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  • Author: Jeffrey A. Frankel
  • Publication Date: 06-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The recent financial crises in many emerging market economies have raised anew questions about the appropriate exchange-rate regime and the use of capital controls as policy instruments. The use of both mechanisms should be tailored to each country's unique circumstances. Fixed exchange-rate mechanisms, such as dollarization (adopting the dollar as legal tender in place of the national currency), are suited to small open economies or those desperate to import monetary stability. Larger economies, such as the European Union (EU) and the United States, should allow their currencies to float. Intermediate regimes that fall between fixed- and floating-rate regimes—such as bands, baskets, and crawls (See Figure 1 for definitions)—are still appropriate for some countries. Certain well-targeted restrictions on the composition of capital flows might be appropriate for some emerging-market countries as temporary measures when inflows are particularly high.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Ivo H. Daalder
  • Publication Date: 04-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: At the threshold of a new century, NATO needs a new purpose. A NATO maintained solely as a hedge against an uncertain future (including a possibly resurgent Russia) will become increasingly marginal to the interests of its members. A shift in emphasis to defending common global interests risks magnifying discord among Alliance members. Instead, NATO's purpose should now be to extend security and stability to all of Europe. This will require placing more emphasis on the ability to conduct crisis management operations in the region and taking practical, visible steps to keep the door to NATO membership wide open.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: William G. Gale, Alan J. Auerbach
  • Publication Date: 03-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Emerging federal budget surpluses have sparked calls for large-scale tax cuts that would be irresponsible and counterproductive. Surpluses over the next ten years are based on optimistic assumptions regarding revenues and spending. Even if they do materialize, the surpluses will exist only because government accounting obscures the growing cost of future liabilities. The government faces a large, long-term deficit, and tax cuts would make this problem worse. The proposed 10-percent income tax rate cut would provide disproportionately large benefits to wealthy households and little to lower income households. It would have little effect on economic growth, but would impose higher burdens on future generations, and would reduce future budget discipline by violating the budget rules. Moreover, for most families, tax burdens are already at their lowest level in twenty years. Saving the surplus, by paying down public debt, would help the economy much more than would tax cuts.
  • Topic: Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Paul C. Light
  • Publication Date: 02-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The past six years have witnessed the most significant reshaping of the federal workforce in recent history. On the one hand, government clearly has lost weight. The total number of full-time federal employees has declined, as has the number of federal middle-level managers. On the other hand, government has gotten much taller, at least as measured by the number of layers at the very top of the federal hierarchy. This changing shape means that ordinary Americans will be less likely to contact a federal employee when they call a government 800 number, write an office, or use a service. It also means that the nation's elected and appointed leaders will be further from the front lines, and less likely to know what the public is getting for its tax dollars.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Todd Sechser
  • Publication Date: 12-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The United States has spent over $3 billion addressing the nuclear proliferation threat from Russia since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Programs managed by the Departments of Defense, Energy, and State have helped safeguard Russia's enormous stockpiles of nuclear material, dismantle nuclear-tipped missiles, and keep nuclear scientists employed in Russia and out of other nations' nuclear programs.
  • Topic: Security, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Jon B. Wolfsthal
  • Publication Date: 10-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Russia's nuclear weapons complex is spread across 10 remote, closed and formerly secret “nuclear cities,” which employ almost 1 million scientists, engineers and technicians. Moscow's economic collapse has left these former “jewels” in the Russian nuclear crown struggling to survive, and workers with access to nuclear materials and expertise routinely go for months without getting paid. The U.S. Department of Energy, as part of the Clinton Administration's cooperative threat reduction efforts, has launched the Nuclear Cities Initiative (NCI) to reduce the proliferation risks created by the poor economic conditions in these closed cities. By promoting the development of private industry in these cities, NCI seeks to prevent a brain drain of Russian nuclear experts to would-be nuclear-weapon states.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Steve H. Hanke, Kurt Schuler
  • Publication Date: 03-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: President Carlos Menem of Argentina has advocated replacing the Argentine peso with the dollar. Dollarization would benefit Argentina because it would eliminate the peso-dollar exchange-rate risk, lower interest rates, and stimulate economic growth.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Argentina, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Ivan Eland, Timothy M. Beard
  • Publication Date: 02-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Although the end of the Cold War reduced the likelihood of a nuclear exchange between the superpowers, several smaller rogue states, through their dedicated efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, have emerged as potential threats to U.S. national security. National Intelligence Estimate 95-19 stated that no new missile threats to the United States would develop before 2010. However, given the curious circumstances of the estimate's release and the many analytical faults contained in the document, its results have been questioned.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, National Security
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: C. Richard Nelson, Jr. Gillespie, Brandon Grove Jr., David E. McGiffert
  • Publication Date: 07-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The implications of the transfer of the Panama Canal go well beyond U.S. relations with Panama. This complex transition provides an important lesson for Latin America and the rest of the world on how countries of vastly different size and outlook can work together. The success of this 20 year process lies mainly in first identifying the primary common interest of the United States, Panama and the major canal users: access to an open, safe and efficient canal. Important but secondary concerns, including U.S. military access to facilities in Panama, were addressed during the process but never were allowed to displace the primary interest. By focusing on this clear, compelling key objective, both Panama and the United States were able to accommodate fundamental changes in the political, economic and security context, including several changes in administrations, tough negotiations and even a military confrontation.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America
  • Author: Roger Kirk, Jack M. Seymour Jr., John Lampe, Louis Sell
  • Publication Date: 06-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Basic Factors Underlying a Regional Settlement 1. Any overall settlement in the Balkans should be area-wide and coordinated among the entities directly involved, the neighboring states, the key nations of the outside community, and the relevant political and economic international institutions. 2. It will have to include political arrangements, international security guarantees, and substantial economic assistance as a basis for genuine peace and reconciliation. 3. It must embrace generally accepted international standards, including respect for human rights and rights for ethnic minorities; right of return for all area refugees; rule of law; effective media freedom; and free elections supervised or, where necessary, organized by the international community. 4. The settlement should promote and institutionalize political and economic cooperation, regional trade and/or formal ties among the participating states and entities of the former Yugoslavia, and neighboring states as feasible, including the free flow of goods, labor and capital. 5. International assistance in reconstruction, economic reform and development of economic ties among the peoples of the region and with the European Community must be massive. It should, however, be designed to promote democratic institutions, market reform, adherence to peace agreements, and respect for human rights. 6. Such assistance should target the private sector, encourage local initiatives, and help governments pursue effective economic reform policies. It should seek to curtail corruption and the maintenance of unprofitable state industries. It should avoid encouraging international dependency. The purpose should be to build societies and practices conducive to self-reliance, international cooperation, and outside investment. Positive and negative lessons can be drawn from experiences in Bosnia. 7. The support of the broad population of Serbia will be necessary if peaceful and economically viable regional arrangements are to last. The reconstruction process implied in these arrangements will itself be an incentive for the Serbs to opt away from destructive nationalist policies and join in the regional reconstruction process. 8. Neither lasting peace in the Balkans nor democracy in Serbia can be achieved as long as Slobodan Milosevic remains in power. He has been indicted by the Tribunal in The Hague for crimes against humanity and his removal from power is a prime NATO objective. There are increasing and encouraging signs of popular Serb desire to be rid of Milosevic, but it is not certain that he will depart in the near future. 9. A regional settlement may have to be negotiated indirectly with, or imposed upon, Milosevic as the ruler of Serbia. It should nevertheless be made clear that the West condemns Milosevic\'s actions, that Serbia cannot resume its rightful place in Europe as long as it is governed by indicted war criminals, and that the West will help the people of Serbia in their efforts to bring forth new, democratic, cosmopolitan leadership in their country. 10. The Kosovar Albanians cannot be expected to live under Serbian control again for the foreseeable future. Arrangements short of formal independence such as an international protectorate or trusteeship are possible, indeed likely, for a transitional period. A more permanent and self-sustaining arrangement is highly desirable if it can be achieved without creating more instability in the former Yugoslav space and the neighboring area. 11. A credible international military presence is needed to encourage the return of the remaining Albanian-Kosovars, the continued residence of Serb-Kosovars and to maintain peace and order within Kosovo and on its borders. Such a presence will also be a lasting part of any transitional arrangement. Any foreseeable regional settlement will similarly require a prolonged foreign military presence. This settlement should, however, lay the foundation for an end to that presence by, among other things, providing for supervised demilitarization of the states and entities involved, and a comprehensive regional arms control agreement. 12. A central objective of any regional settlement should be to promote conditions that will encourage a stable political and military environment, economic growth, and increasing self-reliance. These changes will permit an end to the foreign military, political, and economic presence in the region, though no date for that termination should be set.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Kosovo, Balkans