With all the talk of drawing down U.S. forces in Iraq, the U.S. military is quietly adopting a strategy that gets more U.S. soldiers onto the streets to interact with Iraqi locals and forces. Experts say this strategy will be successful at securing Iraq in the long run, even though it puts troops at greater risk in the short run.
Buttressed by input from scholars, diplomats, and observers with an intimate knowledge of U.S. foreign policy, Honey and Vinegar examines "engagement"—strategies that primarily involve the use of positive incentives.
What is the best way to stabilize Afghanistan at a time when international forces are scaling down commitments? Putting Afghan troops in the lead of their own counterinsurgency efforts, writes CFR's Linda Robinson.
Cuts in U.S. military aid to Pakistan only have a chance to translate into greater cooperation if they're part of a larger strategy, including a U.S. crackdown on Pakistan-linked militants in Afghanistan, says CFR's Daniel Markey.
President Obama's decision to make Leon Panetta head of the Pentagon and Gen. David Petraeus head of the CIA shows the growing influence of the intelligence agency and its integration with the military, says CFR's Micah Zenko.
Escalating hostilities between China and its neighbors over competing claims to the South China Sea is a test of China's growing strength and a diplomatic challenge for the United States, which insists that the waterway should be open, says CFR's Joshua Kurlantzick.
While U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan won't be directly affected, bin Laden's death could result in an expedited draw-down schedule, leaving the country open to a Taliban takeover and leading to upheaval in Pakistan, says CFR's Stephen Biddle.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates's recent West Point speech promoted the need for better strategic thinking by the U.S. military to supplant a current emphasis on counterinsurgency tactics and nation building, says CFR's Gian Gentile.
The transition of security responsibilities to Afghan forces within four years will require a significant increase in international training efforts, but NATO's Jack Kem says coalition forces are making progress in overhauling security institutions.
Despite recent successes, unmanned drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan remain a controversial tactic. CFR's Micah Zenko says the Obama administration must shed new details on the "worst kept covert secret in the history of U.S. foreign policy."
CFR's top defense policy expert Stephen Biddle says President Obama's announcement of a date for U.S. forces to begin withdrawing from Afghanistan could draw fire from wary Democrats, but also conveys that the U.S. "is uncomfortable with long stays."
The coordinator of President Barack Obama's original Afghan policy, Bruce Riedel, says political and security changes in Afghanistan and "sticker shock" in Washington have contributed to delays in carrying out a new U.S. military strategy.
As debate over the size and scope of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan intensifies, military strategist Kimberly Kagan says the only way to ensure victory is a better-resourced counterinsurgency campaign focused on securing population centers.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
The author examines Pakistan's complex role in U.S. foreign policy and advocates for a two-pronged approach that works to quarantine threats while integrating Pakistan into the broader U.S. agenda in Asia.