Op-Eds

Published opinions and arguments by CFR fellows and experts.

Managing the ISIS Crisis

Author: Richard N. Haass
Project Syndicate
One day, historians will have their hands full debating the causes of the chaos now overtaking much of the Middle East. To what extent, they will ask, was it the inevitable result of deep flaws common to many of the region's societies and political systems, and to what extent did it stem from what outside countries chose to do (or not to do)?

See more in Middle East and North Africa; Terrorist Organizations and Networks

The Great Drone Contradiction

Author: Micah Zenko
Foreign Policy

The State Department released a new policy on military drone exports, opening the door to possible sales to countries other than close U.S. allies. Micah Zenko discusses implications of the policy for drone proliferation.

See more in United States; Drones

No Need to Declare War Against Our Current Enemy

Author: Max Boot
Hoover Institution

Congress is now debating President Obama’s proposed Authorization for the Use of Limited Military Force to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Yet the president’s request for this action from Congress comes more than six months after U.S. aircraft began bombing ISIS positions in Iraq and Syria, and even if passed it is merely an authorization for the use of force, not a full-fledged state of war, which Congress has not passed since World War II.

See more in United States; Wars and Warfare; Congresses, Parliaments, National Legislatures

Obama's Anti-ISIS AUMF: A Classic Muddle

Author: Max Boot
Commentary

Yesterday I wrote “here we go again” with President Obama agonizing over another major foreign-policy decision–whether or not to arm Ukraine–even as our enemies push ahead with great determination and cunning. Today we are seeing yet another Obama MO: the tendency, once endless administration deliberations are finished, to produce a split-the-difference solution that doesn’t accomplish as much as it should.

See more in United States; Military Operations; Presidents and Chiefs of State

The Ayatollah and the U.S. Embassy

Author: Ray Takeyh
Weekly Standard

It has long been the conceit of Iran specialists and political commentators that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was not informed that militant students intended to take over the U.S. embassy in Iran in 1979. The Western intelligentsia has vouched for the Islamic Republic and claimed that the hostage crisis was a product of an internal power struggle. It was not about America, but rather about a revolution sorting itself out. As such, the hostage drama should not stand in the way of a rapprochement between the two nations. 

See more in Iran; United States; History and Theory of International Relations

The Great Deglobalizing

Author: Joshua Kurlantzick
The Boston Globe

During a seemingly successful trip to Asia in November, Barack Obama announced several breakthroughs. Among them was a promise that the United States and Asian nations would proceed toward the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, a free-trade deal that, if enacted, would create a free trade area with a total gross domestic product of more than $27 trillion.

See more in Global; Globalization; Financial Crises

I Interviewed Bashar al-Assad About Syria's Civil War. He's Still Too Delusional to End it.

Author: Jonathan Tepperman
Washington Post

In recent weeks, Western governments have begun subtly shifting their positions on Syria. The Obama administration seems to have quietly dropped its demand that President Bashar al-Assad resign as a precondition of peace talks. Instead, reports suggest it has embraced proposals that would allow Assad to be part of an interim deal. The new approach implies that the White House and its allies believe that the Syrian president might be open to a compromise that could end his country’s four-year civil war.

See more in Syria; Conflict Assessment