Presidents and Chiefs of State

Op-Ed

Barack Obama and the ‘Wimp Factor’

Author: Micah Zenko
Foreign Policy

Americans and Congress repeatedly claim that President Obama is not "tough" enough. Micah Zenko discusses the idealistic concept of strength and basis upon which leaders are judged, concluding: "Foreign policies should not be judged upon the tone and tenor of their announcements, but rather upon their merits and their success."

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Ask CFR Experts

How much control does Ayatollah Khamenei have in Iranian-U.S. relations?

Asked by Arianna Talaie, from College of William and Mary
Author: Ray Takeyh

Ali Khamenei is the Supreme Leader of Iran and has the final say on all issues pertaining to its foreign policy. The Islamic Republic has a complex constitutional structure whereby the authority of the president and the parliament are subservient to that of the Supreme Leader. All issues of war and peace, treaties and elections have to be approved by Khamenei. As such, the presidents and foreign ministers can engage in negotiations but cannot commit Iran to a final course until the Supreme Leader approves.

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Must Read

New Yorker: A Method to Karzai's Madness

Author: Matthieu Aikins

"[Karzai] would support an alternate center of power in the provinces in order to undermine the official one, such as the governor, that he had formally appointed. That way, both could be controlled by being balanced against each other; two weak allies were better than a single strong one who might break away. The result was perpetual instability. The tragedy of Karzai is that his survival strategy has been one that ultimately promotes weakness rather than strength."

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