The potential chaos highlighted by a 2011 Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Contingency Planning Memorandum, "Post-Qaddafi Instability in Libya," has come to fruition. Daniel P. Serwer outlines the unfolding crisis and recommends steps the United States, Europe, and Arab countries can take to help mitigate the fallout.
Territorial disputes in the South China Sea continue to be a source of tension and potential conflict between China and other countries in the region. Bonnie S. Glaser argues that the United States should help lower the risk of conflict in the region, including the potential for dangerous military incidents involving U.S. and Chinese military forces.
Venezuela is in a state of protracted crisis. Ambassador Patrick Duddy updates his 2012 Contingency Planning Memorandum to reflect the current likelihood of significant political instability in Venezuela and the options available to the United States.
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.
Center for Preventive Action'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 Nigeria John 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.
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 authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
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.
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 »