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Highlights From CFR

October 25, 2013


Biology's Brave New World

Laurie Garrett

In the new biology world, scientists can now manufacture living organisms, including viruses and bacteria not yet seen in nature. Moreover, such synthetic organisms can self-assemble and self-replicate, a process called 4-D printing. But this synthetic biology creates a "dual-use dilemma": it is a boon to both terrorists and scientists. Read more on »


Tough Compromises Will Lead to a Partnership

Daniel S. Markey

In his meeting with Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif, President Obama should focus not on Pakistan's peace negotiations with the Taliban, but on a compromise on U.S. drone policy, and on the future of Pakistan's comprehensive counterterror partnership with the United States. Read the op-ed »

No Exit from Pakistan

Daniel S. Markey

No Exit From Pakistan: America's Tortured Relationship with Islamabad, argues that U.S.-Pakistan ties are a condition to be managed, not a problem to be solved. The United States is concerned about terrorist threats emanating from Pakistan as well as, its nuclear arsenal, growing military ties with China, and history of tensions with India. Together these issues are too large and complicated for the United States to resolve quickly—or perhaps ever—yet they are also too important to neglect; there is no exit. Read the book »

Making Sense of Pakistan

The Obama-Sharif meeting this week focused on drone strikes and fighting extremism in Pakistan. This guide explores that country's domestic struggles and examines how they might be confronted. View the Crisis Guide »


Fears of Fraying U.S.-Turkey Ties

Steven A. Cook

The United States' refusal to strike militarily against Syrian government forces has exacerbated already strained relations with Turkey.  Read the interview »

How Long Before America's Self-Inflicted Wounds Heal?

Micah Zenko

Although the government shutdown was costly for both the economy and U.S. foreign policy, the United States will remain an above-average country—relative to other states and territories—for the foreseeable future. The ultimate incalculable penalty for dealing with events like the government shutdown is the opportunity cost of applying finite time and resources to political theater rather than tangible policy accomplishments. Read the op-ed »


An Audio Preview of the World Next Week

James M. Lindsay and Robert McMahon

In this week's podcast, Lindsay and McMahon discuss the Georgian presidential elections, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) report on Syrian chemical weapons, Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki's trip to Washington, and the 109th World Series. Listen to the audio »

Saudi Women Driving: Full Speed Ahead?

Isobel Coleman

On Saturday, women across Saudi Arabia will again take to the streets—in cars—to protest the country's de facto ban on women driving. Until there is clearly significant public support for women driving, the risk-averse Saudi government is not going to make any grand gesture to pronounce the ban officially dead. But that day is coming, and eventually, the driving ban—like other restrictions on women—will break under the weight of its own contradictions. Read more on Democracy in Development »

Is China Gaining an Edge in Innovation?

Yanzhong Huang

The past decade has witnessed the rapid erosion of the financial and institutional underpinnings of innovation in the United States. Continuing to cut U.S. research funding, while China's research spending soars, could lead to a brain drain and the abdication of the United States as an innovation leader. Read more on Asia Unbound »

Improving Public Education in Brazil

Shannon K. O'Neil

Although Brazil's education system has slowly improved since its democratization, many issues, like teacher absenteeism, remain pervasive and are stalling the pace of progress. Read more on Latin America's Moment »

Disillusionment in Myanmar?

Joshua Kurlantzick

Rising violence in Myanmar is in part due to interreligious tensions, but the increased attacks can also be attributed to the country's slower than expected economic development following its democratization. Read more on Asia Unbound »

Big Decisions for South Korea’s New Joint Chiefs of Staff

Scott A. Snyder

South Korea's confirmation of Admiral Choi Yun-hee as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff comes at a time when the country is safeguarding against potential security threats and hopes to contribute to international stability.  Read more on Asia Unbound »

Ask CFR Experts: Question of the Week

Justin McDowell asks what role counterinsurgency operations will play in future conflicts. CFR Military Fellow Patrick J. Mahaney Jr. says they will continue to be a viable option, but the relative feasibility and ability to support large operations is in question. Read the full answer and submit your question


October 28: UN Security Council to discuss Syrian chemical weapons report, New York
CFR Resources on: UN Resolution on Syria's Chemical Weapons »

November 1: President Obama to Meet with Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, Washington, DC
CFR Resources on: Iraq »

View the Calendar »


At CFR's New York Headquarters, Thomas A. Campbell, Sam Cervantes, Robert Reid, and J. David Kirkpatrick discussed 3-D printing's challenges for international relations. Watch the event

What Will Be the Top Global Hot Spots in 2014?

CFR's Center for Preventive Action needs your help for its 2014 Preventive Priorities Survey. Each year, they ask experts to rank 30 contingencies that may threaten U.S. national interests in the coming year. Help them develop the list of contingencies by telling them what international conflicts you think will break out or escalate next year. Weigh in here


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