U.S. President Barack Obama came into office determined to end a seemingly endless war on terrorism. Obama pledged to make his counterterrorism policies more nimble, more transparent, and more ethical than the ones pursued by the George W. Bush administration. Obama wanted to get away from the overreliance on force that characterized the Bush era, which led to the disastrous U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Ashton Carter has an unusual background for a secretary of defense. Before assuming the United States’ top military post in February, he studied medieval history and particle physics as an undergraduate at Yale, got a Ph.D. in physics as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford, and taught international affairs at Harvard. He also served as an assistant secretary of defense in the Clinton administration and as an undersecretary and then the deputy secretary of defense under President Barack Obama.
America’s status as the greatest and most influential nation on earth comes with certain inescapable realities. Among these are an abundance of enemies wishing to undermine us, numerous allies dependent on our strength and constancy, and the burden of knowing that every choice we make in exercising our power—even when we choose not to exercise it at all—has tremendous human and geopolitical consequences.
As the United States grew from a small set of colonies into a global hegemon, so did the geographic reach of its laws. From civil law to criminal law to human rights law, U.S. statutes now govern activity in every corner of the globe.
There are reasons other than his longevity why so many world leaders—among them the Chinese President Xi Jinping—continue to seek the counsel of Henry Kissinger, who stepped down as U.S. secretary of state close to four decades ago. In this respect, Barack Obama is unusual.
In her three year tenure as CEO of General Dynamics Phebe Novakovic, a former CIA operative, has led the company to record earnings with her “back-to-basics” approach. However, she may have to adapt her strategy to stay profitable in the coming years and to meet the demands of a flat pentagon budget.
Overall, the landscape of Iran suggests few reasons for optimism: The Islamic Republic has negotiated an advantageous arms-control agreement, and the accord looks likely to survive opposition in the U.S. Congress. Tehran’s regime represses its citizens and has embarked on an expansion of its influence from the Persian Gulf to the banks of the Mediterranean.
Political disagreements make the U.S. less reliable, leading friends to take matters into their own hands and foes to challenge U.S. policy, thinking they have little to fear, says CFR President Richard Haass.
In a review for Commentary, Elliott Abrams analyzes Ambassador Michael Oren’s new book Ally. Abrams notes that while Ambassador Oren frankly describes the various actions by President Obama that worsened relations between the U.S. and Israel, he is not candid about the supporters who defended Obama as he went down that path.
Writing in Politico, Philip Gordon explores the key issues the United States and Saudi Arabia should address during King Salman’s visit to Washington. It’s good the leaders are talking, but fundamental strategic gaps remain.
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 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.
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