Center for Preventive Action Publications


The Big Winners of the Iran Nuclear Deal

Author: Micah Zenko

Who are the real winners of the Iran nuclear deal? Defense planners in U.S. Central Command and the Pentagon, says Micah Zenko, because “concepts, informal arrangements, and detailed plans that go into defense planning would have all been vastly more difficult, costly, and risky.”

See more in Iran; Treaties and Agreements

Other Report Libya’s Escalating Civil War

Libya’s Escalating Civil War

Author: Daniel P. Serwer

The potential chaos highlighted by a 2011 Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Contingency Planning Memorandum, "Post-Qaddafi Instability in Libya," has come to fruition. Daniel P. Serwer outlines the unfolding crisis and recommends steps the United States, Europe, and Arab countries can take to help mitigate the fallout.

See more in Libya; Conflict Prevention; Fragile or Failed States

Contingency Planning Memorandum No. 24 Strategic Risks of Ambiguity in Cyberspace

Strategic Risks of Ambiguity in Cyberspace

Author: Benjamin Brake

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.

See more in Global; Cybersecurity


Kill > Capture

Author: Micah Zenko

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.

See more in United States; Presidents and Chiefs of State; Drones

Other Report Conflict in the South China Sea

Conflict in the South China Sea

Author: Bonnie S. Glaser

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.

See more in Asia and Pacific; Conflict Prevention


Make No Mistake — the United States Is at War in Yemen

Author: Micah Zenko

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.”

See more in Yemen; United States; Conflict Assessment