Return to   |   Subscribe to the The World This Week

Council on Foreign Relations The World This Week
Highlights From CFR

March 23, 2012

The World This Week

Ailing Education System Jeopardizes U.S. National Security

Joel I. Klein, Condoleezza Rice, Julia Levy

The United States' failure to educate its students leaves them unprepared to compete and threatens the country's ability to thrive in a global economy and maintain its leadership role. The country will not be able to keep pace—much less lead—globally unless it moves to fix the problems it has allowed to fester for too long.  Read the Independent Task Force report »

School Choice and National Standards Central to Reform

Joel I. Klein

Declining academic performance at K-12 levels poses a threat to U.S. competitiveness and national security. Among the critical shortcomings that need to be addressed are: an increasing lack of qualified American workers, a shrinking pool of citizens intellectually eligible for military service, and a dearth of graduates with foreign language proficiency. Read the interview »

Oil Prices

How to Handle Oil Price Volatility

Michael A. Levi, Daniel P. Ahn, Nicolas Loris, Daniel J. Weiss, Robert McNally

Prices at the pump are emerging as a significant U.S. election issue. Five experts offer a range of policy options, from lowering regulations to encouraging less consumption. Read the Expert Roundup »

A Farewell to Fossil Fuels

Amory B. Lovins

With the costs of oil and coal rising, the United States needs to wean itself off fossil fuels, a goal best accomplished by making buildings and vehicles more efficient and switching to renewable power. The task will require the widespread application of existing technology. Read more in Foreign Affairs »

Campaign 2012: Energy Independence

Amid ongoing economic struggles, the cost and availability of energy resources has heated up on the campaign trail as voters contend with rising gasoline prices. President Barack Obama and the Republican candidates disagree on environmental and regulatory policy, as well as on which sectors should be favored. Read the Issue Tracker »


Ending the Afghan War

Stephen Biddle

The killing of Afghan civilians and the Taliban's suspension of peace talks have complicated the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. While such setbacks may not alter the underlying strategic calculus of the war, they will further strain the relationship between presidents Barack Obama and Karzai. Read the interview »

Opposition Forces Fracturing in Syria

Joshua Landis

There is "a widening split" within the opposition in Syria, and it is "in a state of chaos right now." The Syrian National Council does not trust the more militant Islamists who are actually in combat within Syria. Read the interview »

The World Ahead

Iran Talks: What Should Be on the Table?

David Albright, Mark Fitzpatrick, Daryl Kimball, Jonathan Pearl

Upcoming negotiations are shadowed by Iran's increasing uranium enrichment capabilities. Four nonproliferation experts outline paths for resolving the intensifying nuclear dispute. Read the Expert Roundup »

Can China Change?

Minxin Pei

For China to maintain its current economic growth trajectory, it must revive economic reform and start political change. The current rift within the communist party is over power, not necessarily ideology. Read the interview »

Next U.S. President Must Scrutinize Defense Budget

Richard K. Betts

The winner of the 2012 U.S. presidential election will have to determine the scope of defense policy ambitions under strong pressure to restore domestic economic solvency, which will "overshadow" policy questions. Watch the video »

Navigating the U.S.-UN Relationship Is a Challenge

Stewart M. Patrick

The next U.S. president will continue to rely on the UN as a foreign policy tool to serve U.S. interests, but that relationship will be a significant foreign policy challenge. Watch the video »

This Week in History

The Tokyo Sarin Gas Attack

James M. Lindsay

The sarin gas attack on Tokyo's subway on March 20, 1995, by a religious cult shows how technological advances increasingly mean that governments are no longer the only ones capable of inflicting mass destruction. Watch the video »

Get an Audio Preview of the World Ahead

Each week, Editor Robert McMahon and Director of Studies James M. Lindsay preview world events in the week ahead. This week, they discuss the Arab League summit in Baghdad, Obama's visit to the Demilitarized Zone during his South Korea trip, and more. Subscribe to the Podcast

World Events Calendar

March 26 - 27: Nuclear Security Summit, Seoul, South Korea
CFR Resources on: Asia »

March 27 - 29: Arab League Summit, Baghdad
CFR Resources on: The Arab League »

View the Calendar »

Inside CFR

Religion and Politics in America: Robert Putnam leads a conversation on the relationship between religion and politics in the United States and what it means for the upcoming presidential election as part of CFR's Religion and Foreign Policy Conference Call series. Listen to the audio


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»