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Highlights from CFR

August 30, 2013


Britain Drifts Towards Isolation

Richard N. Haass

The British Parliament's rejection of a motion endorsing UK participation in expected military action against Syria will have far-reaching consequences. The United Kingdom is in danger of separating itself from both the EU and the United States, an undesirable status for a medium size country that wants to play a world role but has few independent options. Read more »

The Audacity of Intervention in Syria

Stewart M. Patrick

The fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington and the chemical weapons crisis in Syria allow for a juxtaposition of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s and President Barack Obama's visions of war and peace. Despite often seeking inspiration from Dr. King's example, President Obama must intervene militarily, now that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has trampled the "red line" Obama set on the use of chemical weapons.  Read More on The Internationalist »


In Trying to Help Syria, an Intervention Would Destroy It

Steven A. Cook

In an astonishing irony that only the conflict in Syria could produce, American and allied cruise missiles would be degrading the capability of the Syrian regime's military units to the benefit of the al-Qaeda-linked militants fighting Assad — the same militants whom U.S. drones are attacking regularly in places such as Yemen. Read more »

Western Intervention Will Leave Chaos

Ed Husain

With Syria's neighbors reluctant to stop a war on their own doorstep, it is worth asking why intervention has been dispensed to American taxpayers. By bombing Syria now, the United States would bear the burden of instability that is left in its wake. Read the Op-Ed »

Limited Strike Will Lead to Deeper Intervention

Micah Zenko

Based on early reporting, it appears that the only objective of the potential use of force against Syria would be to prevent the further use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime. But a limited cruise missile strike will not be merely an attack on Assad's chemical weapons capabilities, but an attack on the regime itself. Subsequently, the United States will be correctly perceived by all sides as intervening on behalf of the armed opposition. Read the Op-Ed »

Use Strikes to Get to Talks

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

As the White House repeated this Monday, the conflict in Syria will only end with a political solution. The United States should use continued pressure and looming military strikes to help get all sides to the table in the hopes that a bargain can be struck and the war will end with a transfer of power. Read More on »


China’s Rule-of-Law Trial

Jerome A. Cohen

The trial of former Communist Party boss Bo Xilai was unprecedented in opening up a high-profile legal proceeding to public scrutiny. The case also reveals the conflicts among the country's leaders as they grapple with everything from corruption to an economic slowdown. Read the Interview »

Turkey and Egypt: When Worlds Collide

Steven A. Cook

Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is alone among world leaders in advocating for ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood. Erdogan's stance is a function of the Turkish leader's own more successful efforts to do what the former Egyptian president tried. The Justice and Development Party has consolidated its power and in the process has made it exceedingly difficult to challenge the party in the formal political arena. Read More on From the Potomac to the Euphrates »

Jackson Hole: The Fed's Future Worries

Robert Kahn

This year's Jackson Hole Federal Reserve conference proved far less significant as a newsmaker and market mover than in past years, but as a barometer of policymakers' concern and anxiety it still has something to tell us regarding the concern that surrounds the Fed's tapering of asset purchases. Read More on Macro and Markets »


An Audio Preview of the World Next Week

James M. Lindsay and Robert McMahon

In this week's podcast, Lindsay and McMahon discuss the mounting anticipation over outside military action in Syria; the G20 summit in St. Petersburg; and President Obama's trip to Sweden. Listen to the Podcast »

The Mistake of Ignoring Russia

Carla Anne Robbins

Despite President Obama's recently declared "pause" to reassess relations with Russia, ignoring the Kremlin is not an option. Instead, the White House should publicly warn Russia of its declining global reputation and engage on matters of common interest like Iran's nuclear program. Read the Op-Ed »

Can Egypt Learn From Thailand?

Jonathan Tepperman

Following the 2006 military coup, the political compromises put forth by Thailand's prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra—while messy—could provide a good example for leaders in Egypt, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe. Read the Op-Ed »

For Better or Worse, Foreigners Come First in China

Elizabeth C. Economy

The Chinese government says it is targeting the pricing and environmental policies of foreign businesses and organizations in an effort to support the rule of law. But Beijing may be scrutinizing foreign firms because it needs a scapegoat for the ills of the country. Read More on Asia Unbound »

Progress on Human Rights--A Development Metric?

Terra Lawson-Remer

As the global community reexamines the fundamental meaning of development, human rights fulfillment should be recognized as a useful measure of countries' status and progress. Read More on Development Channel »

Ask CFR Experts: Question of the Week

Deirdre from Ohio asks how Egyptian women can promote change in their country? CFR Fellow Rachel B. Vogelstein says that as "Egyptians grapple with a post-Morsi regime, the situation of women will be an important signal of the direction of Egypt's future." Read the Full Answer and Submit Your Question


September 5 - 6: G20 Summit, Russia
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Earlier this week, CFR President Richard N. Haass and Foreign Affairs Managing Editor Jonathan Tepperman held a media call to discuss U.S. interests and options amid reports of chemical weapons used by the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Read the Transcript

New Foreign Affairs Book Celebrates the Twentieth Anniversary of “The Clash of Civilizations?”

Foreign Affairs has compiled a new collection featuring a broad range of content to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the publication of "The Clash of Civilizations?." The book includes Samuel Huntington's original article and the praise and criticism inspired in its wake, plus a new introduction by Foreign Affairs Editor Gideon Rose. Now available in your preferred format including Kindle, NOOK, iTunes, Google Play, and Print on Demand. Find Out More


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