Author: Micah Zenko Australian National University, Strategic & Defence Studies Centre
Many predictions have been made that the United States and China will find themselves in competition or even direct conflict. Yet this is not preordained and both sides need to be careful not to talk themselves into a hostile relationship. In this bold new paper, Micah Zenko argues that by identifying clear ideas about acceptable conduct in the key domains (maritime, space, and cyber) the United States and China can avoid conflict without presuming away differences of interest or opinion.
The deterioration of violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, disputes in Ukraine and the East and South China Seas, and the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea are among the top concerns of foreign policy experts, says CFR's Paul Stares.
CPA's conflict prevention resources include the Preventive Priorities Survey series, the Global Conflict Tracker, and an index of publicly available watchlists and datasets. The index of watchlists is organized by dependent variable (conflict and instability; governance; respect for human rights; economic fragility) and like the Preventive Priorities Survey, will be updated periodically to reflect the recalibration of existing online lists, the release of new data, and the completion of future Preventive Priorities Surveys.
Ebrahim Moosa, professor of Islamic studies at the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, and Mona Yacoubian, deputy assistant administrator for the Middle East at USAID, discuss sectarian conflict in the Middle East at the American Academy of Religion 2014 Annual Meeting, as part of CFR's Religion and Foreign Policy Initiative.
The militant Islamist group Boko Haram’s increasingly bold attacks in Nigeria—most notably its April kidnapping of nearly three hundred female students—threaten to fuel further Muslim-Christian violence and destabilize West Africa, making the group a leading concern for U.S. policymakers, writes former U.S. Ambassador to NigeriaJohn Campbell, CFR senior fellow for Africa policy studies, in a new Council Special Report from the Center for Preventive Action (CPA).
Georgetown University's Colin H. Kahl discusses the ongoing turmoil in Iraq and evaluates U.S. policy options for contributing to stability in the region, as part of CFR's Academic Conference Call series.
The Obama administration should pursue a strategy that places clear limits on its own sale and use of armed drones lest these weapons proliferate and their use becomes widespread. These are the central findings of a new report from the Center for Preventive Action by CFR Douglas Dillon Fellow Micah Zenko and Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow Sarah Kreps.
This memo assesses the impact of spillover from the ongoing civil war in Syria on Lebanon's security and proposes several steps the United States should take to lessen the likelihood of sectarian violence and instability in Lebanon.
Increasingly frequent clashes between China and its neighbors heighten the risk of escalating tensions and military conflict over territorial claims in the East and South China Seas. Policy experts discuss a range of preventive measures aimed at mitigating miscalculations by sea captains or political leaders that could trigger an armed conflict.
In April 2014, at the Western Pacific Naval Symposium held in Qingdao, China, twenty-one Pacific nations including the United States signed the Conduct for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES), to reduce tensions between different militaries. CUES is not legally binding.
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.
"Conflict prevention's placement as a policy goal deep within the National Security Strategy (NSS), and the lack of specificity about how this is pursued, says a lot about how the U.S. government thinks about preventing future wars," Micah Zenko writes. Heprovides a series of recommendations to address under-prioritization and under-development of conflict prevention in U.S. policies and strategies.
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Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
Koblentz argues that the United States should work with other nuclear-armed states to manage threats to nuclear stability in the near term and establish processes for multilateral arms control efforts over the longer term.
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2014 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »