Politics and Strategy

Backgrounder

U.S.-Cuba Relations

Author: Brianna Lee

The U.S.-Cuba relationship remains frozen after fifty years. Despite economic reforms in Cuba and swelling public opinion in favor of resuming diplomatic and economic ties, analysts do not anticipate any normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations in the near to medium term, explains this Backgrounder.

See more in Cuba; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Ask CFR Experts

How does the nuclear deal with Iran affect Hezbollah and its regional influence?

Asked by Ahmad Takouche
Author: Mira Rapp-Hooper

It is not clear how the interim Geneva agreement between Iran and the P5+1 powers will affect Iran's relationship with Lebanon-based Hezbollah or Hezbollah's regional influence. According to the IAEA's most recent report, Iran's stockpile of medium-enriched uranium has decreased substantially from its prior levels, suggesting that Iran is implementing the Geneva agreement, at least for the time being. One could certainly argue that if Iran continues to comply with the deal and forecloses its nuclear option, it will no longer be able to easily project influence with the threat of nuclear weapons acquisition or a latent nuclear capability. By this logic, Iran may choose to rely more heavily on Hezbollah to make its presence felt throughout the region. This is certainly a concern of other Gulf States, who fear that the nuclear deal does not address the threat that proxy groups may pose to their regimes.

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See more in Iran; Arms Control, Disarmament, and Nonproliferation; Political Movements and Protests

Must Read

South China Morning Post: Beijing 'Exploring Whether to Change Tactics' Over North Korea Relationship

Author: Teddy Ng

"The motives behind Pyongyang's actions over the past year - from nuclear tests to the high-profile execution of Kim's uncle Jang Song-thaek - have mystified many in the region, including China. Many Chinese scholars and government think tanks say they are being kept in the dark about its latest developments."

See more in China; North Korea; Politics and Strategy

Must Read

New York Review of Books: Fascism, Russia, and Ukraine

Author: Timothy Snyder

"To set its own course, Ukraine needs normal public debate, the restoration of parliamentary democracy, and workable relations with all of its neighbors. Ukraine is full of sophisticated and ambitious people. If people in the West become caught up in the question of whether they are largely Nazis or not, then they may miss the central issues in the present crisis."

See more in Ukraine; Russia and Central Asia; Politics and Strategy

Must Read

WSJ: Ukraine Exposes EU Policy Disarray

Authors: Stephen Fidler, Laurence Norman, and Bertrand Benoit

"The deadly violence that exploded this week in Ukraine has another victim: Europe's foreign-policy credibility.

A few months ago Ukraine looked on course to be drawn into the Western orbit through a wide-ranging trade-and-aid agreement with the European Union. Today, Ukraine is advertising Europe's helplessness to influence events even in countries close to its borders."

See more in Ukraine; Political Movements and Protests

Op-Ed

The More You Talk, the Less You Know

Author: Micah Zenko
ForeignPolicy.com

"The smartest folks I know in just about every academic or policy field, don't tweet, blog, or actively appear in the media," Micah Zenko wrote on Twitter earlier this week. In his latest ForeignPolicy.com article, Micah responds to the reactions he received to his Tweet, and discusses the social media presence of area experts and policy makers.

See more in Global; Politics and Strategy

Analysis Brief

Issue Guide: Crisis in Ukraine

Author: CFR.org Editors

The latest eruption of violence in Ukraine has brought its protracted political unrest—rooted in a dispute over strengthening ties with the European Union—to its bloodiest phase yet. This roundup of expert analysis examines the conflict and consequences for regional stability.

See more in Ukraine; Political Movements and Protests

Must Read

Carnegie Endowment: How India's Parliamentary Elections Work

An infographic on the upcoming elections in India, including an explanation what's at stake in 2014, a history of past elections, and information on the mechanics of the elections. The graphic explores the key parties and the formation of the national government as a whole. India's sixteenth general election is set to take place in late Spring 2014 once the term expires for the current Lok Sabha on May 31, 2014.

See more in India; Elections

News Release

Pushback Against U.S. Retrenchment Still Ahead, Argues Stephen Sestanovich in New Book

The Obama administration's search for a less costly, more "sustainable" foreign policy recalls previous presidents who wound down major wars, according to Stephen Sestanovich, George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. In Maximalist: America in the World from Truman to Obama, Sestanovich argues that the most challenging phase of retrenchment comes after the United States has extricated itself from a stalemated conflict. Postwar cutbacks in the Pentagon budget usually last longer than the surge that preceded them, but political controversies over the direction of American foreign policy begin much sooner.

See more in United States; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Must Read

Financial Times: Courts, Voters and the Threat of Another Euro Crisis

Author: Gideon Rachman

"Two of the most respected institutions in Germany, the Bundesbank and the constitutional court, are now on record as registering profound objections to the policies underpinning the euro.

As long as the German economy is strong, such laments are unlikely to churn up mainstream German politics. But when things get tough, as they inevitably will at some point, the intellectual groundwork has been laid for a "stab-in-the-back" theory that will explain Germany's problems by reference to the illegal and improvident acts of the European institutions."

See more in Europe; Economics; Politics and Strategy