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Richard N. Haass
Richard N. Haass is president of the Council on Foreign Relations, this
country's preeminent independent, nonpartisan institution devoted to
thinking about America's role in the world. Haass was director of policy
planning for the Department of State, where he was a principal advisor to
Secretary of State Colin Powell from 2001 to 2003, as well as special
assistant to President George H. W. Bush and senior director on the staff
of the National Security Council from 1989 to 1993.

Entries by Richard N. Haass

Five Issues That Need to Be Resolved for the Iran Nuclear Deal to Succeed

(7) Comments | Posted April 6, 2015 | 11:55 AM

NEW YORK -- "There's many a slip twixt the cup and the lip," goes the old English proverb. Something seemingly resolved and certain in fact is neither. If no such expression exists in Farsi, I predict one soon will.

The reason, of course, is the "Parameters for a...

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Fixing Our Foreign Policy: 12 Ideas From a Sometimes Critic

(21) Comments | Posted May 27, 2014 | 2:04 PM

President Obama has been critical of his foreign policy critics of late, suggesting that they had little to propose other than military intervention. As a sometimes critic, I take exception to that charge, as I rarely support "boots on the ground," but do question the Obama administration both for what...

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The Iraq Invasion 10 Years Later: A Wrong War

(103) Comments | Posted March 15, 2013 | 8:51 PM

Ten years after the U.S. invasion, the war in Iraq represents "a poor choice poorly implemented," says CFR President Richard N. Haass, who was then a senior State Department official. Haass says the cost -- in terms of U.S. blood and treasure and a shaky Iraq -- was clearly not...

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Bringing the Foreign Policy Debate Home

(37) Comments | Posted October 23, 2012 | 9:18 AM

A good deal can and will be said about Monday night's foreign policy debate, but the bottom line may be that it was not so much about foreign policy and not so much a debate.

Both candidates had a lot to say about "domestic" concerns: education, deficits, infrastructure, energy, and...

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The Legacy of the 9/11 Terrorists

(51) Comments | Posted September 11, 2012 | 12:27 PM

The past eleven years have been difficult for terrorists. They lost their base in Afghanistan; much more of the world's intelligence, law enforcement, and military capacity is aimed at them than ever before. Homeland security in the United States and other countries is far more robust. The horror and tragedy...

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Syria: Beyond the UN Veto

(71) Comments | Posted July 19, 2012 | 6:10 PM

The Russian and Chinese veto of the UN Security Council draft resolution that would have declared the situation in Syria a threat to international peace and security, extended the UN diplomatic mission headed by Kofi Annan, and set the stage for new sanctions and possibly UN-authorized military action was hardly...

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Afghanistan: More Questions Than Answers

(103) Comments | Posted May 2, 2012 | 11:33 AM

President Obama has been of two minds toward Afghanistan since the outset of his presidency. In December 2009, en route to tripling the U.S. military presence there, he declared that U.S. military forces would begin to withdraw from that country in 18 months. Now, two-and-a-half years later, he stated that...

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North Korea's Failure: The Good and the Bad

(83) Comments | Posted April 13, 2012 | 2:05 PM

North Korea's failed attempt to launch the Unha-3, a new three-stage long-range ballistic missile, is for obvious reasons welcome. More than anything else it demonstrates limits to the DPRK's technical prowess. And it means that the United States and the world have more time before they must contend with the...

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Re-Orienting America

(54) Comments | Posted November 16, 2011 | 10:41 AM

Some 40 years ago, when I entered Oxford University as a graduate student, I declared my interest in the Middle East. I was told that this part of the world came under the rubric of "Oriental Studies," and that I would be assigned an appropriate professor. But when I arrived...

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Libya: Now the Hard Part Starts

(50) Comments | Posted October 20, 2011 | 3:23 PM

More than four decades after he seized power, and more than seven months after the civil war began that led to his ouster, Muammar al-Gaddafi is apparently dead, forever removed from Libya's politics.

Gaddafi's death alters but does not transform the situation in Libya. Fighting could still continue for some...

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The Afghan Commitment America Needs

(61) Comments | Posted June 23, 2011 | 12:12 PM

Reactions to President Obama's Afghan speech last night are all over the lot. This should not surprise. The words emphasize the commitment over the next three and a half years to sharply scale back the level of U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan, but in the short run, there will be...

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Critical But Difficult Questions for Afghanistan

(3) Comments | Posted May 3, 2011 | 11:17 AM

Council on Foreign Relations president Richard Haass testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday morning on the matter of Afghanistan. Here are his prepared remarks:

Mr. Chairman:

Thank you for asking me to appear before this Committee, in this instance to discuss U.S. policy...

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Terrorism Concerns After Bin Laden

(42) Comments | Posted May 2, 2011 | 10:44 AM

The killing of Osama bin Laden constitutes a significant victory over global terrorism. But it is a milestone, not a turning point, in what remains an ongoing struggle without a foreseeable end.

The significance of what was accomplished stems from bin Laden's symbolic importance. He has been an icon, one...

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Weakened U.S. in Stormy Mideast

(133) Comments | Posted April 29, 2011 | 3:13 PM

The recent revolutionary turmoil in the Middle East has underscored the limited ability of the United States to influence outcomes there now, says CFR President Richard Haass. "The [U.S.] ability to shape things in the Middle East is no longer what it was," says Haass, who notes that U.S. standing...

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What Next in Libya?

(50) Comments | Posted April 6, 2011 | 6:23 PM

I did not support the U.S. decision to intervene with military force in Libya. The evidence was not persuasive that a large-scale massacre or genocide was either likely or imminent. Policies other than military intervention were never given a full chance. It was anything but apparent that military intervention would...

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How to Read WikiLeaks

(55) Comments | Posted November 29, 2010 | 4:19 PM

The latest unauthorized release, i.e., leak, of some 250,000 documents by WikiLeaks does not appear to constitute a national security crisis, although it will cause more than a little near-term awkwardness and create some longer-term problems for the United States and its partners.

Much of what we have seen thus...

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American Foreign Policy After the Midterm Elections

(1) Comments | Posted November 19, 2010 | 11:48 AM

Few Americans cast their ballot in the recent mid-term elections on the basis of foreign policy. While it may be difficult for people around the world to comprehend this, given the global reach of the United States, it is an undeniable fact.

Most Americans are, after all, preoccupied with the...

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Obama's Iraq Speech Left More Questions Than Answers

(151) Comments | Posted September 1, 2010 | 1:08 PM

Cross-posted from

Speaking on August 31 to the American people from the Oval Office, President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. combat mission in Iraq was over after more than seven costly years. "Now, it's time to turn the page," he said. But turning the...

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McChrystal Removal Opens Door for Sweeping Afghan Policy Review

(173) Comments | Posted June 23, 2010 | 4:23 PM

This post originally appeared at

By choosing General David Petraeus as new commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, President Barack Obama ended the political distraction caused by General Stanley McChrystal's ill-advised Rolling Stone interview. It will be more difficult to end the strategic distraction that...

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Iran: The Limits to Sanctions

(303) Comments | Posted May 19, 2010 | 12:39 PM

The good news is that the United States and the other four permanent veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council (China, France, Russia, and the United Kingdom) have at long last agreed on a resolution that would inflict a new round of sanctions on Iran to persuade its rulers to...

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