Issues

Video

China's Maritime Disputes

Speakers: Elizabeth C. Economy, Richard N. Haass, Shen Dingli, Sheila A. Smith, and Simon Tay

The East and South China Seas are the scene of escalating territorial disputes between China and its neighbors, including Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The tensions, shaped by China's growing assertiveness, have fueled concerns over armed conflict and raised questions about Washington's security commitments in its strategic rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region.

See more in Asia and Pacific; Defense and Security

Article

Waste of Space

Author: Micah Zenko
ForeignPolicy.com

Orbit space debris threatens U.S. space assets and assured access to the domain. Micah Zenko argues that the United States has a unique obligation to prevent or mitigate the consequences of dangerous space incidents, which are the primary cause of space debris, because it relies heavily on space and has unmatched space situational awareness.

See more in United States; Space

Op-Ed

Obama Is on the Right Course with His Reorientation Toward Asia

Author: Thomas E. Donilon
Washington Post

Questions have arisen in recent months about the sustainability of the United States' rebalance toward Asia. The costly cancellation of President Obama's trip to the region during the U.S. government shutdown last fall fueled that skepticism, which has only grown as urgent foreign policy challenges have required U.S. leadership in the Middle East and Europe.

See more in Asia and Pacific; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Must Read

Radiolab: 60 Words

"In the hours after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a lawyer sat down in front of a computer and started writing a legal justification for taking action against those responsible. The language that he drafted and that President George W. Bush signed into lawcalled the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF)has at its heart one single sentence, 60 words long. Over the last decade, those 60 words have become the legal foundation for the 'war on terror.'"

See more in United States; 9/11 Impact

Must Read

New America Foundation: Strategic Empathy

Author: Matt Waldman

"Empathy can provide insights into how other actors are likely to perceive and react to what the United States does, and expose false assumptions that sometimes underpin strategic mistakes.This kind of information is critical as the United States weighs options for action–coercive or otherwise–in Syria, Ukraine and beyond. The case of Afghanistan shows that the human, financial and geopolitical costs are too high for empathy to be ignored."

See more in United States; Afghanistan; Politics and Strategy

Primary Sources

Geneva Statement on Ukraine

Foreign ministers from the United States, the European Union, Ukraine, and Russia released a joint statement on April 17, 2014, outlining steps to reduce tensions in Ukraine after President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted and Russia annexed Crimea. The foreign ministers charge Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) with enforcing the agreement. Secretary of State John Kerry and EU High Representative Catherine Ashton held a press conference to discuss the agreement.

See more in Ukraine; Conflict Prevention

Contingency Planning Memorandum

Dangerous Space Incidents

Author: Micah Zenko

Dangerous incidents in outer space pose an increasing threat to U.S. assets and risk escalating into militarized crises. Douglas Dillon Fellow Micah Zenko details how the Obama administration could reduce the likelihood of such crises, or mitigate their consequences should they occur.

See more in Global; Space

Must Read

World Politics Review: Australia’s Abbott Seeks to Balance Japan, South Korea and China on Asian Trip

Author: Roxana Horton

"Japan and Australia share an important ally in the United States, and lest the U.S. pivot to Asia be forgotten, Japan and Australia reaffirmed the importance of strong U.S. engagement in the Asia-Pacific region and expressed strong support for what the U.S. now calls the rebalance. But how can Australia pull this off without antagonizing Beijing?"

See more in Asia and Pacific; Politics and Strategy

Backgrounder
Renewing America

Renewing America

Driverless Cars

Author: Steven J. Markovich

Tech and auto companies in the United States, Europe, and Asia are moving forward rapidly with efforts to develop driverless cars and street networks. The benefits appear tantalizing, but roadblocks loom, explains this Backgrounder.

See more in Global; Technology and Science

Article

Planning for Withdrawal in Afghanistan May Be Smart, But It’s Not Wise

Author: Daniel S. Markey
Defense One

Votes are still being counted in Afghanistan's presidential election, but preliminary results suggest that no candidate won a majority. If these results hold up and no backroom deals are cooked up between Afghan politicians, a runoff poll will follow and the victor will not likely be declared until late summer. That timeline is making U.S. and NATO military planners very nervous.

See more in Afghanistan; Diplomacy and Statecraft; Defense Strategy

News Release

New CFR Scorecard Shows U.S. Corporate Tax System Keeps Foreign Profits Abroad

Nearly three decades after the last major tax overhaul, both Democratic and Republican parties and President Barack Obama agree that cutting the corporate tax rate and taxing foreign profits differently would move the tax system in the right direction. The outdated corporate tax system does not raise as much revenue as the systems of most other rich countries, even as U.S. corporate profits have reached record highs, according to a new progress report and scorecard from the Council on Foreign Relations' Renewing America initiative.

See more in United States; Tax Policy