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  • Author: John Tirman
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: MIT Center for International Studies
  • Abstract: The attacks of September 11, 2001, transformed the landscape of global security, none more than borders and immigration. The topography of citizenship, belonging, and suspicion instantly changed for Arab and Muslim communities in the United States. They drew the sharp attention of U.S. law enforcement and intelligence services, and that continues. But the public's focus has swung south to scrutinize the U.S.-Mexican border as a source of insecurity. For the most part, the alarms about immigrants as threats are exaggerated. And the policy choices driven by these concerns—much larger border security measures in particular—are costly in a globalized economy and unnecessary for security in any case.
  • Topic: Security, Migration, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Arab Countries, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Cindy Williams
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: MIT Center for International Studies
  • Abstract: Since September 2001, federal budgets for national security have climbed more than 50 percent in real terms. Unfortunately, much of the added money reflects “business as usual” rather than programs aimed at making the nation safer from today's threats. Compared with past decades, national security spending makes up a relatively small share of the U.S. economy. Nevertheless, with the federal debt growing rapidly and as large numbers of baby boomers approach retirement age, many observers expect future federal budgets to be tight. Thus it is critically important to ensure that national security funds go to projects that make the nation more secure. This article examines broad changes in national security budgets since September 2001. It first reviews the three categories of federal spending for national security. It then examines how budgets in those categories have changed since September 2001. It ends with a look at alternatives that seem more relevant in an era of international mass-casualty terrorism.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: America, North America
  • Author: Benjamin Friedman
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: MIT Center for International Studies
  • Abstract: Conventional wisdom says that none of us are safe from terrorism. The truth is that almost all of us are. The conventional belief is that in response to terrorism, the federal government has spent massive sums on homeland security. The fact is that the increased federal spending on homeland security since September 11 pales in comparison to increases in the U.S. defense budget. But homeland security has costs beyond spending, costs that conventional thinking rarely considers. U.S. homeland security policy conjures up a flawless enemy that could strike at any moment, in any place. That policy institutionalizes the fears terrorists created and harms liberal values.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Joshua Rovner
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: MIT Center for International Studies
  • Abstract: It did not take long for blame for the September 11 attacks to cascade onto the intelligence community. But it is not deserved, and the reasons for that are important.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: North America
  • Author: Gary G. Troeller
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: MIT Center for International Studies
  • Abstract: There has long been a feeling in the corridors of power in Washington that the United Nations is irredeemably flawed and condemned to ineffectiveness. It is viewed as an irritating constraint on U.S. power, or worse—expensive, wasteful, slow to act, and irrelevant.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, North America
  • Author: Chappell Lawson
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: MIT Center for International Studies
  • Abstract: Canada and Mexico rarely figure high on the list of American priorities. Policymakers focus on conflicts in the Middle East; specialists in international relations discuss China's growing influence; and newspapers cover the international crisis du jour. It is easy to forget about two countries that appear to pose no direct or immediate threat to U.S. interests.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: China, America, Middle East, Canada, North America, Mexico