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Highlights From CFR

September 13, 2013


A Global Venture to Counter Violent Extremism

Ed Husain

Twelve years after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the ideological campaign against al-Qaeda still remains underfunded. Unless al-Qaeda's ideas are challenged and discredited, extremist groups will continue to regenerate no matter how many terrorists are killed. Parties central to this effort are underfunded, but the support of the United States and Turkey, as well as Muslim and non-Muslim philanthropists, can strengthen their efforts to counter violent extremism.  Read the Policy Innovation Memorandum »

Five-Year Anniversary of the Financial Crisis

Five years ago this week, the global economy entered a deep crisis sparked in part by the failures of financiers and financial regulators. This interactive guide explains how the crisis occurred and where the global finance regime stands now. View the Interactive »


Russia’s Tactical Triumph Does Not Signify a New Cold War

Richard N. Haass

Russian president Vladimir Putin can fairly claim to have won this round of diplomacy through his own cleverness and President Barack Obama's multiple missteps, but he cannot assume it is the harbinger of a trend, much less an era of global politics.  Read the Op-Ed »

What Have We Learned in Syria?

Leslie H. Gelb

The Obama team wasted two years without a viable strategy and blundered further in recent days, but it just might be saved by its latest faux pas if the Syrians improbably hand over their chemical weapons to the UN. Read the Op-Ed »

Is the Syria Deal a Coercive Diplomacy Success?

Micah Zenko

The Obama administration's argument that the credible threat of force has compelled Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to agree to an initiative to disarm its chemical weapons is dangerous. It relies on incomplete information and diminishes any role that positive inducements could have played in conjunction with military threats. Read More on Politics, Power, and Preventive Action »

Four Reasons Why Syria Is Not Like Iraq

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

Iraq is not Syria. While Americans are exhausted after twelve years of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in which nearly seven thousand U.S. service members have been killed, the differences between the conflicts are worth noting if the case for Syria is to be judged on its own merits.  Read the Op-Ed »

Weighing War, Peace, and Polls

Jonathan Tepperman

Despite low approval numbers for U.S. military intervention in Syria, there are several reasons why American public support can shift. The White House should focus on getting its policy right and fighting a successful campaign—and trust that if it does, the American people will probably come around.  Read the Op-Ed »

Beware of Strangers Bearing Gifts

Stewart M. Patrick

Although President Barack Obama will be tempted to make the new initiative to disarm Syria of chemical weapons work, he should consider the political and technical requirements for an effective inspection regime. To ensure the integrity of the inspection regime, the United States must insist upon a strong UN Security Council resolution, full Syrian inclusion into the Chemical Weapons Convention, and complete access for UN inspectors.  Read More on The Internationalist »

Your Move, Putin

Fred Kaplan

Obama's speech may not have sounded novel, but the president may have helped his cause in unexpected ways. Read the Op-Ed »

Assessing the Case for Striking Syria

Stephen D. Biddle

Neither the case for nor against using force in Syria is without serious costs and risks. In his testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Stephen Biddle evaluates the five main goals an attack might be designed to achieve: deterring further chemical weapons use and upholding norms against the employment of such weapons; preserving U.S. credibility; enabling a negotiated settlement to the war; toppling Assad and his government; and ending the humanitarian crisis by saving civilian lives. Read the Testimony »

A Primer on Sarin Gas

Sarin, one of the world's most lethal chemical weapons, is rarely used by states or terrorists. Allegations of attacks on civilians in Syria, if substantiated, would represent a departure from longstanding international practice. Read the Backgrounder »


Return to Egypt's Bad Old Days

Steven A. Cook

Given Egypt's troubled history with Islamic insurgency, a terrorist group's attempt last week to kill current Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim brings with it the fear of a return to the insurrection of the early 1990s. Read More on From the Potomac to the Euphrates »

Intervention in Syria: The View From Pyongyang

Scott A. Snyder

North Korean leaders are closely watching the United States' debate over intervention in Syria and will exploit Syrian intervention for their own ends. Regardless of what the United States does, it will not prevent Pyongyang from building a nuclear blackmail capability. Read More on Asia Unbound »


An Audio Preview of the World Next Week

James M. Lindsay and Robert McMahon

In this week's podcast, Lindsay and McMahon discuss the continuing crisis in Syria, the twentieth anniversary of the Oslo Accords, and the state of the economy five years after the Lehman Brothers collapse. Listen to the Podcast »

Tax Reform: A Look Back at the Reform of 1986

Bill Bradley

As the U.S. budget debate returns to the spotlight, policymakers would do well to heed the lessons of 1986 in a comprehensive tax reform that is long overdue. There is opportunity for both sides to compromise by eliminating expenditures but bringing down rates only as per capita income rises. Read More on Renewing America »

A Start-Up Spring in the Middle East

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

In a region where unemployment among women and young people is well into the double digits, a hunger for job creation and connectedness, coupled with technological breakthroughs, has sparked a start-up movement. Read More on Development Channel »

Brazil Should Take the High Road

Julia E. Sweig

Rather than give in to popular pressures and cancel her state visit to the United States in light of revelations about NSA spying practices, Brazil's president Dilma Rousseff should use the state visit as an opportunity to air Brazil's grievances to her U.S. counterpart in a calm and measured manner. Read the Op-Ed »

Labor Unrest in South Africa

John Campbell

Although urban poverty is highly visible in South Africa's cities, it is most profound in the rural areas. Bringing rural populations into the modern economy is a major challenge for any South African government. Read More on Africa in Transition »

Ask CFR Experts: Question of the Week

Josh Wartel asks: Is a military conflict between the United States and China possible? CFR President Emeritus Leslie H. Gelb says that the stakes are much too high for either Beijing or Washington to expect direct military confrontations. Read the Full Answer and Submit Your Question


September 17: Opening of the UN General Assembly, New York
CFR Resources on: Global Governance »

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Yesterday, Foreign Affairs Editor Gideon Rose participated in a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" forum and discussed Foreign Affairs, Syria, and other foreign policy issues. Read the Discussion

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