Authors: Robert Matthews, Daniel L. Johnson, and Gretchen West
Better safe than sorry. Gretchen West (“Drone On,” May/ June 2015) argues that the growing U.S. drone industry “faces a major regulatory obstacle” in the form of the Federal Aviation Administration. She’s right that the agency needs to make some basic decisions about how to regulate drones—and soon, lest the United States surrender its technological edge.
Until recently, most Europeans believed that their post–Cold War security order held universal appeal and could be a model for the rest of the world. This conviction was hardly surprising, since Europe has often played a central role in global affairs. For much of the last three centuries, European order was world order—a product of the interests, ambitions, and rivalries of the continent’s empires.
At the end of World War II, the United Kingdom built memorials to every military branch save one: the Royal Air Force’s Bomber Command. The group had skillfully carried out its mission, leveling German cities in raids that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. But by 1945, the British public had developed second thoughts about the morality and efficacy of that mission.
In past years, Andrew Krepinevich, Jr., has argued for a U.S. military operational concept in the Pacific theater called “Air-Sea Battle.” This concept relies heavily on preemptive deep strikes in the early stages of a conflict and would have been highly escalatory.
A close call. It is tempting to view the chaos in Libya today as yet one more demonstration of the futility of U.S.-led military interventions. That is precisely the case that Alan Kuperman makes in his article (“Obama’s Libya Debacle,” March/April 2015), which asserts that NATO’s 2011 intervention in Libya was “an abject failure” that set free Libya’s vast conventional weapons stockpiles, gave rise to extremist groups, and even exacerbated the conflict in Syria.
Intelligence analysts have labored for years to identify the factors that make countries unstable. For those wanting to anticipate the next failed state, Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Gregory Treverton (“The Calm Before the Storm,” January/February 2015) offer a counterintuitive insight: “Disorderly regimes come out as safer bets than commonly thought—and seemingly placid states turn out to be ticking time bombs.”
The use of social media and other Internet-enabled communications by the self-proclaimed Islamic State is pushing the United States and other democracies to react to the abuse of liberal freedoms by illiberal forces. CFR Visiting Fellow David P. Fidler outlines ways to counter the Islamic State's online onslaught through policies anchored in free speech, transparency, and accountability.
In his testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, Jerome A. Cohen argues that China would benefit at home and abroad by demonstrating increasing respect rule of law, while the United States, by striving harder to set a good example, could do much to improve not only its own society but also its standing in China and the world.
Department of Defense released a Law of War Manual that applies to all services on June 12, 2015. The document discusses law of war publications produced previously by different services within the military.
Authors: Ray Takeyh and Roger I. Zakheim Wall Street Journal
Signals from the United States that it has no intent to use force against Iran has weakened America’s deterrence posture, argues CFR’s Ray Takeyh. The Islamic republic has, as a result, become more comfortable resuming its nuclear activities.
As Kurds strive for a greater role in Turkey and continue to resist the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) has released a new interactive guide examining the Kurds’ growing prominence in the region.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar signed a 10-year defense framework agreement on June 3, 2015. The agreement follows up on part of U.S. President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's joint statement from January 2015.
“Had the program been in place more than a decade ago, it would likely have prevented 9/11. And it has the potential to prevent the next 9/11.”So wrote Mike Morrell, the CIA’s former acting director, about section 215 of the Patriot Act, which authorizes the National Security Agency to search telephone “metadata” (i.e., connections between telephone numbers not the content of calls) to ferret out terrorists. Now section 215 is no more.
This legislation was introduced to Congress on April 28, 2015, as H.R. 2048 Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ensuring Effective Discipline Over Monitoring Act of 2015. President Obama signed it into law on June 2, 2015. The act is an overhaul of the National Security Council's intelligence gathering program, the largest reform of the program since the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
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 2015 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 »