Page 16 - Foreign Service Journal - March 2013

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MARCH 2013
politics and interest groups, so it’s easier
to be more creative, more active in for-
eign policy.”
In a Jan. 28 posting on the Web site o
the Washington Institute for Near East
Policy, Managing Director Michael Singh
sets forth a series of policy recommenda-
tions for new Secretary of State John Kerry
(and, by extension, Pres. Obama) on how
tomake U.S. foreign policy more efcient
and efective. But Singh also cautions:
“Avoiding the next diplomatic crisis—and,
more importantly, seizing the tremendous
opportunities in America’s path—will
require more than foreign policy virtuos-
ity. It will require that the new Secretary
invest time and efort in the less glamorous
but equally essential task of leading and
Te Center for Strategic and Interna-
tional Studies ofers a
“Critical Questions
2013” c
ompilation that draws on expert
assessments of U.S. defense policy,
regional fashpoints and global issues.
Helpfully, the site doesn’t just stop at
posing the questions, but ofers authori-
tative, well-sourced answers.
Te National Security Network’s
“Opportunities and Priorities for a
Second Term”
likewise addresses the
spectrum of diplomatic and military
challenges. But its main focus is on pro-
moting steps to safeguard, reduce and,
ultimately, eliminate America’s stockpiles
of nuclear weapons—as well as those
belonging to other countries.
Iran and its nuclear program feature
prominently in many of these discus-
sions. As the Council of Foreign Rela-
“World Outlook for 2013”
“For several years now, we’ve been
talking about the push-comes-to-shove
moment arriving in Iran, and that
moment may come in 2013 since the
Iranians seem to be creeping closer and
closer to what are presumed to be the red
lines on its nuclear weapons program.”
CFR then lists some of the opportunities
and risks associated with various policies
the Obama administration could take.
While the Iran standof is arguably the
most high-profle nuclear challenge Wash-
ington faces, Russian President Vladimir
Putin’s recent moves to loosen ties with the
United States on a variety of fronts suggest
that further progress on bilateral arms
reductions will be spotty, if it happens at
all. In her contribution to the American
Security Project
’s “State of the Union Prep:
National Security Challenges,” n
security policy analyst Mary Kaszynski
observes: “Te U.S. and Russia have
made progress in downsizing the massive
nuclear arsenals built during the ColdWar,
but more work lies ahead to reshape the
arsenals for the 21st century.”
Despite an overfowing in-box, at
least some commentators assert that the
Obama administration can make real
progress by embracing its full leader-
ship potential in the next four years.
In their contribution to the Brookings
“Presidential Briefng
for instance, Martin Indyk and
Robert Kagan declare this: “For all the
talk of American decline from certain
quarters, the United States is actually
well-positioned for a new era of global
leadership…[Obama’s] great challenge
is to seize this plastic moment and apply
[his] leadership to the preservation and
extension of the liberal global order for
future generations.”
—Jef Richards, Editorial Intern
e Council on Foreign Relations
has developed an interactive
mapping tool called
Nigeria Secu-
rity Tracker
to monitor outbreaks of
political violence, many of which are
motivated or exacerbated by clashes
between Muslims and Christians. CFR updates the results
The goal of the project is to capture trends, in terms of
both the prevalence of ethno-religious confict within Nige-
ria and those provinces with the highest rates of confict.
The map’s user-friendly interface allows users to select a
specifc timeframe to pull up results. The NST also utilizes
graphs, which focus on the perpetrators of the violence.
Although the pervasive violence in Nigeria is also fed by
ethnic, occupational and other com-
munal conficts, the NST is focused
primarily on Boko Haram—the jihad-
ist militant group based in northeast-
ern Nigeria that seeks to establish
sharia law throughout the country. It
also catalogs deaths from general sectarian confict, as well
as state violence.
CFR has compiled almost two years’ worth of data,
dating back to Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s
inauguration in May 2011. It should soon start to become
clear whether the security situation there has bottomed
out and is starting to improve—or if Nigeria is on the path
to becoming a failed state.
—Jef Richards, Editorial Intern
NOTEWORTHY: Nigeria Security Tracker