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  • Author: Andrew Krepinevich, Shahram Chubin, Karim Sadjadpour, Eric S. Edelman, Dima Adamsky, Diane De Gramont, Evan Braden Montgomery
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: How would the Israeli defense establishment respond if Iran went nuclear? Is Washington focusing too much on military containment at the expense of political containment? And is a grand bargain with Tehran possible?
  • Topic: Cold War, War
  • Political Geography: Iran, Washington, Israel
  • Author: Russell Crandall
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On August 18, 2010, a Venezuelan drug trafficker named Walid Makled was arrested in Colombia. U.S. officials accused him of shipping ten tons of cocaine a month to the United States, and they made a formal extradition request to try him in New York. Although the Venezuelan government had also made an extradition request for crimes Makled allegedly committed in Venezuela, senior U.S. diplomats were confident that the Colombian government would add him to the list of hundreds of suspects it had already turned over to U.S. judicial authorities in recent years. So it came as a surprise when Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced in November that he had promised Venezuelan President Hugo Ch├ívez that Makled would be extradited to Venezuela, not the United States. Colombia, Washington's closest ally in South America, appeared to be unveiling a new strategic calculus, one that gave less weight to its relationship with Washington. What made the decision all the more unexpected is that the U.S. government still provides Colombia with upward of $500 million annually in development and security assistance, making Colombia one of the world's top recipients of U.S. aid. For the United States in Latin America today, apparently, $500 million just does not buy what it used to. Across the region in recent years, the United States has seen its influence decline. Latin American countries are increasingly looking for solutions among themselves, forming their own regional organizations that exclude the United States and seeking friends and opportunities outside of Washington's orbit. Some U.S. allies are even reconsidering their belief in the primacy of relations with the United States. Much of this has to do with the end of the Cold War, a conflict that turned Latin America into a battleground between U.S. and Soviet proxies. Washington has also made a series of mistakes in the years since then, arrogantly issuing ultimatums that made it even harder to get what it wanted in Latin America.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, Washington, Colombia, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Stephen Flynn
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States has made a mess of homeland security. This is hardly surprising. The policymakers responsible for developing homeland security policy in the wake of September 11, 2001, did so under extraordinary conditions and with few guideposts. The Bush administration's emphasis on combating terrorism overseas meant that it devoted limited strategic attention to the top-down law enforcement and border-focused efforts of the federal departments and agencies assigned new homeland security responsibilities. President Barack Obama has largely continued his predecessor's policies, and congressional oversight has been haphazard. As a result, nearly a decade after al Qaeda struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Washington still lacks a coherent strategy for harnessing the nation's best assets for managing risks to the homeland -- civil society and the private sector. For much of its history, the United States drew on the strength of its citizens in times of crisis, with volunteers joining fire brigades and civilians enlisting or being drafted to fight the nation's wars. But during the Cold War, keeping the threat of a nuclear holocaust at bay required career military and intelligence professionals operating within a large, complex, and highly secretive national security establishment. The sheer size and lethality of U.S. and Soviet nuclear arsenals rendered civil defense measures largely futile. By the time the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Union collapsed, two generations of Americans had grown accustomed to sitting on the sidelines and the national security community had become used to operating in a world of its own. To an extraordinary extent, this same self-contained Cold War-era national security apparatus is what Washington is using today to confront the far different challenge presented by terrorism. U.S. federal law enforcement agencies, the border agencies, and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are subsumed in a world of security clearances and classified documents. Prohibited from sharing information on threats and vulnerabilities with the general public, these departments' officials have become increasingly isolated from the people that they serve.
  • Topic: Cold War, Development
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Soviet Union
  • Author: Paul K. MacDonald, Joseph M. Parent
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States can no longer afford a world-spanning foreign policy. Retrenchment -- cutting military spending, redefining foreign priorities, and shifting more of the defense burden to allies -- is the only sensible course. Luckily, that does not have to spell instability abroad. History shows that pausing to recharge national batteries can renew a dominant power's international legitimacy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, Cold War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Washington
  • Author: Bruce Blair, Valery Yarynich, Matthew McKinzie, Victor Esin, Pavel Zolotarev
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On April 8, sitting beside each other in Prague Castle, U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). Just two days earlier, the Obama administration had issued its Nuclear Posture Review, only the third such comprehensive assessment of the United States' nuclear strategy. And in May, as a gesture of openness at the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference in New York, the U.S. government took the remarkable step of making public the size of its nuclear stockpile, which as of September 2009 totaled 5,113 warheads. For proponents of eliminating nuclear weapons, these events elicited both a nod and a sigh. On the one hand, they represented renewed engagement by Washington and Moscow on arms control, a step toward, as the treaty put it, "the historic goal of freeing humanity from the nuclear threat." On the other hand, they stopped short of fundamentally changing the Cold War face of deterrence. The New START agreement did not reduce the amount of "overkill" in either country's arsenal. Nor did it alter another important characteristic of the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals: their launch-ready alert postures. The two countries' nuclear command, control, and communication systems, and sizable portions of their weapon systems, will still be poised for "launch on warning" -- ready to execute a mass firing of missiles before the quickest of potential enemy attacks could be carried out. This rapid-fire posture carries with it the risk of a launch in response to a false alarm resulting from human or technical error or even a malicious, unauthorized launch. Thus, under the New START treaty, the United States and Russia remain ready to inflict apocalyptic devastation in a nuclear exchange that would cause millions of casualties and wreak unfathomable environmental ruin. In the next round of arms control negotiations, Washington and Moscow need to pursue much deeper cuts in their nuclear stockpiles and agree to a lower level of launch readiness. These steps would help put the world on a path to the elimination of nuclear weapons -- "global zero." And they can be taken while still maintaining a stable relationship of mutual deterrence between the United States and Russia, based on a credible threat of retaliation, and while allowing limited but adequate missile defenses against nuclear proliferators such as Iran and North Korea.
  • Topic: Cold War, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, North Korea, Moscow