Julia E. Sweig says the recent "fiscal cliff" deal marks the end of the grand bargain, and "the new normal in Washington is one of hyper partisanship, in which the Republicans have learned that if they wait long enough the Democrats will soften at the end of negotiations."
After coming to a slow crawl on the fiscal deal, this Congress will leave a legacy of the fewest enacted laws than any since 1947; Jonathan Allen writes that the best the 112th Congress has been able to do is "avert the worst."
"To gun control advocates, the opposition is out of touch with the times, misinterprets the Second Amendment, and is lacking in concern for the problems of crime and violence. To gun control opponents, advocates are naive in their faith in the power of regulation to solve social problems, bent on disarming the American citizen for ideological or social reasons, and moved by irrational hostility toward firearms and gun enthusiasts."
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.
The primary political parties in Mexico negotiated these accords to create congressional consensus and move forward on reforms in the areas of civil rights, economics, security, and governance. The original pact was signed on December 2, 2012, and a fourth political party joined on January 28, 2013.
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."
Joseph Lieberman's retirement will impact the clout of the bipartisan trio, which included Senators Lieberman, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham, that once dominated congressional debate on foreign policy, says the New York Times.
Gregory Bovt writes that Russia is a low priority on the list of foreign policy issues for both Democratic and Republican candidates and advises avoiding excessive anti-Russian or anti-U.S. rhetoric from both sides.
The Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court's decision to dissolve parliament has "thrown Egypt into turmoil once again," threatening the upcoming presidential election runoff and the hopes of the country's sixteen-month-old revolution, says CFR's Steven A. Cook.
Woo Jung-yeop of the Asan Institute for Policy Studies analyzes the results of the April 11 Republic of Korea national assembly elections, explaining their implications for the December South Korean presidential elections and the country's future policy direction.
"North Korea's impending nuclear test is just the latest illustration of Barack Obama's weakness and naiveté abroad," writes special advisor to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, Richard Williamson, who served in the Reagan White House as an assistant to the president in the 1980s and as the president's special envoy to Sudan in the 2000s.
Frank G. Klotz says the possibility of a total stalemate on the U.S. defense budget looms very large, but with American forces still fighting in Afghanistan, and Iran and North Korea remaining potential flashpoints, the consequences could be grave.
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.
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.
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 »