In June, Hassan Rouhani was elected president of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Rouhani ran as a reform candidate, and many have interpreted his victory as a harbinger of a possible liberalization or rationalization of Iranian domestic and foreign policy. But the dominant figure in Iranian politics is not the president but rather the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
In my book Of Empires and Citizens, I argue that at the height of the period of authoritarian rule in the Middle East, Arab societies were divided between those people who benefited from their leaders' relationship with the United States, and therefore sought to preserve the dictatorships, and those who did not, and therefore sought democracy.
Elliott Abrams says the problem with the Obama administration's probable reaction in Syria is that it does not seem likely to address real American security interests at stake or the growing humanitarian disaster, and instead focus narrowly on another: Assad's use of chemical weapons.
Julia Sweig argues that, while skepticism of military intervention is reasonable in normal times, the use of chemical weapons in Syria has changed the goalposts and demands action from the world. In spite of its painful memories of U.S. intervention in its own recent history, Latin America should invoke the doctrine of Responsibility while Protecting, and partner with Western leaders as a source of humanitarian aid and refugee assistance.
"Refugee camps are born of emergency and evolve into cities of dependency, bureaucracy, and static suffering. They rescue human beings, and then they warehouse them. They relieve the host country of the financial burden and diffuse it among the member states of the United Nations."
"Contrary to appearances, Germany is not simply receding ever deeper into itself. In fact, the Berlin Republic is quietly asserting itself and fleshing out its foreign policy. The unwillingness to act as France's cheerleader in the greater Mediterranean comes with the creeping recovery of self-confidence, and a desire to reposition itself vis-à-vis this historically French sphere of influence."
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon released two statements on August 21, 2013, after reports of chemical weapons being used in Syria. Ambassador Maria Cristina Perceval of Argentina, UN Security Council President for August, spoke at the same press conference.
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.
2011 Corporate Conference: Recaps and Highlights
To encourage the free flow of conversation, the 2011 Corporate Conference was entirely not-for-attribution; however, several conference speakers joined us for sideline interviews further exploring their areas of expertise.
Former Treasury secretary Robert E. Rubin and Nobel Laureate economist Michael Spence on the global economic outlook.
Foreign Affairs editor Gideon Rose and Edward Morse on energy geopolitics.