The United States should see family planning as a foreign policy priority that leads to healthier and more prosperous societies, and should increase funding, resources and support for those countries with the highest unmet need, argues CFR’s Isobel Coleman.
Even as Syrian protesters call for the immediate ouster of President Bashar al-Assad, U.S. allies in the region prefer he hold on to power given their fears that a post-Assad Syria might empower Iran, says Middle East expert Jon Alterman.
Syria’s Ba’athist regime has responded to widening pro-reform protests by tightening its crackdown, but this approach is unlikely to quiet restive Syrians like it has in the past, writes CFR’s Mohamad Bazzi.
As Cuba’s Communist Party convenes this weekend for the first time in fourteen years, President Raul Castro will look to clarify and gain support for economic reforms. CFR’s Julia Sweig says the country has made significant strides toward modernization and suggests the United States should amend its restrictive Cuba policies.
President Obama is right to balance U.S. national interests with democracy promotion in dealing with the Middle East, intervening in select cases and standing behind democracy advocates in others, says expert Larry Diamond.
Concern about Arab world pro-democracy movements has caused Iran’s government to get tougher with opponents and is affecting political jockeying for parliamentary elections in 2012 and the presidential election in 2013, says Iran expert Farideh Farhi.