Global support for the "responsibility to protect" doctrine weakened after the UN-endorsed no-fly zone that helped topple Libya's regime, and debate continues over the threshold for mounting armed humanitarian interventions, explains this Backgrounder.
Syria has been mired in deadly strife since March 2011 and the outlook for resolving what is now a full blown civil war looks increasingly dire. The worst case outcome for Syria is one whereby the country fragments and becomes a failed state in which the Damascus government no longer controls its own territory. Under such a scenario, the glue holding the country together comes unstuck.
As measured by life outcomes, India does not value the lives of its sons as highly as it values the lives of its daughters. Moreover, it allows sexual violence to go unpunished and its victims undefended, whether on the city streets, in villages, in police stations, or in the courts. A powerful impetus for change exists in India, but the challenge of closing the gap between calls for reform and true long-term change looms large.
Political change is happening all the time in China, though the government is not leading the charge. Rather, the Chinese people are advancing political change through advocacy by nongovernmental organizations, communication via the Internet, and political protest.
Isobel Coleman hosts Joshua Kurlantzick, Fellow for Southeast Asia, Council on Foreign Relations, for a discussion about the political and economic transition of Thailand and Indonesia as part of a Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative series on Realizing Democracy: Lessons from Transitioning Countries.
Under the security cooperation agreement called the Merida Initiative, the United States provides military and law enforcement assistance to the Mexican government in support of efforts to combat drug cartels and organized crime. The United States and Mexico jointly developed this agreement in response to a substantial increase in drug-related criminal activity and violence on both sides of the border.
The Venezuelan revolutionary Simon Bolívar has a remarkably elastic legacy. Ever since his death in 1830, Latin American politicians across the political spectrum have claimed to be his rightful heir. What Bolívar left behind, it turns out, was less a coherent set of ideas than an abstract vision of Latin American unity -- a vision that remains impossible today.
Isobel Coleman, CFR's senior fellow and director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy initiative, discusses transitions to democracy and market economies, as part of CFR's Academic Conference Call series.
Joshua Kurlantzick discusses democracy's decline and his new book, Democracy in Retreat: The Revolt of the Middle Class and the Worldwide Decline of Representative Government in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) Stuart Bowen produced this final report for Congress, released March 6, 2013. The report details how much money was spent and which programs it funded over the nine year reconstruction in Iraq, and seven lessons the United States can learn about stabilization and reconstruction efforts. Other quarterly reports to Congress and the legislation that created SIGIR are also available.
"Last September's terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi left the unmistakable impression of a country teetering on a knife-edge. Yet despite its struggles, Libya is hardly on the brink of anarchy."
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.