Center for Preventive Action Publications

Op-Ed

The Best Worst Quotes of 2014

Author: Micah Zenko
ForeignPolicy.com

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.

See more in United States; Presidents and Chiefs of State; Congresses, Parliaments, National Legislatures

Op-Ed

Sorry, But North Korea Isn’t a State Sponsor of Terrorism

Author: Micah Zenko
ForeignPolicy.com

Senior administration officials have discussed the possibility of placing North Korea on the State Sponsor of Terrorism list after the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment. Micah Zenko argues that North Korea is not a state-sponsor of terrorism and “rather than misapplying this outdated punishment against countries that the United States has non-terrorism-related disagreements with, an entirely new designation is necessary.”

See more in United States; North Korea; State Sponsors of Terrorism

Op-Ed

The Problem With the Torture Report

Author: Micah Zenko
ForeignPolicy.com

Though the release of the executive summary of the Senate’s report on the CIA’s post-9/11 detention and interrogation program is a worthwhile effort, this report will cover little new ground, Micah Zenko argues. Rather, a more public account, including interviews with torture victims and interrogation technique used by the Department of Defense, is needed. Zenko provides guidelines for and questions to think about while reading the report.

See more in United States; Intelligence

Council Special Report No. 70 U.S. Policy to Counter Nigeria's Boko Haram

U.S. Policy to Counter Nigeria's Boko Haram

Author: John Campbell

John Campbell, Ralph Bunche senior fellow for Africa policy studies, 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. 

See more in Nigeria; Terrorist Organizations and Networks; Radicalization and Extremism

Research Links

Conflict Prevention Resources

CPA's conflict prevention resources include the Preventive Priorities Survey series, the Global Conflict Tracker, and an index of publicly available watchlists and datasets. The index of watchlists is organized by dependent variable (conflict and instability; governance; respect for human rights; economic fragility) and like the Preventive Priorities Survey, will be updated periodically to reflect the recalibration of existing online lists, the release of new data, and the completion of future Preventive Priorities Surveys.

See more in Global; Conflict Prevention

Op-Ed

Obama's Armed Drones in Iraq Reek of Mission Creep

Author: Micah Zenko
Foreign Policy

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.

See more in Pakistan; Iraq; Drones; Counterterrorism

Council Special Report No. 69 Limiting Armed Drone Proliferation

Limiting Armed Drone Proliferation

Authors: Micah Zenko and Sarah E. Kreps

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.

See more in Global; Drones; Nonproliferation, Arms Control, and Disarmament

Op-Ed

When All You've Got Is an F-16...

Author: Micah Zenko
Foreign Policy

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.

See more in United States; Defense Strategy

Op-Ed

Space Jam

Author: Micah Zenko
ForeignPolicy.com

Micah Zenko considers the prosaic, though important, matter of how U.S. civilian and military officials think about national security space issues.

See more in United States; Space

Article

Waste of Space

Author: Micah Zenko
ForeignPolicy.com

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.

See more in United States; Space

Contingency Planning Memorandum Dangerous Space Incidents

Dangerous Space Incidents

Author: Micah Zenko

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.

See more in Global; Space

Op-Ed

How to Avoid a Naval War With China

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.

See more in China; United States; Sovereignty; Wars and Warfare

Op-Ed

The Drone Invasion Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

Authors: Micah Zenko and Sarah E. Kreps
ForeignPolicy.com

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."

See more in Global; Drones

Op-Ed

When Terrorism (That Never Happened) Made Headlines in Sochi

Author: Micah Zenko
ForeignPolicy.com

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.

See more in Russian Federation; Terrorist Attacks; Media and Foreign Policy