Published opinions and arguments by CFR fellows and experts.

Buying More Time

Author: Daniel S. Markey
The Cipher Brief

For the past several years, the Obama administration’s strategy for Afghanistan has rested on the basic assumption that although no reasonable amount of U.S. money or troops could win the war against the Taliban outright, a limited American commitment to Afghanistan’s security forces and government would enable Kabul to hold on long enough to reach a negotiated truce with insurgent leaders.

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

Questioning the Case for New Nuclear Weapons

Author: Adam Mount
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists

Recent developments—Russian aggression in Ukraine, China’s expanding territorial claims, and the need to modernize the US nuclear arsenal—have caused scholars to revisit a labyrinthine world of nuclear strategy largely neglected since the end of the Cold War. But this new wave of theory has resurrected some dubious arguments.

See more in Global; Nonproliferation, Arms Control, and Disarmament

Iran Deal Needs Strengthening

Author: Ray Takeyh
Miami Herald

On August 5, President Obama took to the podium at American University to justify his controversial nuclear pact with Iran. The location was chosen with seeming care, as over five decades earlier, John F. Kennedy delivered a key speech at the same Washington school calling for arms control agreements with another adversary, the Soviet Union.


See more in Iran; United States; Treaties and Agreements

A Suggestion for Obama’s American University Speech About Iran Deal

Author: Stephen Sestanovich
Wall Street Journal

 A major concern of the Iran nuclear deal is that it only imposes constraints for 10 years. After that, the “breakout time” needed for Iran to build a bomb may shrink again. President Obama should say that if Iran expands its program to the full extent allowed by the agreement, the United States will consider it a threat to our security and that of our allies. The president should also add that if the threat begins to grow again, Washington is prepared to renounce the agreement—reimposing sanctions, reviewing military options, and urging other states to do the same.

See more in Iran; United States; Treaties and Agreements; Presidents and Chiefs of State