Micah Zenko

Politics, Power, and Preventive Action

Zenko covers the U.S. national security debate and offers insight on developments in international security and conflict prevention.

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Guest Post: UNSC Debate on the Protection of Journalists in Armed Conflict

by Guest Blogger for Micah Zenko

Julia Trehu is an intern in the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations.

On Wednesday, July 17, the United States Mission to the United Nations (UN), which holds the UN Security Council (UNSC) presidency, will host an open debate in the council chamber on the protection of journalists in armed conflict. Chaired by UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, participants in the open debate will include NBC’s Richard Engel, Somali journalist Mustafa Haji Abdinur of Radio Simba and Agence France Presse, Iraqi journalist Ghaith Abdul-Ahad of the Guardian, and Kathleen Carroll, Associated Press executive editor and vice chair of the board of the Committee to Protect Journalists. Read more »

Guest Post: An Unwritten Definition: Humanitarian Intervention After Mali

by Guest Blogger for Micah Zenko
MINUSMA peacekeepers UN peacekeepers mark the start of the 12,000-strong UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSMA) in Mali, on July 1, 2013 (Palm/Courtesy Reuters).

Amelia M. Wolf is a research associate for the Center for Preventive Action and the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations. Read more »

Guest Post: In Morocco, King Curbs Free Speech

by Guest Blogger for Micah Zenko
King Mohammed VI and Francois Hollande Morocco's King Mohammed VI and France's President Francois Hollande wave to the crowd upon his arrival in Casablanca on April 3, 2013 (Bertrand/Courtesy Reuters).

Tyler McBrien is an intern in the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations.

A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report on coerced confessions in Morocco, which was released last week, has led many observers to question whether the United States’ North African ally actually represents a democratic oasis in the region, as it is often presented to be. The study noted that many Moroccans are currently imprisoned “for their nonviolent speech or political activity.” American officials and Western media outlets often credit King Mohammed VI with deftly sidestepping the Arab Spring through liberalization and political reform. However, as the HRW report suggests, some elements of these heralded reforms are noticeably lagging behind. Read more »

Preventing a Clash in the East China Sea

by Guest Blogger for Micah Zenko
An aerial view shows Japan Coast Guard patrol ship, fishing boats from Taiwan and Taiwan's Coast Guard vessel sailing side by side near the disputed islands in the East China Sea. (Kyodo/Courtesy Reuters). An aerial view shows Japan Coast Guard patrol ship, fishing boats from Taiwan and Taiwan's Coast Guard vessel sailing side by side near the disputed islands in the East China Sea. (Kyodo/Courtesy Reuters).

CFR’s Senior Fellow for Japan studies, Sheila A. Smith, published a new CFR Contingency Planning Memo (CPM), “A Sino-Japanese Clash in the East China Sea.”  In it, she argues that the United States should encourage peaceful dispute resolution to the avoid further escalation in tension between China and Japan over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands.  Below, CPA staff write a guest post about this aspect of the CPM. Read more »

Guest Post: Pakistan’s Elections and Drone Strikes

by Guest Blogger for Micah Zenko
Supporters of different opposition political parties during a rally in Islamabad on February 4, 2013 (Mian Khursheed/Courtesy Reuters). Supporters of different opposition political parties during a rally in Islamabad on February 4, 2013 (Mian Khursheed/Courtesy Reuters).

On Tuesday, my colleague Dan Markey published a new CFR Policy Innovation Memorandum (PIM), “Support Process Over Personalities in Pakistan. In it, he argues that the United States should avoid playing favorites as Pakistani leadership transitions unfold over the course of 2013. As part of his broader argument, he suggests that the U.S. government should refrain from drone strikes during the campaign season prior to parliamentary elections. I’ve asked him to write a guest post about this aspect of the PIM. Read more »

Guest Post: A Framework for Incarcerating Terrorists

by Guest Blogger for Micah Zenko
A prison cell along cell block "B" (Robert Galbraith/Courtesy Reuters). A prison cell along cell block "B" (Robert Galbraith/Courtesy Reuters).

Melanie Getreuer is a PhD Candidate in Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she is writing a dissertation about the global use of criminal justice systems to counter terrorism. She lives and works in New York City. Read more »

Guest Post: Fighting Maritime Piracy: Mission Accomplished?

by Guest Blogger for Micah Zenko
German forces patrol after destroying two boats off the coast of Somalia (Handout/Courtesy Reuters). German forces patrol after destroying two boats off the coast of Somalia (Handout/Courtesy Reuters).

Emma Welch is a research associate in the Center for Preventive Action and the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations.

In early January, Mohamed Abdi Hassan—dubbed a “pirate kingpin” by the United Nations—announced his retirement from piracy. In his farewell press conference, Hassan explained: “After being in piracy for eight years, I have decided to renounce and quit, and from today on I will not be involved in this gang activity.” He added, “I have also been encouraging many of my colleagues to renounce piracy too.” Read more »

Guest Post: Family Planning Is a Right, Not a Privilege

by Guest Blogger for Micah Zenko
A mother holds her child as she visits a health clinic in Eshkashem district of Badakhshan province in Afghanistan (Ahmad Masood/Courtesy Reuters). A mother holds her child as she visits a health clinic in Eshkashem district of Badakhshan province in Afghanistan (Ahmad Masood/Courtesy Reuters).

Emma Welch is a research associate in the Center for Preventive Action and the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Given the news dominating the headlines this week (CIA sex scandals and an increasingly Orwellian surveillance apparatus), it is unsurprising that a report published by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), The State of the World Population 2012, received little attention. And yet, underpinning the report is a paradigm shift in how the world body conceptualizes and articulates family planning: not as a privilege, but as a fundamental human right. Read more »

Ask the Experts: Do Targeted Killings Work?

by Micah Zenko
An armed U.S. Predator drone waits on the tarmac in Kandahar, Afghanistan (Pool New/Courtesy Reuters). An armed U.S. Predator drone waits on the tarmac in Kandahar, Afghanistan (Pool New/Courtesy Reuters).

The United States did not always carry out targeted killings (or assassinations) of perceived national security threats. To the contrary, the norm against targeted killings outside of battlefield settings was established by President Gerald Ford in 1976, when he issued Executive Order 11905: “No employee of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination.” Until the late 1990s, U.S. targeted killings were officially proscribed and rarely seriously considered or authorized by senior officials. Read more »

Preventing Political Unrest in Venezuela

by Guest Blogger for Micah Zenko
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez talks during a press conference in Caracas on September 5, 2012 (Jorge Silva/Courtesy Reuters). Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez talks during a press conference in Caracas on September 5, 2012 (Jorge Silva/Courtesy Reuters).

Andrew C. Miller is a research associate in the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations.

American policy toward Venezuela and its tendentious president, Hugo Chavez, rarely captures headlines. But when it does, the results aren’t pretty. In a campaign spat this July, Mitt Romney called President Obama’s Venezuela policy “alarmingly naïve.” An Obama spokesman, in turn, labeled Romney’s remarks “disturbing.” Read more »