Politics, Power, and Preventive Action » Planning for 2013: What Are the Next Threats?

Add your voice to CFR’s Preventative Priorities Survey, a report on what US priorities should be.  (Please be sure to share you comments here and at the CFR website:

How should U.S. policymakers plan for and prevent future conflicts? Every year, we at the Center for Preventive Action conduct the Preventive Priorities Survey (PPS) to help U.S. policymakers prioritize their planning efforts by ranking the importance of contingencies to U.S. national security interests. Previous surveys were sent only to a targeted group of experts, but this year, we are bringing the public into the process.

via Politics, Power, and Preventive Action » Planning for 2013: What Are the Next Threats?.


11 thoughts on “Politics, Power, and Preventive Action » Planning for 2013: What Are the Next Threats?”

  1. Without question, I believe that Pakistan will become a focal point for U.S. Special Operations Forces, especially when considering the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Aside from this, there is the possibility that the security situation in Northern Africa continues to deteriorate to the point that the American public thinks it necessary to deploy ground forces.

    Whatever the case, it is almost certain that American Special Operations Forces will serve as the vanguard for any coming conflict, possibly absent of any conventional military component. U.S. strategy now calls for ‘smaller’ and ‘cleaner’ wars, with a minimal footprint. A much larger emphasis will be placed on the development of foreign internal defense.

  2. I think the Israeli-Palestine conflict will come to the forefront of foreign policy this coming year. Possibly not a threat, but more of a potential area of increased interest.

  3. While there are a number of important foreign policy issues to be addressed in the coming year, I think addressing the Iranian nuclear program stands to be the most important. U.S. policy regarding the Iranian nuclear program has significant influence on the U.S.-Israel relationship, and thus the Israel-Palestinian relationship as well. Navigating this situation poorly has the possibility to result in spreading violence in the Middle East during a period where the region is already facing violence in Syria. U.S. policy toward Iran has the potential to influence the decisions of Iranian leaders concerning Syria as well.

    Foreign policy regarding China, Asia, and the Pacific is critical, however, at this point, I believe that the Iranian nuclear program stands to influence a wide variety of issues in the coming year.


  4. As others have said, there is a multiplicity of foreign policy issues that will be critical to the next administration’s perspective on world affairs. I believe that one of the most pressing and important will be the continued instability in North Africa and the Middle East. For example, just this past week Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has visited certain countries in Africa to understand the radicalization of terrorist-affiliated groups (Northern Mali, Libya, etc…). Coupled with cyber attacks in Saudi Arabia, newly elected leaders in Egypt, civil war in Syria, and Iran on the verge of nuclear weapons the whole of the Middle East and Northern Africa could easily erupt into violence and chaos. I believe careful diplomacy and unique insight are needed in order to solve these problems.

    I look at some of the issues facing America:

  5. While the violence in Syria isn’t something that can be prevented at this point by the United States, I do think in the coming years the US will need to focus on keeping the situation from worsening as well as potentially helping to reform their government.

    I also agree with Jackie in that the Israel-Palestine conflict will become a bigger issue that the US will definitely need to address. How we handle that, however, will greatly depend on who wins the election tonight.


  6. I too think addressing Iran’s nuclear program will be of great concern in the upcoming year. I think the recent conflict in Mali could become a greater concern as well. Rebels linked to al-Qaida have taken over the northern part of the country and many fear the area may become a haven for terrorists. The U.N. Security Council recently approved a resolution that gives leaders 45 days to make specific plans for an international military intervention to oust the rebels.

  7. I agree that Iran will continue to control the spotlight in the upcoming year, however, Pakistan and West Africa will also become relevant. Pakistan is already in a volatile situation and a variety of factors could spark a crisis that would demand our attention. West Africa is also a possible candidate because of our interests in securing oil rights as well as ensuring democracy in the region. Furthermore, the potential for devastating human rights violations could require Western intervention.

    Here is an article on recent fire exchange between Pakistani and Indian armies: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-11/06/c_123921916.htm

  8. I agree that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a growing threat. If leaders on either side continue to point finger at one another tensions will become stronger and with growing tensions the repercussion become greater. Sooner or later America will have to take a greater stance in this issue and gain involvement. This could lead to some major foreign policy issues.

  9. Going in to next year, the major issues of concern will continue to be Iran and Syria. These are two places that are just not going to go away quietly. I do not think that anything major will happen in Palestine, although it is possible that as the Palestine Authority loses power the Oslo Accords could possibly be discarded (which is long overdue anyways). On that note, this link is about possible unilateral action by the Palestinians in the coming year:


  10. The most immediate threat appears to be the situation in Syria. That cup is filled to overflowing. Turkey and Lebanon have both faced Syrian-related crises that put the region on the brink of war. A prolonged conflict within Syria will, I predict, eventually lead to a multinational war. Other dangers (an Israeli-Iranian nuclear crisis, northern Mali, fallout in EU countries like Greece and Spain, Chinese aggression in Asia, etc.) are obvious. But I feel that cyber warfare is the new global warming. Panetta doesn’t hide his concerns over the issue, and neither do the MNCs whose operations have been handicapped or infiltrated by hackers. Terrorists don’t need to pull off elaborate plans in the public square anymore. All they need is a working knowledge of cyber warfare technologies, and they can potentially disable an entire country’s power grid. The U.S. is a sitting duck for cyber attacks (http://blog.heritage.org/2012/11/05/u-s-can-learn-from-canadian-cybersecurity-shortcomings/).

  11. It has always been a sad, and interesting fact that Osama bin Laden and his ties to terrorism and hatred for the west were established long before the attacks of September 11th. So was the United States’ understanding of his radical feelings towards the country. Having said that, I feel we need to focus on threats and problems, though small in comparison to the attacks of September 11th, that have presented themselves in the past few years, in order to prevent large scale catastrophe. Paying more attention to him, and members of Al Qaeda, could have been very beneficial to the United States and its citizens. I feel that we should continue to monitor current conflicts and threats; I recognize, as the article states, that it is impossible to make predictions about these types of incidentes, and maintaining focus is the best way to prevent future incident.

    Current event linked to past catastrophe:

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s