Presidents and Chiefs of State

Op-Ed

Iran’s Rafsanjani: A Legacy of Terrorism and Repression Behind a Facade of Moderation

Authors: Reuel Gerecht and Ray Takeyh
Washington Post

Contrary to his image as a “pragmatist,” former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who died last week, brandished a moderate image that concealed the reality of his militancy, argues CFR’s Ray Takeyh with Reuel Gerecht. Instead, Rafsanjani was the most consequential architect of the theocracy’s machinery of repression and regional ambitions and a primary sponsor of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear aspirations. 

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Op-Ed

Rex Tillerson Could Be a Good Secretary of State— But Not in a Trump Administration

Author: Max Boot
Los Angeles Times

Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson is by all accounts a shrewd, pragmatic, and successful dealmaker. In another administration, he might have made an excellent secretary of State. Serving a president with a strong moral grounding and certain fixed principles, he might have been successful in sanding off the rough edges and making the compromises necessary to get things done. But under Donald Trump, a man of few if any discernible principles beyond a desire for self-aggrandizement, he would be a dangerous choice because his role will be not just to implement policy but—more than most previous secretaries of State—to shape it.

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Op-Ed

Trump and China: 5 Views From Beijing

Author: Stephen Sestanovich
Wall Street Journal

When the Chinese Foreign Ministry expresses “serious concern” about things Donald Trump has said about Taiwan—and a party-controlled newspaper calls him “as ignorant as a child”—it’s clear that Beijing is alarmed. Yet after spending last week in China, I came away struck by the overall complacency of Chinese attitudes toward the president-elect, writes Stephen Sestanovich. 

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Op-Ed

Will Republicans Cave to Trump on Kremlingate?

Author: Max Boot
USA Today

Election hacks and Russia-friendly nominees pose a historic choice of party or principle. The test for Republicans is how they will react given that Trump has publicly pondered the possibility of lifting all sanctions on Russia, has appointed as his national security adviser a retired general who had recently been seen dining with Putin and as his secretary of State an executive who had received an Order of Friendship from Putin.

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Analysis Brief

Issue Guide: Fidel Castro

Author: Danielle Renwick

Fidel Castro, who died on November 25, was one of the most prominent figures of the Cold War and an adversary of ten consecutive U.S. presidential administrations. This reading list considers the legacy of his nearly fifty years in power, including the Cuban Missle Crisis, the U.S. economic embargo, and the years following the Cold War.

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