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Highlights From CFR

February 7, 2014

The World This Week

The Costs of UN Security Council Dissensus

Stewart M. Patrick

The UN Security Council's prioritization of removing chemical weapons over stopping ongoing atrocities has benefited Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. It appears the only option is to hope that Russia will push Damascus not only to adhere to UNSC Resolution 2118, but also to return to the negotiating table to stem the bloodshed and contain the insecurity spilling across Syria's many borders and beyond. Read more on The Internationalist »

Sochi 2014: Spotlight on Russia

Russia After Sochi

Stephen Sestanovich

Although the Sochi Olympics present a reputational risk for Russian president Vladimir Putin, the estrangement of Russia from leading Western countries has been underway for some time. For Washington, asylum to Edward Snowden was the prime grievance; for European leaders, Russian efforts to block the European Union's relationship with Ukraine were central. How long this set-jaw style continues will be tested four months after the Olympics when Putin hosts the annual summit of the G8—once more in Sochi. Read the interview »

Securing the Olympics

Raymond W. Kelly

Sochi is part of one of the most volatile regions in the world. And the thirty-mile distance between the two Olympic clusters increases the area that security forces will be required to cover. Should anything happen during the Olympics, "the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, and a few other countries will be leading a coordinated response." Watch the video »

Instability in Russia’s North Caucasus Region

Russia's troubled North Caucasus region continues to struggle with a low-level Islamic insurgency. A heavy-handed approach to counterinsurgency has not addressed the root causes of separatism in the region. Read the Backgrounder »

If It Bleeds, It Leads

Ellen Mickiewicz

Moscow hoped to use breathless coverage of the Olympics to ease domestic anxiety after a rough year of protests and economic malaise, but news out of Ukraine has overshadowed all else and, as Russians tune in, they are only feeling more insecure. Read more on »


Settlement Impossible

Steven A. Cook

The controversy over a Super Bowl ad pushed debate closer to the mainstream about the occupation of the West Bank, the legitimacy of Israel, and how best to express solidarity with the Palestinians. Read more on From the Potomac to the Euphrates »

Tensions Swelling in the East China Sea

Sheila A. Smith

In the East China Sea, the acute political tensions between Tokyo and Beijing over the Senkaku Islands have not abated, nor has Beijing responded to Japan's call for developing maritime risk reduction mechanisms. There is little support in Japan for compromise on the islands themselves, and there is growing concern about whether the U.S.-Japan alliance is ready to handle the increasingly difficult situation in the East China Sea. Read more on Asia Unbound »

Thailand's Election Day

Joshua Kurlantzick

The relatively high turnout, lack of widespread violence that protest leaders hoped would erupt, and the fact that heads of the armed forces voted quietly, suggest that recent elections were a net loss for the opposition, though hardly a sign that the Thai government is now in the clear. Read more on Asia Unbound »

The World Ahead

An Audio Preview of the World Next Week

James M. Lindsay and Robert McMahon

In this week's audio preview, Lindsay and McMahon discuss French president Fran├žois Hollande's visit to Washington, the third anniversary of Mubarak's ouster, and the Chicago Auto Show. Listen to the podcast »

Overcoming the Japan-South Korea Identity Complex

Scott A. Snyder

Japan and South Korea's divergent notions of national identity perpetuate tension between the two countries. A forthright effort to sensitively address the issues of the past might help both countries to secure their common interests in the future. Read more on Asia Unbound »

Evolution, Not Revolution, at the FBI

Charles E. Berger

Throughout its history, the FBI has been a national-security agency that uses its law enforcement and intelligence authorities as means to counter the most significant threats to the United States. As threats have evolved, so have the FBI's mission priorities. Read the op-ed »

China's Environmental Crisis

China's mounting environmental crisis is endangering the pace of its economic growth and threatening the legitimacy of the ruling Communist party. However, the Chinese people's belief that they are entitled to a clean environment has spurred some action. Read the Backgrounder »

Boko Haram and Carnage in Rural Nigeria

John Campbell

The recent Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria's northeastern state of Borno have been executed with larger groups of operatives, more sophisticated weaponry, and exceptionally high casualties, begging the question, who is carrying out these attacks? Read more on Africa in Transition »

Ask CFR Experts

Tom Gordon asks, what happens if there are no U.S. or NATO troops in Afghanistan after 2014? CFR Senior Fellow Janine Davidson says withdrawing all troops would leave the Afghans to fend for themselves against a resurgent Taliban. Afghans would suffer most amid rising violence when aid workers and investment dollars follow foreign troops to the exits. Read the full answer and submit your question

World Events Calendar

February 7: Opening of the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sochi
CFR Resources on: Sochi, Russia »

February 11: President Obama to Meet with French president Fran├žois Hollande, Washington, DC
CFR Resources on: France »

View the Calendar »

Inside CFR

At CFR's Washington offices, Bitcoin Foundation's chief scientist Gavin Andresen discussed the future of bitcoin, the challenges of digital currency, and the role of the foundation. Watch the event

Earlier this week, at CFR's Washington offices, Senior Fellows Elizabeth C. Economy and Michael A. Levi discussed their new book, By All Means Necessary: How China's Resource Quest is Changing the World. Watch the event

Haass to Receive the Tipperary International Peace Award

The Tipperary Peace Convention announced that Council on Foreign Relations President Richard N. Haass will receive the 2013 Tipperary International Peace Award for his role in assisting the peace process in Northern Ireland.


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