There has been a recent shift in America’s counterterrorism ideology, argues Micah Zenko, which accepts the idea that the United States is in a perpetual war with terrorism and fails to recognize that the U.S. counterterrorism policy is failing. “The only ideology that the United States can influence or control is its own.”
The United States provides the greatest financial support to peace operations in Africa. Drawing on a new Council Special Report, Paul D. Williams discusses the United States’ efforts to “shape the strategic direction and design of peace operations on the continent.”
Ambiguity in cyberspace—in terms of who is responsible for and the intent of a cyberattack—poses a growing risk of unnecessary military escalation in and outside the cyber domain. Benjamin Brake details how the Obama administration can strengthen its ability to correctly and efficiently attribute an ambiguous attack, reduce the likelihood of its escalation, and mitigate the consequences.
In a new Council Special Report, Enhancing U.S. Support for Peace Operations in Africa, Paul D. Williams argues that greater U.S. involvement is necessary to enhance the quality and success of peacekeeping missions.
The Obama administration's stated policy since 2011 has been to capture suspected terrorists—such as U.S. citizen Mohanad Mahmoud Al Farekh in Pakistan—rather than target them with drone strikes. However, as Micah Zenko points out, Al Farekh’s case is the rare exception and, since 2011, the United States has conducted an estimated 215 drone strikes, killing 1,271 individuals.
Territorial disputes in the South China Sea continue to be a source of tension and potential conflict between China and other countries in the region. Bonnie S. Glaser argues that the United States should help lower the risk of conflict in the region, including the potential for dangerous military incidents involving U.S. and Chinese military forces.
The United States is now engaged in yet another military intervention in the Middle East—this time in Yemen. Micah Zenko argues that what has become the standard operating procedure for how the United States goes to war should be alarming, particularly when the latest intervention “lacks clear courses of action, coherent objectives, or an intended end state.”
Venezuela is in a state of protracted crisis. Ambassador Patrick Duddy updates his 2012 Contingency Planning Memorandum to reflect the current likelihood of significant political instability in Venezuela and the options available to the United States.
U.S. military and intelligence officials often conceive of the complexity of the world in terms of the volume of total issues, rather than evaluating the prioritization of those issues. CPA's Micah Zenko examines how the U.S. military thinks about complexity.
The United States should position itself to take advantage of a post-Mugabe transition by working with other countries of the southern African region to limit the risk of civil violence in Zimbabwe and lay the groundwork for a better future.
The U.S. plan to arm Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria looks eerily similar to the infamous 1961 failed Bay of Pigs operation. Micah Zenko argues that a clarification of phase two—how the United States will support the armed rebels once they are trained and equipped—is needed before the United States proceeds.
The State Department released a new policy on military drone exports, opening the door to possible sales to countries other than close U.S. allies. Micah Zenko discusses implications of the policy for drone proliferation.
Gigi Kwik Gronvall examines the increased use of synthetic biology—a nascent field that engineers biology to improve manufacturing and the development of medicines—in order to highlight the need for oversight and better regulation.
The 2015 elections again may precipitate violence that could destabilize Nigeria, and Washington has even less leverage in Abuja than it did in 2011. CFR Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies John Campbell analyzes new concerns about Nigeria's fraught politics.
Author: Micah Zenko Australian National University, Strategic & Defence Studies Centre
Many predictions have been made that the United States and China will find themselves in competition or even direct conflict. Yet this is not preordained and both sides need to be careful not to talk themselves into a hostile relationship. In this bold new paper, Micah Zenko argues that by identifying clear ideas about acceptable conduct in the key domains (maritime, space, and cyber) the United States and China can avoid conflict without presuming away differences of interest or opinion.
Counterterrorism strategies of the past thirteen years have relied upon a myth of 9/11: terrorists require safe havens to conduct international terrorist attacks. Micah Zenko and Amelia M. Wolf argue that there is no evidence to support this assumption, which most recently served as the basis for launching a war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
The rise of purported threats such as Ebola and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, military intervention in Syria, and shifting military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2014 resulted in numerous notable quotes—whether puzzling, hypocritical, factually incorrect, or revealing—from U.S. officials and policymakers. In his annual article, Micah highlighted the top twenty foreign policy quotes of the year.
In this CSR, coauthored by Paul B. Stares and Micah Zenko sponsored by the Center for Preventive Action, evaluates the U.S. system for foreseeing and heading off crises and assesses in detail current U.S. practices with regard to different types of preventive action. More
This report, authored by Bronwyn E. Bruton and sponsored by the Center for Preventive Action, argues that the current U.S. policy of supporting the TFG is unlikely to succeed and ineffective foreign meddling threatens to prolong and worsen the conflict. Instead, the United States should pursue a strategy of "constructive disengagement" while still maintaining support for localized development initiatives and humanitarian assistance. More