When it comes to energy, new technologies can upend the status quo almost overnight, surprising everyone. And just as the shale revolution, unleashed by fracking, has largely triggered the current oil upheaval, so progress in improving batteries could roil geopolitics and business in major ways.
The U.S. electrical grid has hardly changed since the 1880s, and its reliability, effectiveness, and affordability are increasingly being brought into question. To prevent disaster, regulators must abandon outdated electrical architecture and redesign the grid.
International donors have many compelling causes to choose from, but reducing energy poverty—a plight afflicting over two billion people—should rank among the very top. The poor need energy to alleviating all their other problems, from poor health to unemployment to instability.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s vaunted “stability” has turned into spoliation. The methods he used to fix the corrupt, dysfunctional post-Soviet state have produced yet another corrupt, dysfunctional state—and unfortunately, there is no end to it in sight.
A recent book of essays by top economists suggests that many of the lessons of the 2008 financial crisis were ones that should have been learned long before the meltdown. The problem is that during good times, people forget.
In his discussion of German foreign policy’s supposed drift eastward, Hans Kundnani (“Leaving the West Behind,” January/February 2015) suggests that Germany has resisted imposing sanctions on Russia over its undeclared war with Ukraine—a sign, in his view, that Germany might once again desert the West in a flirtation with Russia.
Both Max Boot (“More Small Wars,” November/December 2014) and Rick Brennan (“Withdrawal Symptoms,” November/December 2014) provide insight into what the United States did wrong at an operational level in Iraq.
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 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.
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.
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
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 »