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Highlights From CFR

December 6, 2013


Do Americans Want to Retreat From the World?

James M. Lindsay

The new Pew Research Center- CFR poll on America's place in the world, sends a mixed message: Americans are reluctant to embrace world leadership, but they are also unwilling to abandon it. Read more on The Water's Edge »


In His Own Words: South Africa's Democratic Future

Nelson Mandela

Apartheid corroded the very essence of life in South Africa. This is why the country's emerging political leaders are challenged to build a nation in which all people—irrespective of race, color, creed, religion, or sex—can assert fully their human worth; after apartheid, our people deserve nothing less than the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Read more on »

How Mandela Changed South Africa

John Campbell

Mandela's primary legacy is a multiracial South Africa under the rule of law. His governance was characterized by racial reconciliation, especially with white Afrikaners, which he shrewdly promoted through the use of symbols. Read the Expert Brief »

Mandela's Release from Prison

James M. Lindsay

Nelson Mandela's journey from political prisoner to South Africa's first black president and champion of democracy shows how individuals can shape the course of world events. Watch the video »


Power Plays in Ukraine

Stephen Sestanovich

Mass demonstrations in Kiev against President Viktor Yanukovich's decision to distance Ukraine from the European Union in favor of a customs union with Russia demonstrate how unwilling many of Russia's neighbors are to let themselves be seen as part of any form of neo-imperial Russian order. Read the interview »

Biden: The Bull in the China Shop

Elizabeth C. Economy

During his trip to China, Vice President Joe Biden urged young Chinese seeking to visit the United States to challenge their government, teachers, and religious leaders. The political values the vice president is advancing—transparency, openness, and accountability—are reflected not only in the way that China does business at home but also in how it behaves abroad. Read more on Asia Unbound »

Can Thailand Break Its Coup Addiction?

Joshua Kurlantzick

The ongoing political unrest in Thailand is a product of the country's longstanding "coup culture," which is perpetuated by the belief among elites that coups are the only option for restoring stability. Read the op-ed »

Drafting Discord in Egypt

Isobel Coleman

The latest Egyptian draft constitution is a realistic manifestation of what is possible in the deeply divided society. Although the draft limits some of the worst aspects of the Morsi constitution, it doubles down on others and is unlikely to last. 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 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections of the heavy water research reactor in Arak, Iran; surging protests in Ukraine; and Vice President Joe Biden's trip to Asia. Listen to the podcast »

Obama Wins Round One on Iran

Leslie H. Gelb

President Barack Obama has quieted the mob of critics on the interim pact with Iran, so they're now attacking the next deal—the one that hasn't happened yet. The Obama administration has made a first class start, but will need to press its advantages and take the field aggressively before the next round is completed. Read the op-ed »

Obama: Building Trade to Build Growth

Edward Alden

The Obama administration has quietly embraced the most ambitious agenda on trade and investment liberalization in the past two decades, but more must be done to remove trade barriers in services.  Read the op-ed »

Why Suez Still Matters

Steven A. Cook

Nearly 150 years after its completion, some see the Suez Canal as a mere relic. In fact, the waterway ensures Cairo's continued relevance to the United States and the region. Read more on »

When Protests Halt Progress

Alyssa Ayres

Street protests, or "hartals," like the ones currently taking place in Bangladesh, have shut down the country's economic activity and resulted in violence. Such violence undermines the country's recent development and puts its future prospects at risk. Read more on Asia Unbound »

Creditors Beware of Greek Budget Surpluses

Benn Steil and Dinah Walker

The news of Greece's budget surplus is a positive development for the country, but its creditors should beware. In the past, countries in similar positions have defaulted on debts just as their primary balance turned positive. Read more on Geo-Graphics »

Rising Violence Against Doctors in China

Yanzhong Huang

In ten days in October, China reported at least six attacks on healthcare workers. China's inability to solve the problem of affordability and access to healthcare has fueled the recent growth in tensions between patients and healthcare providers. Read more on Asia Unbound »

Ask CFR Experts: Question of the Week

Talee asks what action, if any, should be taken by outside actors to support reform in Myanmar. CFR Senior Fellow Joshua Kurlantzick says outside actors will play a large role in Myanmar's reform process since it badly needs large quantities of aid, expertise, and investment. Read the full answer and submit your question


December 8: IAEA Inspections to Begin in Iran
CFR Resources on: Iran »

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In Washington, Richard N. Haass and Alan Murray discussed current trends in public opinion on U.S. foreign policy and international affairs. Watch the event

At CFR's New York headquarters, the International Energy Agency's chief economist Fatih Birol discussed energy projections through 2035 and implications for energy security, climate change, economic development, and universal access to modern energy services. Watch the event

Thomas Carothers, Daniel C. Kurtzer, Shibley Telhami, and Richard N. Haass discussed the situation in Egypt and recommendations for U.S. policy. Watch the event

Political and Economic Lessons From Democratic Transitions

As countries around the world navigate complex paths to democracy, a new CFR book, edited by Isobel Coleman and Terra Lawson-Remer offers insights and recommendations from political and economic transitions that have unfolded in recent decades, including those in Thailand and Ukraine. Read Pathways to Freedom


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