Below you will find a chronological list of research projects in the Studies Program. You can search by issue or region by selecting the appropriate category. In addition to this sorting control, you can search for specific subjects within the alphabetical, regional, and issue categories by choosing from the selections in the drop-down menu below.
Each project page contains the name of the project director, a description of the project, a list of meetings it has held, and any related publications, transcripts, or videos.
America's ability to encourage innovative ideas has helped to establish it as the world's economic and military leader. However, technological developments over the past thirty years have spawned an increasingly globalized world and created new challenges to American pre-eminence. This roundtable series investigates how the government's response to these challenges will affect America's global economic and political standing.
For fifty five years, the United States and Saudi Arabia were solid partners. Since 9/11 this partnership has been sorely tested. InThicker than Oil: Ameica's Uneasy Relationship with Saudi Arabia(forthcoming Oxford University Press), funded in part by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation, Rachel Bronson shows why the partnership became so intimate and the problems that it spawned.
Drawing on a wide range of archival material, declassified documents, and interviews with leading Saudi and American officials, Bronson chronicles a long history of close contact. Contrary to popular belief, Bronson shows that the relationship was never just about “oil for security.” Saudi Arabia’s religiously motivated foreign policy was deemed an asset when fighting “godless communism,” as was Saudi Arabia’s geographic location. From Africa to Afghanistan, Egypt to Nicaragua the two worked to beat back Soviet influence. Overlapping strategic interests helped compartmentalized differences around issues such as the Arab-Israeli conflict. But decisions taken for hard headed Cold War purposes left behind a legacy that today enflames the Middle East.
In today’s fight against terrorism Saudi Arabia is both part of the problem and part of the solution. Not withstanding real troubles, Bronson outlines the dangers of allowing the relationship to further deteriorate. Saudi Arabia, she notes, faces a violent and zealous opposition. If this opposition gains complete control of the state's huge resources, it will direct its efforts towards destroying the United States, auguring a true clash of civilizations.
The Conflict Assessment Forum is an analytic tool for evaluating pre-conflict or conflict conditions and highlighting countries or regions to be targeted by CPA’s preventive action commissions.
This study group will result in a book that examines four major technological revolutions of the past 500 years (Gunpowder, Industrial, Mechanization, and Computerization) and how they transformed warfare and the international balance-of-power. For each military revolution, Mr. Boot will provide dramatic narratives of key conflicts--from the battle of the Spanish Armada to the recent war in Afghanistan--that highlight the effects of changing technologies on strategy. In addition, Mr. Boot applies the lessons of history to current dilemmas, examining crucial questions such as how long America's military advantage will last, and what the United States can do to preserve its hegemony.
This project has been made possible with the generous support from the following:
Smith Richardson Foundation
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Roger and Susan Hertog
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
John M. Olin Foundation
The Africa program was a co-sponsor of the Corporate Council on Africa-Nigeria Economic Summit Group's U.S.-Nigeria Investment Conference in Abuja, September 15-17, 2004. The Council's delegation included Council Senior Fellow Walter Mead, President of the Fund for Peace, Pauline Baker, and the Director. They met with the finance minister, the minister of education, several state governors and local government officials, and others. The Director gave an address on the final day of the investment conference. It indicates the importance, but still tenuousness of economic reform in Nigeria.
This endowed lecture series was established in 2002, and is dedicated to the memory of Paul C. Warnke (1920-2001), member and former director of the Council on Foreign Relations. The series commemorates his legacy of public service, his friendship to the Council (he was a director and devoted member), and his unique combination of eloquence, intellect, and pragmatism in the cause of peace and America’s values.
Paul Warnke is best known for serving as the chief U.S. negotiator for the 1978 Strategic Arms Limitation Talks. He was one of the first government figures to strongly support arms reductions as a means to security, an idea, radical at the time, which gradually gained currency. He also played a pivotal role in bringing about the Vietnam peace negotiations. The Warnke Lecture honors his ideals, courage, intellect and his belief that America’s power brings with it a special responsibility in world affairs.
The lectures alternate between New York and Washington.
This roundtable series explores current issues at the intersection of U.S. foreign policy and private sector activity. Meetings in the past have focused on the possible effects of anti-Americanism in Europe on U.S. brands, the negotiations between the European Union and the United States over genetically modified foods, and the impact of the European Union's satellite navigation system (Galileo) on U.S. strategic interests. The aim of the series is to inform the current debate on those policies important to both corporate executives and government officials, and to provide them with constructive and thoughtful recommendations.
Project Vice-Chair: Charlotte Ku Co-sponsered by ASIL
The Roundtable Series, “Old Rules, New Threats,” is a project on global governance that brings administration officials together with lawyers, professors and policymakers to look at areas in foreign policy and national security where the rules of the road, formal and informal, may or may not need to be adapted, amended, or replaced to address the challenges currently facing the nation.
The roundtable addresses a broad range of security issues, including threats related to force and war, as well as challenges requiring transnational cooperation. Past sessions have explored the administration’s announced doctrine of preemption; humanitarian intervention; military tribunals and unlawful combatants; use of force and the laws of war; and regulating the movement of black and gray market goods, technology, and people. Memos prepared by roundtable speakers and summary reports of the roundtable meetings are posted below. The roundtable, which met six times beginning in November 2002, will reconvene in the fall of 2003.
The Council and ASIL, with the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, will begin the 2003 season with a one-day conference on September 19. The conference will focus on four areas: intervention and weapons proliferation; global climate change; bringing war criminals to justice; and counterterrorism and transnational law enforcement.
This quarterly meetings series brings together major U.S. and foreign policymakers, business leaders, and independent commentators to discuss and debate current issues in international economics, such as global energy markets, tax policy, global demographic change, and securities regulation.
In April 2000, the international community renewed its commitment to achieving universal education in the world’s poorest nations by 2015 – the same commitment it had made ten years earlier without noticeable effect. While there has been considerable strategic effort to promote other development priorities that education furthers – health, democracy, etc. – there has been less emphasis on education itself.
The Center for Universal Education seeks to further strategic thinking on how to achieve universal education by producing accessible policy analysis and facilitating ongoing discussions between donor countries, aid organizations and poor nations on the issues critical to promoting basic education in the developing world. The monthly meetings of the roundtable series bring together experts and advocates from academia, the policy community, and government officials both from the United States and foreign countries. Such diversity insures the broadest range of experience and expertise required for achieving the Center’s goals.
The Kennan Roundtable is an on-going series of meetings that focus on the major policy questions posed by changing U.S. relationships with Russia and the former Soviet states of Eurasia. Whether measured by the near-alliance between Presidents Bush and Putin, the establishment of bases in Central Asia, or Ukraine's decision to seek NATO membership, there has been significant enhancement of these relationships since September 11. Understanding their durability and direction is the principal aim.
Meetings examine areas of expanding cooperation, such as Moscow's unfolding energy strategy and the security of sensitive nuclear materials. We will also look at emerging areas of discord. In the case of Russia, these include the tensions associated with its recurrent pressures on Georgia; in the case of Ukraine and Central Asia, the continuing emphasis placed by U.S. policy on democratization and human rights.
This roundtable series brings together key players from the private markets, government, Federal Reserve, IMF, World Bank, and think tanks to discuss pressing policy issues in international economics. The group, which meets monthly, has so far discussed issues such as the impact of terrorism on economic prospects, the outlook for emerging markets, and U.S. trade policy.
This series, convened after the tragic events of September 11th, examines how best to confront the new security threats to U.S. territory. Sessions grapple with the effectiveness of the White House Office of Homeland Security, lessons learned from other White House offices, and how we can ensure necessary coordination between the FBI and CIA and the flow of information to operating agencies such as the INS and Customs.
The U.S. ability to build productive relationships with Islamic states and people will have a direct and important role in stanching the terrorist threat. This roundtable will continue to focus on the following objectives: to determine how the war is affecting American relations with the Middle East and Islamic world; and provide recommendations to policy makers on how to manage unavoidable differences with key regional partners. Questions addressed throughout the year will be:
• Is the Israeli-Palestinian crisis distracting from the war on terrorism?
• What must Washington ask from key regional partners such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel and Jordan in the war on terrorism and what should it offer in return?
• Can the United States effectively deter the export of Islamic radicalism, how and at what cost?
This project helps to foster the study of and debate about an American grand strategy for the twenty-first century. The group examines contending visions of order and seeks to promote a more fertile discussion of desirable outcomes and how policymakers can achieve them.
The first book generated by this study group was The End of the American Era: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Geopolitics of the Twenty-first Century, by Charles A. Kupchan, the project director. The study group played a key role in providing feedback on the book during the drafting of the manuscript. The book addresses how the United States can manage peacefully the transition to a world of multiple centers of power.
The current phase of the study group focuses on understanding the sources of stable peace -- how groupings of countries can form lasting partnerships and eliminate geopolitical competition. A book on this topic, along with several articles, will be the main published product. The book will examine a number of historical case studies of rapprochement, security communities and unions, exploring how zones of peace form and when and why they sometimes unravel. The book will draw policy conclusions relevant to preserving current zones of peace -- such as the Atlantic community -- as well as building new ones -- such as in East Asia.
The Contending Paradigms Study Group is made possible through the generosity of John McCloy.
Tremendous controversy swirls around the issue of whether emerging economies would be better off or worse off by embracing the kind of financial market structures that have been developed in the U.S. and other advanced industrial countries during the past two decades or so. This evolution, which we call the “Americanization of Finance” essentially involves the transformation of a financial system centered around traditional commercial banks to a more free-wheeling system organized around open capital markets.
This project seeks to bring together civilian and military experts for frank and in-depth discussions of issues in the areas of current national security and military affairs. The goal is to identify and define key viewpoints and differences for a select community of policy planners and analysts and is geared to serve Council members belonging to the Washington political/military community. As such, it tries to bridge the gap between civilian and military expertise to arrive at a sophisticated examination of current military/national security issues.
For more information on the David Rockefeller Studies Program, contact: