CFR Academic

Teaching Notes

  • China

    In Toxic Politics, CFR Senior Fellow Yanzhong Huang discusses how China’s environmental crisis is undermining public health and becoming an Achilles heel in its reemergence as a global power.
  • Nigeria

    In Nigeria and the Nation-State, John Campbell explains what makes Nigeria different from other countries in Africa, how it works, and why understanding it is vital if we are to avoid the mistakes the United States made in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, as U.S. security and economic relations with Africa intensifies.
  • U.S. Foreign Policy

    In his new book, Isolationism: A History of America’s Efforts to Shield Itself From the World, CFR Senior Fellow Charles A. Kupchan explores the nation's past to uncover the ideological and political roots of U.S. grand strategy, understand the recent return of isolationist sentiment, and examine how the nation can bring its foreign commitments back into line with its means and purposes.
  • U.S. Foreign Policy

    An insider’s perspective on why U.S. policymakers repeatedly underestimate the costs and consequences of intervention to both the United States and the people of the Middle East.
  • World Order

    Providing readers with the essential background and building blocks necessary to make sense of this complicated and interconnected world, The World focuses on crucial history, what makes each region of the world tick, the many challenges that globalization presents, and the most influential countries, events, and ideas that shape the world and in turn shape our lives.
  • Climate Change

    Building a Resilient Tomorrow draws on international and national examples, some revealed for the first time, to provide an interdisciplinary narrative covering a range of climate resilience solutions.
  • Public Health Threats and Pandemics

    For the first time in recorded history, bacteria, viruses, and other plagues and pestilence do not cause the majority of deaths or disabilities in any region of the world. Curbing infectious diseases has extended lives and prevented child deaths in poor societies, but also brought new and unexpected challenges—like rising youth unemployment, overcrowded and underbuilt cities, and surging rates of premature chronic diseases—that many nations are unprepared to handle. In Plagues and the Paradox of Progress, Thomas J. Bollyky traces the rise and fall of infectious disease in human history and the challenges and opportunities that unprecedented health achievements pose for our future.
  • Arab Spring

    In False Dawn, Steven A. Cook examines why Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Turkey did not transition to democracy, explaining how and why Middle East uprisings didn’t succeed.
  • Refugees and Displaced Persons

    A quarter billion people worldwide live outside their country of nationality. One-tenth of them are refugees fleeing political persecution and other acute threats.
  • China

    In The Third Revolution, Economy reveals Xi Jinping’s new China model—more controlling and authoritarian at home with a more ambitious and activist role abroad—and asks us to fundamentally rethink how the United States and others approach this complex and increasingly powerful country.
  • Nigeria

    Rapid economic growth and improved governance across Africa in the twenty-first century are part of the “Africa rising” narrative and have renewed interest in the continent. In Nigeria: What Everyone Needs to Know, John Campbell and Matthew T. Page provide an accessible, one-of-a-kind overview of Nigeria. Using a question-and-answer format, they discuss what makes Nigeria unique, how it operates domestically and internationally, the challenges it faces, and why it has the potential to become Africa’s greatest power.
  • Conflict Prevention

    As the principal guarantor of international peace and security in an increasingly turbulent world, the United States is at risk of being drawn into potentially costly conflicts that, over time, diminish its power. In Preventive Engagement, Paul Stares offers a new comprehensive strategy for lowering this risk by reducing the demand for U.S. power overseas in the long, medium, and short term.
  • U.S. Foreign Policy

    In chronicling CIA operative Edward Lansdale's adventurous life and approach to counterinsurgency, The Road Not Taken definitively reframes our understanding of the Vietnam War.
  • Middle East and North Africa

    In Realism and Democracy: American Foreign Policy after the Arab Spring, Elliott Abrams tells a personal story of the development of U.S. human rights policy in the last forty years and makes an argument, both "realist" and principled, for supporting the expansion of democracy in the Middle East.
  • Laos

    In his book A Great Place to Have a War, Joshua Kurlantzick tells the story of the CIA’s covert war in Laos during the Vietnam War. He examines how the country became, surprisingly, a U.S. policy priority, and analyzes why and how the CIA was able to build the war into one of the biggest covert operations in U.S. history. He further uses the Laos war as a prism to examine the CIA’s operations in the global war on terror today.
  • Energy and Environment

    Solar energy, the world’s cheapest and fastest-growing power source, could one day supply most of the world’s energy needs. In Taming the Sun, however, Varun Sivaram warns that solar’s current surge is on track to stall, dimming prospects for averting catastrophic climate change. Brightening those prospects, he argues, will require innovation—creative financing, revolutionary technologies, and flexible energy systems.
  • South Korea

    Against the backdrop of China’s mounting influence and North Korea’s growing nuclear capability and expanding missile arsenal, South Korea faces a set of strategic choices that will shape its economic prospects and national security. In South Korea at the Crossroads, Scott A. Snyder examines the trajectory of fifty years of South Korean foreign policy and offers predictions―and a prescription―for the future. Pairing a historical perspective with a shrewd understanding of today’s political landscape, Snyder contends that South Korea’s best strategy remains investing in a robust alliance with the United States.
  • Political History and Theory

    In the wake of World War II, with Britain’s empire collapsing and Stalin’s on the rise, U.S. officials under new secretary of state George C. Marshall set out to reconstruct western Europe as a bulwark against communist authoritarianism. Their massive, costly, and ambitious undertaking would confront Europeans and Americans alike with a vision at odds with their history and self-conceptions. In the process, they would drive the creation of NATO, the European Union, and a Western identity that continues to shape world events.
  • India

    How a fiercely independent India takes its place as a leading power needs to be on the shortlist of questions that will shape this century. With its huge military and growing economy, India is ready to set its own terms, from defense to climate to trade as a “leading power,” in the words of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • Human Trafficking

    Slavery, long banned and universally condemned, persists in many corners of the world, victimizing tens of millions of people.
  • U.S. Foreign Policy

    While the United States has been the world’s greatest champion of international cooperation, it has often resisted rules it wishes to see binding for other countries. In The Sovereignty Wars, Stewart M. Patrick defines what is at stake in the U.S. sovereignty debate. To protect U.S. sovereignty while advancing American interests, he asserts that the nation must occasionally make “sovereignty bargains” by trading its freedom of independent action in exchange for greater influence through expanded international cooperation.
  • United States

    A World in Disarray, a VICE special report, draws on Richard Haass's eponymous book and explores the disorder in today’s international landscape using four regional case studies: Syria, Ukraine, the South China Sea, and North Korea.
  • United States

    A World in Disarray traces the origins of contemporary "order," including the state of the world following the Cold War when, for the first time in the modern era, major power rivalry was not the principal cause of disorder.
  • Brazil

    The Amazon rainforest absorbs more greenhouse gases than any other tropical forest. But in Brazil, deforestation has claimed nearly a fifth of its tree cover, which threatens biodiversity and contributes to climate change.