The rise of purported threats such as Ebola and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, military intervention in Syria, and shifting military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2014 resulted in numerous notable quotes—whether puzzling, hypocritical, factually incorrect, or revealing—from U.S. officials and policymakers. In his annual article, Micah highlighted the top twenty foreign policy quotes of the year.
Follow President Barack Obama and President Raul Castro's near simultaneous announcements to recast U.S.-Cuba relations, Julia Sweig reflects in her column on potential changes that may occur in the next five to ten years.
Sixty words that have defined the past thirteen years, forty maps that explain the Middle East, and four profiles of changemakers round out the year's Must Reads chosen by CFR.org’s editors. The following offer essential guides to 2014’s major developments.
In 2015: low oil prices affect economies worldwide; a new dawn begins for Afghanistan and Pakistan; tough economic times might have political repercussions; and a global debate intensifies over technology, privacy, and national security.
President Barack Obama announced changes to the U.S. policy toward Cuba on December 17, 2014. Changes include reestablishing diplomatic relations for the first time since 1961, reviewing Cuba's designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism according to the U.S. State Department, and increasing travel, trade, and commerce between the countries. In a speech to the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States Summit in January 2015, Cuban President Raul Castro describes conditions he wants as the two countries reestablish relations.
Elliott Abrams argues in The Weekly Standard that President Obama’s actions on Cuba today constitute the triumph of ideology over American national interest. Moreover, he writes, reversing a policy of a half-century’s standing in exchange for nothing—no human rights changes in Cuba at all—cannot be reassuring to countries that depend on American policy reliability.
John Mearsheimer (“Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault,” September/ October 2014) is one of the most consistent and persuasive theorists in the realist school of international relations, but his explanation of the crisis in Ukraine demonstrates the limits of realpolitik.
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 »