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  • Author: Michael Bernhard
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: China is hardly the first great power to make authoritarian development look attractive. As Jonathan Steinberg's new biography of Bismarck shows, Wilhelmine Germany did it with ease. But can even successful nondemocratic political systems thrive and evolve peacefully over the long run? The answer depends on whether authoritarian elites can tolerate sharing power.
  • Topic: Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Germany, Peru
  • Author: Robert Z. Lawrence, Richard Katz, Michael Spence
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: TROUBLE ON THE HOME FRONT Richard Katz A decade ago, the great American jobs train fell off its tracks. Traditionally, boosts in private-sector employment have accompanied recoveries from economic downturns. In the first seven years after the beginning of the 1980 and 1990 recessions, for example, the number of private-sector jobs increased by 14 percent. Yet in January 2008, seven years after the previous pre-recession peak and before the most recent recession began, private-sector jobs were up only four percent. Today, for the first time in the postwar era, there are fewer of these jobs than there were ten years before. Ignoring the overall dearth of jobs, Michael Spence (“The Impact of Globalization on Income and Unemployment,” July/August 2011) singles out the fraction of employment in sectors related to trade. He claims that China and other developing countries have taken U.S. jobs and blames globalization for the substantial increase in income inequality across the country. It is misleading, he says, to argue that “the most important forces operating on the structure of the U.S. economy are internal, not external.” He is wrong: the fault lies not in China or South Korea but at home.
  • Topic: Globalization
  • Political Geography: China, America, South Korea
  • Author: G. John Ikenberry, Amitai Etzioni
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: CHANGING THE RULES Amitai Etzioni G. John Ikenberry asks whether China will buy into the prevailing liberal, rule-based international order, which has been promoted and underwritten by the United States ("The Future of the Liberal World Order," May/June 2011). With regard to one key element of this order, however -- the Westphalian norm of sovereignty and nonintervention -- he might have inverted the premise. For here, the West has been seeking major modifications that weaken the norm, whereas China has championed the established rule and the international order based on it. Several leading Western progressives have sought to legitimize armed humanitarian intervention, under the rubric of "the responsibility to protect." Others have gone even further, seeking to legitimize interference in the internal affairs of other countries if they develop nuclear arms, invoking "the duty to prevent." Both concepts explicitly make sovereignty conditional on states' conducting themselves in line with new norms that directly conflict with the Westphalian one. The issue, in other words, is not simply whether China will buy into the existing rule-based order but whether it can be persuaded to support the major changes in the rules that the West is seeking.
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Carlisle Ford Runge, Carlisle Piehl Runge
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In the late eighteenth century, the English political economist Thomas Malthus took a look at two sets of numbers and had an unnerving vision: with food supplies increasing arithmetically while the number of people grew geometrically, the world population would eventually run out of food. "By that law of our nature which makes food necessary to the life of man," he wrote in 1798, "the effects of these two unequal powers must be kept equal. This implies a strong and constantly operating check on population from the difficulty of subsistence. This difficulty must fall some where and must necessarily be severely felt by a large portion of mankind." He was right, at least at the time: in Malthus' day, food production was essentially limited by the availability of land, whereas procreation faced few restraints. Malthus did not foresee, however, that new technologies in the late nineteenth century and throughout the twentieth century would dramatically raise agricultural productivity. Farmers worldwide learned to use new fertilizers, petrochemical-based herbicides and insecticides, genetically improved plants (especially wheat, corn, and rice), and massive diversions of water for irrigation, notably in China and South Asia. Crop yields soared, and in the United States so much so that by the 1950s chronic surpluses and low prices were becoming problems. The economist Willard Cochrane wrote in 1965 that thanks to the recent technological revolution in U.S. agriculture, the previous decade had witnessed "the greatest gain in productive efficiency of any ten-year period in the history of American farming." Throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, crop yields continued to rise, not only in rich countries but also in many parts of the developing world. In India, Mexico, and elsewhere the "green revolution" was launched by plant breeders, such as the legendary Norman Borlaug. New varieties of wheat, maize, and rice raised yields by amounts that seemed miraculous at the time. The effort provided a new model for traditional farmers and improved their food security. And it encouraged a sense of purpose for agricultural research: to end world hunger. But it also exacerbated the disadvantages of poor, landless farmers relative to land-rich ones, who could afford the innovations. Landed farmers could find the credit to invest in irrigation and purchase high-yielding seeds, but those without access to credit, and thus the new inputs, were left behind.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, South Asia, India, Mexico
  • Author: Bruce Gilley
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Since 2005, Taiwan and China have been moving into a closer economic and political embrace -- a process that accelerated with the election of the pro-détente politician Ma Ying-jeou as Taiwan's president in 2008. This strengthening of relations presents the United States with its greatest challenge in the Taiwan Strait since 1979, when Washington severed ties with Taipei and established diplomatic relations with Beijing. In many ways, the current thaw serves Taipei's interests, but it also allows Beijing to assert increasing influence over Taiwan. As a consensus emerges in Taiwan on establishing closer relations with China, the thaw is calling into question the United States' deeply ambiguous policy, which is supposed to serve both Taiwan's interests (by allowing it to retain its autonomy) and the United States' own (by guarding against an expansionist China). Washington now faces a stark choice: continue pursuing a militarized realist approach -- using Taiwan to balance the power of a rising China -- or follow an alternative liberal logic that seeks to promote long-term peace through closer economic, social, and political ties between Taiwan and China.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Taiwan
  • Author: Charles D. Ferguson
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Over the past three years, a remarkable bipartisan consensus has emerged in Washington regarding nuclear security. The new U.S. nuclear agenda includes renewing formal arms control agreements with Russia, revitalizing a strategic dialogue with China, pushing for ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, repairing the damaged nuclear nonproliferation regime, and redoubling efforts to reduce and secure fissile material that may be used in weapons. During the 2008 presidential campaign, the veteran foreign policy experts Henry Kissinger, Sam Nunn, William Perry, and George Shultz successfully encouraged both major-party candidates, Barack Obama and John McCain, to embrace the idea of a world free of nuclear weapons. In the past year, President Obama has made this goal a priority for his administration, although he admits that it is not likely to occur in his lifetime. This presents a conundrum, however: In a world where the strongest conventional military power cannot envision giving up its nuclear weapons before all other nations have abandoned theirs, how will humanity ever rid itself of these weapons? In order to speed the reduction of its own nuclear arsenal and encourage other countries' disarmament, the United States will have to confront three daunting obstacles: the insecurities of nations, including some currently protected under the U.S. nuclear umbrella and others that see a nuclear capability as the answer to many of their security problems; the notion that nuclear weapons are the great equalizer in the realm of international relations; and the proliferation risk that inevitably arises whenever nuclear supplier states offer to build civilian reactors for nonnuclear states.
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Washington
  • Author: Isobel Coleman
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Efforts to provide the world's women with economic and political power are more than just a worthy moral crusade: they represent perhaps the best strategy for pursuing development and stability across the globe.
  • Political Geography: Africa, China
  • Author: Kenneth Roth
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After eight years of the Bush administration, with its torture of suspected terrorists and disregard for international law, Barack Obama's victory in the November 2008 U.S. presidential election seemed a breath of fresh air to human rights activists. Obama took office at a moment when the world desperately needed renewed U.S. leadership. In his inaugural address, Obama immediately signaled that, unlike Bush, he would reject as false "the choice between our safety and our ideals." Obama faces the challenge of restoring the United States' credibility at a time when repressive governments -- emboldened by the increasing influence of authoritarian powers such as China and Russia -- seek to undermine the enforcement of international human rights standards. As he put it when accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, the United States cannot "insist that others follow the rules of the road if we refuse to follow them ourselves." His Nobel speech in Oslo also affirmed the U.S. government's respect for the Geneva Conventions. "Even as we confront a vicious adversary that abides by no rules," Obama argued, "I believe the United States of America must remain a standard bearer in the conduct of war. That is what makes us different from those whom we fight. That is a source of our strength." When it comes to promoting human rights at home and abroad, there has undoubtedly been a marked improvement in presidential rhetoric. However, the translation of those words into deeds remains incomplete. AN INCOMPLETE REVERSAL Obama moved rapidly to reverse the most abusive aspects of the Bush administration's approach to fighting terrorism. Two days after taking office, he insisted that all U.S. interrogators, including those from the CIA, abide by the stringent standards adopted by the U.S. military in the wake of the Abu Ghraib debacle. He also ordered the shuttering of all secret CIA detention facilities, where many suspects "disappeared" and were tortured between 2001 and 2008. Finally, he promised to close the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, within a year.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Law
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China
  • Author: George R. Packard
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On January 19, 1960, Japanese Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi and U.S. Secretary of State Christian Herter signed a historic treaty. It committed the United States to help defend Japan if Japan came under attack, and it provided bases and ports for U.S. armed forces in Japan. The agreement has endured through half a century of dramatic changes in world politics -- the Vietnam War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the spread of nuclear weapons to North Korea, the rise of China -- and in spite of fierce trade disputes, exchanges of insults, and deep cultural and historical differences between the United States and Japan. This treaty has lasted longer than any other alliance between two great powers since the 1648 Peace of Westphalia. Given its obvious success in keeping Japan safe and the United States strong in East Asia, one might conclude that the agreement has a bright future. And one would be wrong. The landslide electoral victory of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) last August, after nearly 54 years of uninterrupted rule by the Liberal Democratic Party, has raised new questions in Japan about whether the treaty's benefits still outweigh its costs. LABOR PAINS Back in 1952, when an earlier security treaty (which provided the basis for the 1960 treaty) entered into force, both sides thought it was a grand bargain. Japan would recover its independence, gain security at a low cost from the most powerful nation in the region, and win access to the U.S. market for its products. Without the need to build a large military force, Japan would be able to devote itself to economic recovery. The United States, for its part, could project power into the western Pacific, and having troops and bases in Japan made credible both its treaty commitments to defend South Korea and Taiwan and its policy of containment of the Soviet Union and communist China.
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, South Korea, Vietnam
  • Author: Jan Lodal
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Keir Lieber and Daryl Press ("The Nukes We Need," November/December 2009) argue that to deter the growing number of nuclear-armed states against which it might have to fight a conventional war, the United States should develop a new generation of accurate low-yield nuclear weapons. They contend that "the least bad option in the face of explicit nuclear threats or after a limited nuclear strike may be a counterforce attack to prevent further nuclear use." It is true that for the United States to maintain nuclear deterrence, the president must have credible options to respond to nuclear threats or attacks. Lieber and Press rightly assert that the capability to destroy enemy cities with high-yield weapons is not enough. But their argument for new counterforce capabilities attacks a straw man. The United States already has the flexibility to carry out low-yield counterforce attacks, and there are no plans to eliminate this. The B-61 nuclear bomb has a variable yield that can be set quite low and is highly accurate, especially when carried by the stealth B-2 bomber. Cruise missiles with low-yield warheads have similar capabilities. Even long-range ballistic missiles can be targeted to minimize collateral damage. Lieber and Press go beyond urging low-yield counterforce capabilities and propose a bizarre and dangerous nuclear strategy for the United States: to develop the capacity for attacks against a threatening enemy that would prevent the enemy from launching any subsequent nuclear attacks. These disarming strikes would be launched even if the enemy had attacked an isolated military target, such as a carrier battle group at sea. Astoundingly, the authors also propose preemptive nuclear attacks against "explicit nuclear threats." The states against which such attacks might be used include Iran, North Korea, other new nuclear powers, and even China.
  • Political Geography: United States, China