Blogs

Politics, Power, and Preventive Action

Zenko covers the U.S. national security debate and offers insight on developments in international security and conflict prevention.

Latest Post

Signing Off

Today is my last day at the Council on Foreign Relations after eight and one-half fun and fulfilling years. An archive of everything I authored or co-authored remains here. Subsequently, this is the final post of this blog after more than 400 posts. Read More

Terrorism and Counterterrorism
Bitcoin for Bombs
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are gaining traction as a source of funding for terrorist groups, such as the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Counterterrorism policies should respond accordingly.
Foreign Aid
Why Cutting Foreign Aid Benefits Terrorists
President Trump's proposal to cut USAID funding will not help the United States fight terrorism. 
Middle East and North Africa
Geopolitical Information Blockades: A New Norm?
The information blockade on Qatar is an example of states increasingly using internet access policies as a tool against foreign adversaries—and being more brazen about it than they have in the past. 
  • U.S. Foreign Policy
    You Might Have Missed: Academic Journals VI
    This is the sixth blog post in this series. The previous five were published in February, July, and October 2015, and January and May 2016, and highlight earlier academic findings. This post was coau…
  • Defense and Security
    Why Are Civilian Deaths in Iraq and Syria from U.S. Airstrikes Up 60% Under Trump?
    Today, I have an op-ed in the New York Times, which they titled: “Why Is the U.S. Killing So Many Civilians in Syria and Iraq?” The piece documents the sudden increase in civilian deaths from the U.S…
  • Afghanistan
    Did Killing Mullah Mansour Work?
    In May 2016, President Barack Obama authorized a U.S. military drone strike that killed Taliban leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansour. A year later, we can judge whether this leadership “decapitation” strike achieved its intended political objectives.
  • Iran
    Is Iran’s Election a Litmus Test for the Next Supreme Leader?
    Iranians are heading to the polls this Friday to decide Iran’s next president: incumbent Hassan Rouhani or his challenger Ebrahim Raisi. A victory for Raisi could mean he is being tested out for a potential run at being Iran’s next supreme leader.
  • Human Trafficking
    Sex Trafficking and the Refugee Crisis: Exploiting the Vulnerable
    Caroline O’Leary is an intern in the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations. April was Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which brought a deserved spotlight to the 5,551 cas…
  • United States
    Trump’s First 100 Days: A (Third) Conversation with Elizabeth Saunders
    Following our conversations in the heat of the 2016 presidential campaign a year ago and post-election last December, Elizabeth Saunders joined me again, this time to discuss President Donald Trump’s…
  • Defense and Security
    Forced Off the Grid: A Cyberattack on the United States
    Eshani Bhatt is an intern in the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations. The current U.S. power grid system is at risk of an external cyberattack that could severely crip…