President Obama's new strategy for winning the war in Afghanistan has drawn praise from U.S. forces and international allies. But Afghan Defense Minister Gen. Adbul Rahim Wardak tells CFR.org that Washington's renewed commitment falls short of previous U.S. commitments.
CFR's Stephen Biddle says President Obama's decision to add four thousand troops to train Afghan troops is "a reasonable first step" but that Obama faces huge challenges in standing up a viable Afghan army.
Charles A. Kupchan, CFR senior fellow for Europe studies, says Obama's "popularity and the departure of President Bush" create a "window of opportunity to improve relations between the United States and Russia and between the United States and the European Union.
Admiral Timothy J. Keating interviewed by Greg Bruno
The commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, Admiral Timothy J. Keating, emphasizes expanding U.S. cooperation with countries in the region but says a military partnership with China appears a long way off.
Barnett R. Rubin, a leading expert on Afghanistan, says to end the current crisis there the United States should reach out to other parties such as Pakistan, Russia, India, and Iran, as well as to encourage dialogue between Afghan government emissaries and Taliban insurgents who are not tied to al-Qaeda.
Veteran New York Times correspondent John F. Burns discusses the declining security situation in Afghanistan and what he says are the dim prospects for fruitful peace talks between the Taliban and Karzai government.
Richard N. Haass, CFR president and an expert on the Middle East, says the congressional testimony by the top two U.S. officials in Iraq has to a large extent “regained control of the Iraq debate” for the Bush administration.
Kenneth M. Pollack, a leading expert on Iraq, says his latest trip to Iraq showed the country was “a mess,” but there were also significant improvements on the ground as a result of the U.S. “surge” policy.
Gary Samore, a former National Security Council official, says Iran is trying to forestall another round of UN Security Council sanctions and ultimately to stave off a possible military attack against its nuclear facilities.
Steven Simon, an expert on Middle East security issues, says his overall impression of the Iraq Study Group report is that “it was a variation on ‘cut and run,’” which President Bush has vowed he would not do in Iraq.
Richard N. Haass, an expert on Middle East affairs, says the Iraq Study Group’s report on Iraq is “refreshingly honest” and gives the Bush administration “the best chance that exists for making progress.”
Anthony H. Cordesman, a leading analyst of the Iraq war, says the next two years may be decisive in finding out whether a civil war breaks out in that country, necessitating a U.S. pullout, or whether the country can pull itself together.
Martin S. Indyk, a former top U.S.policymaker on the Middle East, says it would be wrong to invite Iran and Syria, the major backers of Hezbollah, into negotiations to end the current fighting between Hezbollah and Israel.
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.