculations. Many tons of sarin gas must be released under favorable conditions before it can inflict significantly more damage than conventional explosives.  Read More on ForeignAffairs.com »

 

Arab Peace Initiative's Second Take

Robert M. Danin

For two years, the Obama administration has sought a way to reconstitute Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that were broken off in September 2010. At this point, the two sides disagree not only over the preconditions for negotiations, but also over ultimate objectives. The Obama administration should consider utilizing the Arab Peace Initiative as a basis for peace talks. Behind-the-scenes diplomacy could encourage positive responses from concerned regional parties, Arab and Israeli, that would give them all something to talk about. Read the Op-Ed »

THE WORLD AHEAD

An Audio Preview of the World Next Week

Stewart M. Patrick and Robert McMahon

In this week's podcast, Patrick and McMahon discuss South Korean president Park Geun-Hye's visit to the United States; Pakistan's general election; and the record of French president Francois Hollande and Russian president Vladimir Putin as they both mark one year in office. Listen to the Podcast »

Governing the Internet

Andrea Renda

Cybersecurity is now a leading concern for major economies. The time has come for states and private partners to set global norms for web conduct. Read the Expert Brief »

A Primer on U.S. Ballistic Defense

Proponents of U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense stress its role in the projection of U.S. power abroad and its value as a deterrent, while critics highlight its largely unproven technology and high costs. Read the Backgrounder »

Brazil Avoids China's Mistakes in Africa

John Campbell

Brazil's expanding role in Africa is overshadowed in the international media by the larger roles of China and India. But the Brazilian relationship with Africa may prove deeper and longer lasting than that of its higher-profile rivals among the BRICS countries. Read More on Africa in Transition »

The Irony of Sein's Peace Award

Joshua Kurlantzick

Myanmar president Thein Sein recently accepted the International Crisis Group's award for the pursuit of peace. While the country has taken important steps towards democracy, its opening has unleashed dangerous forces that have led to scores of violent attacks against Myanmar's Muslim minority. Left unchecked, this rising ethnic hatred and violence could turn the country into a twenty-first century version of post-Cold War Yugoslavia. Read More on Asia Unbound »

Keeping Food Security Afloat

Isobel Coleman

The USAID's recently released Water and Development Strategy contains practical, potentially powerful initiatives to improve health by expanding access to clean water and sanitation, and to improve food security through better water management. As the global population climbs toward 10 billion, more careful water management will be critical to sustainable agriculture and improved productivity. Read More on Democracy in Development »

WORLD EVENTS CALENDAR

May 8 - 10: World Economic Forum on Africa, Cape Town
CFR Resources on: Africa »

View the Calendar »

INSIDE CFR

At CFR's New York headquarters, CFR President Richard N. Haass discussed his new book Foreign Policy Begins at Home. He puts forward a new foreign policy doctrine in which the United States limits its engagement in wars of choice and humanitarian interventions, and focuses on restoring the foundations of its power at home. Watch the Discussion

A Multimedia Look at the International Finance System

This interactive guide tracks multilateral efforts to manage global finance, spur economic growth, and prevent future meltdowns. View the "Global Governance Monitor"

 

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