Articles

Academic articles by CFR fellows and experts.

The Dark Heart of ASEAN

Author: Joshua Kurlantzick
Project Syndicate
Next week, at a summit in California, US President Barack Obama will meet with the leaders of the ten countries of Asia’s most important regional grouping: the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The event, the first-ever US-ASEAN summit on American soil, is being touted as a sign of America’s growing interest in Southeast Asia. The question is whether the US, by inviting all members of ASEAN, has allowed its interests to overwhelm its principles.

See more in Asia and Pacific; United States; International Organizations and Alliances; Diplomacy and Statecraft

What’s Behind China’s Apparent Abductions of Its Critics Abroad?

Author: Joshua Kurlantzick
World Politics Review

Joshua Kurlantzick looks at the international and domestic factors within China that appear to be behind the rising pace of abductions and deportations, a significant signal that China’s economic, diplomatic, and military might is simply becoming too much for many Southeast Asian nations to resist.

See more in China; Censorship and Freedom of Speech; Regional Security

Conservative Globalizers: Reconsidering the Rise of the Rest

Author: Miles Kahler
World Politics Review

As the most powerful emerging economies—Brazil, China, and India—slow after years of unprecedented growth, panic over their challenge to global order seems unfounded. But stalled performance does not make them irrelevant, and advanced economies should integrate them into global economic institutions, writes Miles Kahler in World Politics Review.

See more in Global; Financial Markets; Emerging Markets

Propitiating Iran

Authors: Ray Takeyh and Reuel Marc Gerecht
Weekly Standard

The recent hostages-for-criminals exchange with Iran is the latest example of the Obama administration’s willingness to concede American red lines, argues CFR’s Ray Takeyh with Reuel Marc Gerecht of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. A permissive and passive diplomatic doctrine only serves to weaken American values and strengthen the resolve of its enemies.

 

See more in Iran; United States; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Falling Oil Prices, the Saudis, and the Soviets

Author: Stephen Sestanovich
Wall Street Journal

With oil prices collapsing, Saudi Arabia is facing similar problems that the Soviet Union faced decades ago. Saudi policymakers’ economic reform strategies also echo those of  Mikhail Gorbachev. However, different from Gorbachev’s Soviet Union, Saud Arabia’s foreign policy is both confrontational and interventionist. Saudi seeks change, but hopes to keep it in bounds, and may want the world to remain a dangerous place.

See more in Saudi Arabia; Oil; Russian Federation

Appeasing Iran Hurts Us in Iraq, Too

Authors: Max Boot and Michael Pregent
Washington Post

President Obama, fresh off the implementation of the nuclear accord and a prisoner swap, may want to believe that Iran is, as he suggested to NPR a year ago while discussing what it would take to get a deal done, now on its way to becoming “a very successful regional power” that will abide “by international norms and international rules.”

See more in United States; Iran; Treaties and Agreements; Defense Strategy

China-Korea: A Complex China-ROK Partnership

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

The September China-South Korea summit in Beijing catalyzed the resumption of trilateral talks with Japan in October and the launch of the China-South Korea free trade agreement in December. Beijing’s Korean engagement also included a visit to North Korea in October by Chinese Politburo Standing Committee member Liu Yunshan for 70th anniversary celebrations of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK). Despite new initiatives to expand economic cooperation, Pyongyang’s apparent defiance of Chinese diplomatic efforts on denuclearization suggests further difficulties in China-North Korea relations.

See more in China; South Korea; Diplomacy and Statecraft; Regional Security

North Korea's H-bomb and the Costs of American Indifference

Author: Scott A. Snyder
Washington Examiner

The White House moved quickly to debunk North Korea's exaggerated claim that a Jan. 5 "artificial earthquake" at the site where Pyongyang had conducted three previous nuclear tests was a breakthrough detonation of a hydrogen bomb. The size of the blast was similar to that of North Korea's January 2013 test and had a yield thousands of times lower than the yield expected of a hydrogen blast. But in downplaying North Korea's claim so as not to feed Kim Jong-un's cravings for international attention, the Obama administration risks underplaying the growing danger posed by North Korea's unchecked efforts to develop nuclear and missile capabilities needed to threaten a nuclear strike on the United States.

 

See more in North Korea; United States; Proliferation; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Obama's New Dance With Iran

Authors: Philip H. Gordon and Richard Nephew
Politico Magazine

In Politico, Philip Gordon and Richard Nephew argue that the implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement makes the world safer and buys valuable time. Now the United States must ensure its enforcement; prevent Iran from destabilizing actions in the region; and cautiously explore the possibility of a new and more constructive relationship.

See more in Iran; United States; Diplomacy and Statecraft