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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Showing posts for "Public Health"

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 »

Mother Nature’s Kill List

by Micah Zenko
A firefighter sprays water on a burning house in Santa Barbara, California (Mario Anzuoni/Courtesy Reuters). A firefighter sprays water on a burning house in Santa Barbara, California (Mario Anzuoni/Courtesy Reuters).

Oppressive Heat,” “Chimp Attacks,” “Sharks,” “Forest Fires,” “Africanized Bees,” “Death by Drowning.” These hard-hitting reports have been staples of the mainstream media since Publick Occurrences: Both Forreign and Domestick first hit the presses in September 1690. Today, news broadcasts and reality television depict harrowing tales of the the enemy that Americans must collectively fear and face: nature. Read more »

You Might Have Missed: Drones, Preterm Births, and Robot Soldiers

by Micah Zenko
Afghan security forces members inspect the site of a car bomb attack in Kabul on May 2, 2012, hours after President Obama departed (Courtesy Reuters/Omar Sobhani). Afghan security forces members inspect the site of a car bomb attack in Kabul on May 2, 2012, hours after President Obama departed (Courtesy Reuters/Omar Sobhani).

AFP, “U.S.-Afghan Pact ‘Does Not Rule Out Drone Strikes,’” May 3, 2012.

The pact between the United States and Afghanistan could leave the door open for continued drone strikes against insurgent targets in Pakistan after 2014, U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker indicated Wednesday. Read more »

You Might Have Missed: WMDs, Libya, and Drone Strikes in Yemen

by Micah Zenko
Members of the Abida tribe point as they look for a drone aircraft flying at a high altitude over Wadi Abida in the eastern Yemeni province of Maarib (Courtesy Reuters/Khaled Abdullah Ali Al Mahdi). Members of the Abida tribe point as they look for a drone aircraft flying at a high altitude over Wadi Abida in the eastern Yemeni province of Maarib (Courtesy Reuters/Khaled Abdullah Ali Al Mahdi).

Mexicans personally feel less safe in their own neighborhoods in 2011 than they did at the onset of the drug war. While perceptions about safety have fluctuated, the 42% who said they feel safe walking alone at night in 2011 is down 15 percentage points from 57% in 2007. Read more »

You Might Have Missed: Nuclear Material, Poverty Decline, and George Washington

by Micah Zenko
Image of the Iranian drone downed in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan. Image of the Iranian drone downed in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan.

Despite individual agency efforts to implement the 4-year initiative, we found that the overarching interagency strategy coordinated by NSC lacked specific details concerning how the initiative would be implemented, including the identity of, and details regarding, vulnerable foreign nuclear material sites and facilities to be addressed, agencies and programs responsible for addressing each site, planned activities at each site, potential challenges and strategies for overcoming these challenges, anticipated timelines, and cost estimates. NSC officials told us that developing a single, integrated cross-agency plan that incorporates all these elements could take years. (1) Read more »

You Might Have Missed: Military Intervention, Drones, and al-Qaeda.

by Micah Zenko
An explosion after airstrikes by NATO-led forces during fighting against Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan (Courtesy Reuters/Parwiz Parwiz). An explosion after airstrikes by NATO-led forces during fighting against Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan (Courtesy Reuters/Parwiz Parwiz).

The FAA Reauthorization Act, which President Obama is expected to sign, also orders the Federal Aviation Administration to develop regulations for the testing and licensing of commercial drones by 2015. Read more »

You Might Have Missed: The Iranian Nuclear Threat, Freedom Rankings, and More

by Micah Zenko
A soldier investigates the crater caused by an explosion at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, in November 2011 (Courtesy Reuters/Mohammad Ismail). A soldier investigates the crater caused by an explosion at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, in November 2011 (Courtesy Reuters/Mohammad Ismail).

The political uprisings that have swept the Arab world over the past year represent the most significant challenge to authoritarian rule since the collapse of Soviet communism … A total of 26 countries registered net declines in 2011, and only 12 showed overall improvement, marking the sixth consecutive year in which countries with declines outnumbered those with improvements. While the Middle East and North Africa experienced the most significant gains—concentrated largely in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya—it also suffered the most declines, with a list of worsening countries that includes Bahrain, Iran, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Syria and Saudi Arabia, two countries at the forefront of the violent reaction to the Arab Spring, fell from already low positions to the survey’s worst-possible ratings. Read more »