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  • Author: Andrew A. Michta
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The following National Security Outlook is the eighth in AEI's Hard Power series-a project of the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies that examines the state of the defense capabilities of America's allies and security partners. In it, Andrew Michta outlines the case of Poland, which he notes is determined both to expand its indigenous defense industrial capabilities and to increase overall defense spending. As numerous accounts of NATO defense trends over the past two decades elucidate, Poland's decision to increase defense spending is far more the exception than the rule when it comes to America's other major allies. This is largely driven, according to Michta, by Poland's desire to fend as much as it can for itself in light of what it sees as Russian revanchism and Washington's growing disengagement from Europe in defense matters. Not surprisingly, this has led to a shift in Warsaw's security agenda since Poland joined NATO in 1999. Despite Poland being one NATO ally that has responded positively to Washington's calls for increasing defense capacities, today Warsaw increasingly feels compelled to look to its own resources and to neighboring capitals as potential security partners. Whether this drift in transatlantic ties is permanent or inevitable remains an open question, and will to a large extent depend on how US security relations with Europe develop in the coming years.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO
  • Political Geography: Europe, Washington
  • Author: Gary J. Schmitt, Thomas Donnelly
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: National security is neither a "sacred cow" nor just another federal budget line item. Providing for the common defense of the American people and our homeland is the primary responsibility of policymakers in Washington. However, in an effort to protect social entitlements like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the health care reform law from serious deficit and debt reduction efforts, President Obama has proposed not only to raise taxes, but also to cut another $400 billion more from future national security spending. As Obama said on June 29, 2011, "[Outgoing Secretary of Defense] Bob Gates has already done a good job identifying $400 billion in cuts, but we're going to do more."
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Debt, War
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Washington
  • Author: Christopher DeMuth
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: AEI senior fellow Irving Kristol—godfather of the neoconservative movement and one of the towering intellectual figures of the twentieth century—died peacefully on September 18 at the age of eighty-nine. Mr. Kristol's connection to AEI began long before he became a full-time scholar at the Institute in 1988. In 1973, he gave the first of AEI's Distinguished Lectures on the Bicentennial of the United States. The lectures were delivered at historic sites around the country, and Mr. Kristol's lecture, “The American Revolution as a Successful Revolution,” was given at St. John's Church in Washington, where many of the nation's presidents have worshipped. We reprint excerpts from it below after a tribute to him written by Christopher DeMuth, the D. C. Searle Senior Fellow at AEI.
  • Topic: Cold War, Politics, International Affairs, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington
  • Author: Roger Noriega
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: U.S. policy in Latin America and the Caribbean always seems to inspire criticism: Too much, too little, too late. Back off. Get in the game. Don't just stand there, do something. Don't do something, just stand there. Our geographic closeness has meant a rich, natural partnership, but this proximity easily stirs concerns over sovereignty. When the United States is preoccupied with events in other parts of the world, regional pundits accuse Washington of indifference. If we speak clearly on the issues in Latin America, we are excoriated for poking our nose “where it doesn't belong.” So where does this leave U.S. foreign policy in the region? It could be that what we do may not be as important as how we do it. The first step in developing a new paradigm for engaging the Americas is using the 2008 election cycle here at home to develop a serious domestic constituency for our policy. Then we should shape that policy through a conscientious dialogue with stakeholders in the region.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Washington, Moscow, Latin America
  • Author: Samuel Thernstrom, Lee Lane
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: President George W. Bush was widely expected to propose ambitious new initiatives to control greenhouse gas emissions in the State of the Union address on January 23. The week before the speech, his top environmental advisor told a Washington Post columnist that a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system would be “the most elegant” solution to climate change, raising expectations that a proposal along those lines might be forthcoming. In the end, however, the president proposed a remarkably modest (and poorly conceived) initiative to cut gasoline consumption by 20 percent in the next ten years. This was an important lost opportunity for leadership at a crucial juncture.
  • Topic: Development, Environment, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Washington
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: In their April 21 press release following their spring meeting in Washington, D.C., the G7 finance ministers and central bank governors added an important sentence to their usual bland statement that exchange rates should reflect economic fundamentals: Greater exchange rate flexibility is desirable in emerging economies with large current account surpluses, especially China, for necessary adjustments to occur. In their April 21 press release following their spring meeting in Washington, D.C., the G7 finance ministers and central bank governors added an important sentence to their usual bland statement that exchange rates should reflect economic fundamentals: Greater exchange rate flexibility is desirable in emerging economies with large current account surpluses, especially China, for necessary adjustments to occur. The G7, significantly, also called for an increased role for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help countries, including those in the G7 but also China and others in emerging Asia, meet the macroeconomic and financial policy challenge of globalization. Specifically, the G7 supported the strengthening of IMF surveillance, including through increased emphasis on the consistency of exchange rate policies with domestic policies and a market-based international monetary system and on the spillover effects of domestic policies on other countries. The G7s endorsement of greater exchange-rate flexibility and of an enhanced IMF role in implementing it is important. The IMF, having been founded after World War II to maintain stable exchange rates among major economies, has become an advocate on behalf of the major economies of global exchange-rate flexibility. The lesson regarding the need for G7 currency flexibility was learned after Americas August 1971 abandonment of fixed exchange rates, which was followed by a decade of adjustments to higher oil prices that would have wreaked havoc under fixed exchange rates. The lesson for needed currency flexibility in emerging markets was learned after the disastrous attempt, fostered in part by the IMF, to impose fixed exchange rates during the Asian and Russian crises of 1997 and 1998, which prolonged and exacerbated the market gyrations caused by the crises. Sadly, China response to the G7-IMF call for greater currency flexibility has been both negative and misguided. China's foolishly insouciant attitude, captured in a comment by Zhou Xiao-chuan, governor of the Peoples Bank of China, carries with it serious risks both for China and for the world economy. Zhous remark was quoted on April 24 in the Wall Street Journal: [T]he speed of moving forward (on yuan appreciation) is OK. Its good for China and welcomed by many other countries. China's currency has appreciated only 1.2 percent since its initial 2.1 percent revaluation last July 21. That is less than OK. The total 3.3 percent revaluation against the dollar really represents no adjustment at all in view of the 1 to 2 percent inflation differential (lower in China) that has persisted between the United States and China over the past two years. If China had allowed prices to rise instead of mandating caps on prices of important commodities like gasoline, there would be less pressure for the yuan to rise in value. Both the intervention to cap the yuans appreciation and the capping of domestic prices are building up potentially disruptive inflation pressure inside China, as we shall see below. The most dangerous aspect of China's increased efforts to prevent yuan appreciation, as measured by accelerating reserve accumulation over the past year, is the rising pool of liquidity inside China that has resulted. The level of excess reserves in Chinese banks is now larger, relative to GDP, than the level of excess reserves built up in Japan from 2001 to 2005 during the years of a prolonged, desperate struggle against deflation. China's currency undervaluation, coupled with the massive liquidity buildup in its banking system, has resulted in excessive investment in China's state enterprises that have close traditional ties with the liquidity-sodden banks. The usual Chinese response to excess reserves has been to boost reserve requirements for its banks. But to absorb the huge pool of excess reserves now in place, reserve requirements would have to be boosted by 5 percentage points to 12.5 per-cent, going far beyond previous moves of 0.5 to 1 percentage point, and far beyond what China's shaky, insolvent banks could endure. When the Peoples Bank of China boosted its one-year benchmark lending rate on April 26 by 27 basis points (to 5.85 percent), it took a tiny step that will do little to tighten China's monetary stance.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Washington
  • Author: James Q. Wilson
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Federal district court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor has ruled that the warrantless interception of telephone and Internet calls between a foreign agent and American persons is illegal and unconstitutional. It is possible that she is right about the illegality, but she is almost surely wrong that it is unconstitutional. The government has appealed this decision to the Sixth Circuit. No one can say what it will decide, although other appeals courts have tolerated such surveillance. Ultimately the Supreme Court will have to decide the matter. The Constitutional arguments against the surveillance are unpersuasive. A Washington Post editorial dismissed them as “throat clearing.” Judge Taylor refers to the free speech provision of the First Amendment but fails to explain how listening to a conversation or reading e-mail abridges anyone's right to speak. Taken literally, a Constitutional ban on intercepts would make it impossible to overhear the mafia plotting murders or business executives fixing prices.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Human Rights, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington
  • Author: Michael Rubin
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: On February 2, 2006, the International Atomic Energy Agency will meet in Vienna to discuss the nuclear crisis in Iran and, in all likelihood, refer Iran to the United Nations Security Council for being in breach of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty's safeguards agreement. Such a referral will mark a turning point in a decade-long saga. Europe's engagement with Iran has failed. The United States and its European allies have been resolute in their condemnation of the Iranian government decision to resume uranium enrichment. In contrast to previous diplomatic impasses with Tehran, neither Washington nor its European allies appear willing to make further concessions. On January 23, U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice said, “I don't see much room for further discussion in any format [with Iran].” At a January 13, 2006, press conference with German chancellor Angela Merkel, George W. Bush condemned Iran. “Iran, armed with a nuclear weapon, poses a grave threat to the security of the world,” Mr. Bush said. “We will not be intimidated,” Ms. Merkel added. Already, though, there has been one casualty of the diplomatic crisis: the European Union's policy of engagement.
  • Topic: International Relations, Nuclear Weapons, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Iran, Washington, Middle East, Tehran, Germany, Vienna
  • Author: Edward Blum, Roger Clegg, Abigail Thernstrom
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Government memos leaked to the press are nothing new in Washington, yet they can still command a front-page, above-the-fold headline. The latest came on December 2, 2005, when the Washington Post trumpeted, “Justice Staff Saw Texas Districting as Illegal; Voting Rights Finding on Map Pushed by DeLay Was Overruled.” (Part of this story was recycled by the Post on Monday, January 23, in another front-page, above-the-fold story.) The story that followed loosely described the contents of a 2003 internal Department of Justice memo written by career staffers in the voting section of the civil-rights division. Those staffers—five lawyers and two analysts—had concluded that the Congressional redistricting plan Texas had recently submitted to them for approval was in violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act because it “retrogressed”—or, more simply, “diminished”—the electoral position of blacks and Hispanics. Then attorney general John Ashcroft and the political appointees in the civil-rights division—as well as, incidentally, a career lawyer higher in the chain of command (a fact that the Post failed to note)—rejected the memo's findings and allowed Texas to implement the new plan.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The U.S. economy was in recession when the 9/11 terrorist attacks struck New York and Washington, D.C. Yet within a few months, despite fears of a collapse in confidence, consumption growth surged to a fourth-quarter annualized rate of nearly 5 percent, up sharply from a 1 percent rate during the third quarter. That consumption surge was enough to drag the economy out of what turned out to be a mild recession. By the first quarter of 2002, overall growth reached a booming 5 percent rate.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Environment, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, Washington
  • Author: Robert W. Hahn
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: With oil and gas prices at record levels, Persian Gulf producers threatened by terrorists, and exploding demand from China likely to strain supplies for years to come, surely it is time for Washington to get serious about energy conservation. Well, yes . . . and no. While most economists (including me) are deeply skeptical about the value of government mandates for energy efficiency, in principle there is a case to be made for using taxes to “internalize” the costs of consumption that are not otherwise reflected in prices. But those costs are lower than you might expect—lower, perhaps, than the taxes currently charged at the pump. Moreover, while oil-security worries are now driving the calls for conservation, a careful look suggests that the neglected costs are actually related to traffic congestion and the threat of global warming. Taxing oil consumption (as opposed to taxing road use or carbon emissions) would hardly get to the roots of these problems.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Energy Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: China, Washington
  • Author: Nicholas Eberstadt
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Contrary to conventional wisdom, which holds the North Korean state to be an unremittingly hostile “negotiating partner,” history actually demonstrates that Pyongyang can be a highly obliging interlocutor under certain very specific conditions. All that is necessary to “get to yes” with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is to concede every important point demanded by the North Korean side while sacrificing vital interests of one's own. The mid-September “breakthrough” at the six-party talks in Beijing would appear to conform precisely to this long-established pattern. The vaunted outcome—a long-desired “consensus statement” inked by North Korea and the other five governments engaged in protracted discussions over North Korean denuclearization—is being celebrated by diplomatic sophisticates in Seoul, Beijing, Moscow, Tokyo, and Washington.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Washington, Beijing, Asia, North Korea, Tokyo, Korea, Seoul
  • Author: Michael Rubin
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Iraqis gathered around television sets as midnight approached on August 22. They watched as constitutional-drafting committee members and political elites whispered among themselves. When the speaker of the national assembly, Hachim al-Hasani, declared, “We have received a draft of the constitution,” the assembly erupted in applause. “But,” he added, “there are some points that are still outstanding and need to be addressed in the next three days.” Late into the night, politicians and activists continued to meet in the Baghdad homes of the major powerbrokers, grappling with the roles of federalism and Islam in the new Iraq. While U.S. diplomats and Washington advisers continue to facilitate compromise among Iraq's disparate sectarian, ethnic, and political groups, the reality emerging outside Baghdad is directly challenging Iraq's aspirations to constitutionalism. The U.S. government has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to bring outside experts to Baghdad for a period of a few days or a few weeks, but Iraqi powerbrokers dismiss their advice as naive or irrelevant. Massoud Barzani in the Kurdish north and Abdul Aziz al-Hakim and Muqtada al-Sadr in the Shiite south have rejected the experts' academic proposals, and have chosen instead a model perfected by Yasser Arafat, the late chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Middle East, Baghdad
  • Author: Vance Serchuk, Thomas Donnelly
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: With China's declaration of an anti-secession law, Washington has received a timely if unwelcome reminder of the depth of Beijing's determination to retake Taiwan and the reality of geopolitical rivalry in East Asia. Contrary to the crisis-management mentality that too often has governed U.S. China policy, however, the anti-secession law represents an important strategic blunder by Beijing and an important opportunity for the United States—one that, if properly managed, could actually advance American interests in the region more than anything U.S. policy planners would otherwise hatch on their own. After four years in which the White House was preoccupied with more pressing problems in the greater Middle East, the Bush administration should now take advantage of its second term to align U.S. strategy for the Asia-Pacific region with the fundamental tenets of the Bush Doctrine and develop a new framework for its relations with Beijing and Taipei.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, Washington, Middle East, Taiwan, Beijing, East Asia, Taipei
  • Author: Thomas Donnelly
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Although U.S. forces removed Saddam Hussein's regime in record time, completing regime change in Baghdad and spreading democracy and stability in the greater Middle East will require an open-ended commitment and more political resolve than currently demonstrated within many circles in Washington.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Baghdad