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Highlights from CFR

August 9, 2013


Another Cold Spell for U.S.-Russia Relations

Stephen Sestanovich

President Obama's cancelled meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin next month is another indication that the so-called U.S.-Russia reset has derailed. Read the Interview »

Why U.S. Diplomatic Missions Have Become Fortresses

John Campbell

On the fifteenth anniversary of al-Qaeda attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, several American diplomatic posts remained closed across the Middle East as a precaution against a potential new terrorist attack. The closings highlight the heavy emphasis on security for facilities that threatens their role in projecting U.S. soft power. Read More on Africa in Transition »

U.S. Presence in Afghanistan

What Role Does the Taliban Play?

As the United States draws down forces in Afghanistan, the Taliban insurgency continues to challenge the government in Kabul while holding out against the prospect of a negotiated settlement. Read the Backgrounder »

U.S. Involvement in Afghanistan

This timeline examines the events that precipitated the U.S. war in Afghanistan as well as the history of the war. View the Interactive »

Washington, Kabul Nearing a Post-2014 Agreement

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

United States and Afghanistan are nearing an agreement that will bring the war to a responsible end, even as world attention has shifted to Syria and other hotspots and away from the surging numbers of Afghan civilian casualties. Read the Op-Ed »


How to Read the U.S.-Pakistani Restart

Daniel Markey

Secretary of State John Kerry is right to establish relations with Islamabad's new government under Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, but there is little reason to expect immediate progress on Pakistan's role in Afghanistan and the U.S. drone campaign in Pakistan. Read the Interview »

How to Win Over the GOP on Immigration

Edward Alden

Although immigration reform within the U.S. House of Representatives seems to be at an impasse, agreement is surprisingly bipartisan on many provisions of the Senate bill and there are plausible paths to agreement on the issues that still divide the two parties.  Read the Op-Ed »

Rouhani's Head Fake

Mark P. Lagon and Mark D. Wallace

Iran's newly inaugurated president Hassan Rouhani has portrayed himself as a populist reformer, but the United States should not accept any effort to improve the regime's human rights record in exchange for reduced economic sanctions against its nuclear program. Read the Op-Ed »

Zimbabwe's Post-Election Repression

John Campbell

Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe's consistent use of repression to retain power was evident in the country's recent election, and support from regional leadership in South Africa and other governing bodies seems to have legitimized such fraud. Read More on Africa in Transition »


An Audio Preview of the World Next Week

James M. Lindsay and Robert McMahon

In this week's podcast, Lindsay and McMahon discuss the reopening of U.S. diplomatic missions throughout the Middle East and Africa; U.S. and African officials' trade talks; and Mali's runoff presidential election. Listen to the Podcast »

Turkey's Ergenekon Blues

Steven A. Cook

Regardless of what is thought of the Ergenekon case in Turkey—a case tainted by incomprehensible indictments and fabricated evidence—those convicted deserve due process. Read More on From the Potomac to the Euphrates »

Austerity with Chinese Characteristics

John Delury

Now that austerity is the reigning buzzword in Beijing, it's tempting to assume that China is finally joining the West's ongoing debate about macroeconomics. In reality, China's leaders are drawing on a vastly different intellectual history. Read More on »

North Korea's Next Provocation: When and Why?

Scott A. Snyder

Despite North Korea's recent return to charm diplomacy, it would be a mistake to think that the recent calm is sustainable. Instead, expect more nuclear and missile tests sooner or later, because Kim Jong-un's legitimacy may depend on it. Read More on Asia Unbound »

Eliminating Poverty and Hunger by Empowering Women

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

Despite being the primary food producers, women farmers often do not have the same access to resources as their male counterparts. When women are empowered with resources and skills to contribute to agriculture production, the positive effects multiply and contribute to a healthier society. Read More on Democracy in Development »

Ask CFR Experts: Question of the Week

Gabriel from France asks whether the United States can still lead in space exploration. CFR Senior Fellow Frank G. Klotz says that the United States remains on course to be a leader in human space flight and robotic space exploration, but that the future offers many opportunities for collaboration with other nations. Read the Full Answer and Submit Your Question


August 14: South Korea and North Korea to Resume Talks on Opening the Kaesong Industrial Complex, North Korea
CFR Resources on: The Kaesong Industrial Complex »

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The Alliance for Audited Media reported that Foreign Affairs enjoyed record gains in print and digital subscriptions during the first half of 2013, growing its total subscriptions by 5 percent. Read the Release

International Affairs Fellowship Programs

The Council on Foreign Relations is seeking applicants for the 2014–2015 fellowship competitions. Online application instructions, program details, eligibility requirements, and application deadlines are available at


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