For the past several years, the Obama administration’s strategy for Afghanistan has rested on the basic assumption that although no reasonable amount of U.S. money or troops could win the war against the Taliban outright, a limited American commitment to Afghanistan’s security forces and government would enable Kabul to hold on long enough to reach a negotiated truce with insurgent leaders.
Central Americans seeking asylum in the United States, including tens of thousands of children, face legal limbo and possible deportation even as violence rages in their home countries, says journalist Julia Preston.
On August 5, President Obama took to the podium at American University to justify his controversial nuclear pact with Iran. The location was chosen with seeming care, as over five decades earlier, John F. Kennedy delivered a key speech at the same Washington school calling for arms control agreements with another adversary, the Soviet Union.
With two women set to become the first graduates of the U.S. Army Ranger School on Friday, CFR senior fellows Gayle Tzemach Lemmon and Janine Davidson explain the significance of the graduation and its implications for military operations and strategy.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is unlikely to evolve into a post-revolutionary pragmatic state like China, writes CFR’s Ray Takeyh. As it is difficult to give up the theocratic orthodoxy of the regime, Iran will continue to resist the legitimacy of the international order.
Pentagon and White House officials can’t agree on whether Russia is an “existential threat” to the United States, nor about what the top threats to the country even are. Micah Zenko discusses how this inhibits government effectiveness and what needs to be done to address it.
President Barack Obama and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon met on August 4, 2015, to discuss several international initiatives that the United States is addressing with the UN, including climate change, humanitarian crises, political violence, and economic development.
A major concern of the Iran nuclear deal is that it only imposes constraints for 10 years. After that, the “breakout time” needed for Iran to build a bomb may shrink again. President Obama should say that if Iran expands its program to the full extent allowed by the agreement, the United States will consider it a threat to our security and that of our allies. The president should also add that if the threat begins to grow again, Washington is prepared to renounce the agreement—reimposing sanctions, reviewing military options, and urging other states to do the same.
President Barack Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency announced the Clean Power Plan on August 3, 2015. The plan provides a toolkit for states to implement to reduce the carbon emissions from existing fossil-fueled power plants. This plan is an update of the 2014 proposed plan and a step in the larger Climate Change Plan.
President Barack Obama spoke at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa on July 28, 2015. He discussed the ten year renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act and additional reforms and other assistance the United States and African leaders work on to increase trade, investment, and growth on the continent. He also addressed the need for presidents to respect term limits and transfer power peacefully and for nations to provide equal treatment for women and girls.
"Critics of the Iran nuclear deal say that Congress should reject it. But Philip Gordon, writing in the Washington Post, shows that the alternatives to a negotiated agreement in North Korea, Iraq, and Iran so far have not turned out to be a "better deal."
At this point in time, given the current Iranian leadership, the state of Iranian public opinion, and Iranian economic conditions, relying on unilateral economic leverage to obtain a better deal is an illusion, argues Miles Kahler. More likely it would drive Iran further in the direction of North Korea—an unrestrained nuclear program and an economically isolated, unreformed regime.
Authors: Ray Takeyh and Eric Edelman Washington Post
While no agreement is perfect, the scale of imperfection of the Iran nuclear deal is so great that it is imperative to renegotiate a more stringent one, writes CFR’s Ray Takeyh with former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman. To do so, Congress must reject the deal and push the United States and Iran to return to the table.
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 authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
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.
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 »