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The David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's think tank—analyzes pressing global challenges and offers actionable steps that policymakers and citizens can take to address them. The more than seventy full-time and adjunct fellows in Studies cover all the world’s major regions and significant foreign policy issues. In addition to producing books, articles, op-eds, blogs, podcasts, and interactives, the Studies Program administers eleven fellowship programs. 

Sovereign Risk Tracker

Gauges the vulnerability of emerging markets to default on external debt


Asia Unbound

CFR fellows and other experts assess the latest issues emerging in Asia today.

Africa in Transition

John Campbell and Michelle Gavin track political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

Follow the Money

Brad Setser tracks cross-border flows, with a bit of macroeconomics thrown in.


Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s investment conference kicks off under a cloud of tension, Chinese and Japanese leaders meet to discuss intellectual property protection, Afghanistan holds parliamentary elections, and protests against Brexit begin in London.


Asia Unbound

CFR fellows and other experts assess the latest issues emerging in Asia today.

Africa in Transition

John Campbell and Michelle Gavin track political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

Follow the Money

Brad Setser tracks cross-border flows, with a bit of macroeconomics thrown in.

In Focus: "Using External Breakeven Prices to Track Vulnerabilities in Oil-Exporting Countries"

Setser paper

The best single measure of the resilience of an oil- or gas-exporting economy in the face of swings in the global oil price is its external breakeven price: the oil price that covers its import bill, writes CFR Senior Fellow and Acting Director of the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomics Brad W. Setser. 

In Focus: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon on Mosul and What Lies Ahead

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon CNN

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, senior fellow for women and foreign policy, sat down with CNN's John Vause to discuss Iraq's victory in Mosul and the challenges that lie ahead. 

In Focus: Amy Myers Jaffe

Amy Myers Jaffe

Amy Myers Jaffe joined CFR this week as David M. Rubenstein senior fellow for energy and the environment and director of the program on Energy Security and Climate Change. 

In Focus: Democracy in Myanmar

Kurlantzick podcast

CFR Senior Fellow for Southeast Asia Joshua Kurlantzick joins ABC Radio National's podcast, Counterpoint, to discuss just how democratic the new Myanmar government is. 

In Focus: Cholera in Yemen

Garrett Fortune

Since April, more than 350,000 people have come down with cholera in Yemen, resulting in 1,790 deaths. In a recent Fortune article, Senior Fellow for Global Health Laurie Garrett discusses the epidemic.

In Focus: Currency Manipulation

Mini Mac Index

The "law of one price" holds that identical goods should trade for the same price in an efficient market. Senior Fellow and Director of International Economics Benn Steil's Mini Mac Index—a remake on The Economist magazine's Big Mac Index—measures relative currency valuations by comparing the price of iPad Minis across countries. In his recent blog post, Steil uses this index to respond to allegations charging China with currency manipulation.

Spotlight on Asia Studies

Trump and Asia: The First Six Months

Blog post by Joshua Kurlantzick, senior fellow for Southeast Asia, analyzing the Trump administration’s Asia policy.

China's Tradition of Dissent

Op-ed by Elizabeth C. Economy, C.V. Starr senior fellow and director for Asia Studies, on Liu Xiaobo and China’s history of dissent.

Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un’s War of Words

Scott A. Snyder, senior fellow for Korea studies and director of the program on U.S.-Korea policy, discusses the most recent events in the U.S.-North Korea crisis.

In Focus: Venezuela

Shannon O'Neil

Shannon O'Neil, Nelson and David Rockefeller senior fellow for Latin America Studies and director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy program, discusses deterioration in Venezuela and the possibility of a refugee crisis on "Bloomberg Surveillance."

In Focus: Lemmon in Raqqa

Lemmon PBS

CFR Senior Fellow for Women and Foreign Policy Gayle Tzemach Lemmon visited the outskirts of Raqqa, where she reported on how Syrians are surviving and preparing for a future after ISIS. 

In Focus: Managing Global Disorder

Trump and Putin

Relations between the United States and Russia have recently declined, but U.S., European, and Russian experts identify possible areas of cooperation for the two to work together to foster global stability in this CFR Center for Preventive Action report. 

In Focus: North Korea's Missile Launch

Kim Kyung Hoon/REUTERS

CFR Senior Fellow for Japan Studies Sheila Smith speaks with NPR's Kelly McEvers about how the Japanese government is handling North Korea's missile launch over Japan. 

In Focus: Realism and Democracy

Realism and Democracy

Realism and Democracy: American Foreign Policy after the Arab Spring, written by CFR Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies Elliott Abrams, is a personal story of the development of U.S. human rights policy over the last forty years and an argument, both "realist" and principled, for supporting the expansion of democracy in the Middle East.

In Focus: Trump Heads to UN

Getty Images

On September 19, President Donald J. Trump will deliver his first address to the annual opening of the United Nations General Assembly. In his recent op-ed, CFR's James H. Binger Senior Fellow in Global Governance and Director of the International Institutions and Global Governance Program Stewart Patrick envisions Trump's upcoming message in contrast with those of his predecessors. 

In Focus: Southeast Asia

Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi talks during a news conference with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Naypyitaw, Myanmar on September 6, 2017. Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters

Josh Kurlantzick, CFR senior fellow for Southeast Asia, weighs in on the crises in Myanmar and Cambodia and the opportunity for the U.S. Congress to take the lead as the driving policy actor.

In Focus: Ending DACA

DACA (Credit: Reuters)

On Tuesday, President Donald J. Trump ordered an end to the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program shielding young undocumented immigrants from deportation. CFR Bernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow Edward Alden discusses the response from major technology companies and the lasting harm Trump's decision could inflict on the U.S. economy. 

In Focus: Trump at the UN General Assembly

Stewart Patrick CBSN

As world leaders continue their deliberations at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, CFR's James H. Binger Senior Fellow in Global Governance and Director of the International Institutions and Global Governance Program Stewart Patrick reflects on some of the major issues, including the crisis in Myanmar, President Trump's reaction to the Iran deal, and more. 

In Focus: China

Liz Economy IQ2

Against the backdrop of North Korea's nuclear advances and escalating regional tensions, CFR's Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow for National Security Studies Max Boot and C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia Studies Elizabeth Economy weigh in on how the United States should respond to its most urgent national security threats.

In Focus: Energy and Foreign Policy


Energy has been—and will continue to be—a major driver of foreign policy and national security. In a recent CFR meeting, Adjunct Senior Fellow Meghan O'Sullivan discusses her new book, Windfall: How the New Energy Abundance Upends Global Politics and Strengthens America's Power, and explains how the ongoing energy revolution in oil and gas, but also renewables, is shaping foreign affairs much more than other policy issues that receive more attention. 

In Focus: Rohingya Refugees

Rohingya (Reuters)

In a recent blog post, CFR Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia Alyssa Ayres shares her take on the situation in the Rakhine State of Myanmar that has led an estimated 415,000 Rohingya people to flee their homes for Bangladesh in the past three weeks alone.

In Focus: Combating Extremist Ideology

Youth walk under an Islamic State flag in Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp (Ali Hashisho/Reuters).

Adjunct Senior Fellow Farah Pandith sat down with The Cipher Brief's Bennet Seftel to discuss the tools used by terrorists to circulate their message, as well as how the United States can more effectively combat the extremist ideology. 

In Focus: Puerto Rico

Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

Puerto Rico's future finances aren't the most pressing problem to address right now, but the discussion about how Hurricane Maria will impact Puerto Rico's economy and finances has clearly started. In his recent blog post, Senior Fellow Brad Setser makes four initial observations. 

In Focus: Travel Ban

Chad's army is considered one of Africa's most battle-ready and played a frontline role alongside the French against Islamic fighters in Mali's desert north and alongside Nigerian forces against Boko Haram. In N'Djamena, October 28, 2014. Emma Farge/Reuters

President Donald Trump’s new order banning most travel to the United States applies to seven states—Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, North Korea, and, for some reason, Chad. To include Chad on that list is, to say the least, bewildering, writes Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies John Campbell. 

In Focus: Tackling Global Displacement

An Iraqi woman lies on the ground as civilians flee Mosul while Iraqi forces advance inside the city during fighting against the so-called Islamic State group’s fighters on March 8, 2017.ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images

Washington is paying little attention to the global refugee crisis, but ignores this critical trend at its own peril, says CFR National Intelligence Fellow Michael P. Dempsey, arguing that addressing forced displacement helps the United States stay safe. 

In Focus: Iran Nuclear Deal

Trump (Reuters)

Amid reports that President Trump may announce decertification of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) this week, CFR Senior Fellows Philip H. Gordon, Ray Takeyh, and Carla Anne Robbins discussed the successes and failures of the JCPOA to date, the Trump Administration’s renegotiation strategy, and what the future of U.S.-Iran relations may look like in the absence of such an agreement.

In Focus: Globalization


Senior Fellows Edward Alden, Shannon O'Neil, Miles Kahler, and Carla Anne Robbins sat down to discuss globalization at CFR's Eighth Annual Back-to-School Event. 

In Focus: The Sovereignty Wars

The Sovereignty Wars by Stewart Patrck

The Sovereignty Wars: Reconciling America with the World written by James H. Binger Senior Fellow in Global Governance and Director of the International Institutions and Global Governance Program Stewart Patrick is a history of sovereignty debates in American politics and a thoughtful assessment of when it makes sense for the United States to accept constraints on its autonomy as a means of expression and realizing its sovereignty. 

In Focus: Authorization for the Use of Military Force

(Reuters/Jonathan Ernst) Mattis welcomes Israel's Lieberman for meetings at the Pentagon in Washington

The ambush in Niger that left four U.S. troops dead has boosted calls on Capitol Hill for a new legal basis to carry out such actions overseas. Architect of the Authorization for the Use of Military Force and Adjunct Senior Fellow for International and National Security Law John B. Bellinger III weighs in. 

In Focus: Online Political Ads

A 3D-printed Twitter logo displayed in front of Russian flag. Dado Ruvic/Reuters

The internet makes it easy for political ad buyers to obfuscate their donors and handlers. Despite the challenges, there are significant steps that Congress and social media platforms can take to improve transparency, writes Senior Fellow for Digital Policy Karen Kornbluh. 

In Focus: Changing Demographics of Global Health

Bollyky interactive

Senior Fellow for Global Health, Economics, and Development Tom Bollyky examines how population growth and aging are fueling a spectacular rise in noncommunicable diseases in poor countries unprepared to handle them.

In Focus: Cyber Operations Tracker

Cyber tracker

The CFR Digital and Cyberspace Policy program’s cyber operations tracker is a database of the publicly known state-sponsored incidents that have occurred since 2005.

In Focus: Saudi Arabia

Takeyh Expert Brief

Saudi Arabia is embarking on reforms U.S. policymakers have been urging for decades. The crown prince’s recent crackdown could undermine this crucial effort, warns Hasib J. Sabbagh Senior Fellow for Middle East Studies Ray Takeyh.

In Focus: Robert Mugabe

A poster of President Robert Mugabe hangs torn on a streetside wall in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. John Moore/Getty Images

John Campbell, Ralph Bunche senior fellow for Africa policy studies, discusses the rule of Robert Mugabe, the founding father of Zimbabwe who was ousted in a coup last month.

In Focus: Women's Participation in Peace Processes

United Nations peacekeeping troops from South Africa participate in a ceremony in Burundi's capital Bujumbura. The current mission has some 786 members. REUTERS/Jean Pierre Aime Harerimana

CFR's Women and Foreign Policy program argues that including women in peace negotiations is often overlooked as a strategy to reduce conflict and advance stability.

In Focus: The Global Economy

Leaders of the G20, EU, UN, and IMF at the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany July 7, 2017. Ludovic Marin/Reuters

Distinguished Visiting Fellow A. Michael Spence is optimistic about the global economy in 2018, but large challenges—mainly political—lie ahead. 

In Focus: Preventive Engagement

Stares Preventive Engagement

In Paul Stares's new book, Preventive Engagement, Stares shows how the United States can simultaneously promote policies known to diminish the risk of global disorder and prevent crises that may lead to costly new U.S. military commitments. 

In Focus: Jerusalem

Robert Danin BBC

Senior Fellow for Middle East Studies Robert Danin discusses President Trump's decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and recognize the city as Israel's capital. 

In Focus: The Economic Case for Feminism

Rachel Vogelstein Foreign Affairs (FAISAL NASSER / REUTERS)

Douglas Dillon Senior Fellow and Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program Rachel Vogelstein argues that eliminating obstacles to women's economic participation is a strategic imperative—in Saudi Arabia and around the world. 

In Focus: South Korea at the Crossroads

Scott Snyder South Korea at the Crossroads

In his new book, Senior Fellow Scott Snyder argues that South Korea's best strategy to confront a rising China and a nuclear North Korea is to continue its alliance with the United States. 

In Focus: Our Time Has Come

Alyssa Ayres Our Time Has Come

In her new book, Alyssa Ayres, senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia, argues that India is emerging in the first ranks of world powers. 

In Focus: The Road Not Taken

Max Boot The Road Not Taken

In his new book, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow for National Security Studies Max Boot contends that the Vietnam quagmire might have been avoided if Washington had listened to the advice of legendary covert operative Edward Lansdale. 

In Focus: A Year in Review

Donald Trump is sworn in as the forty-fifth president of the United States. (Reuters/Kevin Lemarque)

In his recent blog post, Senior Vice President, Director of Studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg Chair James M. Lindsay recounts the ten most significant world events in 2017. 

In Focus: What to Worry About in 2018

A missile is launched during a drill in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Central News Agency on August 30, 2017. Korean Central News Agency/Reuters

CFR's tenth annual Preventive Priorities Survey identifies eight top conflict prevention priorities for the United States in the year ahead. 

In Focus: Unrest in Iran

Credit: Tony Gentile/Reuters

Senior Fellows Phil Gordon, Ray Takeyh, and Amy Myers Jaffe discuss the signficance of the recent protests in Iran and how the United States should respond. 

In Focus: Containing Russia

Containing Russia

In their new Council Special Report, Senior Fellows Robert Blackwill and Phil Gordon discuss how to respond to Moscow's intervention in U.S. democracy and growing geopolitical challenge. 

In Focus: Henri J. Barkey

Henri J. Barkey

Henri J. Barkey joins CFR as senior fellow for Middle East studies. 

In Focus: Bruce Hoffman

Bruce Hoffman

Bruce Hoffman joins CFR as visiting senior fellow. 

In Focus: The Olympics

Kim Hong-ji/Reuters

South Korea hopes to solidify its image as modern and efficient as host of the winter games, but its success relies heavily on cooperation from the North, writes Senior Fellow Scott Snyder. 

In Focus: America First


One year after Trump's inauguration, the liberal order has not collapsed, writes Senior Fellow Stewart Patrick in Foreign Affairs

In Focus: U.S. Policy Toward North Korea

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow Patricia Kim argues that the soundest way to resolve the nuclear crisis lies in the simultaneous application of both maximum pressure and diplomatic engagement. 

In Focus: The Marshall Plan

The Marshall Plan

In his new book, CFR Senior Fellow Benn Steil reveals the gripping history behind the Marshall Plan—told with verve, insight, and resonance for today.

In Focus: The President and the Bomb

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Adjunct Senior Fellows Richard K. Betts and Matthew C. Waxman argue that any presidential order to launch nuclear weapons that is not in response to an enemy nuclear attack should require the concurrence of the secretary of defense and the attorney general. 

In Focus: The China Reckoning

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

In his recently coauthored article in Foreign Affairs, Senior Fellow Ely Ratner argues that rather than devolving power to the Chinese people, as many in the West predicted, communications technologies have strengthened the hand of the state. 

In Focus: Chemical Weapons in Syria

A firefighter works inside the destroyed Scientific Research Center in Damascus. Omar Sanadiki/Reuters

In a recent interview, Adjunct Senior Fellow Lori Esposito Murray explains why the United States should follow targeted strikes in Syria with intensified global efforts to nullify the regime's chemical weapons capabilities. 

In Focus: The Future of Work

The Work Ahead

CFR's newest Independent Task Force Report, written by Senior Fellow Edward Alden and International Affairs Fellow Laura Taylor-Kale, discusses machines, skills, and U.S. leadership in the twenty-first century.

In Focus: Trans-Pacific Partnership

Michael Froman Bloomberg

Distinguished Fellow Michael Froman on the possibility of the U.S. rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). 

In Focus: The Third Revolution

The Third Revolution by Liz Economy

In The Third Revolution, C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia Studies Elizabeth C. Economy provides an incisive look at the transformative changes underway in China today.

In Focus: Council of Councils

Council of Councils Report Card

Global think tank leaders grade the world's performance and prospects for 2018. 

In Focus: Iran Deal

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

CFR senior fellows weigh in on the significance of the U.S. exit from the Iran nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). 

In Focus: Northern Syria

Northern Syria Panel

Senior Fellows Henri J. Barkey and Gayle Tzemach Lemmon discuss the ongoing conflict in Northern Syria and how the United States should handle its relationships with the affected parties, including Turkey and the Kurds. 

In Focus: Trump-Kim Summit

Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Senior Fellow for Southeast Asia Joshua Kurlantzick discusses why Singapore is the right place for a Trump-Kim summit. 

In Focus: Oil Markets

Ali Mohammadi/Bloomberg

National Intelligence Fellow Michael P. Dempsey examines the confluence of three looming geopolitical crises that may rattle oil markets.

In Focus: Justice Anthony Kennedy

Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy speaks during a swearing in ceremony for Judge Neil Gorsuch as an associate justice of the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, U.S. on April 10, 2017.

How might Justice Kennedy's retirement affect the U.S. global role? More than you might think, writes Senior Fellow and Director of the International Institutions and Global Governance Program Stewart Patrick. 

In Focus: Nigeria

Nigeria: What Everyone Needs to Know

Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies John Campbell and coauthor Matthew Page provide an overview of the politics, history, and culture of Nigeria, including the threat of Boko Haram and religious conflicts in their new book, Nigeria: What Everyone Needs to Know

In Focus: GDPR

Karen Kornbluh GDPR

Karen Kornbluh, CFR senior fellow for digital policy, speaks with Lynn Goldstein, Marc Groman, and David Kirkpatrick on the future of U.S. data privacy after the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect. 

In Focus: Women, Work, and Economic Growth

Women, Work, and Economic Growth

Closing the gender gap in the workforce could add a staggering $28 trillion to the global GDP, writes CFR's Women and Foreign Policy program. 

In Focus: Blockchain Technology

Illustration of a smart city concept iStoch/Getty Images

A new report from CFR's Center for Geoeonomic Studies explains why policymakers should endeavor to understand blockchain technology, support the development of its standards in the electricity sector, and allow innovation to flourish.

In Focus: Jon Finer

Jon Finer

Jon Finer joined CFR this month as adjunct senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy. 

In Focus: Financial Crisis in Turkey

Steven Cook and Kenneth Rogoff

As Turkey's currency continues to fall, there are growing fears of a new global financial crisis. CFR Senior Fellows Steven Cook and Kenneth Rogoff weigh in on how it could affect the global economy. 

In Focus: Managing Global Disorder

John MacDougall/Reuters

A new report from CFR's Center for Preventive Action examines how the United States can work with European partners to manage global disorder. 

In Focus: Battling Global Extremism

Tony Blair, Farah Pandith, and Bruce Hoffman

Nearly twenty years after 9/11, extremist ideologies have survived global counterterrorism efforts. What have we learned from the response, and what new approaches are needed? Tony Blair and Senior Fellows Bruce Hoffman and Farah Pandith weigh in. 

In Focus: Plagues and the Paradox of Progress

Plagues and the Paradox of Progress

Senior Fellow for Global Health, Economics, and Development and Director of the Global Health Program Thomas J. Bollyky explores the paradox in our fight against infectious disease: the world is getting healthier in ways that should make us worry. 

In Focus: Martin Indyk

Martin Indyk

Martin Indyk joins the Council on Foreign Relations as distinguished fellow. 

In Focus: The Corrosion of Conservatism

The Corrosion of Conservatism by Max Boot

Senior Fellow Max Boot recounts his extraordinary journey from lifelong Republican to vehement Trump opponent. From the isolated position of a man without a party, Boot launches this bold declaration of dissent and its urgent plea for true, bipartisan cooperation.

In Focus: Female Participation in Peacekeeping

The first all-female unit of UN peacekeepers stand at attention as they arrive outside Liberia's capital, Monrovia, on January 30, 2007. Christopher Herwig/Reuters

Women are routinely underrepresented in peacekeeping operations, even though their participation has been shown to improve mission effectiveness and advance stability. Senior Fellows Jamille Bigio and Rachel Vogelstein argue that the U.S. government should support a UN premium for police- and troop-contributing countries to increase the training and deployment of female peacekeepers. 

In Focus: The Empty Throne

The Empty Throne

American diplomacy is in shambles under Trump, but Ivo H. Daalder and CFR Senior Vice President, Director of Studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg Chair James M. Lindsay argue that beneath the daily chaos is an erosion of the postwar order that is even more dangerous.