Return to   |   Subscribe to the The World This Week

Council on Foreign Relations The World This Week
Highlights From CFR

May 30, 2014

The World This Week

Southeast Asia's Regression From Democracy and Its Implications

Joshua Kurlantzick

Over the past ten years democratization in Southeast Asia has stalled and even gone into reverse. May's military coup in Thailand, which led the United States to cut aid to the country, is only the most recent example. Read the Working Paper »

Reaction to President Obama's Foreign Policy Speech

Obama’s Unclear Foreign Policy Path

Richard N. Haass

President Obama's foreign policy speech lacked a clear strategic rationale. It was an attempt to essentially carve out a form of involvement in the world that avoided any and every excess, but with one or two exceptions, it didn't provide any specifics. Read the interview »

The Obama Doctrine

Janine Davidson

The point of the president's West Point speech was to articulate a vision of American leadership and the president's guiding principles about exercising power in the world, not to tick off a laundry list of global crises and policies underway. Read more on Defense in Depth »

Obama at West Point

Stewart M. Patrick

President Obama rejected both isolationism (too soft) and unilateralism (too hard), offering up a goldilocks formula based on expanded bilateral partnerships and strong multilateral institutions. Read more on The Internationalist »

Obama Just Accidentally Explained Why His Foreign Policy Hasn’t Worked

Elliott Abrams

The speech was a labored defense of a foreign policy that has come under attack for being weak. When it came to substance, the problem with the speech was that it was delivered in Year Five but gave no fair description of the five previous years. Read the op-ed »


Tough Issues Remain for Ukraine

Robert Kahn

Petro Poroshenko's first-round victory in Ukraine's presidential elections is an important step toward political stability, but he will have to move quickly to address its debts, energy, and corruption for Ukraine to gain more enduring economic stability. Read more on Macro and Markets »

Why Sisi's Win Is Good for Al-Qaeda

Mara Revkin

On its face, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's election represents a victory for secular authoritarianism over Islamism. From al-Qaeda's perspective, though, the election results are a boon: They have validated the group's core ideological claim that violence—rather than peaceful participation in politics—is the way to build an Islamic state. Read more on »

Negotiating the Freedom of the Nigerian Schoolgirls

John Campbell

Nigeria is abuzz with speculation about government negotiations with Boko Haram over the release of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls. Speculation is that the parameters of a possible deal would be Boko Haram freeing some or all of the girls in return for the government releasing Boko Haram operatives and/or their wives and children who are currently detained without charge. A negotiated swap makes so much sense. But determining who on the Boko Haram side would be empowered to negotiate is difficult. Read more on Africa in Transition »

The World Ahead

An Audio Preview of the World Next Week

Robert McMahon, James M. Lindsay

Lindsay and McMahon discuss the Group of Seven (G7) Summit in Brussels; Syria's presidential elections; and the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown. Listen to the podcast »

White House Should Seek Congressional Endorsement for any Iran Deal

Eric Edelman, Dennis Ross, and Ray Takeyh

Despite the temptation for presidents and diplomats to reach a decision in secret and avoid congressional scrutiny, the Obama administration should seek congressional endorsement as it negotiates with Iran. Failure to do so could mean that any agreement negotiated by the Obama administration will not survive his presidency. Read the op-ed »

Why Have Americans Stopped Moving?

Peter Orszag

State-level policy makers alter their income taxes to lure people from other states. However, income tax rates are not a major driver of interstate migration. Instead, people move to find warmer weather, cheaper housing, and new jobs. Read more on Renewing America »

Mexico's Oil and Taxes

Shannon K. O'Neil

Oil's importance to the Mexican economy has diminished over the past three decades, but the federal government is still dependent on the energy industry for one-third of its inflows. The Mexican government would be wise to diversify its revenue base. This will require some mix of higher taxes and better tax collection. Read more on Latin America's Moment »

E-Cigarettes: China's Next Growth Industry

Yanzhong Huang

Over 95 percent of the electronic cigarettes worldwide are produced in one place: Shenzhen, China. Global trends suggest that e-cigarette use will grow to supplant regular cigarettes. The same will be true for China. Read more on Asia Unbound »

World Events Calendar

June 2 - 7: President Obama to Visit Poland, Belgium, and France
CFR Resources on: Europe »

June 3: Presidential Election, Syria
CFR Resources on: Syria »

June 4: Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of Tiananmen Square Crackdown
CFR Resources on: China »

June 4 - 5: G7 Summit, Brussels
CFR Resources on: International Organizations »

View the Calendar »

Inside CFR

At CFR's New York headquarters, Alyssa Ayres, Jagdish Bhagwati, and Robert Blackwill discussed Narendra Modi's election victory, the prospects for India's economy, and its relations with the United States. Watch the eventĀ»

The Sustainability of American Power

CFR Senior Vice President and Director of Studies James M. Lindsay analyzes the politics shaping U.S. foreign policy and the sustainability of American power on his blog, The Water's Edge.


Connect with CFR

cfr on facebook Facebook
cfr on twitter Twitter
cfr on youtube YouTube
cfr on youtube Mobile
cfr on youtube Join the conversation at»