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  • Author: Amanda Glassman, Thomas J. Bollyky
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Fewer people are smoking in the United States, Europe, and most of the developing world. Excise taxes, bans on smoking in public places, and graphic health warnings are achieving such dramatic reductions in tobacco use in developed countries that a recent Citigroup Bank investment analysis speculated that smoking could virtually disappear in wealthy countries over the next thirty to fifty years.
  • Topic: Health, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Timothy Garton Ash
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After World War II, Europe began a process of peaceful political unification unprecedented there and unmatched anywhere else. But the project began to go wrong in the early 1990s, when western European leaders started moving too quickly toward a flawed monetary union. Now, as Europe faces a still-unresolved debt crisis, its drive toward unification has stalled -- and unless fear or foresight gets it going again, the union could slide toward irrelevance.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Adam Tooze
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: With the euro in crisis, Germany has come to seem like a lone island of fiscal stability in Europe. Its debt levels are modest, its government bonds are safe havens for investors around the world, and it has avoided the kinds of private credit booms and housing bubbles that have destabilized the rest of the continent. The German economy, fueled by record exports, has grown steadily, expanding by a quarter over the last decade. But beneath the glowing headlines lies a darker story: Germany's economic position is simply unsustainable. For starters, much of its trade surplus has been earned at the expense of the corresponding current account deficits of the European countries in crisis. At the same time, this outsized surplus goes hand in hand with major imbalances within Germany's domestic economy. German businesses have invested their profits abroad, helping finance foreign imports. Meanwhile, as German money has flowed out of the country, domestic investment has languished at unprecedentedly low levels. Germany, like other rich, polluting, and aging countries, faces enormous long-term challenges. Its work force is shrinking, its energy sector needs to be remade, and its public infrastructure has gone too long without improvement. For all the talk of its financial strength, Germany has so far squandered the opportunity to secure long-term economic growth by addressing these challenges through badly needed domestic investments.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Jeffrey D. Sachs
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: According to Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson's Why Nations Fail, economic development hinges on a country's political institutions. But their monocausal analysis ignores other important factors (such as geography) that can also affect growth.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Timur Kuran
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: A new book by Ian Morris tracks the development of the East and the West over the millennia. But methodological problems lead him to miss the crucial differences between modern and premodern life -- and understate what is really keeping the West ahead.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, History
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Liaquat Ahamed
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The aftermath of the Great Depression saw a burst of competitive currency devaluations and protectionism that undermined confidence in an open global economy. As countries recover from the financial crisis today, they need to heed the lessons of the past and avoid the beggar-thy-neighbor policies of the 1930s.
  • Topic: War, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: G. John Ikenberry
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: There is no longer any question: wealth and power are moving from the North and the West to the East and the South, and the old order dominated by the United States and Europe is giving way to one increasingly shared with non-Western rising states. But if the great wheel of power is turning, what kind of global political order will emerge in the aftermath? Some anxious observers argue that the world will not just look less American -- it will also look less liberal. Not only is the United States' preeminence passing away, they say, but so, too, is the open and rule-based international order that the country has championed since the 1940s. In this view, newly powerful states are beginning to advance their own ideas and agendas for global order, and a weakened United States will find it harder to defend the old system. The hallmarks of liberal internationalism -- openness and rule-based relations enshrined in institutions such as the United Nations and norms such as multilateralism -- could give way to a more contested and fragmented system of blocs, spheres of influence, mercantilist networks, and regional rivalries. The fact that today's rising states are mostly large non-Western developing countries gives force to this narrative. The old liberal international order was designed and built in the West. Brazil, China, India, and other fast-emerging states have a different set of cultural, political, and economic experiences, and they see the world through their anti-imperial and anticolonial pasts. Still grappling with basic problems of development, they do not share the concerns of the advanced capitalist societies. The recent global economic slowdown has also bolstered this narrative of liberal international decline. Beginning in the United States, the crisis has tarnished the American model of liberal capitalism and raised new doubts about the ability of the United States to act as the global economic leader.
  • Topic: United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, India
  • Author: Henry Farrell, John Quiggin
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The European Union is in danger of compounding its ongoing economic crisis with a political crisis of its own making. Over the last year, crises of confidence have hit the 17 EU members that in the years since 1998 have given up their own currencies to adopt the euro. For the first decade of this century, markets behaved as though the debt of peripheral EU countries, such as Greece and Ireland, was as safe as that of core EU countries, such as Germany. But when bond investors realized that Greece had been cooking its books and that Ireland's fiscal posture was unsustainable, they ran for the door. The EU has stopped the contagion from spreading -- for now -- by creating the European Financial Stability Facility, which can issue bonds and raise money to help eurozone states. Together with the International Monetary Fund, the European Financial Stability Facility has already lent Greece and Ireland enough money to cover their short-term needs. But such bailouts are only stop-gap measures. Portugal and Spain, and to a lesser extent Belgium and Italy, remain vulnerable to pressure from bondholders. Portugal is likely to receive 50-100 billion euros over the next few months. But should Spain also need a bailout -- which could cost as much as 600 billion euros -- the 750 billion euro European Financial Stability Facility would soon be exhausted. In that event, the main euro creditors, primarily British, French, and German banks, might have to accept so-called haircuts, substantial cuts in the principals of their loans. (The banks' tax-avoidance strategies might inflate this total, but the Bank for International Settlements has estimated that the exposure of British, French, and German banks to the group of vulnerable debtor states referred to as the PIGS -- Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain -- amounted to more than $1 trillion in mid-2010.) Encouraged by Germany, some of the states in difficulty have sought to placate bond markets by making ruthless cuts in government spending. But as many economists have pointed out, these measures are hindering growth without satisfying bondholders that their money is safe; bondholders worry that these measures are not politically sustainable. In fact, they are likely to undermine Europe's political union.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece, Germany, Belgium, Ireland
  • Author: Anders Fogh Rasmussen
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: NATO's sea and air mission in Libya is the first major military engagement undertaken since the global financial crisis. With European NATO allies drastically reducing their defense spending, there were legitimate fears as to whether they could still afford to respond to such complex crises. Reports early on that the operation lacked sufficient strike capabilities reinforced these fears. But the unprecedented speed, scale, and sustained pace of execution of Operation Unified Protector tell a different story. As of early May, the pace of air sorties had remained high since the beginning of the operation, and strikes had accounted for just under half of those sorties. When requirements changed as Muammar al-Qaddafi's forces altered their tactics, NATO allies provided more of the high-precision strike capabilities that the commanders needed. Meanwhile, more than a dozen ships have been patrolling the Mediterranean Sea and enforcing the UN arms embargo. The mission in Libya has revealed three important truths about military intervention today. First, to those who claimed that Afghanistan was to be NATO's last out-of-area mission, it has shown that unpredictability is the very essence of security. Second, it has proved that in addition to frontline capabilities, such as fighter-bombers and warships, so-called enablers, such as surveillance and refueling aircraft, as well as drones, are critical parts of any modern operation. And third, it has revealed that NATO allies do not lack military capabilities. Any shortfalls have been primarily due to political, rather than military, constraints. In other words, Libya is a reminder of how important it is for NATO to be ready, capable, and willing to act. Although defense is and must remain the prerogative of sovereign nations, an alliance that brings Europe and North America together requires an equitable sharing of the burden in order to be efficient. Downward trends in European defense budgets raise some legitimate concerns. At the current pace of cuts, it is hard to see how Europe could maintain enough military capabilities to sustain similar operations in the future. And this touches on a fundamental challenge facing Europe and the alliance as a whole: how to avoid having the economic crisis degenerate into a security crisis. The way Europe responds to this challenge could determine its place in the global order and the future of security.
  • Topic: NATO
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Europe, Libya, North America
  • Author: F. Gregory Gause III
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The vast majority of academic specialists on the Arab world were as surprised as everyone else by the upheavals that toppled two Arab leaders last winter and that now threaten several others. It was clear that Arab regimes were deeply unpopular and faced serious demographic, economic, and political problems. Yet many academics focused on explaining what they saw as the most interesting and anomalous aspect of Arab politics: the persistence of undemocratic rulers. Until this year, the Arab world boasted a long list of such leaders. Muammar al-Qaddafi took charge of Libya in 1969; the Assad family has ruled Syria since 1970; Ali Abdullah Saleh became president of North Yemen (later united with South Yemen) in 1978; Hosni Mubarak took charge of Egypt in 1981; and Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali ascended to Tunisia's presidency in 1987. The monarchies enjoyed even longer pedigrees, with the Hashemites running Jordan since its creation in 1920, the al-Saud family ruling a unified Saudi Arabia since 1932, and the Alaouite dynasty in Morocco first coming to power in the seventeenth century. These regimes survived over a period of decades in which democratic waves rolled through East Asia, eastern Europe, Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa. Even the Arab countries' neighbors in the Muslim Middle East (Iran and Turkey) experienced enormous political change in that period, with a revolution and three subsequent decades of political struggle in Iran and a quasi-Islamist party building a more open and democratic system in secular Turkey.
  • Political Geography: America, Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia