Steven A. Cook says leadership in the Middle East is up for grabs as the Syrian war intensifies, the Arab Spring changes regional power dynamics, and Israel's airstrikes and Hamas rockets again roil Gaza. Last year, Turkey was the assumed role model for the region. But it has fallen down on the job.
The growing likelihood of a protracted civil war in Syria does not necessarily warrant Western military intervention, which could "cause more damage, chaos, and instability than not," says Assad biographer David Lesch.
Isobel Coleman argues that the rise of Islamist groups in North Africa may threaten women's rights, but women's participation in the economy and in political movements has set them down a path that will be difficult to reverse.
Weak governance and radical jihadists are at the heart of Mali's crisis, says CFR's John Campbell, who cautions that any intervention should focus on humanitarian aid and diplomacy, not the security threat.
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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 »