Council on Foreign Relations
Council on Foreign Relations
News Article | February 24, 2017
Much uncertainty remains around President Trump's emerging approach to foreign policy. With this in mind, Carnegie Council Senior Fellow and Asia Dialogues Director Devin Stewart has launched a series of interviews on how the Trump administration might approach Asia—a region that may become a site of conflict. Tensions may erupt over a U.S. trade war with China, the status of Taiwan, territorial disputes over the South China Sea, or North Korea's nuclear weapons development. Can the relative peace in the Pacific be maintained? In an effort to illuminate this important topic, Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs presents the first 10 podcasts and transcripts with former U.S. government officials, experts, and scholars. All interviews are conducted by Devin Stewart. Access the full transcripts and audios here: https://www.carnegiecouncil.org/news/announcements/437. Or listen to them on iTunes. A "Chaotic" White House and the U.S. Role in Asia and the World Eliot A. Cohen, Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Trump and the "Trilateral Relationship" in Northeast Asia Michael J. Green, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and Georgetown University Geoeconomics and Statecraft: Is China Outdoing the United States? Jennifer M. Harris, Council on Foreign Relations The Secret War in Laos and the Role of the CIA Joshua Kurlantzick, Council on Foreign Relations Former U.S. Ambassador to Myanmar Reflects on the Democratic Transition Derek Mitchell, Albright Stonebridge Group and United States Institute of Peace Trump in Asia: Back to the Future? Christopher Nelson, The Nelson Report, Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA Sensible Advice for Trump's Asia Policy Patrick M. Cronin, Center for a New American Security Instability on the Korean Peninsula and the Trump Administration Scott A. Snyder, Council on Foreign Relations Will Trump be a "Madman" in Asia? Daniel S. Markey, Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Risks to U.S.-China Relations under Trump Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom, University of California, Irvine ABOUT ASIA DIALOGUES By conducting original, empirical research and facilitating educational exchange, the Asia Dialogues Program seeks to advance ethical inquiry around contentions within Asia and the United States. Go to https://www.carnegiecouncil.org/programs/asia/index.html. ABOUT CARNEGIE COUNCIL Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1914, Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs is an educational, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that produces lectures, publications, and multimedia materials on the ethical challenges of living in a globalized world. Go to http://www.carnegiecouncil.org.
News Article | February 16, 2017
The Presidential Leadership Scholars program, a unique leadership development initiative that draws upon the resources of the presidential centers of George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson, recently announced that Chike Aguh has been selected to participate. Aguh, EveryoneOn’s chief executive officer, is one of 60 Scholars chosen for the program’s third annual class. “I’m honored to be part of the Presidential Leadership Scholars program. Participation in this program will allow me to expand my professional leadership skills, but will also give EveryoneOn a platform to share the importance of digital inclusion with the entire country,” said Chike Aguh, EveryoneOn’s chief executive officer. “The Internet can change economic trajectories and entire societies. Somewhere there is a young person in a poor neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY or a rural area in Nebraska who has the talent and potential to create the next Facebook, Amazon, Google, or technology application that will change how we live our lives. However, that young person will never realize their potential, and we as a society will never benefit from it unless everyone has the Internet in their home. All people across the United States should be connected to the Internet and all of the opportunities and benefits that come with it.” Before coming to EveryoneOn, Chike Aguh worked as an education policy official under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a 2nd grade teacher and Teach For America corps member, a Fulbright Scholar in Thailand, and a Director of Corporate Strategy at the Advisory Board Company. He has also worked with the U.S. Department of Education, McKinsey & Company, and the Acumen Fund. He holds degrees from Tufts University (B.A.), the Harvard Graduate School of Education (Ed.M), the Harvard Kennedy School of Government (MPA), and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School (MBA). He is a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations, NationSwell Council Member, member of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government's Alumni Board of Directors. He has spoken at and interviewed in venues such as the White House, SXSWEdu, Forbes, and Wired Magazine. Chike lives in Beltsville, MD with his wife, Crystal. The third cohort was selected after a rigorous application and review process. Scholars were selected based on their leadership growth potential and the strength of their personal leadership projects aimed at improving the civic or social good by addressing a problem or need in a community, profession, or organization. Over the course of several months, Scholars will travel to each participating presidential center to learn from former presidents, key administration officials, and leading academics. They will study and put into practice varying approaches to leadership, develop a network of peers, and exchange ideas with mentors and others who can help them make an impact in their communities. The program kicked off in Washington, D.C. on February 07, 2017, where Scholars visited the National Archives and Records Administration, Mount Vernon, and the White House Historical Association and explored personal and professional development areas including core values and civility. The latest class joins the alumni network of 121 Scholars in the program. They include individuals from diverse backgrounds and geographies, coming from a variety of sectors, including private, public, nonprofit, military, and academia. To learn more about the Presidential Leadership Scholars program, visit http://www.presidentialleadershipscholars.org. For updates about the Presidential Leadership Scholars, use #PresidentialScholars or follow @PLSprogram on Twitter and Medium. For questions about the program, please contact: Brittney Bain, 214-200-4309, media(at)bushcenter(dot)org Sara Horowitz, 212-348-0360, press(at)clintonfoundation(dot)org
News Article | February 18, 2017
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump, scrambling to find a new top security aide after firing his first one and being spurned by another candidate, said on Friday he has four people under consideration including acting national security adviser Keith Kellogg. Trump ousted Michael Flynn on Monday in a controversy over the retired lieutenant general's contacts with Russia. Retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward on Thursday turned down the Republican president's offer to replace Flynn. "General Keith Kellogg, who I have known for a long time, is very much in play for NSA - as are three others," Trump said on Twitter, without naming the other candidates. Former CIA chief David Petraeus was previously identified as a candidate by a White House official. Former U.S. National Security Agency head Keith Alexander and former supreme allied commander in Europe James Jones, who held the national security adviser post under former Democratic President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2010, were also thought to be under consideration. Both are retired generals. Two others also thought to be in contention were former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton and Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, who holds a senior post with the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. Kellogg, a retired lieutenant general who is currently chief of staff of the White House National Security Council, accompanied Trump on a trip to South Carolina on Friday before heading to Florida. He stepped into the national security adviser role on an acting basis after Flynn's firing. Trump may meet with candidates for the post during his weekend visit to Florida, a White House official told reporters. Petraeus held command posts in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and served as CIA director under Obama. He quit as CIA chief in 2012 and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified materials relating to documents he had given his biographer, with whom he had an affair. Harward, a senior executive at Lockheed Martin and former Navy SEAL, declined Trump's offer in part because he wanted to bring in his own team, according to two sources familiar with Harward's decision. The White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, told Fox News on Friday that Harward's family "didn't sign off" on him taking the job. "That's all it is," Priebus said. Richard Haass, who held senior White House and State Department posts under Republican presidents and now heads the Council on Foreign Relations, said on Twitter the new national security advisor should insist on the right to choose staff members and have unlimited access to the president. Haass, who Trump considered for a job in his administration, also called for rescinding a directive from the president that gave Trump's chief White House strategist, Steve Bannon, a seat on the National Security Council, a move condemned by Democrats. Trump's administration has been dealing with the fallout from Flynn's departure for much of the week. Flynn, a close adviser to Trump during his presidential campaign last year, was seen by Moscow as a leading advocate of friendlier ties with Russia. Trump said on Thursday he fired Flynn because he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about conversations he had with the Russian ambassador to the United States, before Trump took office, about sanctions imposed by Obama's administration. Trump has defended Flynn's actual contact with the ambassador, saying what he did "wasn't wrong." The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Flynn told FBI agents last month that he had not discussed sanctions with the ambassador. Flynn's Jan. 24 interview with the FBI could expose him to charges, since lying to the agency is a felony, but any decision to prosecute would lie with the Justice Department.
News Article | February 28, 2017
The Foreign Policy Research Institute is thrilled to announce the launch of the inaugural Lt. Gen. Bernard E. Trainor USMC Veterans Fellowship made possible by the generous support of Jim Petrucci and Greg Rogerson of J.G. Petrucci Co., Inc. The application deadline is 17 April 2017. Further details about the position and the application process can be found here. This fellowship will be awarded to a deserving veteran of the armed forces with a passionate desire to work in journalism or in long-form, non-fiction writing. Recent college graduates or individuals who have recently separated from the military are encouraged to apply. This will be a one year appointment starting in the summer of 2017. “As a longtime supporter we certainly believe that FPRI’s voice, in all matters foreign and domestic, is more vital than ever,” said Petrucci. The Trainor Fellow will work out of the FPRI office and become a fully integrated staff member in the FPRI community. The selected individual will contribute to Geopoliticus: The FPRI Blog and other internal and external publications, gaining valuable writing experience. In addition to a base salary and healthcare benefits, the Trainor Fellow will also receive a research and travel fund to support their writing. The Fellowship also includes a mentor program, in which the individual will receive one-on-one attention from defense and foreign affairs beat writers, investigative reporters, columnists, and authors. “The Foreign Policy Research Institute could not be more delighted to host this fellowship named after an exceptional individual who so perfectly exemplifies its purpose,” said Alan Luxenberg, President of the Institute. “We are very grateful to Jim and Greg for making this possible.” FPRI is a non-profit, non-partisan think tank located in Center City Philadelphia. Its mission is to bring the insights of scholarship to bear on the foreign policy and national security challenges facing the United States. It seeks to educate the public, teach teachers, train students, and offer ideas to advance U.S. national interests based on a nonpartisan, geopolitical perspective that illuminates contemporary international affairs through the lens of history, geography, and culture. The Fellowship is named for Lt. Gen. Bernard E. Trainor, USMC (ret.). Lt. Gen. Trainor enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1946 and went on to serve in uniform for 39 years in various command and staff assignments, including combat service in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Lt. Gen. Trainor followed his service with a second career as a journalist and analyst of military affairs. He served as the chief military correspondent for the New York Times, and later directed the National Security Program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He has also served as a Senior Fellow for National Security at the Council on Foreign Relations and is a frequent media commentator and author. For more information about FPRI, please visit http://www.fpri.org or contact us at 215-732-3774.
News Article | February 24, 2017
NEW YORK, NY, February 24, 2017-- Dr. Stephen S. Morse has been included in Marquis Who's Who. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.A medical expert with more than four decades of experience in biomedical science, Dr. Morse is highly regarded as a virologist, epidemiologist, immunologist and educator. Today, he is Professor of Epidemiology at Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, a role that he has excelled in since 2008. Previously, Dr. Morse came to prominence as an instructor of microbiology for the Medical College of Virginia, a National Cancer Institute research fellow, a National Science Foundation trainee in its department of bacteriology at the University of Wisconsin, and adjunct faculty member at The Rockefeller University Other noteworthy roles he has held include director of the USAID Predict Project, program manager for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and assistant professor of microbiology at Rutgers University. Dr. Morse is the author of "Emerging Viruses: (Oxford University Press, 1992), and it was selected by "American Scientist" as one of "The Top 100 Science Books of the Century." He was also one of the founders of "ProMED" (the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases), and ProMED-mail (on the Internet at www.promedmail.org ).To prepare for a career in the medical field, Dr. Morse first invested in his education. He earned a Bachelor of Science from the City College of New York in 1971, a Master of Science from the University of Wisconsin in 1974 and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1977. Recognition as a leader in his field includes being a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the New York Academy of Medicine, the American College of Epidemiology, the New York Academy of Sciences the American Academy of Microbiology, and the Council on Foreign Relations. In addition, he is a member of the Marine Biological Laboratory, the American Association of Immunologists, and the American Society of Microbiology. As he looks to the future, Dr. Morse intends to continue providing top of the line technical and scientific services while taking on new projects and opportunities as they arise.About Marquis Who's Who :Since 1899, when A. N. Marquis printed the First Edition of Who's Who in America , Marquis Who's Who has chronicled the lives of the most accomplished individuals and innovators from every significant field of endeavor, including politics, business, medicine, law, education, art, religion and entertainment. Today, Who's Who in America remains an essential biographical source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians and executive search firms around the world. Marquis now publishes many Who's Who titles, including Who's Who in America , Who's Who in the World , Who's Who in American Law , Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare , Who's Who in Science and Engineering , and Who's Who in Asia . Marquis publications may be visited at the official Marquis Who's Who website at www.marquiswhoswho.com
News Article | February 21, 2017
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--FOX News Channel (FNC) has signed oncologist and Affordable Care Act architect Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel as a contributor. In this role, effective immediately, he will offer healthcare and policy analysis across FNC and FOX Business Network’s (FBN) daytime and primetime programming. Emanuel is the Vice Provost for Global Initiatives, the Diane v.S. Levy and Robert M. Levy University Professor and Chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and an op-ed contributor to The New York Times. Before joining the University of Pennsylvania in August 2011, he was the founding chair of the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health and previously served as an associate professor at Harvard Medical School. From January 2009 until January 2011, Emanuel served as a Special Advisor on Health Policy to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and National Economic Council in former President Barack Obama’s administration, where he was notably one of the designers of the Affordable Care Act. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the chair of the meta-council on the Future of Health Care Committee for the World Economic Forum. Emanuel served on President Clinton’s Health Care Task Force, the National Bioethics Advisory Commission (NBAC) and on the bioethics panel of the Pan-American Healthcare Organization. Additionally, he has been a visiting professor at many universities and medical schools, including the Brin Professor at Johns Hopkins Medical School, the Kovitz Professor at Stanford Medical School, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, UCLA and a visiting professor at New York University Law School. The recipient of numerous awards, Emanuel was elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Science, the Association of American Physicians and the Royal College of Medicine (UK). He also received the AMA-Burroughs Wellcome Leadership Award, the Public Service Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the John Mendelsohn Award from the MD Anderson Cancer Center, a Fulbright Scholarship (which he declined), the President’s Medal for Social Justice from Roosevelt University and was selected as Hippocrates Magazine’s Doctor of the Year in Ethics. Emanuel developed The Medical Directive, a living will that has been endorsed by Consumer Reports on Health, Harvard Health Letter, The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, among other publications. He has published over 250 peer-reviewed articles on the ethics of clinical research, health care reform, international research ethics, end of life care issues, euthanasia, the ethics of managed care and the physician-patient relationship. Emanuel’s work is featured in the New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet and JAMA, among other medical journals. Additionally, he has authored six books and co-edited seven books, including “Reinventing American Health Care: How the Affordable Care Act will Improve our Terribly Complex, Blatantly Unjust, Outrageously Expensive, Grossly Inefficient, Error Prone System,” “Brothers Emanuel: A Memoir of an American Family” and “Healthcare, Guaranteed: A Simple, Secure Solution for America.” Emanuel graduated from Amherst College and later received his M.Sc. from Oxford University in Biochemistry. He earned his M.D. from Harvard Medical School and his Ph.D. in political philosophy from Harvard University, where his dissertation received the Toppan Award for the finest political science dissertation of the year. Additionally, he was a fellow in the Program in Ethics and the Professions at the Kennedy School of Government. Emanuel completed his residency in internal medicine at Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital and his oncology fellowship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where he later joined the faculty. FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news service dedicated to delivering breaking news as well as political and business news. The number one network in cable, FNC has been the most-watched television news channel for 15 years and according to a Suffolk University/USA Today poll, is the most-trusted television news source in the country. Owned by 21st Century Fox, FNC is available in 90 million homes and dominates the cable news landscape, routinely notching the top ten programs in the genre.
News Article | February 17, 2017
Trump suggests the United States might not support a two-state solution, which it has explicitly done for the past 15 years. Speaking at a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump appeared to scuttle long-standing U.S. support for a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians. If “Bibi” and the Israelis and the Palestinians are all happy, “I am looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like… I can live with either one,” Trump said. Abandoning the two-state solution would be a marked departure from bipartisan U.S. foreign policy of the past 15 years. The United States has explicitly supported the establishment of a two state solution since June of 2002, as former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro noted on Twitter. Ahead of the meeting, Husam Zolot, strategic affairs advisor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told Reuters, “The two-state solution is not something we just came up with. It is an international consensus and decision after decades of Israel’s rejection of the one-state democratic formula.” Trump’s utterances prompted plenty of concern about the future of the Middle East peace process and Israel’s own future. “The extreme right won tonight. The state of Israel has lost,” tweeted Zionist Union MK Erel Margalit. Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and once said to be in the running for a Trump State Department job, tweeted, “Maybe Pres Trump can live with a 1 state ‘solution’ but Israel could not if it wanted to remain democratic, Jewish, secure & prosperous.” U.N. Secretary General António Guterres reiterated through the U.N. spokesperson’s Twitter account that “there is no plan B to a 2-state solution.” Yousef Munayyer of the the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights tweeted, “The question is no longer one state or two. It is clearly one state. Question now is what kind of one state: apartheid or equality.” Trump may have spoken flippantly at the press conference, not intending to signal a sharp break with U.S. policy. But the statement was not inconsistent with his campaign, and administration officials told Reuters Tuesday that Trump could support a one-state solution, suggesting that the president did not improvise on Wednesday. Netanyahu seemed nonplussed, and dismissed the semantics as a matter of “labels.” The prime minister said he is concerned more with substance: specifically, the substance of Palestinians recognizing Israel’s right to exist, and Israel maintaining security control over territory west of the Jordan River. In response to Trump’s request to “hold off on settlements for a while” in pursuit of a peace deal, Netanyahu simply said, “We’ll try,” adding, “That’s the art of the deal.” Later in the press conference, an Israeli journalist asked about the rise of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States since Trump’s election, and what the president would say to those who believe his administration is “playing with xenophobia and maybe racist tones.” In response, Trump noted that he won 306 electoral college votes and has a Jewish daughter, a Jewish son-in-law, and three Jewish grandchildren. “We are going to do everything in our power to stop long simmering racism and every other thing that’s going on,” he said. “I think one of the reasons I got elected is because we have a very, very divided nation,” before concluding, “You’re going to see a lot of love.”
Levi M.,Council on Foreign Relations
Climatic Change | Year: 2013
Many have recently speculated that natural gas might become a "bridge fuel", smoothing a transition of the global energy system from fossil fuels to zero carbon energy by temporarily offsetting the decline in coal use. Others have contended that such a bridge is incompatible with oft-discussed climate objectives and that methane leakage from natural gas system may eliminate any advantage that natural gas has over coal. Yet global climate stabilization scenarios where natural gas provides a substantial bridge are generally absent from the literature, making study of gas as a bridge fuel difficult. Here we construct a family of such scenarios and study some of their properties. In the context of the most ambitious stabilization objectives (450 ppm CO2), and absent carbon capture and sequestration, a natural gas bridge is of limited direct emissions-reducing value, since that bridge must be short. Natural gas can, however, play a more important role in the context of more modest but still stringent objectives (550 ppm CO2), which are compatible with longer natural gas bridges. Further, contrary to recent claims, methane leakage from natural gas operations is unlikely to strongly undermine the climate benefits of substituting gas for coal in the context of bridge fuel scenarios. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
Levi M.A.,Council on Foreign Relations
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres | Year: 2012
Pétron et al. (2012) have recently observed and analyzed alkane concentrations in air in Colorado's Weld County and used them to estimate the volume of methane vented from oil and gas operations in the Denver-Julesburg Basin. They conclude that "the emissions of the species we measured are most likely underestimated in current inventories", often by large factors. However, their estimates of methane venting, and hence of other alkane emissions, rely on unfounded assumptions about the composition of vented natural gas. We show that relaxing those assumptions results in much greater uncertainty. We then exploit previously unused observations reported in Pétron et al. (2012) to constrain methane emissions without making assumptions about the composition of vented gas. This results in a new set of estimates that are consistent with current inventories but inconsistent with the estimates in Pétron et al. (2012). The analysis also demonstrates the value of the mobile air sampling method employed in Pétron et al. (2012). © 2012. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
News Article | February 27, 2017
Over its 11-year history, the UN Human Rights Council has come in for criticism, including allegations that it has been co-opted by rights abusers who push resolutions attacking their rivals (AFP Photo/FABRICE COFFRINI) Geneva (AFP) - The United States will on Monday claim its seat at the UN Human Rights Council under the new presidency of Donald Trump, whose election has provoked deep concern over the body's future. Over its 11-year history, the council has come in for criticism, including allegations that it has, at times, been co-opted by rights abusers who push resolutions attacking their geopolitical rivals, with genuine rights issues marginalised. But the 47-member panel has had successes -- thanks to support from Barack Obama's administration which held a seat on the council for most of his eight-year term, civil society groups say. Many of the issues prioritised by Obama's UN envoys -- including violations in North Korea, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and South Sudan -- will remain on the agenda when the council opens its main annual session in Geneva on Monday. Among the headline speakers are UN chief Antonio Guterres and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas. Trump's State Department has not yet named a replacement for Obama's envoy Keith Harper. Veteran US foreign service officer Erin Barclay is scheduled to address the body on Wednesday. Much of Trump's international agenda remains murky but rights advocates have warned that early signs are not good for either the council or the broader human rights agenda. "Clearly 'America First' does not suggest an approach that (prioritises) multilateral engagement," said John Fisher of Human Rights Watch in Geneva, referring to Trump's starkly-defined foreign policy doctrine. There is also "significant concern" about the US capacity to take a leadership role in the council based on Trump's early moves, he added. "When the administration has issued an executive order that bans travel from seven mainly-Muslim countries it erodes the US's moral credibility and ability to engage in initiatives around the UN," Fisher told AFP. Trump's travel ban has been blocked in court. Fisher also highlighted Trump's moves curbing rights for transgender people and his "stereotyping and scapegoating" of some migrants. "I think one of the key challenges that the US will face is to demonstrate that it applies at home the same human rights and principles that it applies to others," he said. Last week, another spat blew up over freedom of the press after the White House barred several major US and international news organisations from a daily briefing and Trump denounced the media as the "enemy of the people". The move sparked outrage, with an editorial in the Los Angeles Times warning that Trump was demonstrating some "alarmingly authoritarian notions" in punishing organisations which ran stories critical of him. The precursor to the rights council was the UN Commission on Human Rights, a body deemed so dysfunctional that former secretary general Kofi Annan scrapped it. When the new council was born in 2006, the US administration of George W. Bush did not fight for a seat or meaningfully engage, according to a January report from the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) think-tank. The early years saw countries like Algeria, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia controlling the council, the CFR said, arguing that things began to turn when Obama's administration secured a seat in 2009. The US began "to chip away at the council's deficiencies while strengthening its capacity as a credible international human rights institution," it said. The think-tank's report agreed with Fisher that US influence on the council was decisive in setting up major probes in Burundi, North Korea, Syria and other hotspots. The CFR urged Trump to take full advantage of the US council seat which expires in 2019. Even if Trump's rights-related pronouncements have been "limited", he has "stressed the need for the United States to be seen as winning on the international stage", it said. And engaging with the council could "advance these goals", it argued. For Fisher, next week will be a "litmus test" for Trump's administration. He also argued that uncertainty about the US made this a moment for "other countries to strengthen their leadership".