Asked by Charlotte Stafford, from Columbia University
The United States restored official relations with Somalia in January 2013 after years of civil unrest there, reflecting an increasingly stable Somali political environment. Better relations with Somalia, however, have little to do with the decrease in piracy, and the drop in offshore piracy cannot be attributed to Somali government efforts.
The West may no longer be the main target for terrorist organizations; turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa has given rise to an increased number of more locally-focused attacks in the last year.
Recent data on organized violence shows that conflicts between a state and one or more nonstate armed groups vastly outnumber interstate conflicts. As a result, argues former international affairs fellow Payton L. Knopf in a new CFR Working Paper, the State Department needs clear guidelines as to why, when, and how its diplomats should conduct outreach to these groups.
CFR's Director of Studies James Lindsay and Director of the International Institutions and Global Governance Program Stewart Patrick preview major world events in the week ahead.
In this week's podcast: The famine in the horn of Africa continues to unfold; Rebel gains in Libya may accelerate talk of an end to the conflict; and the UN Security Council debates its peacekeeping operations.
Famine in the Horn of Africa underscores the problems of an international foreign aid community struggling to keep up with its commitments at a time of a falling dollar and rising food prices, says CFR's Laurie Garrett.
Listen to Bronwyn E. Bruton, international affairs fellow in residence at CFR, discuss her recent Foreign Affairs article, "In the Quicksands of Somalia," with students as part of CFR's Academic Conference Call series.
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.