Defense and Security

Ask CFR Experts

How should the United States react to Al-Qaeda regaining influence in Iraq?

Asked by Tyler Malcolm
Author: David Palkki

Recent gains by al-Qaeda's main offshoot in Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), are dangerous and discouraging. ISIS control of Fallujah is particularly disheartening, given the U.S. blood spilled to liberate this city in 2004. ISIS occupation of cities such as Fallujah and Ramadi in western Iraq, and Raqqa in eastern Syria, are part and parcel of a plan to destroy the Iraqi state and to create an Islamic caliphate. Important U.S. interests in Iraqi stability and regional security are at stake.

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See more in Iraq; Regional Security

Primary Sources

Department of Defense: Quadrennial Defense Review Report

The Quadrennial Defense Review is mandated by Title 10, Section 118 of the US Code, which states that every four years, the Secretary of Defense, with input from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, must conduct "a comprehensive examination ... of the national defense strategy, force structure, force modernization plans, infrastructure, budget plan, and other elements of the defense program and policies of the United States with a view toward determining and expressing the defense strategy of the United States and establishing a defense program for the next 20 years."

See more in Defense Strategy; Defense Budget; United States

Op-Ed

The Drone Invasion Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

Authors: Micah Zenko and Sarah Kreps
ForeignPolicy.com

It is a common misperception that drones are proliferating widely throughout the world, when in reality, this is an over exaggerated and misleading assumption. Micah Zenko and Sarah Kreps argue that this "apparent runaway train of drone proliferation (and its misreported uses) is actually stymieing efforts to promote or influence responsible armed-drone exports and their uses."

See more in Global; Drones

Testimony

U.S. Alliances in Northeast Asia

Author: Sheila A. Smith

In her testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Sheila A. Smith discusses the strategic importance of the United States' relationship with Japan and South Korea and how President Barack Obama can promote the importance of both bilateral and trilateral relations.

See more in Asia and Pacific; Regional Security

Must Read

Washington Post: Interview: Karzai Says 12-Year Afghanistan War Has Left Him Angry at U.S. Government

Author: Kevin Sieff

"In an unusually emotional interview, the departing Afghan president sought to explain why he has been such a harsh critic of the twelve-year-old U.S. war effort here. He said he's deeply troubled by all the casualties he has seen, including those in U.S. military operations. He feels betrayed by what he calls an insufficient U.S. focus on targeting Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan. And he insists that public criticism was the only way to guarantee an American response to his concerns."

See more in Afghanistan; Defense and Security

Must Read

New Yorker: Putin Goes to War

Author: David Remnick

"Putin's reaction exceeded our worst expectations. These next days and weeks in Ukraine are bound to be frightening, and worse. There is not only the threat of widening Russian military force. The new Ukrainian leadership is worse than weak. It is unstable. It faces the burden of legitimacy."

See more in Ukraine; Wars and Warfare

Foreign Affairs Article

Running the Pentagon Right

Author: Ashton B. Carter

War inevitably presents unexpected challenges. From Germany's use of mustard gas during World War I to North Vietnam's surprisingly effective use of its air defense system during the Vietnam War, the United States has always faced unanticipated threats in combat that have required agile responses.

See more in United States; Defense and Security

Ask CFR Experts

How does the nuclear deal with Iran affect Hezbollah and its regional influence?

Asked by Ahmad Takouche
Author: Mira Rapp-Hooper

It is not clear how the interim Geneva agreement between Iran and the P5+1 powers will affect Iran's relationship with Lebanon-based Hezbollah or Hezbollah's regional influence. According to the IAEA's most recent report, Iran's stockpile of medium-enriched uranium has decreased substantially from its prior levels, suggesting that Iran is implementing the Geneva agreement, at least for the time being. One could certainly argue that if Iran continues to comply with the deal and forecloses its nuclear option, it will no longer be able to easily project influence with the threat of nuclear weapons acquisition or a latent nuclear capability. By this logic, Iran may choose to rely more heavily on Hezbollah to make its presence felt throughout the region. This is certainly a concern of other Gulf States, who fear that the nuclear deal does not address the threat that proxy groups may pose to their regimes.

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See more in Iran; Arms Control, Disarmament, and Nonproliferation; Political Movements and Protests

Audio

Foreign Affairs media call on Iran negotiations with Elliott Abrams, Suzanne Maloney, and George Perkovich

Speakers: Elliott Abrams, Suzanne Maloney, and George Perkovich
Presider: Gideon Rose

Three contributors to the Foreign Affairs ebook Iran and the Bomb 2: A New Hope—CFR Senior Fellow Elliott Abrams, Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Suzanne Maloney, and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Vice President George Perkovich—discuss the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 over Iran's nuclear program, including the debate about potential U.S. sanctions against Iran.

See more in Iran; Arms Control, Disarmament, and Nonproliferation