Op-Eds

Published opinions and arguments by CFR fellows and experts.

Malala’s Message

Author: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Medium

Following Malala Yousafzai’s acceptance of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon writes about why governments, international organizations, and nonprofits should act now to extend girls’ access to education globally.

See more in Global; Women; Education

Europe’s Dodgy Bank Stress Tests

Authors: Benn Steil and Dinah Walker
Wall Street Journal

Benn Steil and Dinah Walker analyze the market reaction to the publication of the European Central Bank's long-awaited bank stress test results. The ECB's coddling of stress-tested banks — through the use of inflated inflation estimates and generous treatment of tax offsets against future profits which may never arise — precipitated a sell-off of bank stocks in a period when broad European indexes were up significantly. Unlike with the successful 2009 U.S. stress tests, there is no credible backstop of public funds available for Eurozone bank recapitalization, which would account for the ECB's reluctance to draw attention to the sector's undercapitalization.

 

See more in Europe; Banks and Banking

P5+1 Talks Are Not (Just) about Iran

Author: Adam Mount
National Interest

Following Secretary of State John Kerry's announcement that the deadline for negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program would once again be pushed back, Adam Mount argues in the National Interest that applying more sanctions would eliminate any hope for a deal to end the Iranian nuclear program.

See more in Global; Weapons of Mass Destruction

The Problem With the Torture Report

Author: Micah Zenko
ForeignPolicy.com

Though the release of the executive summary of the Senate’s report on the CIA’s post-9/11 detention and interrogation program is a worthwhile effort, this report will cover little new ground, Micah Zenko argues. Rather, a more public account, including interviews with torture victims and interrogation technique used by the Department of Defense, is needed. Zenko provides guidelines for and questions to think about while reading the report.

See more in United States; Intelligence

Aid Fatigue is Hurting Displaced Syrians

Author: Stewart M. Patrick
Newsweek

As civil war in Syria inches toward its four-year anniversary, the nation’s humanitarian catastrophe deepens. Some 7.6 million Syrians are now internally displaced, and another 3.3 million have fled to neighboring countries to avoid the complex three-way dogfight among Assad’s forces, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and Syrian rebels.

See more in Syria; Humanitarian Intervention; Human Rights

Why the World Missed the Oil Price Crash

Author: Michael A. Levi
The Washington Post

The recent oil price crash came as a surprise to many observers due to several critical misconceptions about oil markets, writes Michael Levi. As for prices going forward, “only the reckless would bet with any confidence on one particular outcome.”

See more in Global; Oil

Rethinking Iran

Authors: Eric Edelman, Dennis Ross, and Ray Takeyh
The Washington Post

With the extension on the nuclear deal with Iran, Western powers would do well to reconfigure their assumptions on how to pressure Iran into a deal, writes CFR’s Ray Takeyh. Instead of economic or diplomatic punitive measures, the United States needs a comprehensive and coercive strategy that would mend fences between the White House and Congress on the foreign policy front, strengthen alliances in the Middle East, and isolate Iran from its partners.

See more in Iran; United States; Nuclear Energy; Treaties and Agreements

3 Things to Watch for in Putin’s State of the Union Speech

Author: Stephen Sestanovich
Wall Street Journal

Senior Fellow Stephen Sestanovich argues that to understand where Vladimir Putin will lead Russia, viewers should look to three things in his state of the union address: how he defines the country’s present problems, what he proposes as solutions to them, and how he sets out his long-term vision for Russia.

See more in Russian Federation; Presidents and Chiefs of State

What to Expect from Obama?

Author: Julia E. Sweig
Folha de Sao Paulo

Following Barack Obama's executive action to give as many as five million immigrants legal status in the United States, Julia Sweig reflects in her column on other potential areas where the President could leave his mark during his last two years in office.

See more in United States; Climate Change; Immigration

Reading Pyongyang’s Intentions with Japan

Author: Sheila A. Smith
38 North

Sheila Smith examines how domestic pressure in Japan, the release of U.S. citizens detained by North Korea, and a new UN resolution referring North Korean leaders to the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity could potentially shape Tokyo’s ongoing efforts to learn the fates of Japanese citizens abducted by Pyongyang decades ago.

See more in Japan; North Korea; Treaties and Agreements

China’s ADIZ at One Year: International Legal Issues

Author: Matthew C. Waxman
The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative

Matthew Waxman reflects on the international legality of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), declared by China one year ago. Importantly, this zone includes a large area of the East China Sea, including islands the legal possession of which China disputes with Japan. Waxman discusses the somewhat ambiguous and developing legal field surrounding ADIZs in this particular context and beyond.

See more in China; Regional Security; International Law

Should the U.S. Take Unilateral Action on Climate Policy?

Authors: Michael A. Levi and Andrew P. Morriss
Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal asks Michael Levi and Andrew P. Morriss whether the U.S. should act unilaterally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Levi answers “yes,” arguing that cutting greenhouse gas emissions now would enhance public health and the international credibility of the United States, and that reasonable action now would reduce long-term costs.

See more in United States; Environmental Policy