"[Keeping the phone metadata collection program] was the first in a series of decisions by Obama to institutionalize some of the most controversial national-security policies of the Bush Administration. Faced with a long list of policies to roll back…reining in the N.S.A.'s surveillance programs might have seemed like a low priority. As core members of Al Qaeda were killed, the danger shifted to terrorists who were less organized and more difficult to detect, making the use of the N.S.A.'s powerful surveillance tools even more seductive."
"To join a U.S.-Japanese anti-Chinese coalition would not only antagonize China, it would align Korea with its "ancient foe." Worse, the mutual U.S. alliances mean that nationalists and maximalists in Korea and Japan can make whatever outrageous claims they like about the other, yet face little geopolitical consequence. U.S. alliances are a form of "moral hazard" that ironically worsen the problem by reducing the incentives for rapprochement."
The French newspaper Le Monde interviewed Afghan President Hamid Karzai on December 10, 2013. He discussed the U.S.-Afghan Bilateral Security Agreement about U.S. military assistance in Afghanistan after 2014 and his conditions for signing it.
While a fresh face at the helm of the Pakistani military undoubtedly raises American hopes for a less frustrating relationship, Daniel Markey writes that Washington should keep its expectations firmly in check and at least one eye out for trouble.
Vice President Joe Biden met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on December 4, 2013, during the vice president's trip to Asia. The vice president also spoke to the American Chamber of Commerce in Beijing and the U.S.-China Business Council on December 5, 2013.
"The path towards 2014 demands greater reconciliation among ethnic groups so as not to derail either the development process or the physical and moral resources of the government in chairing ASEAN and hosting other related summits in 2014."
CFR Senior Fellow for Japan Studies Sheila A. Smith and Senior Fellow for Korea Studies and Director of the Program on U.S.-Korea Policy Scott A. Snyder discuss the ongoing tension over China's new air defense zone in the East China Sea and the implications for Japan and South Korea.
"Snowden grew up in the shadow of the biggest intelligence-gathering organization in the world – the National Security Agency – in the Anne Arundel County community of Crofton, Maryland. A solidly middle-class, planned community of 27,000 that Money has ranked as one of the '100 Best Places to Live,' Crofton, like the towns around it, fed the workforce of the defense and intelligence contractors in the area. The NSA, which employs tens of thousands of people in the public and private sectors, was just 15 miles away, at Fort Meade, whose high school boasts a 'homeland-security program' to funnel kids into the industry."
The U.S.-Japan alliance has been the cornerstone of Washington's security policy in East Asia, but rising threats from China, North Korea, and economic recovery in both countries have raised questions about the future of the rapport.
Vice President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivered remarks to the press in Tokyo on December 3, 2013. The meeting was the beginning of the vice president's travel in Asia, to discuss the Obama administration's rebalance to Asia and China's announcement of an Air Defense Identification Zone.
The Asahi Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper, conducted a written interview with Vice President Joe Biden on December 2, 2013, before the vice president's trip to China, Japan, and South Korea. The interview covers China's announcement of its Air Defense Identification Zone, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, defense and cybersecurity alliances, and the Obama administration's "pivot to Asia."
"China is eager to re-establish dominance over the region. Bitterness at the memory of the barbaric Japanese occupation in the second world war sharpens this desire. It is this possibility of a clash between a rising and an established power that lies behind the oft-used parallel between contemporary East Asia and early 20th-century Europe, in which the Senkakus play the role of Sarajevo."
RAND Corporation's Seth G. Jones and Keith Crane explain in a new Council Special Report how the United States should manage the complex political, security, and economic challenges that will accompany the reduction in U.S. and allied forces.
The P5+1 (the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, and China, facilitated by the European Union) met with Iran in Geneva to discuss a diplomatic resolution regarding Iran's nuclear program. They released an initial plan of action November 24, 2013.
Frank Klotz and Oliver Bloom examine the prospect of formal discussions with China on strategic stability and nuclear arms control, and address recent debates on China's nuclear capabilities and doctrine.
The United States maintains important interests in Afghanistan, even as most U.S. and allied troops are withdrawn in 2014. Seth G. Jones and Keith Crane assess the political, security, and economic challenges facing U.S. policymakers in Afghanistan and evaluate a range of policy options.
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.