What the editors of CFR.org are reading the week of March 24–28, 2014.
A sortable index of the best online analyses and inquiries on foreign policy.
What the editors of CFR.org are reading the week of March 24–28, 2014.
"Five months into his first term in office, President Barack Obama laid out his vision for how American values would guide his thinking in crafting foreign policy. 'We uphold our most cherished values not only because doing so is right, but because it strengthens our country and it keeps us safe,' he said at the time…. The next five years have shown the difficulty that comes when some of those values clash with each other, jostling for dominance."
"Budget constraints are clearly affecting President Obama's plan to beef up the military's presence in Asia, and just how much is starting to become clearer."
"The altar of wishful thinking is that this trip will in some way influence how Chinese president Xi Jinping directs the Chinese navy to behave on the East and South China Seas or how he responds to Russia's behavior in Crimea."
"Two camps are emerging: one led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which maintains that political Islam is a perilous force that should be confronted; and the other led by Qatar and Turkey's ruling party, which believes in political Islam's ability to transform the region. 'This confrontation has not reached its peak yet,' [Tarek Osman] says. Saudi Arabia's policies might be pursued in the name of stability. But they could well achieve the opposite."
What the Editors of CFR.org are reading the week of March 17–21, 2014.
"In a nutshell, Asia's biggest economies think they are becoming even more of a buyer's market for Russian energy, and hope to use Moscow's current turmoil to buy more gas for lower prices. If they're right, countries like China and South Korea would gain a longer-term, cheaper source of energy, while Moscow would be able to keep tapping its mineral wealth for decades to come."
"As NATO's long involvement in Afghanistan concludes, the renewed emphasis on Russia and Europe is also likely to delay the alliance's efforts to turn itself into a global actor, able to deal with threats like terrorism and cyberwarfare."
"The threat of nuclear and radiological terrorism has not disappeared, though the world has made important progress in reducing these risks. Urgent new steps are needed to build effective and lasting nuclear security worldwide. The nuclear security effort must now shift from short-term improvements toward a focus on a continued search for excellence, lasting as long as terrorist groups bent on mass destruction and the nuclear and radiological materials they might use both continue to exist."
"The Malaysia Airlines mystery is the biggest China story of the year so far—at least 152 passengers on board were Chinese—yet the Chinese media have been snoozing. More accurately, they've been sedated."
"America's failure to fully understand and actively confront Pakistan on its support and export of terrorism is one of the primary reasons President Karzai has become so disillusioned with the United States. As American and NATO troops prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of this year, the Pakistani military and its Taliban proxy forces lie in wait, as much a threat as any that existed in 2001."
"The dilemma of Obama's rebalance to Asia is that it must reassure allies and friends of U.S. commitment, without causing serious concerns or suspicions from China. In that context, Michelle Obama's weeklong trip to China may serve as a rebalance to her husband's rebalance."
"The west is not going to war with a nuclear-armed Russia. But outright annexation of a part of a smaller country strikes at the roots of the post-second world war European settlement. Angela Merkel, Germany's chancellor, was right to say that Russia had resorted to the "law of the jungle". This annexation cannot go unanswered. It is too dangerous a precedent."
"Industry lobbies estimate that 300,000 German jobs at 6,000 companies are dependent on trade with Russia. Exports to Russia totalled €36bn last year, with machinery, vehicles and vehicle parts together accounting for 40 per cent."
"Even the most educated and cosmopolitan Saudis often look down on Shiites, who make up about 10 percent of the Saudi population, as closet Iranians or undesirables."
"Russia's moves on Crimea, where its Black Sea fleet is based on territory leased from Ukraine, has diverted the international spotlight from Maidan. And the shift of battle lines from Kiev to Simferopol, Crimea's regional capital, has raised further questions about why and whether the revolutionary stragglers at Maidan are serving any useful purpose."
"If Vladimir Putin's invasion and occupation of the Crimea brings to an end the Pax Americana and the post-Cold War world that began in 1989, what new European, or even global, order is replacing them?"
What the Editors of CFR.org are reading the week of March 10–14, 2014.
While the world awaits Sunday's referendum in Crimea and nervously watches the Russian troops massing on Ukraine's eastern border, the world is missing that, in Moscow, Vladimir Putin is busily cleaning house.
"The regime's political goals are to remain in power, restore its control over as much of Syria as it can, and render the political opposition an irrelevant exile movement. Its military goal is to reduce the armed opposition to a manageable terrorist threat. This does not imply that the opposition has to be completely eliminated or that every inch of lost ground has to be recovered. Yet the regime has never shown any intention other than to fight, and it fights essentially everywhere in Syria."
Maximalist finds lessons in the past that anticipate and clarify our chaotic present, revealing the history of U.S. foreign policy in an unexpected new light. More
This clear and authoritative book presents a sweeping account of China's global resource quest and the unrivaled expansion of its economy. More
The story of the tragic and often tormented relationship between the United States and Pakistan, and a call to prepare for the worst, aim for the best, and avoid past mistakes. More
Rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in low- and middle-income countries are increasing faster than in wealthier countries. The Independent Task Force outlines a plan for collective action on this growing epidemic.
This Independent Task Force asserts that elevating and prioritizing the U.S.-Canada-Mexico relationship offers the best opportunity for strengthening the United States and its place in the world.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
Koblentz argues that the United States should work with other nuclear-armed states to manage threats to nuclear stability in the near term and establish processes for multilateral arms control efforts over the longer term.
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
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