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Council on Foreign Relations Preventive Action Update
May 2012

Dear Colleague:

In recent months, the Center for Preventive Action (CPA) has published a Council Special Report on criminal violence in Central America and a Contingency Planning Memorandum on the South China Sea, and has also hosted several high-level roundtable meetings on potential flashpoints around the globe. 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

Countering Criminal Violence in Central America

Michael Shifter

With the highest murder rates in the world, Central America is increasingly beset by spreading criminal violence, particularly in the "northern triangle" of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. This new Council Special Report by Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, assesses the causes and consequences of the violence, and examines the national, regional, and international efforts intended to curb its worst effects.

Watch Jose W. Fernandez, assistant secretary of state for economic and business affairs, and Michael Shifter discuss U.S. and regional policies to mitigate and combat the violence (May 2, 2012, Washington, DC).

Preventing Conflict in the South China Sea

Bonnie S. Glaser

Heightened tensions in the South China Sea pose a serious risk to regional peace and stability. China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines have competing territorial and jurisdictional claims to the South China Sea, particularly over rights to exploit its potentially vast oil and gas reserves. Freedom of navigation is also increasingly contested, especially between the United States and China. In this Contingency Planning Memorandum, Bonnie S. Glaser of the Center for Strategic and International Studies discusses the risk of conflict and what steps the U.S. government can take to prevent an armed clash. Read more »

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.

Join the discussion at

CPA in the News

Serious Steps to Stop Atrocities
President Obama's move to strengthen efforts to prevent genocide and mass killings deserves credit, but must be given time to work properly, says Paul B. Stares in a First Take.

Give the Atrocities Prevention Board a Chance!
Andrew C. Miller makes the case for the Atrocities Prevention Board, and why it will enhance the U.S. policymaking process, in a Foreign Policy blog post.

Nuclear Summit Progress and Pitfalls
The Seoul summit advances global efforts on securing nuclear materials in dozens of countries, but the challenge will be to sustain the focus on the universal elimination of weapons-usable material, writes Micah Zenko.



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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