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  • Author: Brad W. Setser
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The global impact of oil’s fall from $100 plus to under $50 a barrel has not gotten as much attention as I think it deserves. For most oil exporters, it has been a profound shock—one that forced such a massive contraction in imports that it pulled down global trade (far more than the trade remedies that tend to dominate the ‘trade” news). A few countries adjusted quickly and relatively efficiently (Russia), though not painlessly. A few have struggled to adapt—notably, because of its large external debt, poor policies, and growing political crisis, Venezuela.
  • Topic: Oil, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Aaron Connely
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In April 2016, the Lowy Institute and the Council on Foreign Relations' International Institutions and Global Governance program held a workshop on Southeast Asian perspectives on U.S.–China competition, which informed this publication. That workshop was made possible in part by the generous support of the Robina Foundation. This report is a collaboration between the Lowy Institute and the Council on Foreign Relations. The views expressed in this report are entirely the authors' own and not those of the Lowy Institute, the Council on Foreign Relations, or the Robina Foundation.
  • Topic: Governance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, America
  • Author: Jennifer Harris
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Comprising roughly 700 million barrels of crude oil stored in caverns throughout Texas and Louisiana, the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) was established by Congress in the mid-1970s in response to the 1973–74 Arab oil embargo and ensuing oil price shocks. Its purpose was to insulate the United States from crude oil supply disruptions. In the decades since, despite significant changes in global oil markets, the basic logic and design of the SPR have remained largely unchanged.
  • Topic: Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Brad Sester, Cole Frank
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The 2014 fall in global oil prices, from over $100 a barrel to around $50 a barrel, reduced the export proceeds of the world’s main oil- and gas-exporting economies by about $1 trillion. After a decade of largely uninterrupted high oil prices, this dramatic swing has tested the economic resiliency and political adaptability of oil-exporting countries. One of the best single measures of the resilience of an oil- or gas-exporting economy is the oil price that covers its import bill—the external breakeven price.
  • Topic: Oil, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: William Norris
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The Chinese government has embarked on an effort to reorient its economy from an investment- and export-driven model toward one predicated on a larger role for consumption and market forces. At the same time, China is also experiencing a new normal of much slower economic growth. The economic downturn and concomitant structural shift in China’s economy has already begun affecting its foreign policy. Security, not economics, is becoming one of President Xi Jinping’s—and China’s—top strategic priorities.
  • Topic: Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Laura K. Donohue
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On December 31, 2017, section 702 of the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act (FAA) will expire. Section 702 governs the domestic interception of foreigners’ communications, when the targets are believed to be outside the United States. Although externally directed, this statute is being used by agencies to monitor, collect, and search U.S. citizens’ communications for foreign intelligence and criminal activity. Congress has an opportunity to amend section 702 to safeguard U.S. national security, protect citizens, and comply with the Constitution.
  • Topic: Global Security
  • Political Geography: America
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On May 7–9, 2017, the Council on Foreign Relations hosted the sixth annual conference of the Council of Councils. The conference was made possible by the generous support of the Robina Foundation for CFR’s International Institutions and Global Governance program. The views described here are those of workshop participants only and are not CFR or Robina Foundation positions. The Council on Foreign Relations takes no institutional positions on policy issues and has no affiliation with the U.S. government. In addition, the suggested policy prescriptions are the views of individual participants and do not necessarily represent a consensus of the attending members.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Matthew Taylor
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Guatemala has made notable gains in the fight against corruption and impunity in the last decade. President Otto Perez Molina resigned in 2015 and was tried and jailed on charges of corruption, alongside his vice president and several ministers. Several prominent criminal figures have been extradited to the United States, including another former president, Alfonso Portillo. Supreme Court justices and members of congress have been removed from office, drug lords jailed, and extortion rings dismantled. The overall impunity rate for homicides fell from 95 percent to 72 percent [PDF] between 2006 and 2012.
  • Topic: Corruption, International Security, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Guatemala
  • Author: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, Rachel B. Vogelstein
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The connection between women’s economic participation and prosperity is undeniable. Over the past two decades, a growing number of international organizations and world leaders have recognized that the economic empowerment of women is critical to economic growth and stability. Multilateral bodies such as the Group of Twenty and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum have ratified agreements to promote women in the economy as a means to stimulate growth, and governments from the Ivory Coast to Rwanda to Japan have adopted reforms to increase women’s ability to contribute to their economies
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Edward Alden, Robert Litan
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The challenge of how to help those left behind by rapid economic change—whether caused by technology or global competition—has moved to the center of the U.S. national debate in a way it has not been since the 1930s. Trade competition, especially from China, has been a significant factor in declining U.S. manufacturing employment over the past decade. Trade also became a major issue in the 2016 presidential campaign, despite the larger role played by automation and technological change in displacing manufacturing workers for decades. This process will only continue in coming years, with advances in robotics, artificial intelligence, and software that will eliminate many jobs while creating others, regardless of what policies the federal government may adopt toward trade and outsourcing.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On March 29 and 30, the Council on Foreign Relations convened a workshop in New York to explore how international cooperation can accelerate energy innovation. The workshop, hosted by Douglas Dillon Fellow and Acting Director of the Energy Security and Climate Change Program Varun Sivaram, was made possible by the support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The views described here are those of workshop participants only and are not CFR or Sloan Foundation positions. CFR takes no institutional positions on policy issues and has no affiliation with the U.S. government.
  • Topic: Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ian Cronshaw
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Increased use of natural gas in the Asia-Pacific region could bring substantial local and global benefits. Countries in the region could take advantage of newly abundant global gas supplies to diversify their energy mix; the United States, awash in gas supplies thanks to the fracking revolution, could expand its exports; and climate change could slow as a result of gas displacing coal in rapidly growing economies.
  • Topic: Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Robert D. Blackwill, Henry A. Kissinger, Ashley J. Tellis
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: "China represents and will remain the most significant competitor to the United States for decades to come. As such, the need for a more coherent U.S. response to increasing Chinese power is long overdue," write CFR Senior Fellow Robert D. Blackwill and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Senior Associate Ashley J. Tellis in a new Council Special Report, Revising U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China. "Because the American effort to 'integrate' China into the liberal international order has now generated new threats to U.S. primacy in Asia—and could result in a consequential challenge to American power globally—Washington needs a new grand strategy toward China that centers on balancing the rise of Chinese power rather than continuing to assist its ascendancy." The authors argue that such a strategy is designed to limit the dangers that China's geoeconomic and military power pose to U.S. national interests in Asia and globally, even as the United States and its allies maintain diplomatic and economic interactions with China.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Paul D. Williams
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The number of UN peacekeepers is at a record high, with nearly 110,000 uniformed deployed "blue helmets" worldwide, most of them in Africa. But the status quo is "untenable," warns Paul D. Williams, author and associate professor of international affairs at George Washington University, in a new Council Special Report, Enhancing U.S. Support for Peace Operations in Africa. Unrealistic mandates, unsustainable supplies of personnel, hostile host governments, and mission creep have undermined peace operations, Williams writes. "Given the growing interest in fostering a stable and prosperous Africa, the United States should wield its political influence to address these challenges."
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Humanitarian Aid, War, Fragile/Failed State, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Daniel S. Markey
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After 9/11, the global fight against al-Qaeda and the related war in Afghanistan forced the United States to reassess its strategy in Pakistan. The exigencies of counterterrorism and counterinsurgency established Washington's primary goals and many of its specific policies. Now, however, the impending drawdown of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, along with significant U.S. successes in operations against al-Qaeda, require the United States to take a fresh look at its Pakistan strategy and to move beyond the "Af-Pak" era.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Development, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, India
  • Author: Yanzhong Huang
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (hereafter "the Global Fund" or "the Fund") is the world's main multilateral funder in global health and the largest financier of anti-AIDS, anti-tuberculosis (TB), and anti-malaria programs. Since its inception in 2002, the Global Fund has disbursed $23.2 billion to more than 140 countries; today, it accounts for 21 percent of the international funding for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, 82 percent of that for TB, and 50 per cent of that for malaria. Until recently, it awarded grants based on the need of individual countries and the quality of each proposal. As a performance-based initiative, it closely tracks the results flowing from each grant disbursement. As a value-oriented organization, it requires recipients to have transparent, accountable, and inclusive governance mechanisms. Indeed, in terms of multisectoralism and civil society participation, the Fund is considered the most progressive global health institution. But unlike many other health-related multilateral organizations, it is not an implementing agency and lacks in-country presence. Instead, as a funding mechanism, it has grant applications and project/program implementation in each country overseen by a "country coordinating mechanism" (CCM), which draws representatives from government, UN and donor agencies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), the private sector, and people living with the diseases.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Health, Governance
  • Political Geography: China, East Asia
  • Author: Steven A. Cook
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Egypt is experiencing a deep economic crisis. The country's foreign currency r e serves are less than half of what they were before the January 2011 uprising, threatening Egypt's ability to pay for food and fuel. Egypt's budget deficit is 14 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and its overall debt, which is the result of accumulated deficits, is more than the country's economic output. In this difficult economic climate, roughly 4 5 percent of Egyptians live on less than two dollars per day. Inflation, which reached as high as 12.97 percent after the July 2013 military coup, is currently at 11.4 percent. Tourism revenue—traditionally a primary source of foreign currency along with Suez Canal tolls and remittances from Egyptians working abroad—is less than half of what it was in the last full year before the uprising. Foreign direct investment has dried up outside the energy sector. Unemployment remains high at 13.4 percent. Among the unemployed, 71 percent are between fifteen and twenty-nine years old. This economic weakness makes it politically difficult to address the problems that contribute to a potential solvency crisis because the necessary reforms will impose hardship on a population that is already experiencing economic pain.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Regime Change, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Arabia, North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Micah Zenko
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: As space systems increasingly perform and support critical operations, a variety of plausible nearterm incidents in outer space could precipitate or exacerbate an international crisis. The most grave space contingencies—viewed from the perspective of U.S. interests and international stability—are likely to result from either intentional interference with space systems or the inadvertent effects of irresponsible state behavior in outer space. The threats to U.S. space assets are significant and growing, as potential adversaries continue to pursue and could soon acquire counterspace capabilities. The United States has strategic interests in preventing and mitigating dangerous space incidents, given its high reliance on satellites for a variety of national security missions and unparalleled global security commitments and responsibilities. Like other technology-driven global governance challenges, the longer the United States delays preventive and mitigating efforts, the less dominant its position will be in shaping rules of the road for space.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Edward Alden, Rebecca Strauss
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Each year, U.S. state and local governments spend tens of billions of dollars to lure or retain business investment. The subsidies waste scarce taxpayer dollars that could better be used to strengthen public services such as education and infrastructure, or to lower overall tax burdens to create a more favorable investment climate. No state wants to dole out such subsidies, but most fear losing jobs to competing states if they refuse. States should take steps to curb subsidies, beginning with greater disclosure and cost-benefit analyses, and building up to a multistate agreement that creates strong disincentives for continuing subsidies. Existing international arrangements provide models and tools for achieving this.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Micah Zenko, Sarah Kreps
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The use of unmanned aerial systems—commonly referred to as drones—over the past decade has revolutionized how the United States uses military force. As the technology has evolved from surveillance aircraft to an armed platform, drones have been used for a wide range of military missions: the United States has successfully and legitimately used armed drones to conduct hundreds of counterterrorism operations in battlefield zones, including Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. It has also used armed drones in non-battlefield settings, specifically in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and the Philippines. Collectively, these strikes have eliminated a number of suspected terrorists and militants from Asia to Africa at no cost in terms of U.S. casualties, an advantage of drones over manned platforms that has made them attractive to many other states. However, non-battlefield strikes have drawn criticism, particularly those conducted under the assertion that they are acts of self-defense.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Asia