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Council on Foreign Relations The World This Week
January 25, 2013

January 25, 2013


What Lifting the Combat Ban Means for Women

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

The U.S. Defense Department's decision to allow women in combat elates female veterans. They say they are not asking for guaranteed spots, but for a chance to meet the same standards and have the same opportunities as men. Read more »

Women, Representation, and Politics in Egypt

Isobel Coleman

Today is the second anniversary of Egypt's revolution, and many Egyptians—particularly women—are worried about whether the government will protect their rights and interests. The new draft law for parliamentary elections gives cause for concern about female representation. Read More on Democracy in Development »


Assessing the Foreign Policy Angles

James M. Lindsay

Conventional wisdom has it that second-term presidents inevitably concentrate on foreign policy because they can't get much done on domestic policy. To judge by President Barack Obama's inaugural address, he is not convinced the pundits have it right. Read More on The Water's Edge »

Climate Change Gets a Focused Second Look

Michael A. Levi

By dedicating a considerable part of his inaugural address to discussing climate change, Obama indicated he might be willing to tackle the issue in ways that go beyond what was accomplished in his first term. While pressing forward on near-term initiatives, he will need to lay the groundwork for longer-term action. Read More on Energy Security, and Climate »

The President's Inbox: Asia

Asia Program

CFR's Asia Unbound bloggers preview U.S. policy toward Asia in Obama's second term. Elizabeth C. Economy looks at U.S. China policy; Adam Segal examines the "constant irritant" of cybersecurity; Sheila A. Smith assesses U.S.-Japan relations; and Joshua Kurlantzick argues for a U.S. role in the protection of human rights. Read more »


AQIM's Growing Shadow

In her Congressional testimony this week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed threats from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which has made territorial gains in northern Mali. What are AQIM's goals? What are the policy options available to the U.S.? Read the Backgrounder »

Islamists Splintering in Northern Mali

John Campbell

Members of Ansar Dine, one of the three Islamist groups occupying northern Mali, are arguing over whether to negotiate with the government in Bamako, a disagreement that may contribute to the group's collapse. Read More on Africa in Transition »


An Audio Preview of the World Next Week

James M. Lindsay and Robert McMahon

This week's podcast discusses the confirmation hearings for Obama's cabinet nominees, Vice President Joseph Biden's visit to Europe, and the World Trade Organization's search for its next director-general. Listen to the Podcast »

How China Can Become a More Powerful Member of the IMF

Benn Steil and Dinah Walker

Membership in the International Monetary Fund has grown to 188 countries since its creation in 1944. Representation, in terms of votes and quotas, is increasingly less connected to the relative weights of each country in the global economy. If voting were reallocated based purely on a country's gross domestic product, China and the United States would be the greatest beneficiaries.  Read More on Geo-Graphics »

Will Separatism Tear Iraq Apart?

Emma Sky and Harith al-Qarawee

Last month, thousands of Iraqis protested their government's poor treatment of Sunnis and called for the overthrow of Prime Minister Maliki. Unless Baghdad starts making concessions, Sunni leaders could demand an independent region, spelling the end of a unified Iraq. Read More on »

Education Lessons: Big Gains May Come in Small Steps

Edward Alden

President Obama's second-term priorities are unlikely to be resolved with a grand bargain—but progress is still possible. Increased high school graduation rates, for example, show that incremental reforms can produce significant gains. Read More on Renewing America »

World Events Calendar

January 31: Senate to Hold Confirmation Hearing on the Nomination for Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense, Washington, DC
CFR Resources on: U.S. Defense »

View the Calendar »


Gaddis Wins 2012 Arthur Ross Book Award: John Lewis Gaddis accepted the 2012 Arthur Ross Book Award for his biography, George F. Kennan: An American Life. Watch the Video

Senator Dan Coats Discusses Budget Cuts: The Appropriations Committee member and former ambassador to Germany discusses spending priorities, gridlock in Washington, and Germany's role in the world. Watch the Video

In the January/February Issue of Foreign Affairs

Fareed Zakaria says American democracy is more dysfunctional than ever; Eric Li explains why China's authoritarian system may outpace Western democracy; Robert Jervis advocates for handling Iran's nuclear program through diplomacy; and more. Read the Issue


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