New strategic challenges that have emerged in recent months influence China's relations with both Koreas into the new year. While regional developments, especially North Korean domestic politics, may lead to a deepening convergence of aims among the United States, South Korea, and China, there remains a stark difference over preferred outcomes. CFR's Scott Snyder and See-won Byun of George Washington University explain the defense and economic developments over the past year and look at prospects for 2014 China-Korea relations.
"Standing in the way of success in the peace process — as well as most other aspects of the transition to better governance — is the government's apparent inability to control the guns. Has there ever been a successful transition in which the government does not have authority over the military and the police?"
"Perhaps Ahmadullah no longer feels that his life is at risk. Unlike al-Qaeda, the Taliban have emerged from the past decade remarkably unscathed. Many of the group's leaders have vanished into tribal areas along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, and others live in urban areas—such as Quetta and Karachi—where U.S. drones could not reasonably operate. Still, if Ahmadullah who is no older than forty-seven, has any hope of playing a role in Afghanistan's future, he will have to emerge at some point from 'under the grave.'"
"There is a larger trend across Asia to bring deliberations and decision-making into presidential or ministerial offices in an effort to better respond to the rapidly changing security environment in Asia. The reasons for these efforts are varied and complex."
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon reviews a new memoir by former defense secretary Robert Gates, in which he publicly calls to question the U.S. administration's policies in Afghanistan, and questions again the United States' role in a post-2014 Afghanistan.
China's pursuit of natural resources is restructuring markets, pushing up commodity prices, and transforming resource-rich economies. Elizabeth C. Economy and Michael Levi explore the unrivaled expansion of the Chinese economy and the global effects of its meteoric growth.
The following discussion questions, essay questions, in-class activities, homework assignments, and supplementary resources are designed to help educators use the "Child Marriage" InfoGuide in the classroom.
"While a key policy takeaway—avoid civilian casualties—seems obvious, even taking great pains to minimize civilian suffering is no guarantee that civilians can be won over. Cognitive biases that predispose individuals to favor (or excuse) the actions of their fellow in-group members, while simultaneously using negative actions by the out-group (like ISAF) to confirm prior prejudices, are powerful frameworks not easily overcome during wartime. Without engaging these underlying psychological biases, however, efforts to win hearts and minds are likely to be expensive, protracted, and, in the end, fleeting."
Authors: Graeme Smith, Nader Nadery, Daniel S. Markey, Seth G. Jones, and Clare Lockhart
Afghanistan faces a critical year as NATO-led troops draw down, international aid drops, and elections could deliver the country's first democratic transfer of power. Five experts weigh Afghanistan's prospects in 2014.
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Scot Marciel, testified onDecember 18, 2013 about the economic aspects of the Obama Administration's rebalance to Asia, before theSenate Committee on Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
Asked by Jonathan Crouse, from Coastal Carolina University
North Korea's capability to threaten the United States comes in two forms:
The possibility that North Korean-origin fissile material could be sent to the United States, either through sale to terrorist groups or by delivering a nuclear device to a U.S. harbor by boat, or;
The ability to threaten U.S. interests abroad, including through renewed conflict on the Korean peninsula, where 28,000 U.S. forces are stationed with the mission of defending South Korea from North Korean aggression.
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.
The author examines Pakistan's complex role in U.S. foreign policy and advocates for a two-pronged approach that works to quarantine threats while integrating Pakistan into the broader U.S. agenda in Asia.