Articles

Academic articles by CFR fellows and experts.

The National Security Hole at the Heart of the Trump Transition

Author: Max Boot
ForeignPolicy.com

Thousands of key policymakers — from State to the Department of Defense — still need to be appointed to new positions. But nothing’s happening. Days before Trump steps into office, he has failed to announce enough capable replacements for the 4,000 political appointments that any president must make.

 

See more in United States; Presidents and Chiefs of State; Defense and Security

Trump Says Europe Is in Trouble. He Has a Point.

Author: Sebastian Mallaby
The Washington Post

Germany’s foreign minister reports “astonishment and agitation.” The French president protests indignantly about unsolicited “outside advice .” Even Secretary of State John F. Kerry sees behavior that is “inappropriate.” President-elect Donald Trump’s weekend interview, in which he casually predicted the breakup of the European Union, has certainly attracted attention.

See more in Europe; Politics and Strategy; Economics

The Sea Where The Sun Rises

Author: Sheila A. Smith
Outlook India

"For much of Japan’s modern history, the sea has protected the Japanese from their neighbors,” yet today they are alarmed by the increasing evidence that “China may have a far greater appetite for risk in Asia’s near seas,” says CFR Senior Fellow Sheila Smith

See more in Japan; Defense and Security

Three Hard Questions for Rex Tillerson About Russia Sanctions

Author: Stephen Sestanovich
Wall Street Journal

When Rex Tillerson, Exxon Mobil Corp.’s longtime chief executive and now Donald Trump’s choice to be secretary of state, appears before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, he will get a lot of questions about his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. If senators want a better conversation with Mr. Tillerson, they should get him to acknowledge—or dispute—the basic facts of Russian-American relations. Stephen Sestanovich presents three questions aimed at getting Tillerson to admit how much sanctions have accomplished. 

See more in Russian Federation; Sanctions; Politics and Strategy

Donald Trump Must Take North Korea's Nuclear Threat Seriously

Author: Scott A. Snyder
Forbes

During his annual New Year’s address on Sunday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s dropped a bombshell: He stated as part of his review of the past year's accomplishments that North Korea has entered “the final stage in preparations to test-launch” an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). One that could hit the United States. To deal with the threat, the Trump administration should strengthen sanctions and find a way to work with China or, at a minimum, should isolate North Korea as an essential area of cooperation in an otherwise contentious U.S.-China relationship. 

See more in North Korea; Nuclear Energy; Defense and Security

Unlocking Clean Energy

Author: Varun Sivaram
Issues in Science and Technology

Many government policies now "lock in" mature clear energy technologies while blocking out innovative alternatives. Here's Varun Sivaram's plan to transform lock-in barriers into bridges for technological succession.

See more in Global; Energy and Environment

Why Exposing Putin’s Wealth Would Be Obama’s Best Revenge

Author: Stephen Sestanovich
Wall Street Journal

The Obama administration continues to search for some sort of payback against Vladimir Putin, so that Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. election will not have been completely cost-free for the Russian president. Yet, by all accounts, President Barack Obama has rejected the idea of trying to expose the hidden wealth and financial shenanigans of the Putin inner circle. That, we are told, would be a big yawn: the Russian public just doesn’t care.

See more in Russian Federation; Corruption and Bribery; Politics and Strategy

Why Trump Should Support a Probe Into Russia’s Hacking

Author: Robert K. Knake
Politico

As reports increasingly indicate that Russia interfered with the U.S. presidential election to benefit Donald Trump, the president-elect has forcefully pushed back on the intelligence community. Admitting that Moscow played a role in the election, Trump believes, would delegitimize his victory, so he has doubled down on his position that Russia was not involved in the hacks on Democratic Party officials, writes Robert Knake. 

See more in United States; Russian Federation; Cybersecurity