Preventive Action Update

July 1, 2010


Over the past two months, the Center for Preventive Action (CPA) has produced a considerable volume of commentary on a number of important foreign policy issues including the unveiling of President Obama’s National Security Strategy, the use of drones along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, and the challenges of incorporating foresight into national security decision-making. As always, we continue to focus on conflict prevention strategies in regions of particular importance to U.S. interests, most recently with a Contingency Planning Roundtable on the possibility of renewed conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. We thank you for your interest in CPA and hope you find the information in this newsletter useful.

Paul Stares

Director, Center for Preventive Action



No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

by Princeton N. Lyman and Stephen B. Wittels

Foreign Affairs

July/August 2010

The United States' commitment to helping treat HIV patients is limiting Washington's leverage over recipient countries and undermining other development goals....

Last, Best Chance

by Micah Zenko

New York Times (Web-only)

June 24, 2010

President Obama’s decision to relieve Gen. Stanley McChrystal and replace him with Gen. David Petraeus will not change the outcome of the war in Afghanistan, but it was the right thing to do....

Preventing Tomorrow's Wars

by Micah Zenko and Rebecca R. Friedman

Baltimore Sun

June 21, 2010

In an annual rite of spring inside the Beltway, Congress is contemplating a $4 billion cut to President Barack Obama's foreign affairs budget. Fearing the legislative scalpel, senior decision-makers vehemently oppose reduced funding for the State Department and USAID....

Raising the Curtain on U.S. Drone Strikes

by Micah Zenko (Interviewee) and Greg Bruno (Interviewer)

CFR's Micah Zenko, who has studied the use of drones in the Afghan-Pakistan region, says while unmanned drone technology does have its place in war, the Obama administration must shed new details on the tactic to justify their continued use. "Predator strikes are the worst kept covert secret in the history of U.S. foreign policy," Zenko says. "[S]ince they are such a significant part of U.S. national security strategy, they should be debated, not simply applauded."....

Shaming North Korea

by Paul B. Stares

Los Angeles Times

May 30, 2010

The lack of good options to punish North Korea for the unprovoked sinking of a South Korean warship that cost the lives of 46 sailors is causing much hand-wringing. Military retaliation risks precipitating another Korean war, while additional economic sanctions and U.N. condemnations will only work if China agrees to giving them real teeth, which it won't. What is there then to deter North Korea from doing something similar again?....

Obama's National Security Strategy: Promises and Pitfalls

by Paul B. Stares

CFR First Take

May 28, 2010

Sprinkled throughout the National Security Strategy are declarations of intent to prevent the emergence of new threats, including dangerous instability and violent conflict in "At-Risk States." The imperatives of preventing such threats from becoming the source of costly new military commitments hardly need to be stated with U.S. forces already overstretched around the world. The question now is whether such declarations will be translated into more timely and effective action. The NSS offers a compelling vision of how this will be accomplished, but doubts remain about its practical implementation....

To Stay Relevant, the UN Must Compete

by Rebecca R. Friedman

Christian Science Monitor

May 18, 2010

When officials from 47 countries met in Washington last month for the Nuclear Security Summit, they sent a subtle but unmistakable message to the United Nations: You don't matter as much as you used to....

What Non-Nuclear Weapons States Want: Six Key Issues

by Mican Zenko

Christian Science Monitor

May 13, 2010

When most people talk of a world free of nuclear weapons, they generally focus discussion on the states that possess nuclear weapons. Ninety-five percent of the world, however, has decided not to pursue nuclear weapons, and they overwhelming view the bomb as inherently dangerous and destabilizing....