Society and Culture

Ask CFR Experts

Could Iraq be divided into separate regions along Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish lines?

Asked by Edrees Mohammed, from UCLAN

This is an idea first proposed by Vice President Biden in 2006 when he was a senator. It was a non-starter then and it won't work any better today. While the Kurdish region in the north is already almost an independent country, neither Shiites nor Sunnis are interested in splitting up the rest of Iraq—something that would be hard to do, in any case, because the two sects are intermingled in Baghdad and other areas. Just as the solution to Iraq's last major bout of bloodletting, in 2003-2007, wasn't partition, so it isn't today.

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Audio

Consensus Building for the Most Vulnerable: Eliminating Child Marriage Globally

Speakers: Giovanna Lauro and Alaka Basu
CFR Senior Fellow Gayle Lemmon moderates a conversation with Giovanna Lauro, deputy director of Promundo-U.S., and Alaka Basu, senior fellow at the United Nations Foundation and professor at Cornell University, on child marriage and the search for policy consensus on eliminating the practice globally.

See more in Global; Children

Must Read

NYT: Iran Must Embrace Religious Pluralism

Author: Camelia Entekhabifard

"Of the approximately hundred thousand Jews in Iran at the time of the revolution, only twenty thousand remain. Theyno longer felt welcome in their homeland. Today, despite promises by the new president, Hassan Rouhani, to protect the freedom of ethnic and religious minorities (and the appointment of an aide to focus on their affairs), the persecution continues."

See more in Iran; Religion

Primary Sources

Air Force Technical Director Fuell's Congressional Testimony: "Broad Trends in Chinese Air Force and Missile Modernization"

Lee Fuell, technical director for force modernization & employment at the National Air & Space Intelligence Center, testified on January 30, 2014, at a hearing on China's Military Modernization and its Implications for the United States before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

See more in China; Missile Defense; Global Future Trends

Ask CFR Experts

How does Bangladesh’s socio-political situation affect India?

Asked by Chaitali Phadke

Bangladesh is a critically important neighbor for India, and one with great impact on India—both positive and potentially negative. On the positive side, Bangladesh is a country of approximately 160 million people making great progress on human development, with an economy consistently growing between five and six percent, and with ambitions to reach lower-middle income levels by 2021.

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See more in Bangladesh; Society and Culture; Economics

Must Read

FT: A Bullingdon Bust-Up That Masks a Real Welfare Problem

Author: Gideon Rachman

"The enlargement of the EU and the free movement of people are both fine ideas. But, taken together, they have changed the nature of the union. A pragmatic pro-European should acknowledge that, when circumstances alter, democratic systems adapt. Changes to the welfare rules – allowing countries more scope to give priority to their own citizens – would make it easier to win the more important argument for open borders."

See more in Europe; Society and Culture

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Journal of Democracy: Breaking the News: The Role of State-Run Media

Authors: Christopher Walker and Robert W. Orttung

"Aside from outliers such as Cuba, North Korea, and Turkmenistan, today's authoritarian regimes do not seek total domination of all the means of mass communication. What they want instead is what we might call "effective media control"—enough for them to convey their strength and puff up their claims to legitimacy while undermining potential alternatives. Such state dominance—whether exerted through overtly state-run or merely state-pliable media outlets—enables regimes to put progovernment narratives front and center while using the power of editorial omission to limit systematic criticism of official policies and actions."

See more in Global; Media and Foreign Policy

Must Read

NYT: Germany Adds Lessons in Islam to Better Blend Its Melting Pot

Author: Alison Smale

"For the first time, German public schools are offering classes in Islam to primary school students using state-trained teachers and specially written textbooks, as officials try to better integrate the nation's large Muslim minority and counter the growing influence of radical religious thinking. The classes offered in Hesse State are part of a growing consensus that Germany, after decades of neglect, should do more to acknowledge and serve its Muslim population if it is to foster social harmony, overcome its aging demographics, and head off a potential domestic security threat."

See more in Germany; Religion

Teaching Module

Teaching Module: Child Marriage

Child marriage remains widespread in developing countries, disproportionately affecting girls and endangering their lives and livelihoods. Rooted in cultural tradition and poverty, the practice not only violates human rights laws but also threatens stability and economic development.

See more in Asia and Pacific; Children; Women