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Chicago Survey Finds Crooks Get Guns from Pals, Don’t Keep Them Long

August 29, 2015 BY: Harold Pollack TOPICS: Foreign Policy, National Security

TCF fellow Harold Pollack shares the surprising findings of a Chicago survey that reveals how guns make their way into the hands of criminals. Pollack says that for many of those caught with guns, their weapon possession is more centered on self-defense than the consequences of getting caught and locked up. 

Pollack says: "About 70 percent said they got their guns from family, fellow gang members or through other social connections. Only two said they bought a gun at a store. It’s unclear how many of those surveyed were felons, but they can’t hold a state firearm owner’s permit — so they can’t legally purchase a weapon at a store."

Pollack's article on gun posession and misuse is featured in the Chicago SunTimes.

Tags: gun violence, gun safety, gun reform

What Went Wrong: Republicans Keep Ignoring the Lessons of Iraq

August 26, 2015 BY: Michael Cohen TOPICS: Foreign Policy, National Security

Recently, several Republican presidential candidates have blamed the actions of President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for Iraq's current instability. TCF fellow Michael Cohen says that these arguments refuse to recognize President George W. Bush's original decision to withdraw forces from Iraq—and that this policy option was overwhelmingly preferred by the American public. In the end, writes Cohen, Republicans are "missing the larger lessons of what went wrong in Iraq."

This is the clear lesson of the war in Iraq: Even with the best of intentions, even with overwhelming U.S. military force, even with billions of dollars in national treasure, the U.S. can only do so much to influence and shape international events. It’s hard to imagine anything that teaches that better than Iraq.

Check out Cohen's full piece in World Politics Review.

Tags: republicans, obama, jeb bush, iraq war, iraq, hillary clinton, gop

Party Divide on Use of Force Resurfaces in Iran Deal Debate

August 12, 2015 BY: Michael Cohen TOPICS: Foreign Policy, National Security

Last week, President Obama delivered what TCF fellow Michael Cohen has called "one of the most important foreign policy speeches of his presidency." In Cohen's World Politics Review column this week, he discusses the implications of Obama's words and the growing divide between Democrats and Republicans on the use of military force.

“Ask tough questions. Subject our own assumptions to evidence and analysis. Resist the conventional wisdom and the drumbeat of war. Worry less about being labeled weak; worry more about getting it right,” Obama said last week. “The only certainty in war is human suffering, uncertain costs, unintended consequences.”

Check out Cohen's full discussion of Obama's speech at World Politics Review.

Tags: obama, military, iran nuclear deal, iran and the us, iran

No Need to Worry about a Nuclear Iran

With the United States and Iran reaching a nuclear deal this month, some have voiced concerns about whether the deal really has the ability to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. In The National Interest, TCF's Lauren Sukin and Selim Can Sazak write that even if Iran were to obtain a nuclear weapon, there would be little need to worry:

Even today, Iran is already overstretched in terms of both funding and military resources—it has no incentive to provoke yet another fight. No matter the strategic relevance of its current wars in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen, Iran cannot indefinitely sustain its adventures abroad. And, to put it mildly, none of its current fights will be easy wins to start with. In sum, Iran is simply outgunned, outspent, outflanked, and overstretched. Deal or no deal, nuclear weapons or none, there are only two outcomes: either Iran makes the smart choice, and avoids conflict, or it loses to the Saudis and their American allies.

The full column is available here.

Tags: iran nuclear deal, foreign policy

Congress’s Phony Anger at UN Over Iran deal

Following last week's agreement on a nuclear deal with Iran, some members of Congress have expressed frustration with the United Nations Security Council for passing a resolution supporting the deal. In the Huffington Post, TCF fellow Stephen Schlesinger argues that this ignores the role the Security Council has played in the past—for instance, when it approved the United States' plans for the first Gulf War:

If it is alright for a Republican leader to send legislation on critical global matters to Congress following a UN edict and get approval, why is it not equally fine for a Democratic president to do so? In both cases, the determination concerned matters of war and peace, though, it must be said, in the Iranian case, it was to avoid war while in the Kuwait case it was to go to war—a huge difference.

The full post can be found here.

Tags: united nations, iran nuclear deal, foreign policy

With Iran Nuclear Deal, Obama Guides U.S. to Middle East Off-Ramp

The recent nuclear deal with Iran is one of Barack Obama's signature foreign policy achievements. In World Politics Review, TCF fellow Michael Cohen writes that it is one of many examples of the more hands-off approach the U.S. has taken with the Middle East during Obama's term.

The days of U.S. immersion in the problems of the Middle East have surely reached an end point. As Marc Lynch writes in an upcoming article for Foreign Affairs, “Obama came to office with a conviction that reducing the United States’ massive military and political investment in the Middle East was a vital national security interest in its own right.”

And over the past six years, with plenty of fits and starts and some detours along the way, Obama has by and large successfully executed that strategy. The Iran deal is merely the coup de grace, and it lays the groundwork for a shift to Asia that goes beyond rhetoric.

Cohen's full column is available here.

Tags: middle east policy, iran nuclear deal, foreign policy


Foreign Policy

Foreign Policy

In the first years of the new century, an assertive foreign policy took a toll on the cultivated role of the U.S. as a responsible global leader. The Century Foundation's work in this area provides perspective on the international difficulties the U.S. is facing today, while providing policy recommendations to promote the nation's security interests. Our research and analysis focuses on effectively responding to challenges in the Middle East and Pakistan, as well as responding to international crime.

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