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Highlights From CFR

October 11, 2013


The Real Threat to U.S. National Security

Richard N. Haass

A failure of governance in the United States is leading to a failure of governance in the world. Americans are kidding themselves if they think they can insulate themselves from such a world. Read the op-ed »

What the Shutdown Could Do to the Federal Workforce

Edward Alden

The effects of the government shutdown are hard to predict and depend on how long it lasts. The lack of respect that the shutdown demonstrates will ensure that some of the best federal workers will not return, and the government that is left will be weaker and less effective. Read more on Renewing America »

The Shutdown's Training Gap For Afghanistan-Bound Troops

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

Although the Pay Our Military Act aimed to keep crucial, war-related functions on track amid a partial government shutdown, training for National Guardsmen scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan have had their training delayed and will not be paid until the shutdown ends. Read the op-ed »


The Meetings' Focus Will Be Mainly Fiscal

Robert Kahn

The dominant issue will be the U.S. fiscal mess as the central global risk and the primary driver of financial markets. Europe will get a pass. There is little confidence outside European capitals that their policies can restore growth, produce sustainable debt levels in the periphery, or reduce punishingly high unemployment rates Read more on Macro and Markets »

The Evolving Role of the World Bank

Jonathan Masters

Since its founding in 1944, the World Bank has evolved from a lender focused on European reconstruction into the preeminent international institution for economic development and poverty reduction. This primer examines the Bank's history and role. Read the Backgrounder »

The Battle of Bretton Woods

Benn Steil

The Battle of Bretton Woods offers a historical account of the foundations and evolution of today's global financial framework. Read more the book »


U.S.-Egypt Relations: It’s Time to Go

Steven A. Cook

Even if the Obama administration's decision to suspend aid to Egypt was clumsy and it is hard to figure out the upside, it was only a matter of time before it happened because Washington-Cairo ties are changing. Read more on From the Potomac to the Euphrates »

U.S. Principle and Pragmatism in Egypt

Robert M. Danin

The problem with the Obama administration's approach to Egypt's internal struggle has been the somewhat artificial distinction it has made between issues that it deems vital and those it deems principled. Repressive and non-inclusive rule is not only wrong, it is short-sighted for all. Read more on Middle East Matters »

The Message Behind the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize

Stewart M. Patrick

In awarding this year's Peace Prize to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the Nobel Committee has offered a useful reminder that multilateral institutions, for all their faults, remain essential pillars for a peaceful world order. Read more on The Internationalist »

Nuclear Weapons are the United States' Instruments of Peace

Robert S. Spalding III

The sensible path to peace starts with the realization that peace can be secured only through strength. Nuclear weapons represent that strength, and the United States needs new weapons and delivery systems, but, most important, it needs a new strategy that recognizes the importance of nuclear weapons to a peaceful future. Read the op-ed »

Why Not Send Biden to Asia Summits?

Elizabeth C. Economy

Although President Barack Obama sent Secretary of State John Kerry in his absence, sending Vice President Joe Biden to Asia to represent the United States at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum and East Asia Summit meetings would have calmed Asian allies and critics. Read more on Asia Unbound »


An Audio Preview of the World Next Week

James M. Lindsay and Robert McMahon

In this week's audio preview, Lindsay and McMahon discuss the ongoing debt ceiling debate, negotiations in Geneva on Iran's nuclear program, the African Union summit in Ethiopia, and Saudi Arabia's preparations during the hajj for a potentially deadly virus. Listen to the podcast »

The Best Reason to Bet on America

Jonathan Tepperman

The widely held myth that anyone can make it here leads Americans to reject a more humane and redistributive social safety net—but also drives a start-up culture envied around the globe. Intense individualism produces irrational hostility toward government—but also makes this country unusually accepting of ex-foreigners who become citizens. And faith in the country's exceptionalism produces hypocrisy and bullying behavior abroad — but also global leadership that's done the planet enormous good, and that no other nation is willing or able to provide. Read the op-ed »

How Obama Brings Terrorists to Justice

Stephen I. Vladeck

The prosecution of Abu Anas al-Libi, the suspected al-Qaeda leader captured by U.S. special forces in Libya, will likely offer further proof that the government does not need military commissions for new terrorism trials. However, questions surrounding the acceptable length of military detention and interrogation remain. Read the interview »

Brazil's Pre-Salt Oil Six Years Later

Shannon K. O'Neil

After engineers found vast oil reserves off the Brazilian coast in 2007, forecasters predicted Brazil would become the world's fourth largest oil producer. Today Brazil is only the world's eleventh largest producer, due to complications from structural and policy issues. Read more on Latin America's Moment »

Ask CFR Experts: Question of the Week

Andre Rebeiro asks whether the revelations regarding the NSA PRISM program could hinder U.S. relations around the world. CFR Senior Fellow Karen Kornbluh says the serious longterm threat is to the health of the Internet itself. Read the full answer and submit your question


October 11 - 13: IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings, Washington, DC
CFR Resources on: the World Bank Group »

October 16: President Obama to Meet with Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, Washington, DC
CFR Resources on: Italy »

View the Calendar »


At CFR's New York headquarters, Mo Ibrahim, chairman of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and member of CFR's Global Board of Advisers, discussed good governance and leadership in Africa. Watch the video

At CFR's Washington office, French finance minister Pierre Moscovici discussed France, the European Union, and the broader international economic situation. Watch the video

Complex Issues, Succinctly Explained offers more than one hundred primers on a range of issues, from the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Debt Ceiling to ASEAN. Browse Backgrounders


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