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  • Author: Nouriel Roubini, Ian Bremmer
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In the wake of the financial crisis, the United States is no longer the leader of the global economy, and no other nation has the political and economic leverage to replace it. Rather than a forum for compromise, the G-20 is likely to be an arena of conflict.
  • Topic: Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Walter Russell Mead
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: What does rise of the Tea Party movement mean for U.S. foreign policy? Since today's populists have little interest in creating a liberal world order, U.S. policymakers will have to find some way to satisfy their angry domestic constituencies while also working effectively in the international arena.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Thomas J. Christensen
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Over the past two years, China's foreign policy has become more belligerent. But Washington should not wish for a weaker Beijing. In fact, on problems from nuclear proliferation to climate change, the United States needs a more confident China as a partner.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Climate Change
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Charles Glaser
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Realist international relations theorists usually would predict that the basic pressures of the international system will force the United States and China into conflict. But properly understood, realism offers grounds for optimism in this case, so long as Washington can avoid exaggerating the risks posed by China's growing power.
  • Topic: International Relations, War
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Raguram G. Rajan
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The current debate over quantitative easing overlooks the important question of domestic economic strategy in both the developed and developing world. Put simply, consumers in industrial economies buy too much, and those in developing ones, too little.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Emma Sky
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The surge of U.S. troops into Iraq helped decrease violence and set the stage for the eventual U.S. withdrawal. But the country still has a long way to go before it becomes sovereign and self-reliant. To stabilize itself and realize its democratic aspirations, Iraq needs Washington's continued support.
  • Topic: Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Author: Leah Farrall
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Al Qaeda is stronger today than when it carried out the 9/11 attacks. Accounts that contend that it is on the decline treat the central al Qaeda organization separately from its subsidiaries and overlook its success in expanding its power and influence through them.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Lisa Anderson
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In Tunisia, protesters escalated calls for the restoration of the country's suspended constitution. Meanwhile, Egyptians rose in revolt as strikes across the country brought daily life to a halt and toppled the government. In Libya, provincial leaders worked feverishly to strengthen their newly independent republic. It was 1919. That year's events demonstrate that the global diffusion of information and expectations -- so vividly on display in Tahrir Square this past winter -- is not a result of the Internet and social media. The inspirational rhetoric of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points speech, which helped spark the 1919 upheavals, made its way around the world by telegraph. The uprisings of 1919 also suggest that the calculated spread of popular movements, seen across the Arab world last winter, is not a new phenomenon. The Egyptian Facebook campaigners are the modern incarnation of Arab nationalist networks whose broadsheets disseminated strategies for civil disobedience throughout the region in the years after World War I. The important story about the 2011 Arab revolts in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya is not how the globalization of the norms of civic engagement shaped the protesters' aspirations. Nor is it about how activists used technology to share ideas and tactics. Instead, the critical issue is how and why these ambitions and techniques resonated in their various local contexts. The patterns and demographics of the protests varied widely. The demonstrations in Tunisia spiraled toward the capital from the neglected rural areas, finding common cause with a once powerful but much repressed labor movement. In Egypt, by contrast, urbane and cosmopolitan young people in the major cities organized the uprisings. Meanwhile, in Libya, ragtag bands of armed rebels in the eastern provinces ignited the protests, revealing the tribal and regional cleavages that have beset the country for decades. Although they shared a common call for personal dignity and responsive government, the revolutions across these three countries reflected divergent economic grievances and social dynamics -- legacies of their diverse encounters with modern Europe and decades under unique regimes.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Libya, Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Michael Scott Doran
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Not since the Suez crisis and the Nasser-fueled uprisings of the 1950s has the Middle East seen so much unrest. Understanding those earlier events can help the United States navigate the crisis today -- for just like Nasser, Iran and Syria will try to manipulate various local grievances into a unified anti-Western campaign
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: Shadi Hamid
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: For decades, U.S. policy toward the Middle East has been paralyzed by "the Islamist dilemma" -- how can the United States promote democracy in the region without risking bringing Islamists to power? Now, it seems, the United States no longer has a choice. Popular revolutions have swept U.S.-backed authoritarian regimes from power in Tunisia and Egypt and put Libya's on notice. If truly democratic governments form in their wake, they are likely to include significant representation of mainstream Islamist groups. Like it or not, the United States will have to learn to live with political Islam. Washington tends to question whether Islamists' religious commitments can coexist with respect for democracy, pluralism, and women's rights. But what the United States really fears are the kinds of foreign policies such groups might pursue. Unlike the Middle East's pro-Western autocracies, Islamists have a distinctive, albeit vague, conception of an Arab world that is confident, independent, and willing to project influence beyond its borders. There is no question that democracy will make the region more unpredictable and some governments there less amenable to U.S. security interests. At their core, however, mainstream Islamist organizations, such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Jordan and al Nahda in Tunisia, have strong pragmatic tendencies. When their survival has required it, they have proved willing to compromise their ideology and make di⁄cult choices. To guide the new, rapidly evolving Middle East in a favorable direction, the United States should play to these instincts by entering into a strategic dialogue with the region's Islamist groups and parties. Through engagement, the United States can encourage these Islamists to respect key Western interests, including advancing the Arab-Israeli peace process, countering Iran, and combating terrorism. It will be better to develop such ties with opposition groups now, while the United States still has leverage, rather than later, after they are already in power.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Daniel Byman
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On December 17, Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tunisian street vendor, set himself on fire to protest police harassment. His death incited unrest throughout Tunisia; less than a month later, protests toppled Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. Egypt, the most populous and influential country in the Arab world, soon followed suit. Al Qaeda met both these dramatic events with near silence. Only in mid-February did Osama bin Laden's Egyptian deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, officer comments. But even then, he did not directly address the revolutions or explain how jihadists should respond. Instead, he claimed that the Tunisian revolution occurred "against the agent of America and France," gamely trying to transform Tunisians' fight against corruption and repression into a victory for anti-Western jihadists. On Egypt, Zawahiri offered a rambling history lesson, ranging from Napoleon to the tyranny of the Mubarak government. He released his statement on Egypt on February 18, a week after Hosni Mubarak resigned, and offered little guidance to potential followers on how they should view the revolution or react to it. U.S. politicians are moving quickly to claim the revolutions and al Qaeda's muted response as victories in the struggle against terrorism. "This revolution is a repudiation of al Qaeda," declared Senator John McCain during a visit to Cairo on February 27. And indeed, looking out from bin Laden's cave, the Arab world looks less promising than it did only a few months ago. Although bin Laden and al Qaeda have been attempting to overthrow Arab governments for more than 20 years, the toppling of the seemingly solid dictatorships in Tunisia and Egypt caught them flat-footed and undermined their message of violent jihad. Nevertheless, al Qaeda and its allies could ultimately benefit from the unrest. For now, al Qaeda has greater operational freedom of action, and bin Laden and his allies will seek to exploit any further unrest in the months and years to come.
  • Topic: Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia
  • 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: Aqil Shah
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States has a major stake in Pakistan's stability, given the country's central role in the U.S.-led effort to, in U.S. President Barack Obama's words, "disrupt, dismantle, and defeat" al Qaeda; its war-prone rivalry with India over Kashmir; and its nuclear arsenal. As a result, U.S. policy toward Pakistan has been dominated by concerns for its stability -- providing the reasoning for Washington's backing of the Pakistani military's frequent interventions in domestic politics -- at the expense of its democratic institutions. But as the recent eruption of protests in the Middle East against U.S.-backed tyrants has shown, authoritarian stability is not always a winning bet. Despite U.S. efforts to promote it, stability is hardly Pakistan's distinguishing feature. Indeed, many observers fear that Pakistan could become the world's first nuclear-armed failed state. Their worry is not without reason. More than 63 years after independence, Pakistan is faced with a crumbling economy and a pernicious Taliban insurgency radiating from its Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), the semiautonomous seven districts and six smaller regions along its border with Afghanistan. It is still struggling to meet its population's basic needs. More than half its population faces severe poverty, which fuels resentment against the government and feeds political instability. According to the World Bank, the Pakistani state's effectiveness has actually been in steady decline for the last two decades. In 2010, Foreign Policy even ranked Pakistan as number ten on its Failed States Index, placing it in the "critical" category with such other failed or failing states as Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Somalia. The consequences of its failure would no doubt be catastrophic, if for no other reason than al Qaeda and its affiliates could possibly get control of the country's atomic weapons. The Pakistani Taliban's dramatic incursions into Pakistan's northwestern Buner District (just 65 miles from the capital) in 2009 raised the specter of such a takeover.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Washington, Middle East, India, Kashmir
  • Author: Russell Crandall
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On August 18, 2010, a Venezuelan drug trafficker named Walid Makled was arrested in Colombia. U.S. officials accused him of shipping ten tons of cocaine a month to the United States, and they made a formal extradition request to try him in New York. Although the Venezuelan government had also made an extradition request for crimes Makled allegedly committed in Venezuela, senior U.S. diplomats were confident that the Colombian government would add him to the list of hundreds of suspects it had already turned over to U.S. judicial authorities in recent years. So it came as a surprise when Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced in November that he had promised Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez that Makled would be extradited to Venezuela, not the United States. Colombia, Washington's closest ally in South America, appeared to be unveiling a new strategic calculus, one that gave less weight to its relationship with Washington. What made the decision all the more unexpected is that the U.S. government still provides Colombia with upward of $500 million annually in development and security assistance, making Colombia one of the world's top recipients of U.S. aid. For the United States in Latin America today, apparently, $500 million just does not buy what it used to. Across the region in recent years, the United States has seen its influence decline. Latin American countries are increasingly looking for solutions among themselves, forming their own regional organizations that exclude the United States and seeking friends and opportunities outside of Washington's orbit. Some U.S. allies are even reconsidering their belief in the primacy of relations with the United States. Much of this has to do with the end of the Cold War, a conflict that turned Latin America into a battleground between U.S. and Soviet proxies. Washington has also made a series of mistakes in the years since then, arrogantly issuing ultimatums that made it even harder to get what it wanted in Latin America.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, Washington, Colombia, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Stephen Flynn
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States has made a mess of homeland security. This is hardly surprising. The policymakers responsible for developing homeland security policy in the wake of September 11, 2001, did so under extraordinary conditions and with few guideposts. The Bush administration's emphasis on combating terrorism overseas meant that it devoted limited strategic attention to the top-down law enforcement and border-focused efforts of the federal departments and agencies assigned new homeland security responsibilities. President Barack Obama has largely continued his predecessor's policies, and congressional oversight has been haphazard. As a result, nearly a decade after al Qaeda struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Washington still lacks a coherent strategy for harnessing the nation's best assets for managing risks to the homeland -- civil society and the private sector. For much of its history, the United States drew on the strength of its citizens in times of crisis, with volunteers joining fire brigades and civilians enlisting or being drafted to fight the nation's wars. But during the Cold War, keeping the threat of a nuclear holocaust at bay required career military and intelligence professionals operating within a large, complex, and highly secretive national security establishment. The sheer size and lethality of U.S. and Soviet nuclear arsenals rendered civil defense measures largely futile. By the time the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Union collapsed, two generations of Americans had grown accustomed to sitting on the sidelines and the national security community had become used to operating in a world of its own. To an extraordinary extent, this same self-contained Cold War-era national security apparatus is what Washington is using today to confront the far different challenge presented by terrorism. U.S. federal law enforcement agencies, the border agencies, and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are subsumed in a world of security clearances and classified documents. Prohibited from sharing information on threats and vulnerabilities with the general public, these departments' officials have become increasingly isolated from the people that they serve.
  • Topic: Cold War, Development
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Soviet Union
  • Author: Tim W. Ferguson, Charles B. Heck, Mitchell W. Hedstrom
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: ESSAY American Profligacy and American Power Roger C. Altman and Richard N. Haass The U.S. government is incurring debt at an unprecedented rate. If U.S. leaders do not act to curb their debt addiction, then the global capital markets will do so for them, forcing a sharp and punitive adjustment in fiscal policy. The result will be an age of American austerity. Would you like to leave a comment? 1CommentsJoin To the Editor: Roger Altman and Richard Haass ("American Profligacy and American Power," November/December 2010) persuasively argue that continued American profligacy promises to undermine American power. But the situation is even more urgent than they suggest. Although Altman and Haass expect markets to remain calm "possibly for two or three years," the rising price of gold suggests otherwise. Gold has risen from $460 per ounce to $1,400 per ounce in the last five years -- representing a 67 percent devaluation of the U.S. dollar per unit of gold. As former U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan has said, gold is "the ultimate means of payment." Moreover, on top of new government debt over the next several years, maturing existing debt will need to be refinanced. At 4.6 years, the average maturity of the U.S. federal debt held by the public (debt that now totals $9.1 trillion) is tight relative to, for instance, the average maturity of 13.5 years for British government debt. According to the International Monetary Fund, the maturing debt of the U.S. government will equal 18.1 percent of U.S. GDP during 2011 alone. Altman and Haass rightly note that the U.S. government's annual interest expense will rise dramatically as its stock of debt increases and interest rates inevitably rise. Further debt increases would substantially darken the fiscal outlook for the federal government. And even a relatively small rise in interest rates would have a significant impact. TIM W. FERGUSON Editor, Forbes Asia CHARLES B. HECK Former North American Director, Trilateral Commission MITCHELL W. HEDSTROM Managing Director, TIAA-CREF
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Asia
  • Author: Andrew Jacovides
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: To the Editor: Hugh Pope ("Pax Ottomana?" November/December 2010) observes that Turkey succeeded in being elected to a rotating seat of the UN Security Council for 2009-10. It might then be assumed that Turkey's policies have been guided by the principles of the UN Charter. But Turkey continues its 40,000-strong troop occupation of a large part of the Republic of Cyprus -- an EU and UN member state -- despite numerous Security Council resolutions since its initial 1974 invasion calling for its immediate withdrawal. Turkey does not comply with its legal obligations to Cyprus or to the EU and forcibly interferes with Cyprus' rights in its exclusive economic zone of maritime jurisdiction. Pope writes that "in 2003, the [ruling party in Turkey] reversed traditional Turkish policy by agreeing to endorse a UN plan to reunify" Cyprus. What he does not say, however, is that the latest version of the plan wholly incorporated Ankara's demands. In addition, Pope makes an unfounded assertion in stating that "since joining the EU in 2004, Cyprus has pulled all available levers to block Turkey's own accession to the union." If this were the case, Turkey would not have been endorsed as a candidate for EU membership in 2005, since such a decision requires unanimity, and so Cyprus could have exercised its veto. Like Pope, many welcomed Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's declared goal of the "settlement of disputes" that "directly or indirectly concern Turkey" and Turkey's "zero problem" policy toward its neighbors. Other than paying lip service to supporting the UN-sponsored intercommunal talks on Cyprus, however, Turkey has not conceded an inch toward achieving a solution within the agreed framework. If the Cyprus problem were solved through a viable compromise settlement with Turkey's help, Turkey will have removed a major obstacle to its EU accession. Moreover, a reunited and peaceful Cyprus, free of foreign troops, would be transformed into a bridge of peace from a bone of contention and would cooperate with Turkey and Greece on an array of issues. This outcome can be achieved through good neighborly relations on the basis of the principles of the UN Charter, not through occupation, domination, and a Pax Ottomana. ANDREW JACOVIDES Former Ambassador of Cyprus to the United States
  • Topic: Security, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey
  • Author: Steven Rattner
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: As Americans fret about their economic decline, Germans are celebrating their country's success as a manufacturing juggernaut. Obama's former auto czar explains the key to Germany's export boom -- and how the United States can emulate it.
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Germany
  • Author: Peter Bergen, Katherine Tiedemann
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In the wake of Islamabad's decision to ban the United States from using the Shamsi airbase to launch drone attacks, Washington will need to rethink its drone program. Unless the strikes become more transparent and control over them is transferred from the CIA to the military, they won't help Washington win the larger war.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington
  • Author: Edward Alden, Bryan Roberts
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In response to record numbers of illegal border crossings and the security fears triggered by the 9/11 attacks, over the past two decades the United States has steadily increased its efforts to secure its borders against illegal immigration. The number of U.S. Border Patrol agents has risen from fewer than 3,000 to more than 20,700; nearly 700 miles of fencing have been built along the southern border with Mexico; and surveillance systems, including pilotless drones, now monitor much of the rest of the border. In a speech in El Paso, Texas, in May, U.S. President Barack Obama claimed that the United States had "strengthened border security beyond what many believed was possible." Yet according to spring 2011 Rasmussen poll, nearly two-thirds of Americans think the border is no more, or even less, secure than it was five years ago. Some administration critics claim that the United States' frontiers have never been more porous. This contradiction stems in part from the fact that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has never clearly defined what border control means in practice. A secure border cannot mean one with no illegal crossings -- that would be unrealistic for almost any country, especially one as big and as open as the United States. On the other hand, the borders cannot be considered secure if many of those attempting to enter illegally succeed. Defining a sensible middle ground, where border enforcement and other programs discourage many illegal crossings and most of those who try to cross illegally are apprehended, is the challenge. Unfortunately, the U.S. government has failed to develop good measures for fixing goals and determining progress toward them. Since 2005, the DHS has reported how many miles of the country's land borders are under its "operational control," but it has done so without having clearly defined what that standard means and without providing hard data to back it up. The lack of sound measurement has left the administration touting its efforts rather than their results: during a press conference in 2010, Obama noted, "We have more of everything: ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement], Border Patrol, surveillance, you name it. So we take border security seriously."
  • Topic: Security, Border Control
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Peter R. Orszag
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States' fiscal future depends on whether the country can limit health-care costs. Obama's reforms were a major step in the right direction, argues the former White House budget director. But to finish the job, the U.S. medical system must evolve so that it emphasizes evidence and pursues quality rather than quantity.
  • Topic: Health
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Daniel W. Drezner
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: As the U.S. military intervenes in Libya, a fierce debate has erupted over the possible existence of an Obama doctrine, with a chorus of foreign policy observers bemoaning the United States' supposed strategic incompetence. Last fall, the columnist Jackson Diehl wrote in The Washington Post, "This administration is notable for its lack of grand strategy -- or strategists." In The National Interest this January, the political scientist John Mearsheimer concluded, "The root cause of America's troubles is that it adopted a flawed grand strategy after the Cold War." The economic historian Niall Ferguson took to Newsweek to argue that alleged U.S. setbacks in the Middle East were "the predictable consequence of the Obama administration's lack of any kind of a coherent grand strategy, a deficit about which more than a few veterans of U.S. foreign policymaking have long worried." Even the administration's defenders have damned it with faint praise. The National Journal's Michael Hirsh argued that "the real Obama doctrine is to have no doctrine at all. And that's the way it's likely to remain." Hirsh, at least, meant it as a compliment. But is it true that President Barack Obama has no grand strategy? And even if it were, would that be such a disaster? The George W. Bush administration, after all, developed a clear, coherent, and well-defined grand strategy after 9/11. But those attributes did not make it a good one, and its implementation led to more harm than benefit. Grand strategies are not nearly as important as grand strategists like to think, because countries tend to be judged by their actions, not their words. What really matters for great powers is power -- national economic and military strength -- and that speaks loudly and clearly by itself. Still, in times of deep uncertainty, a strategy can be important as a signaling device. In these moments, such as the present, a clearly articulated strategy matched by consistent actions is useful because it can drive home messages about a country's intentions to domestic and foreign audiences.
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Libya
  • Author: David G. Victor, Kassia Yanosek
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After years of staggering growth, the clean-energy industry is headed for a crisis. In most of the Western countries leading the industry, the public subsidies that have propelled it to 25 percent annual growth rates in recent years have now become politically unsustainable. Temporary government stimulus programs -- which in 2010 supplied one-fifth of the record investment in clean energy worldwide -- have merely delayed the bad news. Last year, after 20 years of growth, the number of new wind turbine installations dropped for the first time; in the United States, the figure fell by as much as half. The market value of leading clean-energy equipment manufacturing companies has plummeted and is poised to decline further as government support for the industry erodes. The coming crisis could make some of the toughest foreign policy challenges facing the United States -- from energy insecurity to the trade deficit to global warming -- even more difficult to resolve. The revolution in clean energy was supposed to help fix these problems while also creating green jobs that would power the economic recovery. Some niches in clean energy will still be profitable, such as residential rooftop solar installations and biofuel made from Brazilian sugar cane, which is already competitive with oil. But overall, the picture is grim. This is true not only for the United States but also for the rest of the world, because the market for clean-energy technologies is global. Whether this shakeout will strengthen or weaken the clean-energy industry will depend on how policymakers, notably in the United States, prepare for it. The root cause of today's troubles is a boom-and-bust cycle of policies that have encouraged investors to flock to clean-energy projects that are quick and easy to build rather than invest in more innovative technologies that could stand a better chance of competing with conventional energy sources over the long haul. Indeed, nearly seven-eighths of all clean-energy investment worldwide now goes to deploying existing technologies, most of which are not competitive without the help of government subsidies. Only a tiny share of the investment focuses on innovation.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Thomas J. Bassett, Scott Straus
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In early April, in the final days of Côte d'Ivoire's torturous four-month-long political crisis, French and UN helicopters bombarded the presidential residence in Abidjan. This military operation sealed the fate of the incumbent, Laurent Gbagbo, paving the way for Alassane Ouattara, the widely recognized winner of the November 2010 presidential elections, to claim office. But the French and UN action had another effect: it triggered commentary and outrage about international interference -- in particular on the part of France -- in African affairs. Ivoirian newspapers backing Gbagbo fulminated about France's desire to retake its former colonies. The French press, meanwhile, obsessed about whether France's military intervention spelled a new era of Françafrique, the term, first introduced in the 1950s, for French interference in the internal affairs of its former African colonies. The New York Times ran a story about France's "long shadow" over its former colonies, and pundits around the world worried that these international actions could doom Ouattara's legitimacy. Such a Eurocentric focus, however, both mischaracterizes the internal dynamics of the conflict and misses the more significant diplomatic development -- namely, the role of African regional organizations. In the end, France and the UN did not win the war for Ouattara and his self-styled "Republican Forces." By the time France and the UN intervened, Ouattara's forces controlled 90 percent of the country and were on the verge of taking the commercial capital, Abidjan. International forces did manage to hasten Gbagbo's demise: in effect, accomplishing the inevitable and preventing a final attack on Abidjan, which would have resulted in a terrible humanitarian crisis.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, New York
  • Author: Andrew J. Nathan
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Henry Kissinger's new book argues that the United States should yield gracefully to China's rise; Aaron Friedberg's gives the opposite advice. By focusing on intentions instead of capabilities, both books overstate China's actual power.
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Dalia Dassa Kaye, Frederic M. Wehrey, Michael Scott Doran
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: READING THE NEW MIDDLE EAST MAP Dalia Dassa Kaye and Frederic Wehrey With long-standing U.S. allies toppled or under pressure from unprecedented dissent across the Arab world, Michael Doran, in "The Heirs of Nasser" (May/June 2011), warns that Iran is poised to walk away from the Arab Spring a winner. In his view, the chaotic Arab political scene will allow Iran and its radical allies -- Hamas, Hezbollah, and Syria -- to stoke public frustration over unmet expectations or engage in subversive provocations, thereby embroiling new regimes in the region's old conflicts. In previous periods of regional upheaval, revolutionaries such as Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser employed this strategy at the expense of U.S. and Western interests. Nasser played the Israel card to goad his Western-backed rivals into war, while exhorting their publics to rebel. Why, Doran argues, should one expect any less from Iran and its allies today? Certainly, the regional shakeup will give Iran and its allies much to prey on. The Arab world's secular, liberal youth movements, often hobbled by a lack of organization and leadership, will compete with long-established parties with starkly different views of the future, be they remnants of the old regimes or Islamist forces. The region's new governments will confront economic challenges that will limit their ability to meet the expectations of a youthful and increasingly impatient public. Meanwhile, the continued Israeli-Palestinian stalemate offers further ammunition for rejectionist forces to reinvigorate the region's tired scapegoats, redirecting the conversation away from talk about the failure of domestic governance. The United States' inconsistent policies toward the Arab revolts (for example, the varying U.S. responses to Bahrain and Libya) offer more fodder for Iran's resistance narrative. Still, although Iran and its allies will attempt to seize on these vulnerabilities to widen the gap between ruler and ruled, they are unlikely to achieve the success of Nasser. In fact, the political upheaval in the Arab world has led to at least three fundamental shifts in the regional order that have only sharpened the preexisting limitations of Iranian influence.
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Douglas Paal, Charles Glaser, Shyu-tu Lee
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: MISREADING CHINA'S INTENTIONS Shyu-tu Lee According to Charles Glaser, the prospects for avoiding war between the United States and China are good ("Will China's Rise Lead to War?" March/April 2011). But by ignoring China's history and economic policy and other relevant factors, Glaser arrives at policy prescriptions that would increase the chance of a Chinese nuclear attack on the U.S. homeland. Glaser misjudges Chinese motives. China's military modernization is not primarily motivated by insecurity, as he asserts. China is not threatened by the United States or any of its neighbors. It is advocating its model of governance -- managed capitalism combined with one-party authoritarianism -- as a more efficient alternative to a free-market economy and democracy. China's mission is to regain its place as the dominant superpower so that the country can cleanse itself of the humiliation it has experienced at the hands of the West. The rise of China poses grave challenges to U.S. security. Beijing implements a mercantilist trade policy and artificially sets a low value on its currency to promote exports, thus creating a large U.S. trade deficit with China year after year. Its army has been modernizing at a rapid pace, developing anti-access, area-denial weapons and cyber- and space-warfare capabilities. Meanwhile, China wants to integrate Taiwan because its democracy threatens Beijing's autocratic and repressive rule. In addition, Beijing needs Taiwan as a military base from which to project power into the Indian and Pacific oceans. To keep the peace, the United States must discard the culture of excessive deference to Beijing and implement policies to maintain U.S. military superiority, stanch the flow of U.S. wealth to China, steer China toward democratization, strengthen its alliances with Japan and South Korea, and engage China in an economic and strategic dialogue to promote fair trade and avoid misunderstandings.
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, South Korea
  • Author: Rory Miller
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In the middle of a stalled peace process, one of the few things Israeli and Palestinian officials agree on is that U.S. President Barack Obama deserves much of the blame for the impasse. Israeli policymakers are furious with the demand that Obama made early in his term that Israel freeze settlement construction in the West Bank and with his declaration in May that Israel's 1967 borders should serve as the starting point for peace discussions. Palestinian leaders, for their part, believe that Obama has failed to fulfill the promise he made in his June 2009 Cairo speech to back their legitimate aspirations for statehood, and they are irritated that he has not forced the Israelis to continue the settlement freeze. The recent decisions by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to strike a unity deal with Hamas and press for UN recognition of Palestinian statehood is a sign of how frustrated with Washington he has become. In the face of this impasse, a variety of international figures are now asking Europe to step in. Arab leaders such as former Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa have called on Europe to take charge of the peace process. In a May meeting with EU officials, for example, King Abdullah of Jordan urged Europe "to intensify efforts with a view to removing the obstacles that impede the resumption of the peace process." The EU's current political and diplomatic leaders need no encouragement. They already seem to feel that they have both a right and a duty to help solve the conflict. Last year, then French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Miguel Ángel Moratinos, his Spanish counterpart, said in a joint statement that the EU "must play a role because it is a friend of Israel and of the Palestinian Authority [PA] and above all because its own long-term security is at stake."
  • Topic: Security, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Palestine
  • Author: William McCants
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On 9/11, the global jihadist movement burst into the world's consciousness, but a decade later, thanks in part to the Arab Spring and the killing of Osama bin Laden, it is in crisis. With Western-backed dictators falling, al Qaeda might seem closer than ever to its goal of building Islamic states. But the revolutions have empowered the group's chief rivals instead: Islamist parliamentarians, who are willing to use ballots, not bombs.
  • Topic: Cold War, Islam
  • Political Geography: United States, Soviet Union, Arabia, Egypt
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: It's tempting to see the 9/11 attacks as having fundamentally changed U.S. foreign policy. It's also wrong. The Bush administration may have gone over the top in responding, but its course was less novel than generally believed. A quest for primacy and military supremacy, a readiness to act proactively and unilaterally, and a focus on democracy and free markets -- all are long-standing features of U.S. policy.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Middle East
  • Author: David M. Rodriguez
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In the summer of 2011, I visited the Afghan army's Regional Military Training Center in Helmand Province. The recruits had been there for two weeks, and they looked as strong as any group of U.S. soldiers in basic training. The Afghan drill instructors were as competent, and had the same cocky swagger, as American ones. "Sir, look at all of our volunteers," one drill sergeant proudly said to me. "They're great. We have already won. . . . We just don't know it yet." To comprehend the United States' progress in Afghanistan, it is important to understand how and where we have focused our resources and what work lies ahead. To be sure, the United States and its coalition partners still have plenty of challenges left to tackle in Afghanistan. However, there are indisputable gains everywhere we have focused our efforts. In 2009, General Stanley McChrystal, then the commander of U.S. and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops, with the help of David Petraeus, then the commander of the U.S. Central Command, worked hard to design a comprehensive counterinsurgency campaign for Afghanistan that would "get the inputs right," as Petraues often said. The upshot was more resources, troops, and civilian support and better command coherence. There are now more Afghan and coalition soldiers in Helmand and Kandahar Provinces alone than there were in all of Regional Command East, the formation responsible for security in Afghanistan's 14 eastern provinces, when I commanded the latter from 2007 to 2008. As 33,000 U.S. troops begin the drawdown, returning to the United States by next summer, 352,000 Afghan soldiers and police will be in place to continue their work. There are clear signs of progress in Afghanistan, and coalition forces have regained the initiative. The strategy has worked because it sought to match the coalition's goals with available resources. It involved four major concepts. First, use a bottom-up approach founded on good governance, capable security forces, and engagement with local communities. If towns had good leaders and security providers, populations would find local solutions to their local problems, with just a little help from Kabul. Insurgents could no longer exploit popular grievances about security, justice, and a lack of basic services.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, America
  • Author: Thomas Barfield
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In late 2001,when U.S. forces expelled the Taliban from Afghanistan, the country appeared headed for a breakup. The United States and the rest of the international community feared that Afghanistan's rival ethnic groups would use their regional power bases to pull apart any unitary state, forming in its place independent ministates or aligning with their ethnic brethren across Afghanistan's borders. At the time, such fears seemed credible: NATO troops were still dealing with the fallout from the violent disintegration of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. The Afghans themselves, however, were less concerned about their country dividing. After all, Afghanistan has been a single state for more than 250 years. If the country were going to split, it would have done so in the 1990s, during its protracted civil war. Yet it did not. No Afghan leader of any political stripe or ethnicity endorsed secession at any time during the last century. Nor did any at the start of this one. Although Afghanistan's various ethnic factions disagreed about how the country's new government should be organized and who would wield power within it, they all proclaimed their support for a unitary state. A decade later, the anxiety of Washington and its allies has reversed itself. If in 2001 the West was afraid that the absence of a strong centralized government in Kabul would prompt Afghanistan's dissolution, by 2011 the West has come to fear that a dysfunctional centralized government could cause this same outcome. Such a turn of events was caused by several factors, perhaps most of all by many Afghans' dissatisfaction with a centralized national administrative structure that cannot cope with the country's regional diversity or with expectations for local self-rule. The government in Kabul has been further undermined by the country's fraudulent 2009 presidential election, the absence of political parties, poor security, and general corruption.
  • Topic: NATO, Corruption
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Arvind Subramanian
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Is China poised to take over from the United States as the world's leading economy? Yes, judging by its GDP, trade flows, and ability to act as a creditor to the rest of the world. In fact, China's economic dominance will be far greater and come about far sooner than most observers realize.
  • Topic: Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Mark A.R Kleiman
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Neither intensifying the drug war nor legalizing all drugs offers much hope of reducing drug abuse in the United States or lessening violence in Mexico. The key to changing outcomes on both sides of the border is changing the incentives facing dealers and users.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Mexico
  • Author: Khaled Elgindy
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and chair of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), plans to call on the United Nations in September to recognize a Palestinian state and admit it as a full member of the organization. This strategy marks a dramatic shift in the Palestinians' approach to the conflict with Israel: they are not seeking to revive the moribund peace process; they are seeking to bypass it altogether. Following the collapse of direct negotiations last fall, Abbas and his Fatah-dominated leadership launched an aggressive diplomatic campaign to secure broad international recognition of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders as a prelude to applying for formal UN membership this fall. If the Palestinian bid to get full UN membership in September is defeated in the UN Security Council -- a U.S. veto is all but assured -- the PA says it is prepared to take the matter to the General Assembly. Initially, the plan was to seek a two-thirds majority vote there to obtain a nonbinding resolution under the "Uniting for Peace" procedure, which allows the General Assembly to act when a lack of unanimity on the Security Council prevents it from fulfilling its "primary responsibility" of maintaining "international peace and security." The PA has since backed away from this option and is now planning to seek a simple majority in the General Assembly, which would allow Palestine to be recognized as a "nonmember state" of the UN, alongside Kosovo, Taiwan, and Vatican City.
  • Topic: United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Taiwan, Palestine, Kosovo, Vatican city
  • Author: Richard J. Samuels, Ely Ratner, Eric Heginbotham
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The earthquake and tsunami that struck northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, caused almost unimaginable damage and misery. In a surge of floodwater that lasted just two minutes, Japan lost nearly as many people as a proportion of its population as the United States did during the entire Vietnam War. The subsequent meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear reactors deepened the crisis. But some see a silver lining to these dark tragedies. After 20 years of economic stagnation, the crisis could bring the Japanese together, catalyze much-needed reforms, and reverse decades of malaise. Many in the United States predict that the disaster will give a welcome boost to the U.S.-Japanese alliance. In an interview with Japan's national public television network on March 22, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proclaimed, "Our alliance, which was already strong and enduring, has become even more so." Indeed, the U.S. response to the disaster showcased its lasting commitment to Japan, as well as the unique logistical and material capabilities that the U.S. military forces stationed in the Pacific can provide. In what was dubbed Operation Tomodachi (Operation Friendship), the United States mobilized some 20,000 service members to assist with relief activities. It was the largest joint operation in the history of the alliance, and it generated widespread public support in both countries. Despite the warmth of that the moment, however, deeper trends portend a far less certain future for the U.S.-Japanese relationship. Japan is undergoing profound changes aimed at empowering the political leadership at the expense of its historically preeminent bureaucracy. But rather than bringing about a clean transfer of institutional authority, the reforms have triggered battles among politicians and between politicians and bureaucrats, creating a power vacuum and undermining the government's ability to make policy. Complicating matters further are Japan's piecemeal policymaking institutions, a hypercompetitive media environment, and an increasingly dire fiscal outlook. The result has been uncertainty and gridlock, which are affecting alliance policymaking and are unlikely to disappear in the years ahead.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Tokyo
  • Author: George Packer
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Like an odorless gas, economic inequality pervades every corner of the United States and saps the strength of its democracy. Over the past three decades, Washington has consistently favored the rich -- and the more wealth accumulates in a few hands at the top, the more influence and favor the rich acquire, making it easier for them and their political allies to cast off restraint without paying a social price.
  • Topic: Economics, Education
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Baghdad
  • Author: Paul K. MacDonald, Joseph M. Parent
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States can no longer afford a world-spanning foreign policy. Retrenchment -- cutting military spending, redefining foreign priorities, and shifting more of the defense burden to allies -- is the only sensible course. Luckily, that does not have to spell instability abroad. History shows that pausing to recharge national batteries can renew a dominant power's international legitimacy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, Cold War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Washington
  • Author: Ernest Moniz
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In the years following the major accidents at Three Mile Island in 1979 and Chernobyl in 1986, nuclear power fell out of favor, and some countries applied the brakes to their nuclear programs. In the last decade, however, it began experiencing something of a renaissance. Concerns about climate change and air pollution, as well as growing demand for electricity, led many governments to reconsider their aversion to nuclear power, which emits little carbon dioxide and had built up an impressive safety and reliability record. Some countries reversed their phaseouts of nuclear power, some extended the lifetimes of existing reactors, and many developed plans for new ones. Today, roughly 60 nuclear plants are under construction worldwide, which will add about 60,000 megawatts of generating capacity -- equivalent to a sixth of the world's current nuclear power capacity. But the movement lost momentum in March, when a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the massive tsunami it triggered devastated Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant. Three reactors were severely damaged, suffering at least partial fuel meltdowns and releasing radiation at a level only a few times less than Chernobyl. The event caused widespread public doubts about the safety of nuclear power to resurface. Germany announced an accelerated shutdown of its nuclear reactors, with broad public support, and Japan made a similar declaration, perhaps with less conviction. Their decisions were made easier thanks to the fact that electricity demand has flagged during the worldwide economic slowdown and the fact that global regulation to limit climate change seems less imminent now than it did a decade ago. In the United States, an already slow approach to new nuclear plants slowed even further in the face of an unanticipated abundance of natural gas.
  • Topic: Government, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Germany
  • Author: Karen Brooks
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Indonesia is in the midst of a yearlong debut on the world stage. This past spring and summer, it hosted a series of high-profile summits, including for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation in May, the World Economic Forum on East Asia the same month, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in July. With each event, Indonesia received broad praise for its leadership and achievements. This coming-out party will culminate in November, when the country hosts the East Asia Summit, which U.S. President Barack Obama and world leaders from 17 other countries will attend. As attention turns to Indonesia, the time is ripe to assess whether Jakarta can live up to all the hype. A little over ten years ago, during the height of the Asian financial crisis, Indonesia looked like a state on the brink of collapse. The rupiah was in a death spiral, protests against President Suharto's regime had turned into riots, and violence had erupted against Indonesia's ethnic Chinese community. The chaos left the country -- the fourth largest in the world, a sprawling archipelago including more than 17,000 islands, 200 million people, and the world's largest Muslim population -- without a clear leader. Today, Indonesia is hailed as a model democracy and is a darling of the international financial community. The Jakarta Stock Exchange has been among the world's top performers in recent years, and some analysts have even called for adding Indonesia to the ranks of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China). More recent efforts to identify the economic superstars of the future -- Goldman Sachs' "Next 11," PricewaterhouseCoopers' "E-7" (emerging 7), The Economist's "CIVETS" (Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey, and South Africa), and Citigroup's "3G" -- all include Indonesia.
  • Topic: Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Indonesia, India, East Asia, Brazil, Island
  • Author: Edward Miguel
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Steven Radelet's accessible new book argues that much of the credit for Africa's recent economic boom goes to its increasingly open political systems. But Radelet fails to answer the deeper question: why some countries have managed to develop successful democracies while others have tried but failed.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Asia, Liberia
  • Author: Elliott Abrams, Oded Naaman, Mikhael Manekin
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: A HEALTHY OBSESSION Oded Naaman and Mikhael Manekin In "The Settlement Obsession" (July/ August 2011), Elliott Abrams argues:  In the end, Israel will withdraw from most of the West Bank and remain only in the major blocs where hundreds of thousands of Israelis now live. Israelis will live in a democratic state where Jews are the majority, and Palestinians will live in a state -- democratic, one hopes -- with an Arab Muslim majority. The remaining questions are how quickly or slowly that end will be reached and how to get there with minimal violence. For Abrams, there can be no other end; all that politics can do is postpone this end or bring it about. Although it would be preferable to end the conflict as soon as possible, there is no immediate need to do so. Any sense of immediacy, Abrams writes, is overblown: he claims that nongovernmental organizations and some in the international community unjustly point to a humanitarian crisis to create unwarranted urgency. In reviewing our book, Occupation of the Territories, Abrams attempts to assuage worries about the need for urgent action, going so far as to compare Israel's military behavior during its 45-year occupation of the West Bank -- in which Israel has expropriated land, seized natural resources, and settled its own population there -- to the United States' behavior during in its ten-year occupation and massive reconstruction of Germany after World War II. Abrams then implies that Breaking the Silence does not provide reliable or sufficient evidence for the claim that, in his words, "the presence of Israeli settlers and IDF [Israel Defense Forces] soldiers in the West Bank is laying waste to the area, reducing it to misery."
  • Topic: Government, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Germany
  • 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: Zbigniew Brzezinski
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Barack Obama's foreign policy has generated more expectations than strategic breakthroughs. Three urgent issues -- the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iran's nuclear ambitions, and the Afghan-Pakistani challenge -- will test his ability to significantly change U.S. policy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States
  • 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: Graham T. Allison
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The global nuclear order today could be as fragile as the global financial order was two years ago, when conventional wisdom declared it to be sound, stable, and resilient. In the aftermath of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, a confrontation that he thought had one chance in three of ending in nuclear war, U.S. President John F. Kennedy concluded that the nuclear order of the time posed unacceptable risks to mankind. "I see the possibility in the 1970s of the president of the United States having to face a world in which 15 or 20 or 25 nations may have these weapons," he forecast. "I regard that as the greatest possible danger." Kennedy's estimate reflected the general expectation that as nations acquired the advanced technological capability to build nuclear weapons, they would do so. Although history did not proceed along that trajectory, Kennedy's warning helped awaken the world to the intolerable dangers of unconstrained nuclear proliferation. His conviction spurred a surge of diplomatic initiatives: a hot line between Washington and Moscow, a unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing, a ban on nuclear weapons in outer space. Refusing to accept the future Kennedy had spotlighted, the international community instead negotiated various international constraints, the centerpiece of which was the 1968 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Thanks to the nonproliferation regime, 184 nations, including more than 40 that have the technical ability to build nuclear arsenals, have renounced nuclear weapons. Four decades since the NPT was signed, there are only nine nuclear states. Moreover, for more than 60 years, no nuclear weapon has been used in an attack. In 2004, the secretary-general of the UN created a panel to review future threats to international peace and security. It identified nuclear Armageddon as the prime threat, warning, "We are approaching a point at which the erosion of the nonproliferation regime could become irreversible and result in a cascade of proliferation." Developments since 2004 have only magnified the risks of an irreversible cascade.
  • Topic: United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Moscow
  • 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: Abraham D. Sofaer
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After 9/11, U.S. President George W. Bush announced his determination to do whatever was necessary to prevent future terrorist attacks against the United States. Following the lead of several countries that had recently come to similar conclusions after their own bitter experiences -- including India, Israel, Japan, Russia, Spain, and the United Kingdom -- the United States tightened its immigration laws; increased the protection of its borders, ports, and infrastructure; criminalized providing "material support" for terrorist groups; and tore down the wall between the intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies, which had crippled counterterrorist efforts for decades. Washington did not authorize preventive detention, as other countries had, but it used other measures to hold persons against whom criminal charges could not be brought -- thereby preventing terrorist attacks. The U.S. government also led or joined various international efforts aimed at warding off new dangers, such as the Proliferation Security Initiative, through which over 70 states cooperate to interdict the movement of nuclear materials across international borders. But the Bush administration's call for preventive action went further: it endorsed using force against states that supported terrorism or failed to prevent it. This was a particularly controversial position, since using (or threatening to use) preventive force across international borders is generally considered to be a violation of international law: the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and most international legal authorities currently construe the United Nations Charter as prohibiting any use of force not sanctioned by the UN Security Council, with the exception of actions taken in self-defense against an actual or imminent state-sponsored "armed attack."
  • Topic: Security, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Japan, United Kingdom, Washington, Israel, Spain
  • Author: Sheri Berman
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: SHERI BERMAN is Associate Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University. In December 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama announced the fruits of his administration's lengthy review of Afghanistan policy: temporary troop reinforcements and a new military strategy designed to reverse recent gains by the Taliban, efforts to increase the quality of Afghan governance, and a stronger partnership with Pakistan. The troop increases and the proposed withdrawal starting date of July 2011 dominated the headlines, but in the long run the effects of what Obama called a "civilian surge" will be even more important.
  • Topic: Security, Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Taliban