Instability in Bahrain has grown in recent years as the Sunni royal family has repressed rather than accommodated the desire of the majority Shia population for a role in the political life of the country, but the White House reaction is silence. Elliott Abrams tells the story in a new article in Foreign Policy.
Alfred C. Stepan, founding director of Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Democracy, Toleration, and Religion, discusses democracy and religious tolerance in Tunisia, as part of CFR's Religion and Foreign Policy Initiative.
Nineteenth-century intellectuals saw races as biological and political facts. Their twentieth-century successors rejected both propositions—but identities rooted in the reality or fantasy of shared ancestry remain central in politics, both within and between nations.
Authors: Fredrick C. Harris and Robert C. Lieberman
What accounts for the continuity of racial inequality in a postracist America? The fact that an earlier era’s racism was built into the structure of various economic, social, and political institutions, so that even their race-neutral operations today produce imbalanced outcomes.
Multicultural policies accept that societies are diverse, yet they implicitly assume that such diversity ends at the edges of minority communities. By forcing people into ethnic and cultural boxes, they help create the very divisions they were meant to manage.
Apartheid’s legacy of mistrust and prejudice has prevented South Africa from establishing a truly stable multiracial democracy. But increasing contact among the races and the emergence of a black middle class offer hope of reducing the role of race in national politics.
Across the globe, the lessons from affirmative action programs are clear: they can occasionally help in the economic sphere, produce mixed results in improving social cohesion, and are an unmitigated disaster when it comes to politics.
The Houthi movement’s rapid ascent has created opportunities for al-Qaeda to expand and intensified the Saudi-Iranian rivalry, adding a sectarian dimension to Yemen’s turbulence, says expert April Longley Alley.
The U.S. intervention in Libya was a complete failure. Libya has not only failed to evolve into a democracy; it has devolved into a failed state. Violent deaths there have increased, and the country now serves as a safe haven for terrorists.
Though data is scarce given conditions on the ground, reports of child marriage abound amid natural disaster and conflict; parents desperate to protect their daughters may view the practice as their best option. Gayle Tzemach Lemmon and Kristin Kim Bart discuss strategies to protect girls from child marriage and gender-based violence in fragile states.
John E. Herbst, director of the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center and former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, and Matthew Rojansky, director of the Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, join Washington Post associate editor Karen J. DeYoung to discuss Ukraine’s politics, policies, and options going forward.
Leaders from Germany, France, Russia, and Ukraine met in Belarus to negotiate a ceasefire between Ukrainian troops and separatists. The ceasefire takes effect February 15, 2015, and outlines the withdrawl of heavy weapons and constitutional reform to provide more automony to groups in the Donetsk and Luhansk, regions in eastern Ukraine.
Whatever you think about sending arms to Ukraine, the debate has clearly had a positive effect on diplomacy. Throughout January, Angela Merkel, François Hollande, Petro Poroshenko, and Vladimir Putin canceled one meeting after another.
William Schabas has recused himself from his post as head of the UN Human Rights Council’s investigation into the Israeli operation in Gaza in 2014. In an article for Newsweek, Elliott Abrams explains why this happened too late to prevent a miscarriage of justice.
Author: Micah Zenko Australian National University, Strategic & Defence Studies Centre
Many predictions have been made that the United States and China will find themselves in competition or even direct conflict. Yet this is not preordained and both sides need to be careful not to talk themselves into a hostile relationship. In this bold new paper, Micah Zenko argues that by identifying clear ideas about acceptable conduct in the key domains (maritime, space, and cyber) the United States and China can avoid conflict without presuming away differences of interest or opinion.
Clint Eastwood’s film American Sniper has become a popular if controversial sensation. Critics accuse it of glamorizing Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, while many have rushed to Kyle’s and the movie’s defense. But one aspect of the debate has gone largely unexamined: How historically accurate is the film?
The Human Rights Unit of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) prepares mid-year reports on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict in Afghanistan, as mandated by United Nations Security Council Resolution 2096 (2013), which "recognizes the importance of ongoing monitoring and reporting to the United Nations Security Council on the situation of civilians in Afghanistan's armed conflict and in particular on civilian casualties."
In recent weeks, Western governments have begun subtly shifting their positions on Syria. The Obama administration seems to have quietly dropped its demand that President Bashar al-Assad resign as a precondition of peace talks. Instead, reports suggest it has embraced proposals that would allow Assad to be part of an interim deal. The new approach implies that the White House and its allies believe that the Syrian president might be open to a compromise that could end his country’s four-year civil war.
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.
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 »