Ask CFR Experts

This new feature invites members of the public to submit questions to CFR's experts on various topics related to U.S. foreign policy. Selected questions on matters ranging from the latest news headlines to long-term international issues are answered by CFR fellows and featured on CFR's homepage.

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Featured Question

Answered by:
Daniel P. Ahn

What is the most urgent global environmental issue and how should it be addressed?

Asked by Matthew Woltmann, from American Military University, California
Author: Daniel P. Ahn

Determining the "most urgent" global environmental issue is somewhat subjective; many would argue that carbon emissions and climate change is the most pressing issue. Others are just as passionate about deforestation, water scarcity, groundwater contamination, loss of biodiversity, landfills, ocean acidification, air quality… the list goes on.

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Past Questions

Answered by:
Meghan L. O'Sullivan

What do Israel’s Mediterranean natural gas resources mean for the region’s economy and security?

Asked by Larry Davenport, from Virginia Beach, Virginia

Israel has discovered substantial natural gas deposits off its shores in the last four years. While these gas finds are not significant in terms of global gas supply (they constitute less than two percent of the world's proven gas reserves), they do appear large enough not only to meet Israel's needs, but to enable Israel to export significant quantities.

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Answered by:
Scott A. Snyder

What are the costs and benefits of China's relationship with North Korea?

Asked by Garrett Smith, from Stanford University

Chinese officials see stability on the Korean peninsula under the Korean Armistice as a component that has enabled China's growth for over three decades. Despite a growing difference between the economic systems of China and North Korea, China's communist party leadership feels an affinity with North Korea because its government, like China's, pursues one-party leadership under a socialist banner.

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Answered by:
Robert M. Danin

What is the worst-case scenario outcome in Syria, and how will it affect the rest of the Middle East?

Asked by David Karapetyan

Syria has been mired in deadly strife since March 2011 and the outlook for resolving what is now a full blown civil war looks increasingly dire. The worst case outcome for Syria is one whereby the country fragments and becomes a failed state in which the Damascus government no longer controls its own territory. Under such a scenario, the glue holding the country together comes unstuck.

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Answered by:
Stewart M. Patrick

Will the United States set up a NATO-like Pacific Treaty Organization in Asia? If so, how?

Asked by Felix Seidler, from Institute for Security Policy at the University of Kiel, Germany
Author: Stewart M. Patrick

Despite its strategic "rebalancing" toward Asia, the United States is unlikely to sponsor a collective defense organization for the Asia-Pacific, for at least three reasons: insufficient solidarity among diverse regional partners, fear of alienating China, and the perceived advantages of bilateral and ad-hoc security arrangements.

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Answered by:
Joshua Kurlantzick
Answered by:
Bernard Gwertzman

Why did the United States fail to join the League of Nations?

Asked by Adepoju Adeola Praise, from Eastern Mediterranean University

The League of Nations was championed by President Woodrow Wilson in a fourteen-point speech to a joint session of Congress on January 8, 1918, and formally began its operations in January 1920. However, the League failed to win Senate approval and is forever remembered as a major example of a communications breakdown between the president and the Senate.

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