Archive for Foreign Relations

Full Text of the DOD Summary Report on the Niger Ambush

It is here and a transcript of the press briefing is also available as is a video.

U.S. forces have been deployed in Niger since 2013 as advisers and trainers because Niger is in a region controlled by terrorist organizations ranging from Boko Harum to al-Qaeda. (Why U.S. forces are in Niger from CSIS adds to the discussion.)

These CRS reports provide background information: Niger: Frequently Asked Questions About the October 2017 Attack on U.S. Soldiers and Attack on U.S. Soldiers in Niger: Context and Issues for Congress.

For those who are interested in where our military forces are deployed around the world, please consult this CRS report – Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2017. Basic country information can be found in the CIA World Factbook and this BBC Country Profile.


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CRS Reports on the “Iran Deal”

The following reports offer insight into what has recently transpired; the first report tackles the thorny question of presidential powers to cancel treaties that have been ratified by the Senate.

Withdrawal from International Agreements: Legal Framework, the Paris Agreement, and the Iran Nuclear Agreement;  Iran Nuclear Agreement;
Iran: U.S. Economic Sanctions and the Authority to Lift Restrictions; Options to Cease Implementing the Iran Nuclear Agreement; Iran: Politics, Human Rights, and U.S. Policy;Iran’s Foreign and Defense Policies

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United States Foreign Policy – Some Sites

“U.S. willingness to lead in the creation and sustainment of the open international order derived from a belief among U.S. policymakers that it reflected U.S. values and served U.S. security, political, and economic interests.”

U.S. Role in the World: Background and Issues For Congress (CRS, 2017):6

Below are selected links that will lead you to a plethora of governmental and non-governmental information that will inform your discussion of this country’s relationship with the world:

American Presidency Project contains the Public Papers of the Presidents.

BBC Country Profiles (Snapshots of every country; provides links to media).

Brookings (Best of the best US think tank)

Central Intelligence Agency. FOIA Electronic Reading Room (Thousands of declassified documents. Peruse “Historical Collections”)

Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook (Great source for country-specific information.)

Chatham House (Royal institute of International Affairs)

Congressional Research Service is essentially the think tank for Congress. Thousands of reports are generated each year on diverse topics, many pertaining to foreign policy.

Council on Foreign Relations (Top US think tank)

Country Commercial Guides (Provides US businesses with an inside look into market conditions and events that might impact them)

Country Indictors for Foreign Policy. (Provides risk assessment through the lenses of external and internal stakeholders.)

Country Studies provides monographic treatments on the history and culture of various nations.

Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Vault (declassified documents through FOIA)

Foreign Relations of the United States.(THE definitive record of US diplomatic relations edited for public consumption. More recent volumes are here.)

GovInfo. Foreign Relations. (Provides access to thousands of government reports, hearings, etc)

National Security Archive Briefing Books. (Hundreds of topical reports each with primary source material)

Think Tanks by Region and Topic of Research

US Department of State. Bilateral Fact Sheets. (Brief overview of US interactions with other countries)

United States House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs. Find current hearings here.

United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Find current hearings here.

Wilson Center Digital Collections (Document-laden source material)

Required reading:

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The Role of the United States in the 1953 Iran Coup

This volume of long-suppressed documents – Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954, Iran, 1951–1954 – finally acknowledges the covert United States operations that underpinned the 1953 Iranian coup. In conjunction with this 1989 volume – Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952–1954, Iran, 1951–1954, Volume X  – a fuller and more accurate representation  of the times is presented.

Read the preface of the first volume above to understand the furor that erupted when the 1989 volume was released WITHOUT any documentation of the CIA’s role in the overthrow.

Additional information can be found in this internal CIA history – The Battle for Iran, 1953. And here is a relevant New York Times site – The C.I.A. in Iran; it includes a timeline and selected articles from the paper.

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Is the United States Pulling Back from the World Stage?

With recent pronouncements and actions from Washington signaling the withdrawal of the United States from multinational agreements, the report is especially relevant – U.S. Role in the World: Background and Issues for Congress. A Pew survey taken last year shows the ambivalence prevalent in this country – Public Uncertain, Divided Over America’s Place in the World.

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Online Primary Sources: “British Documents on the End of Empire”

This massive project was undertaken in light of the following:

“The main purpose of the British Documents on the End of Empire Project (BDEEP) is to publish documents from British official archives on the ending of colonial and associated rule and on the context in which this took place. In 1945, aside from the countries of present-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma, Britain had over fifty formal dependencies; by the end of 1965 the total had been almost halved and by 1985 only a handful remained.”

Documents were culled from a vast array of official sources and provide insights into the transfer of power and the establishment of relations with former colonies.

The project was divided into three series: Series A approached this re-alignment thematically; Series B concentrates on specific countries; and Series C acts as an updated guide to the official records housed in various agencies. All the volumes contain hundreds of documents; at times, the tomes take some time to download. But it is worth the wait. In total, eighteen volumes were published between 1992 and 2006.


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Who Are the Rohingya?

They are a minority-Muslim group inside the largely Buddhist country of Myanmar (once known as Burma). According to CIA data, Buddhists comprise 87.9% of the country while Muslims total 4.3% of the population. These people have been in the news largely because of the large mass emigrations into neighboring Bangladesh, supposedly in retaliation for attacks on government offices by a splinter Rohingya group.

Background information on this can be found in many places, especially:

The Rohingya Migrant Crisis (CFR Backgrounder); The Rakine State Danger to Myanmar’s Transition (International Crisis Group); Rohingya (Migration Policy Group); STATEMENT ON ROHINGYA REFUGEES FLEEING BURMA TO BANGLADESH (US State Department); Final Report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State (supplemental material here); Congressional bills, hearings, resolutions on Rohingya; Burma – February 2017 Update (UK House of Commons Library Research Briefing); U.S. Restrictions on Relations with Burma (CRS); There is no simple solution to the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar (Brookings); Myanmar’s Problem State (Chatham House); and United Nations reports, documents, and publications.

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