Thursday, January 3, 2013

Preventive Priorities Survey 2013: Top Thirty Global Hotspots. By Micah Zenko

The CFR│Council on Foreign Relations - Center for Preventive Action looks towards the future in its annual survey

One of President Obama's strongest applause lines on the campaign trail was his oft-repeated pledge to do "nation-building at home" during his second-term. This is the stated goal of many presidents facing reelection but, more often than not, unanticipated world events get in the way. In the Middle East, Syria's chemical weapons stockpile is in a precarious state; in Asia, China's territorial disputes with U.S. treaty allies are increasingly strident; in North Africa, the growth and collaboration of al-Qaeda-inspired extremists could result in safe haven for international terrorism. President Obama and his new foreign policy team cannot plan for, prevent, or mitigate all the crises that the United States could potentially face in 2013. With slight reductions to the defense and foreign affairs budgets on the horizon, they must prioritize the contingencies that warrant the attention of senior policymakers. The Center for Preventive Action's Preventive Priorities Survey (PPS) seeks to help in that process by identifying plausible contingencies and ranking them based on their potential impact to U.S. interests and likelihood of occurring in 2013. The survey can be found here.


Since the survey itself was limited to thirty contingencies, we also asked respondents to add potential crises that we might have missed. Some of the notable submissions:
  • The outbreak of a third Palestinian intifada
  • Widespread popular unrest in China triggered by dissatisfaction with economic prospects and political reforms
  • Escalation of a U.S.-Iranian naval clash in the Persian Gulf
  • A Sino-Indian border crisis
  • Onset of elections-related instability and violence in Ethiopia
  • Unrest in Cuba following the death of Fidel Castro and/or incapacitation of Raul Castro
  • Widespread political unrest in Venezuela triggered by the death or incapacitation of Hugo Chavez 
As the PPS shows, there is no shortage of potential crises that the Obama administration should consider. Even while the president attempts to address his domestic priorities, he cannot ignore warning signs abroad for such contingencies ...  Read the full story by Micah Zenko in The Atlantic or Council on Foreign Relations

Source: The Atlantic│Politics, Power, and Preventive Action. CFR
Author: Micah ZenkoDouglas Dillon Fellow at the CFR│Council on Foreign Relations. Expertise: Conflict prevention; U.S. national security policy; military planning and operations; nuclear weapons policy.
Download: Preventive Priorities Survey 2013 Center for Preventive Action, CFR│Council on Foreign Relations

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