The pentagon last week acknowledged that the United States deployed armed drones to Iraq to provide surveillance and strike capabilities as the crisis with the Islamic State of Iraq and and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) continues to deteriorate. However, Micah Zenko points out that while numerous U.S. officials have called for the deployment of drones, these demands have not been accompanied by justifications, and there is still no precise goals for the deployment.
In this Council Special Report, Douglas Dillon Fellow Micah Zenko and Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow Sarah Kreps argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones. By doing so, they predict, the United States will create standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
U.S. policymakers are calling for airpower and bombings in Iraq, just two days after the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham captured territory in the north. Micah Zenko discusses why policymakers so quickly resort to bombing as a policy option, and the unfortunate consequences of this limited discourse.
This memo assesses the impact of spillover from the ongoing civil war in Syria on Lebanon's security and proposes several steps the United States should take to lessen the likelihood of sectarian violence and instability in Lebanon.
Orbit space debris threatens U.S. space assets and assured access to the domain. Micah Zenko argues that the United States has a unique obligation to prevent or mitigate the consequences of dangerous space incidents, which are the primary cause of space debris, because it relies heavily on space and has unmatched space situational awareness.
Dangerous incidents in outer space pose an increasing threat to U.S. assets and risk escalating into militarized crises. Douglas Dillon Fellow Micah Zenko details how the Obama administration could reduce the likelihood of such crises, or mitigate their consequences should they occur.
CFR Senior Fellow Steven A. Cook outlines the risk factors and warning signs of a solvency crisis in Egypt in this Contingency Planning Memorandum and offers policy options to prevent such a crisis or mitigate its consequences.
Armed drones are starting to rule the skies, but the United States' monopoly over their use is fading. The Obama administration should nurture a regime to limit drone proliferation, similar to efforts to control nuclear weapons and missiles, write Sarah Kreps and Micah Zenko.
Authors: William J. Parker III and Micah Zenko ForeignPolicy.com
Though tensions between the United States and China are high, a war between the two countries is not preordained, write Micah Zenko and William Parker III. There are numerous tools available to avert possible escalation, which, if applied properly, could lead to positive near and long term implications.
It is a common misperception that drones are proliferating widely throughout the world, when in reality, this is an over exaggerated and misleading assumption. Micah Zenko and Sarah Kreps argue that this "apparent runaway train of drone proliferation (and its misreported uses) is actually stymieing efforts to promote or influence responsible armed-drone exports and their uses."
For months ahead of the Winter Olympics in Russia, politicians and the media discussed the possibility of a terrorist attacks during the games. Micah Zenko reveals the truth about the likelihood of a terrorist attack in Sochi, analyzes how policymakers and the media misinformed the public, and discusses how the situation could have been handled better.
"The smartest folks I know in just about every academic or policy field, don't tweet, blog, or actively appear in the media," Micah Zenko wrote on Twitter earlier this week. In his latest ForeignPolicy.com article, Micah responds to the reactions he received to his Tweet, and discusses the social media presence of area experts and policy makers.
On February 7, 1984, President Ronald Reagan withdrew the U.S. Marines from Lebanon—an action that was "perhaps the most purposeful and consequential foreign-policy decision of his presidency," Micah Zenko writes. In this article, Zenko discusses the unclear and unachievable mission of the United States in Lebanon, and Reagan's subsequent decision to withdraw.
The annual worldwide threat briefings of the intelligence community began with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper's briefing to the U.S. Senate, during which he discussed the top threats facing the United States in 2014. In his article, Micah Zenko discusses the one thing that will remain shrouded from the American public—exactly who the United States is at war with.
Advanced technologies have altered the relevancy of the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), however a repeal of the AUMF is unlikely, argues Micah Zenko. "These technologies greatly change the calculus for civilian officials, and they have lowered the threshold for when presidents authorize the use of force."
"This habit of policymakers exalting the military as exemplars of accomplishment—in effect, asking generals and admirals to "save us from ourselves"—should be brought to a dignified end," writes Micah Zenko.
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