Council Special Reports
Council Special Reports (CSRs) are concise policy briefs that provide timely responses to developing crises or contributions to current policy dilemmas. The Studies Program commissions a CSR when events make a particular situation or conflict ripe for useful intervention and the window of opportunity is likely to close if action is not taken in a timely manner. Because a Special Report can be prepared quickly, it can have an impact when changing events create a space for useful involvement.
The United States maintains important interests in Afghanistan, even as most U.S. and allied troops are withdrawn in 2014. Seth G. Jones and Keith Crane assess the political, security, and economic challenges facing U.S. policymakers in Afghanistan and evaluate a range of policy options.
See more in Afghanistan; Wars and Warfare; Diplomacy and Statecraft
In the past ten years, U.S. special operations forces have honed their counterterrorism manhunting ability with great operational success. They now are at a critical inflection point in their development where resources should be realigned to successfully employ the other of their two basic capabilities—working alongside indigenous forces to combat national and transnational threats.
See more in United States; Special Operations
Douglas Dillon Fellow Micah Zenko analyzes the potentially serious consequences, both at home and abroad, of a lightly overseen drone program and makes recommendations for improving its governance.
See more in United States; Wars and Warfare
The author assesses the causes and consequences of the violence faced by several Central American countries and examines the national, regional, and international efforts intended to curb its worst effects.
See more in Drug Trafficking and Control; Latin America and the Caribbean; Transnational Crime
Gause posits that, though the Arab Awakening has caused tensions in Saudi-American relations, the two countries do not face a crisis and still have significant mutual interests that should be prioritized.
See more in Saudi Arabia; Politics and Strategy
In this globalized world, countries will need to cooperate on policies that extend across borders to address issues that affect them all, including conflict prevention and peacemaking. The authors of this report assess the strengths and weaknesses of international institutions and provide a set of practical recommendations for how the United States can strengthen the global architecture for preventive action by partnering with those organizations.
See more in Conflict Prevention; United States; International Organizations and Alliances
Recognizing the limitations of current international systems based in The Hague, David A. Kaye provides a strategy for promoting national-level justice and accountability mechanisms to prosecute perpetrators of mass atrocity crimes.
See more in Courts and Tribunals
David A. Shirk analyzes the drug war in Mexico and argues that the United States should help Mexico address its pressing crime and corruption problems.
See more in Mexico; Drug Trafficking and Control
Kara C. McDonald and Stewart M. Patrick offer recommendations for U.S. leadership in United Nations Security Council reform and expansion.
See more in International Organizations and Alliances; United States
Kay King offers recommendations to reset congressional rules, practices, and procedures to address today's dysfunctional Congress and restore it as a full partner to the executive branch in advancing U.S. national security interests.
See more in Defense and Security; United States; Congresses, Parliaments, National Legislatures
What comes after the New START treaty? A follow-on treaty should limit the U.S. and Russia to 1,000 strategic and tactical nuclear weapons, says this CFR report.
See more in United States; Arms Control, Disarmament, and Nonproliferation; Russian Federation
Cybersecurity expert Knake recommends the United States use international forums to promote mechanisms that address security concerns in cyberspace while ensuring the Internet remains open for the free exchange of ideas across national boundaries.
See more in United States; Cybersecurity; Internet Policy
The controversial relationship between the United States and the International Criminal Court (ICC) is at a crossroads: After an initial period of hostility toward the ICC, the United States has in recent years pursued a policy of cautious engagement. Vijay Padmanabhan offers a backdrop of the U.S.-ICC relationship and policy recommendations for the U.S. delegation attending the Seven-Year Review Conference in May/June 2010.
See more in Courts and Tribunals
Violations of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty by Iran and North Korea threaten to undermine the legitimacy of the nonproliferation regime. Paul Lettow proposes a comprehensive agenda for improvements, including tougher sanctions against transgressors, a criteria-based system to limit the spread of enrichment and processing technologies, and expansion of International Atomic Energy Agency authority.
See more in Global; Arms Control, Disarmament, and Nonproliferation; Global Governance
Since 2008, Russia, like many other countries, has experienced a deep economic crisis. The question is how this crisis might affect Russia's domestic politics and foreign policy and, consequently, whether any change is warranted in U.S. policy toward Moscow. Jeffrey Mankoff argues that Russia's need to focus on repairing its economy during this global crisis gives the West an opportunity to deepen its economic engagement with Russia, which could bind Moscow more firmly to the liberal global economic order and encourage reform in both Russia and neighboring states.
See more in Financial Crises; Russian Federation
Failed states provide fertile ground for terrorism, drug trafficking, and a host of other ills that threaten to spill beyond their borders. Somalia is thus a problem not just for Somalis but for the United States and the world. Bronwyn E. Bruton takes on one of today's most vexing foreign policy challenges, offering concise analysis and thoughtful recommendations grounded in a realistic assessment of U.S. and international interests and capabilities in Somalia.
See more in Somalia; Fragile or Failed States
NATO has been a cornerstone of security in Europe--and of U.S. foreign policy--for six decades. But its ability to continue playing such a central role is unclear. James M. Goldgeier takes a sober look at what the alliance and its members must do to maintain NATO's relevance in the face of today's strategic environment.
See more in NATO
Recent events in Darfur raise the familiar question of whether international law facilitates the kind of early, decisive, and coherent action needed to effectively combat genocide. Matthew C. Waxman argues that putting decisions about international intervention solely in the hands of the UN Security Council risks undermining the threat or use of intervention when it may be most potent in stopping mass atrocities.
See more in United States; Genocide; Humanitarian Intervention
For more than a decade, the United States has mostly watched from the sidelines as Asian countries organize themselves into an alphabet soup of new multilateral groups. In this report, the authors review the relationship between pan-Asian and trans-Pacific institutions and suggest policy guidelines for a new U.S. approach to this new Asian landscape. A purposeful multilateralism that pools the efforts of those with the greatest capacity, the authors argue, could make Asia a more prosperous and secure region.
See more in Asia and Pacific; Politics and Strategy; United States
The United States can ill afford the burden of additional foreign policy challenges, making it imperative that the U.S. government find ways to identify, delay, and avert international crises that could harm U.S. interests or even lead to military engagement. In this report, the authors provide an actionable road map for how the U.S. government should revamp its existing U.S. prevention architecture to make it more effective in dealing with potential crises abroad.
See more in United States; Conflict Prevention