Throughout Chuck Hagel's marathon confirmation hearing, America's decade-long war in Afghanistan was noticeably overlooked. But it is curious to see the next secretary of defense receive so few inquiries from senators about the war whose end he will presumably oversee in the coming years, says Gayle Tzemach Lemmon.
Shannon K. O'Neil says after Republicans' election-year drubbing, the United States has an historic opportunity to fix its broken immigration system. And the arguments against reform simply don't hold up anymore.
Americans want to see Congress and the president make a deal on the "fiscal cliff," but the incentives are strongest for policymakers to act only after the cliff has come and gone—and wreaked a great deal of havoc in the process, says Gayle Tzemach Lemmon.
Micah Zenko says, "Like Dick Cheney 21 years ago, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has engaged in an exhaustive effort to avoid both sequestration and any further reductions in the Pentagon's budget. The distinction between Panetta and his predecessors, however, is in the tactics he has employed to protect his bureaucratic turf."
Max Boot argues that cuts to defense spending have the potential to devastate the U.S. armed forces, and if left unchecked, will do more damage to their fighting capacity than the Taliban, al-Qaeda, or any other external foe could inflict.
Authors: David G. Victor and Danny Cullenward Scientific American
The odds are high that humans will warm Earth’s climate to worrisome levels during the coming century. Policy makers in the United States, which historically has produced more CO2 emissions than any other nation while doing relatively little to tame the flow, can in particular learn much about creating viable carbon-cutting markets by studying Europe’s recent experience. In this Scientific American article, David Victor and Danny Cullenward offer several concrete suggestions on how the U.S. should go about constructing an effective national climate policy.
There is a well-known adage that politics stops at the water's edge, but this tends to be more hope than reality. American history is filled with examples in which political disagreement at home has made it difficult for the United States to act, much less lead, abroad.
After more than a decade of war and several years of a deep financial crisis, many Americans are asking whether the country should focus more of its attention—and more of its resources—at home. That said, the impulse to lead is still strong in both political parties and most polls show that Americans still feel both a moral and strategic imperative to remain fully engaged in the world.
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.