What CFR.org Editors are reading the week of December 8–December 12.
What CFR.org Editors are reading the week of December 8–December 12.
Joshua Kurlantzick reviews the impact of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report regarding their investigation into CIA interrogation practices on countries around the world, including: Thailand, Afghanistan, Lithuania, and Poland.
After 13 years of war, the loss of many thousands of lives, and the expenditure of trillions of dollars, what has the United States learned? The answer depends on not only who is asking but when.
For more than a decade now, U.S. soldiers have been laboring under a sad paradox: even though the United States enjoys unprecedented global military dominance that should cow enemies mightily, it has found itself in constant combat for longer than ever before in its history, and without much to show for it.
In a speech at Fort Bragg on December 14, 2011, President Barack Obama declared that the U.S. military would soon depart Iraq, ending one of the longest wars in American history.
In the concluding pages of his fascinating memoir, War Comes to Garmser, Carter Malkasian, a Pashto-speaking U.S. diplomat who was stationed in a volatile region of Afghanistan in 2009–11, voices a fear shared by many of the Westerners who have participated in the Afghan war during the past 13 years: "The most frustrating thing about leaving Garmser in July 2011 and now watching it from afar is that I cannot be certain that the [Afghan] government will be able to stand on its own. ... The British and the Marines had put the government in a better position to survive than it had enjoyed in the past. What they had not done was create a situation in which the government was sure to win future battles against Taliban [fighters] coming out of Pakistan."
In late 2013, Google announced that it had acquired Boston Dynamics, an engineering and robotics company best known for creating BigDog, a four-legged robot that can accompany soldiers into rough terrain.
At a public meeting in Assam a few days ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated his government’s intention to pursue the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) with Bangladesh. While resolving the border with Bangladesh may seem like a quiet regional development compared with the turmoil in Afghanistan or competition with China, it will in effect deliver a political hat-trick of historic proportion.
The diplomat George Kennan described World War I as “the great seminal catastrophe” of the twentieth century, because it led to so many further catastrophes.
The philosopher Alfred North Whitehead once remarked that the history of European philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato. For Ian Morris, world history may be understood as a series of footnotes to Thomas Hobbes.
North Korea’s implosion is imminent, South Korea’s absorption of the North will represent a boon to all, and policymakers in Washington and Seoul should start planning for a military intervention to reunify the Korean Peninsula -- at least according to Sue Mi Terry (“A Korea Whole and Free,” July/August 2014).
Syria is a hard one. The arguments against the United States’ taking a more active role in ending the vicious three-year-old conflict there are almost perfectly balanced by those in favor of intervening, especially in the aftermath of the painful experiences of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Max Boot argues that the release of the Senate “torture” report, condemning an interrogation program authorized by the president and congressional leaders, will aid America's enemies and harm our interests.
The Senate Intelligence Committee began investigating the use of torture by the CIA to obtain information from detainees about terrorist plots. Their study was completed in December 2012 and was released December 9, 2014, after the CIA and the Senate Intelligence Committee debated how much information should be released. The CIA released its Director of the CIA John Brennan gave a new statement on December 9, 2014. The CIA also prepared a fact sheet on the history of the program and its responses to the Senate Intelligence Committee's main findings.
The Senate Intelligence Committee began investigating the use of torture by the CIA to obtain information from detainees about terrorist plots. The report covers the history of the interrogation program, the value of information obtained from torture techniques, and the CIA's and other government officials public statements about the "enhanced interrogation" program. The Senate Intelligence Committee concludes that the torture program was ineffective and that some techniques were harsher than admitted previously. The report was completed in December 2012 and was released December 9, 2014, after the CIA and the Senate Intelligence Committee debated how much information should be released. Senator Dianne Feinstein, who led the investigation, stated that the classified, unredacted version of the report could be released later if necessary. The CIA released its own fact sheet and response.
U.S. Navy Vice Admiral William Moran discusses the Navy's resources and technology in the face of new threats.
Following Secretary of State John Kerry's announcement that the deadline for negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program would once again be pushed back, Adam Mount argues in the National Interest that applying more sanctions would eliminate any hope for a deal to end the Iranian nuclear program.
Though the release of the executive summary of the Senate’s report on the CIA’s post-9/11 detention and interrogation program is a worthwhile effort, this report will cover little new ground, Micah Zenko argues. Rather, a more public account, including interviews with torture victims and interrogation technique used by the Department of Defense, is needed. Zenko provides guidelines for and questions to think about while reading the report.
In 2013, the Philippines appealed to the United Nation's Convention on the Law of the Sea in settling claims to territory in the South China Sea. On December 7, 2014, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs released the Chinese government's response, arguing that the Convention does not apply to the dispute in the South China Sea.
Micah Zenko, CFR’s Douglas Dillon fellow in the Center for Preventive Action, and Sarah E. Kreps, associate professor of government at Cornell University, discuss the increased tactical use of unmanned aerial systems and the ramifications for U.S. foreign policy, as part of CFR's Academic Conference Call series.
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.
Smith's insightful book explores the policy issues testing the Japanese government as it tries to navigate its relationship with an advancing China. More
This revolutionary new look at volatility and crisis in oil markets explores the conditions in which oil supply fears arise, gain popularity, and eventually wane. More
Maximalist finds lessons in the past that anticipate and clarify our chaotic present, revealing the history of U.S. foreign policy in an unexpected new light. More
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 »