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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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 »

Guest Post: Congressional Holdup on Human Trafficking

by Guest Blogger for Micah Zenko
The U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC (Jim Bourg/Courtesy Reuters). The U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC (Jim Bourg/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 less than a week, Congress will break for its August recess, and all pending legislation will enter a holding pattern for the next month. One of the most important items remaining on the docket is the reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). Read more »

Guest Post: Iran’s Nuclear Program: The Unintended Consequences of Nuclear Exports

by Guest Blogger for Micah Zenko
A general view of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, located under one thousand miles south of Tehran, Iran (Stringer Iran/Courtesy Reuters). A general view of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, located under one thousand miles south of Tehran, Iran (Stringer Iran/Courtesy Reuters).

Matthew Fuhrmann is assistant professor of political science at Texas A&M University and a former Stanton nuclear security fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the author of Atomic Assistance: How “Atoms for Peace” Programs Cause Nuclear Insecurity. Read more »

Guest Post: Remember Our Veterans This Memorial Day Weekend

by Guest Blogger for Micah Zenko
Crashed U.S. fighter plane is seen on waterfront in France after the D-Day invasion of 1944 (Ho New/Courtesy Reuters). Crashed U.S. fighter plane is seen on waterfront in France after the D-Day invasion of 1944 (Ho New/Courtesy Reuters).

This is a guest post by CFR military fellow, Colonel Chad T. Manske, U.S. Air Force.

This weekend is a time to honor and reflect on the sacrifices of our veterans, particular those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the freedoms we hold so dear. Read more »