In 1934 Sergei Kirov, an old Bolshevik who had been head of the Party organization in Leningrad, was assassinated with a shot to the back. Most of his NKVD bodyguards had been mysteriously removed before the murder. Josef Stalin, the Soviet Union’s absolute dictator, expressed shock at the murder and promised to investigate personally.
On the surface, there is not much that commends Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. An anti-Semite, he has frequently questioned the Holocaust and defamed Israel in despicable terms. As a conspiracy theorist, he endlessly weaves strange tales about the United States and its intentions. As a national leader, he has ruthlessly repressed Iran’s once-vibrant civil society while impoverishing its economy.
China is cleaning up its act at home, but will leaders be willing to tackle illegal environmental depredations abroad? Elizabeth Economy looks at what more China can do to protect the world’s natural resources.
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)?
CFR President Richard Haass argues that President Obama and Congress should postpone Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech to a United States joint session in Congress until after the Israeli election set for March 17.
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.
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.
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.
Global-scale vaccination campaigns have dramatically reduced measles illnesses and deaths in the poorest pockets of the planet, but the richest pockets of humanity are shunning the public health tool. Disease incidence is rising among the rich as it falls among the poor.
Whatever you think about sending arms to Ukraine, the debate has clearly had a positive effect on diplomacy. Throughout January, Angela Merkel, François Hollande, Petro Poroshenko, and Vladimir Putin canceled one meeting after another.
William Schabas has recused himself from his post as head of the UN Human Rights Council’s investigation into the Israeli operation in Gaza in 2014. In an article for Newsweek, Elliott Abrams explains why this happened too late to prevent a miscarriage of justice.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
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.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2014 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »
Now Available: Foreign Policy Begins at Home
The biggest threat to America's security and prosperity comes not from abroad but from within, writes CFR President Richard N. Haass in his provocative new book. More