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Council on Foreign Relations Preventive Action Update
January 2013

Dear Colleague:

Happy New Year from the Center for Preventive Action (CPA)! Over the past few months, we published our annual Preventive Priorities Survey, two Contingency Planning Memoranda, and, most recently, a Council Special Report on U.S. drone strike policies. 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

Thirty Global Crises to Watch in 2013

The annual Preventive Priorities Survey (PPS) evaluates ongoing and potential violent conflicts based on the impact they could have on U.S. interests and their likelihood of occurring in 2013. "There are many potential sources of conflict around the world, but not all are equally likely or consequential to U.S. interests. American policymakers, therefore, have to make choices about where to focus their preventive efforts, and this survey aims to help," says CPA director Paul B. Stares. Launch the Interactive »

Reforming U.S. Drone Strike Policies

Micah Zenko

Over the last ten years, drones have become a critical tool in the war against terrorist and militant organizations beyond traditional battlefields, with over four hundred strikes that killed more than three thousand people in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. In this Council Special Report, Douglas Dillon Fellow Micah Zenko analyzes the costs and consequences of U.S. drone strike policies, and calls for limits placed on targeted killings and increased transparency and oversight. Read the Report »

Preventing Electoral Violence in Kenya

Joel D. Barkan

In the run-up to Kenya's March 2013 elections, Joel D. Barkan of the Center for Strategic and International Studies argues in a Contingency Planning Memorandum that the United States should take proactive measures to prevent a repeat of the electoral violence that broke out across the country in 2007. Read the Memo »

Venezuela May Face Political Unrest

Patrick D. Duddy

The continuing uncertainty surrounding President Hugo Chavez's health increases the risk of instability in Venezuela. "The possibility of violence would be particularly high if Chavez died or announced his resignation for medical reasons after being reelected," writes Patrick D. Duddy of Duke University in a Contingency Planning Memorandum. Read the Memo »

CFR Seeking 2013–2014 Edward R. Murrow Press Fellowship Applicants

The 2013–2014 Edward R. Murrow Press Fellowship is open to applicants who have distinguished credentials in the field of journalism and who have covered international news as a working journalist for print, broadcast, or online media widely available in the United States. The application deadline is March 1, 2013. For online application instructions and more information, please contact

CPA in the News

Preventing Chemical Weapons Use in Syria
Reducing the risk of a nightmare scenario in which chemical weapons are used in Syria requires a comprehensive prevention strategy from the international community, writes Stares in a CFR Expert Brief.

Conflict Prevention Priorities: Three Things to Know
In 2013, three top conflict prevention priorities for the United States are the civil war in Syria, a potential nuclear standoff with Iran, and territorial disputes in East Asia, says Stares in an interview on

Nudging the President
In an article on, Zenko argues, "Similar to everyday choices like which brand of cereal to buy, how senior military officials present and characterize military options strongly influences policymakers' decisions."



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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