For the past several years, the Obama administration’s strategy for Afghanistan has rested on the basic assumption that although no reasonable amount of U.S. money or troops could win the war against the Taliban outright, a limited American commitment to Afghanistan’s security forces and government would enable Kabul to hold on long enough to reach a negotiated truce with insurgent leaders.
A major concern of the Iran nuclear deal is that it only imposes constraints for 10 years. After that, the “breakout time” needed for Iran to build a bomb may shrink again. President Obama should say that if Iran expands its program to the full extent allowed by the agreement, the United States will consider it a threat to our security and that of our allies. The president should also add that if the threat begins to grow again, Washington is prepared to renounce the agreement—reimposing sanctions, reviewing military options, and urging other states to do the same.
In an article for The Weekly Standard, Elliott Abrams explains that the Obama administration’s hopes of rapprochement and a nuclear agreement with Iran led it to overlook the consequences of empowering the regime in Teheran at the expense of the Iranian people.
The ruling party in Turkey expected to win a majority in the latest parliamentary elections. For 13 years, under the iron grip of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the AK Party has been the unstoppable force in Turkish politics.This weekend’s result was a blow to the president of Turkey, but excellent news for democracy in Turkey and beyond.
This month, former Egyptian President and Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsy was sentenced to death by an Egyptian court. More trials and harsh sentences are expected. Today, more than 40,000 Islamists are in prison in Egypt.
In an article in the Financial Times, Philip Gordon discusses the peace process as the new coalition takes office in Israel. He says it is Netanyahu, not Obama, who must show the courage to pursue Middle East peace.
Political infighting in Malaysia, with former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad demanding Prime Minister Najib Razak resign amid a corruption scandal, is the latest sign of the country’s democratic reversal. But, Joshua Kurlantzick writes, Malaysia’s slide is part of a trend across Southeast Asia, where democratization has stalled.
In an article in The Washington Post, Elliott Abrams compares Egypt’s Sissi and Chile’s Pinochet. Abrams argues that Sissi is both more repressive, and far less of an economic reformer, than was Pinochet.
The Obama administration's stated policy since 2011 has been to capture suspected terrorists—such as U.S. citizen Mohanad Mahmoud Al Farekh in Pakistan—rather than target them with drone strikes. However, as Micah Zenko points out, Al Farekh’s case is the rare exception and, since 2011, the United States has conducted an estimated 215 drone strikes, killing 1,271 individuals.
In an article for Newsweek, Elliott Abrams discusses President Obama’s recent interview with Thomas Friedman of The New York Times and explains why the President’s guarantees for Israel’s security are less than reassuring.
As we approach the Turkish parliamentary elections, the relationship between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is coming under intense scrutiny, writes CFR’s Steven A. Cook. While many believe that Davutoglu can lead a faction of the ruling party to check the president, the reality is that it is impossible to outmaneuver Erdogan.
Africa’s most populous country is holding tight elections amid a fierce insurgency and plummeting oil revenues. There are concerns that the vote could trigger a new round of instability, writes CFR’s John Campbell.
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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.
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