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  • Author: Seth G. Jones, Keith Crane
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Afghanistan will undergo three major transitions in 2014: from a Hamid Karzai–led government to one presumably headed by another president following the 2014 election; from a U.S.-led to an Afghan-led counterinsurgency; and from an economy driven by foreign expenditures on military support and assistance to one more reliant on domestic sources of growth, as the United States and other countries reduce their presence. The United States and its allies will need to shape each of these transitions in ways that safeguard their interests.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Islam, Terrorism, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Barack Obama
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: THE PRESIDENT: Madam Speaker, Vice President Biden, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans: Our Constitution declares that from time to time, the President shall give to Congress information about the state of our union. For 220 years, our leaders have fulfilled this duty. They've done so during periods of prosperity and tranquility. And they've done so in the midst of war and depression; at moments of great strife and great struggle.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Government, War, Labor Issues, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Kay King
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Much has been written, blogged, and broadcast in the past several years about the dysfunction of the U.S. Congress. Filibusters, holds, and poison pill amendments have become hot topics, albeit intermittently, as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have increasingly exploited these tactics in pursuit of partisan or personal ends. Meanwhile, such pressing national issues as deficit reduction, immigration reform, and climate change have gone unresolved. To be fair, the 111th Congress has addressed many significant issues, but those it has addressed, such as health-care reform and economic stimulus, exposed Americans to a flawed process of backroom deals that favors obstruction over deliberation, partisanship over statesmanship, and narrow interests over national concerns. Although partisan politics, deal making, and parliamentary maneuvering are nothing new to Congress, the extent to which they are being deployed today by lawmakers and the degree to which they obstruct the resolution of national problems are unprecedented. This may explain why Congress registered a confidence level of only 11 percent in July 2010, marking its lowest rating ever in the annual Gallup institutional confidence survey and ranking it last among sixteen major U.S. institutions.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Daniel C. Kurtzer
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Lebanon has been a flashpoint for Arab-Israeli violence and military confrontations since the mid1970s. Its political system is weak and outside parties continue to vie for political advantage as part of a larger regional conflict. In particular, Syria and Iran provide support for the militant Islamist group Hezbollah as a strategic asset to pressure Israel. Hezbollah now controls most of southern Lebanon, while its political wing has developed a strong presence in the Lebanese parliament. In July and August 2006, Israel and Hezbollah fought what became known as the “Second Lebanon War,” which killed and displaced many thousand s of people and destroyed much of Lebanon's infrastructure. Since then Hezbollah has steadily rearmed in contravention of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which requires, inter alia, “the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon, so that, pursuant to the Lebanese cabinet decision of July 27, 2006, there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese state” and “no sales or supply of arms and related materiel to Lebanon except as authorized by its government.” Hezbollah's arsenal is more potent in quantity and quality today than it was in 2006. Although the border area between Israel and Lebanon is quieter than at any time in the previous decade, speculation that a third Lebanon war will occur in the next twelve to eighteen months has been steadily rising. Israel could decide the security threat posed by Hezbollah has reached intolerable levels and take preemptive military action. Hezbollah, while outwardly showing no interest in confronting Israel at this time, may for various reasons choose or be pressured by Iran to flex its new military capabilities. As happened in 2006, even small-scale military engagements with limited objectives can escalate into a major conflict. Whatever the precipitating reasons, a new conflict over Lebanon would have significant implications for U.S. policy and interests in the region.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, War, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, United Nations, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Paul B. Stares
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Tensions ran perilously high on the Korean peninsula in the months after the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan on March 26, 2010, which claimed the lives of forty-six sailors. An international investigation subsequently attributed the incident to a North Korean torpedo attack, prompting both South Korea and the United States to impose new punitive measures on the regime in Pyongyang and to conduct a series of high-profile naval exercises to deter further provocations. These actions elicited an especially vituperative response from North Korea, including the threat to unleash a “retaliatory sacred war.”
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Charles D. Ferguson, Brent Scowcroft, William J. Perry
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: For more than sixty years, the United States and the world have benefited immeasurably from a de facto taboo on the use of nuclear weapons. Today, however, this period of nonuse may come to an end, given the rise of a new type of terrorist who seeks to acquire and would not hesitate to detonate nuclear weapons. Moreover, the emergence of more states with nuclear weapons capabilities has raised the likelihood of the use or loss of control of nuclear weapons or the materials used to make them. The imperative before the Obama administration, therefore, is to use all available tools to prevent the use and further acquisition of nuclear weapons. This Task Force report identifies how to leverage U.S. nuclear weapons posture and policy to achieve that objective. It focuses on near-term steps, primarily over the next four years.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Barack Obama
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: President Obama gave this address on December 1, 2009 at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, War, Armed Struggle, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, New York
  • Author: Daniel Markey
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Today, few places on earth are as important to U.S. national security as the tribal belt along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan. The region serves as a safe haven for a core group of nationally and internationally networked terrorists, a training and recruiting ground for Afghan Taliban, and, increasingly, a hotbed of indigenous militancy that threatens the stability of Pakistan's own state and society. Should another 9/11-type attack take place in the United States, it will likely have its origins in this region. As long as Pakistan's tribal areas are in turmoil, the mission of building a new, democratic, and stable Afghanistan cannot succeed.
  • Topic: Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Asia, Taliban
  • Author: Steven Simon
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: When this Council Special Report (CSR) was first issued in February 2007, the debate over the surge was raging. President George W. Bush had only announced his intention to deploy additional troops. Democrats and Republicans rushed to the barricades either to deplore or to defend it. This report, however, saw the surge as inevitable—since its opponents were powerless to stop it—and, more importantly, as beside the point.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Barnett Rubin
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and all that followed, Afghans and the handful of internationals working on Afghanistan could hardly have imagined being fortunate enough to confront today's problems. The Bonn Agreement of December 2001 providing for the "reestablishment of permanent government institutions" in Afghanistan was fully completed with the adoption of a constitution in January 2004, the election of President Hamid Karzai in October 2004, and the formation of the National Assembly in December 2005.
  • Topic: Development, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: Marice R. Greenberg, Mallory Factor, William F. Wechsler, Lee S. Wolosky
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In October 2002, this Task Force issued its initial report on terrorist financing. That report described the nature of the al-Qaeda financial network, the actions that had been taken to date to combat terrorist financing, and the obstacles that hindered those efforts.
  • Topic: Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: Paul X. Kelley, Richard L. Garwin, Graham T. Allison
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In the four weeks of “major conflict” in Iraq that began on March 19, 2003, U.S. forces demonstrated the power of training, transformation, and joint operations. However, the ensuing support and stability phase has been plagued by looting, sabotage, and insurgency. Wider integration of existing types of nonlethal weapons (NLW) into the U.S. Army and Marine Corps could have helped to reduce the damage done by widespread looting and sabotage after the cessation of major conflict in Iraq. Incorporating these and additional forms of nonlethal capabilities more broadly into the equipment, training, and doctrine of the armed services could substantially improve U.S. effectiveness in achieving the goals of modern war. Nonlethal weapons and capabilities have much to offer also in the conduct of war, in the prevention of hostilities, and in support of homeland defense. Indeed, a force using nonlethal weapons and capabilities has the potential of achieving combat and support goals more effectively than would a force employing only lethal means. How to achieve these benefits is the subject of this report.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Defense Policy, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Author: Vance D. Coffman
  • Publication Date: 10-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Let me begin with a review of where we are some nine years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and after 14 years of continuous declines in the defense budget. Current expenditures are now at their lowest point since before the beginning of World War II; in terms of share of GDP, the share devoted to defense is less than three percent. As a portion of the federal budget, it is at its lowest point in modern history. As a benchmark, during the Kennedy Administration, defense represented about one-half of the federal budget. Today it is about one-seventh.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Industrial Policy, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Berlin