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Council on Foreign Relations Preventive Action Update
January 2014

Dear Colleague,

Happy New Year from the Center for Preventive Action (CPA). It has been a busy season. We recently released our annual Preventive Priorities Survey (PPS) and launched our Global Conflict Tracker. We published two Contingency Planning Memoranda, a Policy Innovation Memorandum, and a Council Special Report on Afghanistan after the drawdown of U.S. and NATO forces. To learn more about our latest activities and publications, we welcome you to read through our newsletter, explore our website, read our blog, and "like" our Facebook page. As always, thank you for your continued support and feedback.

Best wishes,

Paul B. Stares
General John W. Vessey Senior Fellow for Conflict Prevention
Director of the Center for Preventive Action


Recent Publications

Thirty Crises to Watch in 2014

The Center for Preventive Action's annual Preventive Priorities Survey evaluates ongoing and potential conflicts based on their likelihood of occurring in the coming year and their impact on U.S. interests. The PPS aims to help the U.S. policymaking community prioritize competing conflict prevention and mitigation demands. Read the PPS »

The Center for Preventive Action's Global Conflict Tracker is an interactive guide to U.S. conflict prevention priorities in 2014. It provides an up-to-date overview of each ongoing or potential conflict featured in the most recent Preventive Priorities Survey and features additional background information. Launch the interactive »

Afghanistan After the Drawdown

Seth G. Jones and Keith Crane

Critical military, political, and economic transitions are set to take place in Afghanistan in 2014, and will pose challenges for U.S. policymakers in the country and the region more broadly. Seth G. Jones and Keith Crane of the RAND Corporation offer useful recommendations to promote political consensus in Afghanistan, support the Afghan security forces, set realistic expectations for the peace process with the Taliban, and carefully condition civilian budgetary support. Read the Council Special Report »

Political Instability in Jordan

Robert Satloff and David Schenker

Given Jordan's commitment to peace with Israel and its continued eagerness to cooperate on counterterrorism and security matters, Robert Satloff and David Schenker of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy argue that the United States has a strong interest in helping Amman manage potentially destabilizing economic and political change. This report describes the conceivable contingencies that pose serious threats to the kingdom's stability. Read the Contingency Planning Memorandum »

A Sino-Japanese Clash in the East China Sea

Sheila A. Smith

An armed clash in the East China Sea between Asia's two largest powers could threaten U.S. interests and potentially prompt U.S. intervention. Sheila A. Smith, CFR senior fellow for Japan studies, describes conceivable contingencies that could lead to such a clash. As a treaty ally of Japan with vital strategic interests in fostering peaceful relations with China, the United States has a major stake in averting conflict between the two countries. Read the Contingency Planning Memorandum »

Transferring CIA Drone Strikes to the Pentagon

Micah Zenko

The failure to answer the growing demands for transparency of U.S. drone strike policies increases the risk that drone strikes will be curtailed or eliminated due to mounting domestic or international pressure. Micah Zenko suggests that President Barack Obama should increase transparency by signing a directive that consolidates lead executive authority to plan and conduct nonbattlefield targeted killings under the Joint Special Operations Command—a subunit of the Department of Defense. Read the Policy Innovation Memorandum »

CFR Seeking 2014–2015 Edward R. Murrow Press Fellowship Applicants

The Edward R. Murrow Press Fellowship is open to applicants who have distinguished credentials in the field of journalism and who have covered international news as a working journalist for print, broadcast, or online media widely available in the United States. The online application deadline is March 1, 2014. For more information, please contact

CPA in the News

The World Next Year: 2014
In this annual podcast, Editor Robert McMahon, CFR's Director of Studies James M. Lindsay, and CPA's Paul Stares preview major world events in 2014: U.S. fiscal problems drag on; Iranian nuclear talks remain a global priority; a year of pivotal elections and domestic discontent; a new world of energy emerges; disputes in the East China Sea continue to raise tensions; and the race for the Arctic intensifies.

Cloudy With a Chance of Conflict
Throughout the U.S. government, "there is no systematic process to forecast potentially threatening developments that could arise and would require direct U.S. diplomatic or military involvement," writes Zenko on He discusses the findings of the 2014 Preventive Priorities Survey and how they could be of use to U.S. officials.

2014 Conflict Prevention Priorities: Three Things to Know
In an interview on, Stares assesses the three broad trends that most worry foreign policy experts and, therefore, warrant being the leading conflict prevention priorities for the United States in 2014: widespread and growing unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, rising tensions in East Asia, and increased instability in South Asia.



The Center for Preventive Action (CPA) seeks to help prevent, defuse, or resolve deadly conflicts around the world and to expand the body of knowledge on conflict prevention.

Paul B. Stares
CPA Director, General John W. Vessey
Senior Fellow for Conflict Prevention

Micah Zenko
Senior Fellow

Helia Ighani
Assistant Director

Sarah Collman
Research Associate

James West
Research Associate

Amelia M. Wolf
Research Associate


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