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  • Author: Adam Segal
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After years of dismissing the utility of international negotiations on cyberspace, U.S. officials now say that they will participate in talks to develop rules for the virtual world. But which norms should be pursued first and through which venues? As a start, the United States should issue two “cyber declaratory statements,” one about the thresholds of attacks that constitute an act of war and a second that promotes “digital safe havens”—civilian targets that the United States will consider off-limits when it conducts offensive operations. These substantive statements should emerge from a process of informal multilateralism rather than formal negotiations. Washington should engage allies and close partners such as India first and then reach out to other powers such as China and Russia with the goal that they also issue similar statements. Washington should also reach out to the private corporations that operate the Internet and nongovernmental organizations responsible for its maintenance and security.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, International Cooperation, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Washington
  • Author: Whitney Shepardson
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: If the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) did not exist today, the United States would not seek to create it. In 1949, it made sense in the face of a potential Soviet invasion to forge a bond in the North Atlantic area among the United States, Canada, and the west European states. Today, if the United States were starting from scratch in a world of transnational threats, the debate would be over whether to follow liberal and neoconservative calls for an alliance of democracies without regard to geography or to develop a great power concert envisioned by the realists to uphold the current order.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, NATO, International Cooperation, International Organization, International Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Canada, Soviet Union
  • Author: Jack Boureston, Tanya Ogilvie-White
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In September 2008, Mohamed ElBaradei, former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), described nuclear terrorism as the number one threat to world security. Before then, El-Baradei had repeatedly pointed out that terrorist organizations are seeking nuclear materials. “If they get it, they will use it,” he warned in 2006. Since then, the IAEA has released data from its Illicit Trafficking Database, which confirmed at least fifteen cases of nuclear trafficking in 2008 alone—a statistic that might represent only the tip of the iceberg. The release of this information coincided with the official launch of nuclear energy programs in countries where governance is patchy, regulation is weak, and terrorists are known to operate.
  • Topic: Security, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Author: Michael A. Levi
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: U.S. policymakers talk more today about energy security than they have at any time since the energy crises of the 1970s. Yet scholarly understanding of the challenges at the intersection of energy and national security, and of the various policy tools available to address them, is surprisingly weak. On April 12–13, 2010, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) convened a group of thirty-six scholars and practitioners to assess the current state of knowledge about oil, gas, and national security, and to identify those areas where research was most needed. Participants included experts from academia, industry, government, and international institutions, and brought backgrounds in economics, political science, international relations, science, engineering, and law to the discussion.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Robert K. Knake
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States is being outmaneuvered in the international forums that will determine the future of the Internet. Led by Russia and China, nondemocratic regimes are organizing into a united front to promote a vision of the Internet that is tightly controlled by states. That vision is increasingly attractive to many Western nations wrestling with interrelated threats of cybercrime, industrial espionage, and cyber warfare. The United States must actively combat these threats while it works to protect U.S. national interests in the preservation and extension of the Internet as a platform for increased efficiency and economic exchange. Protecting this interest requires far more extensive engagement within Internet governance forums to shape the future of the network in a way that addresses security concerns without resulting in a cure that is worse than the disease.
  • Topic: Security, Crime, Science and Technology, Governance
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China
  • Author: Jack A. Goldstone
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: A series of looming demographic trends will greatly affect international security in the twenty-first century. How policymakers adjust to these changes now will determine the course of global political and economic stability for years to come.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Abraham D. Sofaer
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After 9/11, U.S. President George W. Bush announced his determination to do whatever was necessary to prevent future terrorist attacks against the United States. Following the lead of several countries that had recently come to similar conclusions after their own bitter experiences -- including India, Israel, Japan, Russia, Spain, and the United Kingdom -- the United States tightened its immigration laws; increased the protection of its borders, ports, and infrastructure; criminalized providing "material support" for terrorist groups; and tore down the wall between the intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies, which had crippled counterterrorist efforts for decades. Washington did not authorize preventive detention, as other countries had, but it used other measures to hold persons against whom criminal charges could not be brought -- thereby preventing terrorist attacks. The U.S. government also led or joined various international efforts aimed at warding off new dangers, such as the Proliferation Security Initiative, through which over 70 states cooperate to interdict the movement of nuclear materials across international borders. But the Bush administration's call for preventive action went further: it endorsed using force against states that supported terrorism or failed to prevent it. This was a particularly controversial position, since using (or threatening to use) preventive force across international borders is generally considered to be a violation of international law: the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and most international legal authorities currently construe the United Nations Charter as prohibiting any use of force not sanctioned by the UN Security Council, with the exception of actions taken in self-defense against an actual or imminent state-sponsored "armed attack."
  • Topic: Security, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Japan, United Kingdom, Washington, Israel, Spain
  • Author: Sheri Berman
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: SHERI BERMAN is Associate Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University. In December 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama announced the fruits of his administration's lengthy review of Afghanistan policy: temporary troop reinforcements and a new military strategy designed to reverse recent gains by the Taliban, efforts to increase the quality of Afghan governance, and a stronger partnership with Pakistan. The troop increases and the proposed withdrawal starting date of July 2011 dominated the headlines, but in the long run the effects of what Obama called a "civilian surge" will be even more important.
  • Topic: Security, Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Taliban
  • Author: Ray Takeyh, James M. Lindsay
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: JAMES M. LINDSAY is Senior Vice President, Director of Studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg Chair at the Council on Foreign Relations. RAY TAKEYH is a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of Guardians of the Revolution: Iran and the World in the Age of the Ayatollahs.
  • Topic: Security, Cold War
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iran
  • Author: Robert M. Gates
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In the decades to come, the most lethal threats to the United States' safety and security -- a city poisoned or reduced to rubble by a terrorist attack -- are likely to emanate from states that cannot adequately govern themselves or secure their own territory. Dealing with such fractured or failing states is, in many ways, the main security challenge of our time.
  • Topic: Security, Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq