The answer is simple: 9/11. The most costly terrorist attack ever was carried out from Afghanistan. The United States showed bipartisan determination to bring the perpetrators to justice and—the part that explains our continuing engagement in Afghanistan—to prevent its soil from ever being used again to stage terrorist attacks.
The Obama administration's "pivot" to Asia made sense, because China was starting to doubt U.S. staying power. Now that Washington has sent Beijing a clear message it will be around for the long haul, however, the time has come for the two countries to deepen and institutionalize their relationship in order to secure Asia's lasting peace and prosperity.
Instead of continuing their endless battling, the United States and Pakistan should acknowledge that their interests simply do not converge enough to make them strong partners. Giving up the fiction of an alliance would free up Washington to explore new ways of achieving its goals in South Asia. And it would allow Islamabad to finally pursue its regional ambitions -- which would either succeed once and for all or, more likely, teach Pakistani officials the limitations of their country's power.
Benn Steil's Wall Street Journal op-ed explains the unique historical circumstances in which the Bretton Woods international monetary system emerged in 1944, and why calls for "a new Bretton Woods" today will go unsatisfied.
The election of the hawkish Shinzo Abe as Japan's prime minister has the world worrying that Tokyo is about to part with its pacifist strategy of the last 70 years. But Japan's new leaders are pragmatic, and so long as the United States does not waver in its commitment to the country's defense, they are unlikely chart a new course.
Pundits tend to treat terrorism and guerrilla tactics as something new, but nothing could be further from the truth. Although the agendas have changed over the years -- from tribalism, to liberalism and nationalism, to socialism, to jihadist extremism -- guerrilla and terrorist warfare has been ubiquitous throughout history and consistently deadly.
Intervening in Pakistani elections is a losing proposition, CFR Senior Fellow Daniel Markey argues. If pro-American leaders win, they will be tainted by association; if their opponents win, the United States will have alienated potential partners.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen held a final press conference on February 22, 2013, after meetings of NATO Defence Ministers regarding the International Security Assistance Force and the transition in Afghanistan.
Both are accurate. China certainly "has risen" to become a global economic power: in only three decades, it has transformed itself into the world's second largest economy, largest exporter, and largest provider of loans to the developing world. At the same time, China is rising: its economic and political system, as well as its foreign policy, is still developing. To state categorically that China "has risen" is to accept that the China of today will be substantially the same as the China of five to ten years from now, and few people in or outside China would accept such a conclusion.
Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communication Ben Rhodes held this conference call with National Security Council Senior Director for Asia Danny Russel and Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics Mike Froman, to preview Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe's visit to Washington, on February 22, 2013.
Micah Zenko argues, "routine and unchallenged assertions highlight what is perhaps the most widely agreed-upon conventional wisdom in U.S. foreign and national security policymaking: the inherent power of signaling."
"APT1 is a single organization of operators that has conducted a cyber espionage campaign against a broad range of victims since at least 2006. From our observations, it is one of the most prolific cyber espionage groups in terms of the sheer quantity of information stolen."
North Korea's third successful nuclear test has been widely condemned by the international community. CFR's Paul Stares highlights three things to know about the test and its implications for nuclear nonproliferation.
For more on the complex challenges that lie ahead for the world's largest and most rapidly changing continent, visit the Asia Program.
CFR Experts Guide
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.