Return to   |   Subscribe to the The World This Week

Council on Foreign Relations The World This Week
Highlights from CFR

April 26, 2013


Obama's Chemical Weapons Dilemma in Syria

James M. Lindsay

President Obama has to make a tough decision on whether to match his words with his deeds, after calling the use of chemical agents by the Assad regime a "red line" that would change his "calculus" about U.S. intervention, and warning that chemical weapons would be "unacceptable." Read More on The Water's Edge »

Is This New Flu the Big One?

Laurie Garrett

With over one hundred confirmed cases of H7N9 flu in China, at least one case in Taiwan, and regular reports of new patients, the virus can take one of two paths. The first leads to years, perhaps decades, of a new type of influenza, occasionally making people sick and killing about 18 percent of them. The second is worldwide transmission of a new flu that could spread unchecked, testing global solidarity, vaccine production, and hospital systems. Read the Op-Ed »


The Implications for Domestic Intelligence

Richard A. Falkenrath

The Boston Marathon bombings illustrate the stresses on domestic intelligence gathering and counterterrorism in a democratic system. The fact that one suspect was previously interviewed by the FBI but was still able to carry out an attack raises questions about the effectiveness of intelligence operations. Read the Interview »

Our Futile Obsession with Why

Micah Zenko

Although focusing on the question of what motivated the terrorists in Boston is understandable, untangling the multiple motivations that lead someone to become a terrorist is extremely difficult. Read the Op-Ed »

Rise of the Lone Wolves—the New Faces of Jihad

Ed Husain

In responding to the ideology that pits the West against Islam, the first line of defense is the thirty million peaceful, law-abiding Western Muslims. The answer to countering the appeal of radicalism among some Muslims in the West rests in more, not less, debating of religion, pluralist politics, and integrating immigrants. Read the Op-Ed »


Europe's Syria Prevarications

Steven A. Cook

A recent Friends of Syria meeting in Istanbul gave Secretary of State John Kerry an opportunity to signal an evolution of U.S. policy, and the British and the French have publicly entertained the idea of lifting the arms embargo on the rebellion. This all seems to be good news, yet a subtle shift that signals a more active American and European role in managing the conflict may be more symbolic than realistic. Read More on From the Potomac to the Euphrates »


The New Global Governance Report Card

Stewart M. Patrick

More than fifty experts have assessed international and U.S. efforts between 2008 and 2012 to address climate change, nuclear nonproliferation, transnational terrorism, armed conflict, global finance, and public health. The Global Governance Report Card grades international institutions, states, and nonstate actors on these issues and suggests how they can improve. View the Report Card »

A Sino-Japanese Clash in the East China Sea

Sheila A. Smith

Tensions between Japan and China over disputed islands in the East China Sea could harm U.S. interests. The Obama administration can calm tensions by promoting de-escalation of the dispute, initiating crisis management consultations with Japan, and intensifying efforts to create mechanisms for multilateral maritime risk reduction in the Asia-Pacific region. Read the Contingency Planning Memorandum »

An Audio Preview of the World Next Week

James M. Lindsay and Robert McMahon

In this week's podcast, Lindsay and McMahon discuss Obama's upcoming visits to Mexico and Costa Rica; Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe's upcoming trip to Russia; and continued tensions over the East China Sea. Listen to the Podcast »

Let The Free Market, Not Bureaucrats, Build Bridges

Peter R. Orszag

From 1990 to 2006, the United Kingdom financed five times as many public-private partnerships to improve transportation infrastructure as the United States did. With low interest rates and high unemployment, the timing is right to invest in the United States' decaying transportation infrastructure. Read the Op-Ed »

Nigeria Takes Political Approach with Boko Haram

John Campbell

Though Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan's decision to open talks with the Islamic insurgency Boko Haram is unlikely to yield success, it shows a commitment to a political, rather than military solution. Read More on Africa in Transition »


May 1: Presidential Election, Italy
CFR Resources on: Italy »

May 2 - 4: President Barack Obama to Visit Mexico and Costa Rica
CFR Resources on: South America »

View the Calendar »


At CFR's New York headquarters, former senator George J. Mitchell discussed his career in government and diplomacy in Northern Ireland and the Middle East as part of the HBO History Makers series. Watch the Discussion

New from CFR: A Visual History of Guerrilla Warfare

The Invisible Armies Insurgency Tracker surveys guerrilla warfare worldwide from 1775 to 2012. This visual presentation accompanies the historical narrative in CFR Senior Fellow Max Boot's new book Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present.


Connect with CFR

cfr on facebook Facebook
cfr on twitter Twitter
cfr on youtube YouTube
cfr on youtube Mobile
cfr on youtube Join the conversation at»