Last week, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), part of the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, released its 2015 mortality statistics, which showed U.S. life expectancy fell from 78.9 to 78.8 years over the prior year. It is worth putting these results in the context of long-term trends in U.S. life expectancy and comparing them to other nations. Three lessons emerge when you do.
“Over the course of the war, U.S. bombing of Laos would become so intense that it averaged one attack every eight minutes for nearly a decade,” observes Joshua Kurlantzickin his new book, A Great Place to Have a War: America in Laos and the Birth of a Military CIA. Kurlantzick, a Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow for Southeast Asia, mines extensive interviews and recently declassified Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) records to give a definitive account of the secret war in the tiny Southeast Asian nation of Laos, which lasted from 1961 to 1973, and was the largest covert operation in U.S. history. The conflict forever changed the CIA from a relatively small spying agency into an organization with vast paramilitary powers.
Authors: Suerie Moon, Jennifer Leigh, Liana Woskie, Francesco Checchi, Victor Dzau, Mosoka Fallah, Gabriella Fitzgerald, Laurie Garrett, Lawrence Gostin, David Heymann, Rebecca Katz, Ilona Kickbusch, J. Stephen Morrison, Peter Piot, Peter Sands, Devi Sridhar, and Ashish K. Jha British Medical Journal
Reports on the response to Ebola broadly agree on what needs to be done to deal with disease outbreaks. But Laurie Garrett and colleagues find that the world is not yet prepared for future outbreaks.
The new administration is poised to accelerate the agency's transformation from one focused on spying to a paramilitary organization with a central role in violent conflicts, writes CFR's Joshua Kurlantzick.
The incoming Trump administration inherits a daunting global situation. But rushing to reverse longstanding U.S. policies could generate new challenges and make existing ones harder to resolve, writes CFR President Richard N. Haass.
Thousands of key policymakers — from State to the Department of Defense — still need to be appointed to new positions. But nothing’s happening. Days before Trump steps into office, he has failed to announce enough capable replacements for the 4,000 political appointments that any president must make.
Germany’s foreign minister reports “astonishment and agitation.” The French president protests indignantly about unsolicited “outside advice .” Even Secretary of State John F. Kerry sees behavior that is “inappropriate.” President-elect Donald Trump’s weekend interview, in which he casually predicted the breakup of the European Union, has certainly attracted attention.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2016 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 »