Thanks to a once-obscure law passed in 1789, foreign victims of foreign human rights abusers can use U.S. courts to sue their abusers. But the Supreme Court may soon ban such suits. That would be a shame, since they offer victims some measure of solace and give substance to underenforced human rights laws. The law should be upheld, and other countries should follow the U.S. lead.
Since their inception in 2000, The Millennium Development Goals have revolutionized the global aid business, using specific targets to help mobilize and guide development efforts. They have encouraged world leaders to tackle multiple dimensions of poverty simultaneously and provided a standard for judging performance. As their 2015 expiration looms, the time has come to bank those successes and focus on what comes next.
A comprehensive guide to how international institutions, governments, and NGOs around the world are attempting to prevent and contain armed conflict. This is part of the Global Governance Monitor, an interactive feature tracking multilateral approaches to several global challenges.
Due to the 9/11 attacks and the continued threat posed by international terrorism, the United States claims it is "currently at war with al-Qaeda and its associated forces," a conflict that extends beyond traditional battlefield settings to any country that is "unwilling or unable" to take action itself. The United States reserves the right to conduct targeted killings, although only against "senior" members of al-Qaeda who "pose an imminent threat the United States of America." Although the U.S. military has a vast array of tools in its arsenal, the primary vehicle for its targeted killings program are drones, which have been used in over 95 percent of the 420—and counting—targeted killings over the last decade.
Secretary John Kerry and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gave these remarks before their meeting on February 14, 2013. They outlined the main issues they would discuss: North Korea's nuclear test and Six Party Talks, negotiations with Iran, the crisis in Syria, and France's intervention in Mali.
With the recent revelation of a United Nations inquiry into U.S. drone strikes policies and practices, Micah Zenko says the UN has actually been investigating U.S. drones for ten years—but to no effect.
Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, discusses the influence of the United States on common and organized crime in Central America, and offers policy recommendations for what the United States could do domestically and internationally to mitigate the violence.
Jerome A. Cohen says, "Beijing's pending prosecution of deposed Politburo member Bo Xilai and the recent murder conviction of his wife, Gu Kailai , have again brought China's criminal justice system to world attention."
John B. Bellinger III says, "Over the last 230 years, the Senate has approved more than 1,500 treaties. In 2013, Mr. Obama must demonstrate leadership by putting greater effort in securing Senate approval of essential treaties that advance American interests, including the Law of the Sea Convention."
With the passing of International Human Rights Day, Jerome A. Cohen says China still has no effective means of enforcing the rights enshrined in its constitution. Yet, once again, new Communist Party leaders reignite hopes for bringing government and the party under the rule of law.
Kenneth Anderson and Matthew C. Waxman say some view automated technology developments as a crisis for the laws of war. But provided we start now to incorporate ethical and legal norms into weapons design, the incremental movement from automation to genuine machine autonomy already underway might well be made to serve the ends of law on the battlefield.
The interactive Global Governance Monitor tracks, maps, and evaluates multilateral efforts to address today's global challenges.
CFR Experts Guide
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 »