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  • Author: Amar Bhattacharya, Homi Kharas, Mark Plant, Annalisa Prizzon
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The new global agenda, with Agenda 2030 at its core, is ambitious, comprehensive, and universal. The three central goals now are to reignite growth, deliver on the sustainable development goals (SDGs), and meet the ambitions of the Paris climate agreement aimed at mitigating climate change and adapting to its effects. Achieving these goals will require a significant scaling up and reorientation of investments, especially for sustainable infrastructure and human development. Implementing this agenda is urgent, as the world is witnessing the largest wave of urban expansion in history and more infrastructure will come on stream over the next 15 years than the world’s existing stock. This is also the last opportunity to manage remaining significant demographic transitions.
  • Topic: International Affairs, International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Constanze Stelzenmüller
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Year one of the Trump administration has been uniquely unnerving. Yet the trans-Atlantic security community has also been breathing a sigh of relief, because many of their worst expectations seem to have been averted: trade wars, an attack on North Korea, the end of NATO. The conventional wisdom in Washington, DC and many European capitals today is that—despite a president who continues to defy conventions—U.S.-European relations have largely normalized. As a result, most Europeans are attempting to ride out what they believe to be a temporary aberration of American politics with a mixture of hugging and hedging. There is certainly evidence for a normalization of U.S. foreign policy, not least in the president’s formal endorsement of NATO’s mutual defense clause, and the reinforcement of American contributions to reassurance and deterrence in Eastern Europe. There are also many signs that the past year has re-energized American civil society, belying determinist critics in Europe. But Trumpism needs to be recognized as a massive discontinuity. Trump is the first postwar American president to question the liberal order as such. In its purest form, the “America First” doctrine has implications for the EU and some of its member states (especially Germany) that should be of intense concern to Europeans. Europeans should worry even more, however, about its fundamentalist critique of globalization (which it refers to as globalism) as a quasiadversarial ideology. The globalization-globalism dichotomy, unlike all previous transAtlantic disagreements, is a dispute about the nature of the world we live in. And it is a wedge that could drive the United States and Europe apart. America could attempt (at immense cost to itself) to decouple from the liberal world order and the global economy. But for Europe to do so would be suicidal. This flips the existing logic of the trans-Atlantic alliance on its head: it is Europe now that has the greater—and for it, existential—interest in preserving an international order that safeguards peace and globalization
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Vanda Felbab-Brown
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Large-scale illicit economies and organized crime have received increasing attention from governments and international organizations since the end of the Cold War. The end of the Cold War brought a permissive strategic environment that allowed many states to focus on a broader menu of interests in their foreign policy agendas, such as the fight against drug trafficking and production. The post-Cold War era also exposed the fragility and institutional underdevelopment of many of these states, a deficiency perhaps exacerbated by globalization. At the same time, criminal and belligerent actors with significant power previously obscured by the shadows of Cold War politics were spotlighted by the international community, especially when their activities were associated with intense violence or corruption.
  • Topic: Corruption, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Esther Care, Helyn Kim, Kate Anderson, Emily Gustafsson-Wright
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: There have been increased calls globally for students to develop a broader set of skills during the years of formal education than in the past. Education has typically been seen as a preparation for adulthood and its work-related responsibilities. Recently, however, the focus on academic, vocational, and technical skills (e.g., Brewer, 2013) has shifted toward an aspiration for education to inform both work and life more generally (e.g., Pellegrino and Hilton, 2012). Many frameworks describe the skills or competencies that this 21st century world demands (e.g., Binkley et al., 2012; Lippman, Ryberg, Carney, and Moore, 2015), and in so doing, they display strong commonalities. The frameworks examine what competencies people need to function effectively in society, with descriptions varying from very high level (e.g., Delors, 1996) to very detailed (e.g., Binkley et al., 2012). Differences also emerge primarily in the degree to which skills or competencies alone are identified or whether a wider range of human characteristics are included. The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (United Nations, 2016) acknowledges this shift in the focus of education toward a broader approach. Of particular interest for Skills for a Changing World, Sustainable Development Goal 4 calls for skills beyond literacy and numeracy—including readiness for primary education (4.2), technical and vocational skills (4.4), and skills needed to promote global citizenship and sustainable development (4.7). These targets signal an emphasis on the breadth of skills necessary to prepare children, youth, and adults comprehensively for 21st century citizenship and life.
  • Topic: International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Robert Einhorn
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The global nuclear non-proliferation regime, as it has evolved since the entry into force of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1970, has been remarkably resilient. Despite predictions of a “cascade of proliferation,” there are currently only nine states with nuclear weapons, and that number has remained the same for the past 25 years.[1] The NPT is nearly universal, with 190 parties and only five non-parties (India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, South Sudan). Several countries voluntarily abandoned nuclear weapons development programs (Argentina, Brazil, Egypt); several others were forced diplomatically or militarily to give up the quest (Iraq, Libya, South Korea, Syria); three former Soviet republics inherited nuclear weapons but gave them up (Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine); and one country built a small arsenal before unilaterally eliminating it (South Africa). With Iran’s path to nuclear weapons blocked by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) for at least 10 to 15 years, there are no non-nuclear weapon states currently believed to be pursuing nuclear weapons, according to U.S. government sources. And despite cases of nuclear smuggling and continuing interest of terrorist groups in acquiring nuclear weapons, no thefts of enough fissile material to build a bomb are believed to have taken place.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David Dollar
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Global value chains (GVCs) break up the production process so different steps can be carried out in different countries. Many smart phones and televisions, for example, are designed in the United States or Japan. They have sophisticated inputs, such as semiconductors and processors, which are produced in the Republic of Korea or Chinese Taipei. And they are assembled in China. They are then marketed and receive after-sale servicing in Europe and the United States. These complex global production arrangements have transformed the nature of trade. But their complexity has also created difficulties in understanding trade and in formulating policies that allow firms and governments to capitalize on GVCs and to mitigate negative side effects.
  • Topic: International Relations, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Raj M. Desai, Homi Kharas
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Does an expanding middle class benefit society’s poorest? Much has been written recently about the rapid growth of the middle class as well as the rapid fall in absolute poverty (Kharas 2017; Kocharand Oates 2015; Burrows 2015). However, few studies seek to link these two trends. It is worth emphasizing at the outset that a growing middle class and a falling poverty rate are not simply two sides of the same coin; there is a large “vulnerable” (or near poor) cohort between the poorest individuals and the middle class. Additionally, the trends can be quite different. In the United States, for example, the percentage of middle-class households has steadily fallen since the 1970s, while the portion of households in the lowest income brackets has remained steady (Kochhar,Fry, and Rohal 2015). Similar trends have occurred in the European Union since the early 2000s (ILO 2015). By contrast, in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, most of those lifted out of poverty appear to have joined the ranks of the vulnerable rather than the middle class (Calvo-Gonzalez 2017; Chandy 2015). There, the middle class has stagnated despite reductions in poverty.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Kenneth Gwilliam
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: common criticism of urban transport strategies is that they are unduly concerned with mobility or the ability to move rather than accessibility in which a desired journey purpose can be satisfied. It is often further argued that a consequence of this focus on mobility, particularly motorized mobility, is that transport is not affordable to the poor, and that this exclusion justified the use of subsidies to remedy the situation. A key element of “Moving to Access” is thus concerned with increasing the affordability of transport for the poor. The objective of this paper is to explore the relationships between mobility, accessibility, affordability and transport prices and subsidies in more detail with a view to better reconciling the economic efficiency of the urban transport systems with the welfare of the poor.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Elizabeth Mann
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Amid persistent concerns about the well-documented skills gap, community colleges have the potential to provide low-cost, high-quality education and training to students. Robust relationships between colleges and local industry partners are critical to building strong workforce development programs for students. In this context, this toolkit offers practical advice on how community college leaders can take a deliberate approach to communication with potential partners in their community, including local businesses and industry leaders.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Homi Kharas
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: “Foreign assistance” combines two of the least popular words in United States politics. Since the end of the Cold War, isolationism has slowly weakened internationalism, perhaps because of the growing feeling that foreigners are freeloading on the U.S. as the world’s policeman and problem solver. Some indicators of popular attitudes toward foreign assistance are concerning, although these are not all consistent with each other. A 2016 Pew Survey found far more Americans responding that the U.S. does too much in terms of solving global problems (41 percent) than too little (27 percent). Similarly, a significant majority (57 percent) think that the U.S. should deal with its own problems and let others deal with theirs as best they can.
  • Topic: International Affairs, International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Liz Schrayer
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In 2011, as the annual budget resolution hit the Senate floor, multiple amendments were offered to cut the foreign assistance account. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky offered the most dangerous amendment to cut billions from the International Affairs Budget. While it was defeated, it still garnered 20 votes. In the intervening years, Senator Paul offered similar amendments—but his final effort in 2015 was different. It was soundly defeated by a 96-4 vote.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: George Ingram
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: “Bureaucratically fragmented, awkward, and slow, its (foreign aid) administration is diffused over a haphazard and irrational structure... The program is based on a series of legislative measures and administrative procedures conceived at different times and for different purposes and many of them obsolete, inconsistent, and unduly rigid and thus unsuited for our present needs and purpose.”—President John F. Kennedy’s Special Message to the Congress on Foreign Aid, March 22, 1961, that led to the enactment of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and the establishment of United States Agency for International Development.
  • Topic: Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Nancy Lindborg
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Despite enormous gains in poverty reduction and a long, steady drop in global violence over the past 70 years, progress is stubbornly stalled in those states considered most fragile. In the last de- cade, rising levels of violent con ict in states and regions like Syria, South Sudan, Yemen, Libya, Nigeria and East Africa have spawned four civil wars, the specter of four famines, and historic numbers of people displaced by violence, all of which are straining the global humanitarian sys- tem and threatening precious development gains. The world has responded with ever-larger pack- ages of humanitarian, military, and peacekeeping action. What remains missing, however, is a concerted focus on the underlying dynamics of fragility, which will ultimately require a different way of doing business and, importantly, a shared blueprint for action among political, security, development, and humanitarian actors.
  • Topic: Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Homi Kharas
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The multilateral development system, led by the United States, has guided development cooperation by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, evolving gradually through new institutions and new norms since World War II. Organized by a small group of like-minded countries, multilateralism has been a way of managing burden-sharing among donors and of delivering public goods. These functions are now under stress. According to a poll conducted in December 2016 by the Program for Public Consultation at the University of Maryland, most Americans (59.3 percent) support the statement that “when giving foreign aid, it is best for the U.S. to participate in international efforts, such as through the United Nations. This way it is more likely that other countries will do their fair share and that these ef- forts will be better coordinated.” However, a majority of Republican voters disagree, believing that it is better for the U.S. to provide aid on its own, to ensure control over how money is spent and to gain recognition for its generosity.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Stephen Kull
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Is President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy a reflection of a larger isolationist trend in public attitudes? And what do Americans think about foreign aid in particular? The answer is complex. On the one hand, recent polls suggest a robust majority support an engaged U.S. role in the world, a moral dimension to U.S. foreign policy, and giving foreign aid, especially humanitarian aid. On the other, many are dissatisfied with America’s role in the post-Cold War era, and Trump has effectively played on that disillusionment. The U.S. is seen as having overextended itself in playing a hegemonic role in the world, a role that has served corporate interests and the wealthy, but that has not effectively served the middle class, which is largely footing the bill for it. This overextension is seen as being reflected in the U.S. budget deficit, which troubles the public more than the elites.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Robert Einhorn, Steven Pifer
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In conducting its Nuclear Posture Review, the Trump administration needs to consider how best to meet U.S. deterrence requirements in a changing security environment. Today’s most pressing challenges to U.S. deterrence goals come not from the threat of a massive nuclear attack against the U.S. homeland but from the possibility that nuclear-armed adversaries will use the threat of escalation to the nuclear level to act more aggressively in their regions and prevent the United States from coming to the defense of its allies and partners.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: William Perry, Deep Cuts Commission
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This report contains a number of bold proposals on how to better manage relations between the West and Russia in order to avert worst-case scenarios. Specifying that cooperative solutions are pos- sible without giving up on the fundamental interests of each side, it warrants a close look by officials in both Moscow and Washington.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Security, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, America, Europe, Global Focus