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Council on Foreign Relations Preventive Action Update
March 2012

Dear Colleague:

In recent months, the Center for Preventive Action (CPA) has published a Policy Innovation Memorandum on the Arctic economy, hosted several flashpoint roundtable meetings, and contributed to the broader foreign policy debates on North Korea, Iran, and Syria. To learn more about our latest activities and publications, we welcome you to read through our newsletter, explore our website, and "like" our Facebook page. As always, thank you for your continued support and feedback.

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


Recent Publications

The Final Frontier?

Captain Melissa Bert, USCG

Unlike its Arctic neighbors and rivals, the United States is failing to take full advantage of the tremendous economic potential of the Arctic region. In the Policy Innovation Memorandum "A Strategy to Advance the Arctic Economy," Captain Melissa Bert argues for U.S. ratification of the Law of the Sea Convention; international polar shipping standards; and an aircraft, icebreaker, and shore-based infrastructure acquisition program funded by Arctic oil and gas lease proceeds. Read more »

The United States Is More Secure Than Washington Thinks

Micah Zenko, Michael Cohen

U.S. policymakers and pundits are constantly offering up a dizzying array of threats to the United States by describing an increasingly unpredictable, volatile, and dangerous world. In an article in the March/April edition of Foreign Affairs, "Clear and Present Safety," Michael A. Cohen of the Century Foundation and Micah Zenko challenge this widely held assumption and instead argue that the world is a safer and more secure place than at virtually any other point in human history. "Although the United States faces a host of international challenges," contend Cohen and Zenko, "they pose little risk to the overwhelming majority of Americans and can be managed with existing diplomatic, economic, and, to a much lesser extent, military tools." Read more »

Iran and the U.S.-Saudi Relationship

Paul B. Stares, F. Gregory Gause III

The U.S.-Saudi relationship has become increasingly strained since the onset of the Arab Awakening, and Iran's nuclear ambitions could pose further challenges, says F. Gregory Gause III in this video interview with CPA director Paul B. Stares. "The Saudis would certainly see Iran crossing the nuclear threshold as a major security challenge," explains Gause, author of the Council Special Report Saudi Arabia in the New Middle East. "If our American interest is in preventing proliferation, we have to start talking to the Saudis very quickly about their options and our options if Iran were to cross that threshold." Watch the Video »

Blog: Politics, Power, and Preventive Action

In his blog, Micah Zenko covers the U.S. national security debate and offers insight on developments in international security and conflict prevention.

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CPA in the News

Come Out of the Nuclear Closet
Micah Zenko provides three concrete steps that the Israeli government should take to "come out of the nuclear closet" in the New York Times.

10 Things You Didn't Know About Drones
In the March/April edition of Foreign Policy magazine, Micah Zenko breaks down the top ten little-known or under-the-radar facts about drone technology.

Debating U.S. Options in Syria
In this CFR expert roundup, Micah Zenko cautions against arming the rebel forces in Syria and argues that the United States should help build a more coherent, representative opposition.



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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