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  • Author: Keith B. Alexander, Emily Goldman, Michael Warner
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The National Interest
  • Institution: The Nixon Center
  • Abstract: PRESIDENT BARACK Obama has identified cybersecurity threats as among the most serious challenges facing our nation. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel noted in April that cyberattacks "have grown into a defining security challenge." And former secretary of defense Leon Panetta told an audience in 2012 that distributed denial-of-service attacks have already hit U.S. financial institutions. Describing this as "a pre-9/11 moment," he explained that "the threat we face is already here." The president and two defense secretaries have thus acknowledged publicly that we as a society are extraordinarily vulnerable. We rely on highly interdependent networks that are insecure, sensitive to interruption and lacking in resiliency. Our nation's government, military, scientific, commercial and entertainment sectors all operate on the same networks as our adversaries. America is continually under siege in cyberspace, and the volume, complexity and potential impact of these assaults are steadily increasing.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Milton Ezrati
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The National Interest
  • Institution: The Nixon Center
  • Abstract: FRANCE's ECONOMY is not just doing badly. It is in profound decline. The slide has proceeded far enough now that businesspeople and politicians across the Continent increasingly refer to France as the "sick man of Europe"-quite a distinction at a moment when Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy share the hospital ward. For decades, European Union structures were strong enough to allow Paris to ignore the country's economic shortcomings. No longer. Unless Paris reforms its economic policies and practices, it could have a disastrous effect. Further economic woes may undermine the Franco-German cooperation on which the EU has relied, confronting the union with either dissolution or, more likely, an increasingly Germanic future.
  • Topic: Economics, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States, France, Germany
  • Author: Vivek S. Sharma
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The National Interest
  • Institution: The Nixon Center
  • Abstract: CORRUPTION, MORE often than not, seems to resemble a plague. Afghanistan, where the CIA and British intelligence (in competition with the Iranians) have quite literally been handing over duffel bags stuffed full with taxpayer money to Prime Minister Hamid Karzai and his associates, is perhaps the most prominent example of its invasiveness and hardiness. Nothing seems to be able to eradicate it. Immunization efforts fail. Mutations occur. The only course seems to be to attempt to adapt to it. For despite the efforts expended by several American presidents on behalf of Karzai's administration, the United States has no surer way of ensuring influence and access to Karzai and his advisers than through direct cash payments into a slush fund designed to purchase the loyalty of important and powerful personages within the Afghan government. The bankruptcy of the Western strategy in Afghanistan could hardly be expressed in more vivid terms. Such failures in Afghanistan, not to mention Iraq, have occurred while the broader (and noncoercive) dimensions of "state building" or more generally "development" have also paid less-than-stellar returns. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the project of implanting "good" institutions in non-Western societies, whether through conquest (as in Iraq and Afghanistan) or through consensual, noncoercive means (as in Cambodia), has turned out to be a thankless task.
  • Topic: Corruption, Development
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Denmark
  • Author: William W. Chip
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The National Interest
  • Institution: The Nixon Center
  • Abstract: AMERICA'S CHANGING demographics, long a delicate topic, have become an increasingly prominent part of national political debate. The subject's prominence was assured when President Barack Obama won reelection with less than 40 percent of the white vote in 2012. It quickly became conventional wisdom that Mitt Romney had antagonized Hispanic voters by proposing that illegal aliens engage in "self-deportation" and that the Republican Party was committing political suicide by catering to a shrinking white voter base. Leading Republican strategists such as Karl Rove urged the GOP to change course. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Rove announced: "If the GOP leaves nonwhite voters to the Democrats, then its margins in safe congressional districts and red states will dwindle-not overnight, but over years and decades." Rove pointed to a Georgia county where a 339 percent increase in the Hispanic population was accompanied by a drop in the Republican share of the presidential vote-from 66.4 percent in 2000 to 51.2 percent in 2012.
  • Topic: Immigration, Law
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Georgia
  • Author: Christopher Whalen
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The National Interest
  • Institution: The Nixon Center
  • Abstract: PRESIDENT OBAMA and Congress continue to wrestle with competing ideas to fix America's housing crisis, ranging from abolishing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to introducing new regulations for repairing the rickety mortgage-financing system years after it crashed. To understand the enduring nature of today's housing-system mess, it is not really necessary to do much more than to look backward. To look, that is, at the careers of two former prominent politicians, each of whom has played an integral role in American finance in recent decades.
  • Topic: Government, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, America
  • Author: Christian Caryl
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The National Interest
  • Institution: The Nixon Center
  • Abstract: A SPECTER is haunting Washington-the specter of George W. Bush. President Obama may have spent almost five years in the White House by now, but it's still possible to detect the furtive presence of a certain restless shade lurking in the dimmer corners of the federal mansion. Needless to say, this is something of a first: usually U.S. presidents have to die before they can join the illustrious corps of Washington ghosts, and 43 is, of course, still very much alive in his tony Dallas neighborhood, by all accounts enthusiastically pursuing his new avocation as an amateur painter. Yet his spirit is proving remarkably hard to exorcise.
  • Topic: Government, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East
  • Author: James Joyner
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The National Interest
  • Institution: The Nixon Center
  • Abstract: Andrew J. Bacevich, Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country [5] (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2013), 256 pp., $26.00. FOLLOWING HIS graduation from West Point, Andrew J. Bacevich had a distinguished career as an army officer, retiring as a colonel and serving in both Vietnam and the Gulf War. He has since carved out a second career as an iconoclastic scholar preaching the evils of perpetual war. In numerous essays and books, Bacevich, who teaches international relations at Boston University, has ventilated his contempt and despair for America's penchant for intervention abroad, directing his ire at both the liberal hawks and neoconservatives. Throughout, his stands have been rooted in a cultural conservatism that sees America as having strayed badly from its republican origins to succumb to the imperial temptation.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Vietnam, England
  • Author: James Clad
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The National Interest
  • Institution: The Nixon Center
  • Abstract: IN LATE April 2003, I rode in an open car down Baghdad's wide-open airport highway. U.S. Army and Marine units had seized the city just two weeks before, at the end of a short invasion. I had come to Iraq for a few months, detailed to the White House from another agency, and I was heading that morning to Basra, the southern city occupied by the British Army. At the airport, I climbed into a C-130, an old model of the transport workhorse with just a few tiny windows. We were heading for a first official visit to the British zone, traveling with the retired U.S. Army general Jay Garner, the three-star commanding the occupation authority called the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA). When taking the job, Garner expected that his ad hoc occupation entity, and its anodyne acronym, would disappear in three months or less, leaving the Iraqis to rule themselves. It was not to be. As a dazzling dawn broke over Mesopotamia, Garner already had become the invasion's first political casualty, the terms of his engagement rewritten back in Washington, changed from “rapid departure” to “indefinite stay.” From my marginal place, I saw Garner working hard at what needed doing, predicated on our need to get out of Iraq almost as quickly as we had arrived.
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Mesopotamia
  • Author: Leslie H. Gelb, Dimitri K. Simes
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The National Interest
  • Institution: The Nixon Center
  • Abstract: VISITING MOSCOW during his first international trip as China's new president in March, Xi Jinping told his counterpart, Vladimir Putin, that Beijing and Moscow should “resolutely support each other in efforts to protect national sovereignty, security and development interests.” He also promised to “closely coordinate in international regional affairs.” Putin reciprocated by saying that “the strategic partnership between us is of great importance on both a bilateral and global scale.” While the two leaders' summit rhetoric may have outpaced reality in some areas, Americans should carefully assess the Chinese-Russian relationship, its implications for the United States and our options in responding. The Putin-Xi summit received little attention in official Washington circles or the media, and this oversight could be costly. Today Moscow and Beijing have room for maneuver and a foundation for mutual cooperation that could damage American interests.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Beijing, Moscow
  • Author: Robert B. Zoellick
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The National Interest
  • Institution: The Nixon Center
  • Abstract: LAST YEAR, during his visit to the United States, Chinese president Xi Jinping introduced the idea of a “new type of great-power relationship.” In March of this year, in apparent response, President Obama's national-security adviser, Tom Donilon, suggested an interest in building “a new model of relations between an existing power and an emerging one.” This June, the two presidents met in California to explore whether their strategic outlooks can be reconciled. I suspect that President Xi's concept reflects the senior leadership's study of history. At last year's meeting of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, former president Hu Jintao stated, “We should prove that the traditional belief that big powers are bound to enter into conflict is wrong, and [instead] seek new ways of developing relations between major countries in the era of economic globalization.” In the United States, professors Graham Allison and Joseph Nye at Harvard have referred to this challenge as “the Thucydides trap”: in explaining the cause of the great Peloponnesian War of the fifth century BC, Thucydides pointed to the rise of Athens and the fear it inspired in Sparta. In the centuries since, scholars have pondered how power shifts have led to competitive tensions, which sometimes have been managed and sometimes led to conflict. This essay will pose a question: What might be the substance of a new type of great-power relationship between China and the United States? Kevin Rudd, former prime minister and foreign minister of Australia, has also taken up this topic in a series of thoughtful speeches. His approach points to the need for reinforcing dialogues and cooperative efforts.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Globalization
  • Political Geography: United States, China