For the first time ever, the United States abstained in the annual United Nations General Assembly vote to condemn the U.S. embargo of Cuba. The vote was bad enough; the explanation of vote offered by our envoy at the UN was in many ways even worse. Elliott Abrams explains the problem in National Review.
The assumptions held by those advocating military action in Syria are weak, writes CFR’s Steven A. Cook. Military punitive measures are not likely to make Russia, Iran, the Syrian regime, or militant forces back down from their current stances, either on the battlefield or in negotiations.
While increased U.S. military action in Syria may be favored by numerous policymakers, the Obama administration remains unwilling to sanction further intervention. Gayle Tzemach Lemmon writes that “The Obama White House has long argued that it was elected to end wars in the Middle East, not to escalate them…” but meanwhile, Aleppo remains “full of carnage and bunker-busting munitions with rockets falling on children and no hope of escape for anyone.”
Many experts and policymakers had predicted the humanitarian catastrophe that is underway in Aleppo, but no one is willing to intervene. “There is nothing either timely or decisive about the world’s approach to Syria, which has become the theater in which global and regional actors pursue their own goals,” writes Gayle Tzemach Lemmon.
Tragedies keep occurring in war, despite the best intentions of U.S. troops. Micah Zenko provides recommendations to reduce the inevitable human errors in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq that have led to avoidable civilian casualties.
New polls of Israelis and Palestinians prove that peace is not at hand, and views on a peace deal are very far apart. But they also contain some interesting data, as Elliott Abrams explains in National Review.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2016 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 »