Above the Fold. Actions, even virtuous ones, have consequences. Sometimes those consequences are both unintended and undesirable. The CIA-engineered overthrow of the democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh was cheered in 1953; it looked like a strategic error when Ayatollah Khomeini took power in 1979. Ditto the U.S. support for the mujahideen fighting the Soviet Red Army in Afghanistan. They morphed into the Taliban. Could the Abbottabad raid follow the same trajectory from elation to misery? Many Pakistanis have long worried that the United States seeks to steal their country’s nuclear weapons. SEAL Team 6’s daring raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound has moved that fear out of the realm of paranoid fantasy. Washington demonstrated both the capacity and the nerve to strike deep inside Pakistani territory. That has prompted speculation that the Pakistani military will seek to foil any U.S. attack on its nuclear stockpile by dispersing it to a wider range of hiding places. But dispersal increases the risk of theft, diversion, or unauthorized use. And Pakistan’s nuclear program is substantial; it could soon have more nuclear weapons than Britain. How likely is it that Pakistan will change its nuclear command and control procedures in the wake of Abbottabad? It’s hard to say. The Pakistani military keeps its nuclear program under tight wraps, and whatever the U.S. intelligence community knows it is keeping to itself. But at a minimum, be prepared for revisionist histories to emerge in the coming months that argue that Obama should have bombed bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound because that would have done less to spook Pakistani military leaders.
CFR Event of the Week. The raid that killed Osama bin Laden reflected years of work by the U.S. intelligence community. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, came to CFR this week to discuss the lessons intelligence professionals will draw from the long search for the world’s foremost terrorist. You can download the audio or watch the full video. In the clip below, Rogers discusses the often controversial interrogation methods that have been used on suspected terrorists in the years since 9/11.
Click here to view this video on YouTube.
It’s official. Newt Gingrich announced today via Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube that he is running for president. As the New York Times’s Matt Bai points out, if Gingrich succeeds, he would be the first person since Dwight D. Eisenhower to win the presidency without previously being elected to statewide or national office.
I wrote Monday that I don’t see Gingrich duplicating Ike’s feat. Here are four reasons why:
1. He has alienated people who can help him win. Sarah Palin isn’t a Gingrich fan. She referred to him and other Republican colleagues in a 2009 email as “egotistical, narrow-minded machine goons.” Don’t ask New York Times columnist David Brooks for a Gingrich endorsement. He recently told Time: Read more »
Immigration is a hot topic in America. That’s nothing new. We are a nation of immigrants that has been arguing for more than a century over who should be the next group to be allowed into the country and in what numbers. Regrettably, our immigration debates have not always shown America at its best. Racial and ethnic stereotypes frequently drive the discussion. A case in point came on May 6, 1882, when President Chester A. Arthur signed the Chinese Exclusion Act.
The first Chinese immigrants started arriving in the United States in 1820. They came to escape poverty in China, and they took on low-skilled, low-paying jobs. Their numbers began swelling in the 1850s, first with the California Gold Rush and later with the construction of the transcontinental railroad. By 1880, there were 105,462 Chinese living in the United States out of a population of slightly more than 50 million.
Chinese laborers built the Central Pacific Railroad, which famously linked with the Union Pacific Railroad at Promontory Summit, Utah on May 10, 1869, allowing Americans for the first time to travel from the Atlantic to the Pacific by rail. But the growing number of Chinese and their “otherness” stoked nativist anger, especially in California. They endured blatant legal discrimination: Read more »
The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I talked about the scheduled meeting of the Arab League’s foreign ministers; Washington’s imminent encounter with the national debt ceiling; the upcoming China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue; and the Cannes Film Festival, which neither of us has tickets to. Perhaps next year.
The highlights: Read more »
The Water’s Edge examines the political forces shaping American foreign policy, the sustainability of American power, and the ability of the United States to navigate a rapidly changing world.
In The Hacked World Order, CFR Senior Fellow Adam Segal shows how governments use the web to wage war and spy on, coerce, and damage each other. More
Red Team provides an in-depth investigation into the work of red teams, revealing the best practices, most common pitfalls, and most effective applications of these modern-day devil's advocates. More
Through insightful analysis and engaging graphics, How America Stacks Up explores how the United States can keep pace with global economic competition. More
India now matters to U.S. interests in virtually every dimension. This Independent Task Force report assesses the current situation in India and the U.S.-India relationship, and suggests a new model for partnership with a rising India.
Rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in low- and middle-income countries are increasing faster than in wealthier countries. The report outlines a plan for collective action on this growing epidemic.
This report asserts that elevating and prioritizing the U.S.-Canada-Mexico relationship offers the best opportunity for strengthening the United States and its place in the world.
Williams argues that the status quo for peace operations in untenable and that greater U.S. involvement is necessary to enhance the quality and success of peacekeeping missions.
The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.