In the past, U.S. officials have been less than eager to define a specific redline for the Iranian threat. While setting a March deadline could provide more certainty and coercive leverage to compel Iran to cooperate with the IAEA, it also places U.S. "credibility" on the line, says Micah Zenko.
Micah Zenko says, "Like Dick Cheney 21 years ago, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has engaged in an exhaustive effort to avoid both sequestration and any further reductions in the Pentagon's budget. The distinction between Panetta and his predecessors, however, is in the tactics he has employed to protect his bureaucratic turf."
Michael A. Levi and Micah Zenko say nuclear terrorism, however unlikely, is one of the few prospects that could truly devastate the USA, and there are still steps that the U.S. can take to reduce the odds of a catastrophic attack.
Micah Zenko says regardless of who wins the election in November, there are five core principles of U.S. foreign policy that are widely held on both sides of the aisle. However, these principles also rest on shaky ground and often undermine U.S. national interests.
Micah Zenko says that while it's admirable for senior defense leadership to adopt a forward-looking approach, the U.S. military cannot predict where future conflicts will emerge and where they will be deployed to fight.
Micah Zenko says even though telling the United States that it should be more scared of Iran has failed so far, Israeli officials will continue to sound the alarm about a nuclear-armed Tehran, with the ultimate objective of changing America's threat perception.
Micah Zenko examines the public comments of John Brennan, Obama's closest adviser for intelligence and counterterrorism issues, and finds that there are seven half-truths and direct contradictions between stated U.S. policies and actual practices.
Micah Zenko says John Brennan, chief adviser to President Obama on counterterrorism issues, has a unique and unprecedented role in shaping and implementing the president's vision for protecting the United States, its allies, and its interests from politically motivated violence.
In Venezuela's upcoming elections, President Hugo Chavez—suffering from poor health—faces his strongest challenger yet. Former ambassador Patrick D. Duddy argues that the United States should prepare for political unrest.
Though violence in Iraq has fallen to its lowest level since 2003, internal and regional dynamics threaten its stability. Douglas Ollivant, senior fellow at the New America Foundation, , argues that despite the U.S. military withdrawal, the United States has a significant stake in helping Iraq overcome threats of ethnosectarian violence and a breakdown of constitutional order.
As Zimbabwe moves closer to elections, the prospect for political violence grows. CFR Senior Fellow John Campbell argues that coordination on Zimbabwe policy can be the basis of a stronger overall U.S.-South Africa relationship to help promote free, fair and credible elections.
Intensification of the violence in Syria presents renewed cause for military intervention, either to protect innocent civilian lives or to potentially police or enforce a peace agreement or political settlement, says CFR's Paul Stares.
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