Articles

Academic articles by CFR fellows and experts.

Planning for Withdrawal in Afghanistan May Be Smart, But It’s Not Wise

Author: Daniel S. Markey
Defense One

Votes are still being counted in Afghanistan's presidential election, but preliminary results suggest that no candidate won a majority. If these results hold up and no backroom deals are cooked up between Afghan politicians, a runoff poll will follow and the victor will not likely be declared until late summer. That timeline is making U.S. and NATO military planners very nervous.

See more in Afghanistan; Diplomacy and Statecraft; Defense Strategy

With Lack of Major Breakthroughs in U.S.-China Relations, the Small Things Matter

Author: Elizabeth C. Economy
World Politics Review

The current state of U.S.-China relations would appear to be in disarray—a number of high-profile efforts at cooperation have fallen short, and domestic politics in both countries offer little reason for hope. But even though there have not been any major breakthroughs, small accomplishments can nonetheless be significant, says Elizabeth Economy, building a strong foundation to the bilateral relationship.

See more in China; Diplomacy and Statecraft

China Wakes Up to Its Environmental Catastrophe

Author: Elizabeth C. Economy
BusinessWeek

China's premier declared a "war on pollution" at the National People's Congress, responding to the Chinese public's distress over the state of the country's environment. Though the government announced an array of new targets and measures, Elizabeth Economy argues that Beijing must move beyond bold promises of change and initiate real environmental reform.

See more in China; Pollution

Obama’s Focus Is on Nation-Building at Home

Author: Stephen Sestanovich
The New York Times

Every period of great exertion in American foreign policy — World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the cold war, the post-9/11 wars — has been followed by some sort of downsizing. To many, this feels like weakness; to others, mere realism. But there's no arguing with the pattern. The past few years were going to be a time of retrenchment no matter who was in charge.

See more in United States; Development

China-Korea Relations: Crying Uncle No More: Stark Choices for Relations

Authors: Scott A. Snyder and See-won Byun
Comparative Connections

New strategic challenges that have emerged in recent months influence China's relations with both Koreas into the new year. While regional developments, especially North Korean domestic politics, may lead to a deepening convergence of aims among the United States, South Korea, and China, there remains a stark difference over preferred outcomes. CFR's Scott Snyder and See-won Byun of George Washington University explain the defense and economic developments over the past year and look at prospects for 2014 China-Korea relations.

See more in Asia and Pacific; Politics and Strategy

The Changing Face of Diplomacy

Author: Dominic Bocci
The Advocate
Not so long ago the idea of a gay person representing the United States in embassies abroad was unimaginable. Oh, how times have changed. Whether by inspiring young U.S. foreign service officers or by promoting human rights through their diplomatic efforts abroad, openly gay U.S. ambassadors are adding a new aspect of diversity to the face of the U.S. diplomatic corps.

See more in Global; Diplomacy and Statecraft