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Highlights from CFR

May 24, 2013


How Ending Child Marriage Advances U.S. Foreign Policy

Rachel B. Vogelstein

The evidence establishing a link between child marriage and ill health, illiteracy, poverty, violence, and instability cannot be ignored. U.S. foreign policy interests in stability and prosperity and U.S. investments in a range of areas – including global health, education, economic growth, and governance – are compromised wherever child marriage endures. By 2020, some fifty million girls will be married before they reach their fifteenth birthdays.  Read the Report »

What's Behind Nigeria's Escalating Body Count?

John Campbell

A combination of poor governance, brutal security services, and Islamist violence may be fueling the recent increase in violence in northern Nigeria. The government's dismissal of civilian reports of brutality at the hands of Nigerian security forces have driven popular support for Boko Haram. Read the Op-ed »


Why Closing Guantanamo Is Such a Challenge

In his speech at the National Defense University yesterday, President Barack Obama renewed his 2008 campaign promise to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. So far, the administration's efforts have been thwarted by political, legal, and security obstacles that still remain. Read the Backgrounder »

How Obama Has Tried to Open Up the One-Sided Drone War

Micah Zenko

President Obama calls this "the most transparent administration in history," but his drone policies have been a carefully managed transparency, declaring principles and then refusing to answer questions. The enduring impact of his speech will not be what he said, but whether the new policies are reflected in how drone strikes are conducted. Read the Op-Ed »

Grading U.S. Counterterrorism Efforts

International Institutions and Global Governance Program

The United States has demonstrated strong leadership to reduce the threat of terrorism, notwithstanding some backsliding on ensuring adequate protections for human rights. The Obama administration prioritized the search for Osama bin Laden and increased cooperation with partner governments worldwide. According to a survey of experts in the field, these efforts earned the United States a "B+" in counterterrorism. View the Report Card »

Steps the President Should Take on Counterterrorism

Matthew C. Waxman, Robert Chesney

President Obama should focus on three areas in which his administration's policies have been lacking: closing Guantanamo, working with Congress to put forceful counterterrorism actions on sound legal footing, and making targeted killing more transparent. Read the Op-Ed »


Holes in U.S. Visa System Aren't So Large

Edward Alden

U.S. tracking of visa overstays is not perfect, but given the work of successive administrations to tighten the system, it is not the massive hole in immigration enforcement that many in Congress believe exists. Read the Op-Ed »

Asian Tensions and the Problem of History

Jonathan Tepperman

A recent gaffe by Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe exposes the tense relations between Japan, China, and South Korea, and helps explain why the region seems to be on the verge of multiple conflicts. Read the Op-Ed »

Praising Myanmar: Too Fast, Too Soon

Joshua Kurlantzick

Although Myanmar has taken steps toward democratization, President Obama's meeting this week with Myanmar's president, Thein Sein, was premature. Before Myanmar can be praised, its leadership must be held accountable for growing ethnic violence. Read the Op-Ed »


An Audio Preview of the World Next Week

In this week's podcast, Lindsay and McMahon discuss Nawaz Sharif's swearing in as Pakistan's prime minister and Vice President Joe Biden's visits to Brazil, Colombia and Trinidad & Tobago. Listen to the Podcast »

The Way Toward Closer U.S.-Brazil Relations

Julia E. Sweig

Vice President Joe Biden's upcoming visit to Brazil should not be disregarded as ceremonial but should be viewed as an opportunity for the United States and Brazil to capitalize on long-overdue measures such as freer trade and U.S. support for a Brazilian seat on the UN Security Council. Read the Op-Ed »

It Will Take More Than Two Candidates to Change Iran

Ray Takeyh

Even if Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei are allowed to run for president in Iran, those in the Islamic Republic's back rooms are more likely to make the decision about who will govern than those at its voting booths. Read the Op-Ed »

Egypt: From Tehran With Love

Steven A. Cook

Although Egypt and Iran have historically been competitive, present circumstances in both countries could bring forth their common interests and create an environment for strategic cooperation. Read More on From the Potomac to the Euphrates »

Environmental Policy or Crisis Management?

Elizabeth C. Economy

Protests in China over the proposed construction of an oil and chemical refinery demonstrate a fundamental issue with the Communist party's management of environmental issues. Without striking a balance between economic development and environmental protection, the Chinese government will continue to bow to the demands of demonstrators, a strategy that has no long-term sustainability. Read More on Asia Unbound »

Addressing Inequality in the Global South

Terra Lawson-Remer

One of the greatest development challenges of the 21st century is the stubborn and often extensive poverty of middle income countries such as Paraguay and Panama. To address the problem, these countries should focus not just on economic growth, but also on improving opportunities for people who live there, especially the poorest. Read More on the Development Channel »


May 26 - 31: Vice President Joe Biden to Visit Brazil, Colombia, and Trinidad & Tobago
CFR Resources on: The Americas »

May 27 - 28: European Union Foreign Affairs Council to Meet, Brussels
CFR Resources on: The European Union »

View the Calendar »


At CFR's Washington, DC office, James C. Greenwood and Robert Langer discussed recent advances in the biotechnology industry, areas of potential growth and application, and their significance for U.S. competitiveness. Watch the Discussion

The Promise and Perils of the Digital Future

In The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business, Eric Schmidt and CFR's Jared Cohen argue that, due to advances in technology, citizens will have more power than at any other time in history. They weigh the costs of this access, particularly to privacy and security. Read the Book


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