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Council on Foreign Relations


  • Originally published 06/24/2013

    Richard N. Haass: America Can Take a Breather. And It Should.

    Richard N. Haass is the president of the Council on Foreign Relations and the author, most recently, of “Foreign Policy Begins at Home: The Case for Putting America’s House in Order.”THE United States is currently enjoying an unprecedented respite in the foreign policy arena — a temporary relief from the normal rigors of history that allows us to take stock at home and abroad.It may seem outlandish to claim that we’re in the midst of a lull, given that America faces a civil war in Syria, an Iran that seems to be seeking nuclear weapons, an irresponsible North Korea that already possesses them, continuing threats from terrorists, a rising China and rapid climate change.Yet the United States enjoys a respite all the same. For the three and a half centuries of the modern international era, great powers have almost always confronted rivals determined to defeat them and replace the global order they worked to bring about. In the last century, this process unfolded three times. The results were violent, costly and dangerous, and included two world wars and a cold war....

  • Originally published 05/23/2013

    Anya Schmemann: Life Under the KGB's Watchful Eye in 1980s Russia

    Anya Schmemann, is the director of editorial strategy, and the director of the task force program, at the Council on Foreign Relations.Last week, Russia expelled an American diplomat, accusing him of being a spy for the CIA. Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said that U.S. Embassy Third Secretary Ryan Fogle had been caught red-handed with disguises, spy equipment, and wads of cash, trying to recruit a Russian agent.The episode -- complete with cheap looking wigs, fake glasses, a compass, a street map, and a laughable "Dear Friend" letter -- seemed straight out of the Cold War.For me, it caused a wave of nostalgia and catapulted me back to the 1980s when I was an expat child in Soviet Russia.Our family moved to Moscow in 1980, at the height of the Cold War, when President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev faced off across a great iron divide. My father was an American reporter, a fluent Russian speaker, the son of a Russian Orthodox priest, and the grandson of White Russian refugees, and he was instantly considered highly suspicious.

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