Yesterday I wrote “here we go again” with President Obama agonizing over another major foreign-policy decision–whether or not to arm Ukraine–even as our enemies push ahead with great determination and cunning. Today we are seeing yet another Obama MO: the tendency, once endless administration deliberations are finished, to produce a split-the-difference solution that doesn’t accomplish as much as it should.
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.
Even as ISIS is losing a little ground at Kobani, it is gaining strength elsewhere and the new Iraqi interior minister's ties to Iran compromises the response, writes Max Boot for the Wall Street Journal.
Writing in Defense One, Janine Davidson pushes back against criticism of the U.S. military’s deployment to Liberia to help fight the Ebola virus. In fact, she argues, the U.S. military is the institution best equipped to overcome this challenge.
Despite the recent parliamentary approval authorizing cross-border operations into Syria and Iraq, and even at the risk of jeopardizing peace talks with the Kurds as the city of Kobani remains under siege, Turkey is not fully committed to confronting ISIS militants head-on, says CFR's Steven A. Cook.
The U.S.-led coalition to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) includes fifty-five states, nine of which have taken part in military operations or stated their willingness to do so. However, over time, CPA's Micah Zenko argues, these commitments will diminish as the mission shifts, resources dwindle, and national support decreases, just as was the case in the Iraq War and 2011 intervention in Libya.
On September 30, 2014, the United States and Afghanistan signed a bilateral security agreement, which allows some American and NATO troops to remain in Afghanistan after December 31, when the the international combat mission formally ends. These remaining troops's main focus is training the Afghan security forces. The previous version of this agreement stalled after disagreements on troop levels. See also the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA)'s Independent Assessment of the Afghan National Security Forces.
Writing in Defense One, Janine Davidson and Emerson Brooking assess the ramifications of the anti-ISIS air campaign's expansion into Syria. They argue that the campaign will be stymied without robust regional partnerships. They conclude that, should the campaign escalate further, both domestic funding and political authorization will become significant issues of debate.
President Barack Obama spoke on September 23, 2014, about airstrikes in Syria, conducted by the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain, and Qatar, to target Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
American leaders repeatedly offer unrealistic and outrageous counterterrorism strategies that are destined to fail. This is no different for the Obama administration's policy to "destroy" the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, says Micah Zenko.
On the eve of President Obama's announcement of his strategy to combat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon discusses the possibilities for U.S. military involvement in the Middle East.
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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.
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 »