Iraq is currently in the early stages of a negotiated end to an intense ethnosectarian war. As such, there are several contingencies in which recent, mostly positive trends in Iraq could be reversed, threatening U.S. national interests. This Center for Preventive Action Contingency Planning Memorandum by Stephen Biddle assesses four interrelated scenarios in Iraq that could derail the prospects for peace and stability in the short to medium term and posits concrete policy options to limit U.S. vulnerability to the possibility of such reversals.
The scale of financing needed to support the U.S. fiscal deficit—together with the Federal Reserve’s policy of keeping U.S. interest rates low to ward off deflation—has revived concerns about a sudden and sharp depreciation of the U.S. dollar. This Center for Preventive Action Contingency Planning Memorandum by Brad W. Setser examines potential triggers and indicators of such a crisis and posits concrete policy options to limit U.S. vulnerability to the possibility of a plummeting dollar.
John Campbell, Ralph Bunche senior fellow for Africa policy studies, 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.
The world has entered a second nuclear age shaped by rising nuclear states and military technologies. Gregory Koblentz argues that the United States should work with the other nuclear-armed states to manage threats to nuclear stability in the near term and establish processes for multilateral arms control efforts over the longer term.
In this Council Special Report, Douglas Dillon Fellow Micah Zenko and Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow Sarah Kreps argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones. By doing so, they predict, the United States will create standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
Daniel S. Markey examines Pakistan's complex role in U.S. foreign policy and advocates for a two-pronged approach that works to confront and quarantine immediate threats to regional security while simultaneously attempting to integrate Pakistan into the broader U.S. agenda in Asia.
The United States maintains important interests in Afghanistan, even as most U.S. and allied troops are withdrawn in 2014. Seth G. Jones and Keith Crane assess the political, security, and economic challenges facing U.S. policymakers in Afghanistan and evaluate a range of policy options.
In the past ten years, U.S. special operations forces have honed their counterterrorism manhunting ability with great operational success. They now are at a critical inflection point in their development where resources should be realigned to successfully employ the other of their two basic capabilities—working alongside indigenous forces to combat national and transnational threats.
The author assesses the causes and consequences of the violence faced by several Central American countries and examines the national, regional, and international efforts intended to curb its worst effects.
Gause posits that, though the Arab Awakening has caused tensions in Saudi-American relations, the two countries do not face a crisis and still have significant mutual interests that should be prioritized.
In this globalized world, countries will need to cooperate on policies that extend across borders to address issues that affect them all, including conflict prevention and peacemaking. The authors of this report assess the strengths and weaknesses of international institutions and provide a set of practical recommendations for how the United States can strengthen the global architecture for preventive action by partnering with those organizations.
Recognizing the limitations of current international systems based in The Hague, David A. Kaye provides a strategy for promoting national-level justice and accountability mechanisms to prosecute perpetrators of mass atrocity crimes.
Kay King offers recommendations to reset congressional rules, practices, and procedures to address today's dysfunctional Congress and restore it as a full partner to the executive branch in advancing U.S. national security interests.
Cybersecurity expert Knake recommends the United States use international forums to promote mechanisms that address security concerns in cyberspace while ensuring the Internet remains open for the free exchange of ideas across national boundaries.
The controversial relationship between the United States and the International Criminal Court (ICC) is at a crossroads: After an initial period of hostility toward the ICC, the United States has in recent years pursued a policy of cautious engagement. Vijay Padmanabhan offers a backdrop of the U.S.-ICC relationship and policy recommendations for the U.S. delegation attending the Seven-Year Review Conference in May/June 2010.
Violations of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty by Iran and North Korea threaten to undermine the legitimacy of the nonproliferation regime. Paul Lettow proposes a comprehensive agenda for improvements, including tougher sanctions against transgressors, a criteria-based system to limit the spread of enrichment and processing technologies, and expansion of International Atomic Energy Agency authority.
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
The author examines Pakistan's complex role in U.S. foreign policy and advocates for a two-pronged approach that works to quarantine threats while integrating Pakistan into the broader U.S. agenda in Asia.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2014 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »
Now Available: Foreign Policy Begins at Home
The biggest threat to America's security and prosperity comes not from abroad but from within, writes CFR President Richard N. Haass in his provocative new book. More