In 1934 Sergei Kirov, an old Bolshevik who had been head of the Party organization in Leningrad, was assassinated with a shot to the back. Most of his NKVD bodyguards had been mysteriously removed before the murder. Josef Stalin, the Soviet Union’s absolute dictator, expressed shock at the murder and promised to investigate personally.
On the surface, there is not much that commends Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. An anti-Semite, he has frequently questioned the Holocaust and defamed Israel in despicable terms. As a conspiracy theorist, he endlessly weaves strange tales about the United States and its intentions. As a national leader, he has ruthlessly repressed Iran’s once-vibrant civil society while impoverishing its economy.
Though it is almost universally agreed that that Israel’s March 17 election will be a popular referendum on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In an article for The Weekly Standard, Elliott Abrams argues that this vote is instead a referendum on Isaac “Buji” Herzog, the opposition candidate.
The civil war in Syria will soon enter its fifth year, with no end in sight. On January 20, Foreign Affairs managing editor Jonathan Tepperman met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus to discuss the conflict in this exclusive interview.
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.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s vaunted “stability” has turned into spoliation. The methods he used to fix the corrupt, dysfunctional post-Soviet state have produced yet another corrupt, dysfunctional state—and unfortunately, there is no end to it in sight.
CFR President Richard Haass argues that President Obama and Congress should postpone Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech to a United States joint session in Congress until after the Israeli election set for March 17.
Congress is now debating President Obama’s proposed Authorization for the Use of Limited Military Force to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Yet the president’s request for this action from Congress comes more than six months after U.S. aircraft began bombing ISIS positions in Iraq and Syria, and even if passed it is merely an authorization for the use of force, not a full-fledged state of war, which Congress has not passed since World War II.
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.
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Yesterday I wrote “here we go again” with President Obama agonizing over another major foreign-policy decision–whether or not to arm Ukraine–even as our enemies push ahead with great determination and cunning. Today we are seeing yet another Obama MO: the tendency, once endless administration deliberations are finished, to produce a split-the-difference solution that doesn’t accomplish as much as it should.
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.
The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
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.
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 »