First Take

Concise, timely analysis by CFR fellows and experts on breaking news with major U.S. foreign policy implications.

Libyan Strikes: Clearer Objectives Needed

Author: Robert Danin

With the United States now militarily engaged in Libya and U.S. allies seemingly at odds over goals, it is imperative that President Obama more clearly define the nation's objectives and the means to achieve them, says CFR's Robert Danin.

See more in NATO; Libya

Japan's Impact on U.S. Nuclear Power

Author: Michael A. Levi

U.S. nuclear power faces renewed scrutiny amid Japan's crisis, but it is far too early to gauge the damage suffered by Japan's industry and the effect on U.S. atomic energy's future, says CFR's Michael Levi.

See more in Japan; Nuclear Energy

Tunisia after Ben Ali

Author: Steven A. Cook

Military and popular support for Tunisian President Ben Ali's departure from power could mean pressure on new leadership for reform, and could also lead to modest concessions to reform in Egypt and elsewhere, says CFR's Steven Cook.

See more in Tunisia; Regime Changes

Moving Forward in Sudan

Author: John Campbell

The Sudan referendum now underway will likely result in the south's independence, but unresolved disputes and population shifts require the Obama administration's continued intense diplomatic and humanitarian engagement, says CFR's John Campbell.

See more in Sudan; South Sudan; Sovereignty

What Sadr's Return Means for Iraq

Author: Mohamad Bazzi

Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's return to Iraq after self-imposed exile in Iran bolsters voices that want all U.S. troops out by the end of 2011 and marks the transition of his group from a militia to a powerful political force, says CFR's Mohamad Bazzi.

See more in Iraq; Politics and Strategy

Nobel Symbols: China's Power and Weakness

Author: Mark P. Lagon

Empty chairs at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony for China's Liu Xiaobo and a top UN diplomat demonstrate China's power and influence, along with its vulnerability on human rights issues, says CFR's Mark Lagon.

See more in China; Human Rights