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  • Author: Catherine Powell
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The significant gains that Afghan women and girls have made since the 2001 U.S.-led military invasion and overthrow of the Taliban are endangered. Presidential elections and possible peace efforts with the Taliban raise uncertainties about whether the future leadership in Afghanistan will protect gender equality. Further, President Barack Obama's plan to completely draw down U.S. troops in the country by the end of 2016 risks withdrawing critical security protection, which has provided Afghan women and girls with increased safety and opportunities to participate in education, employment, the health system, politics, and civil society. With these political and security transitions underway, the United States should act now, in coordination with Afghanistan and its partners, to cement and extend the gains and prevent reversal.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Human Rights, Islam, Culture, Reform
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Central Asia
  • Author: Jose W. Fernandez
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: International development has moved beyond charity. Gone are the days when the United States would just spend its seemingly bottomless largess to help less fortunate or vanquished countries, as it did after World War II. International development has reached a new, globally competitive stage, bringing with it enormous strategic and economic implications for the United States in the years ahead.
  • Topic: Development, War
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Economic development is a critical component of promoting stability and U.S. security interests, particularly in conflict and postconflict zones. Reviving institutions and rebuilding an economic base are among the first priorities after fighting ends and reconstruction begins. According to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), negative economic shocks of just 5 percent can increase the risk of a civil war by as much as 50 percent in fragile environments. Additionally, donor assistance, which can account for 20 percent to as much as 97 percent of a country's GDP, is unsustainable in the long term. Building local business capacity and supporting homegrown entrepreneurs can help curb this risk. Research from Iraq has found that labor-generating reconstruction programs can reduce violence during insurgencies, with a 10 percent increase in labor-related spending associated with a 10 percent decrease in violence. And as Shari Berenbach, director of the Office of Microenterprise Development at USAID, argues, the development of “private enterprise is an important stabilizing force,” particularly for countries suffering from the political uncertainty and civil unrest that often characterizes the postconflict period.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Joshua Kurlantzick
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In a region largely bereft of regional organizations and long divided by the Cold War, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been the most significant multilateral group for the past forty-five years. Since the end of the Cold War, ASEAN has grown increasingly influential. While much of the West and most emerging markets continue to suffer because of the 2008 global recession, the leading ASEAN economies have recovered and are thriving. Perhaps most important, ASEAN has helped prevent interstate conflicts in Southeast Asia, despite several brewing territorial disputes in the region.
  • Topic: Cold War, Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia
  • Author: Mark P. Lagon
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The rule of law is critical for people to have a meaningful opportunity to thrive. Still, for billions of people around the world today, the rule of law exists on paper but not in practice. Even though a theme for the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Panel in fall 2012 is rule of law, various UN programs devoted to rule of law have not had a transformative impact. Traditional intergovernmental institutions will never offer enough to achieve systemic change. To supplement them and achieve what they alone cannot, the United States should take the lead to forge a more nimble partnership with public, private, and nonprofit sectors and establish a Global Trust for Rule of Law (“Global Trust”). Similar to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (“Global Fund”), a diverse board of donor states, philanthropists, rule of law experts, and civil society representatives would run this Global Trust. Its purpose would be to build developing nations' capacity to implement rule of law and unleash the potential of marginalized groups worldwide, promoting not only human dignity but, crucially, global economic growth.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Human Rights, International Cooperation, International Law, Non-Governmental Organization, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Douglas A. Ollivant
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Iraq remains a fragile state deeply traumatized and riven by thirty years of war, sanctions, occupation, and civil strife. Although there are numerous positive signs of progress in Iraq—violence has fallen to its lowest level since 2003, its economy is growing modestly, oil production recently surpassed that of Iran, and foreign investment is beginning to restore infrastructure decayed by years of war and sanctions—the risk of acute instability and renewed conflict remains. Already, in the wake of the U.S. military withdrawal in December 2011, Iraq has seen a fierce political struggle between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and many of his rivals in the Sunni-dominated Iraqiya parliamentary coalition, plus increasing tension with at least some segments of the Kurdish minority. For the positive trends to continue, Iraq will need to contain various threats to internal stability and weather regional turmoil that could worsen significantly in the coming months. The United States has a significant stake in helping Iraq overcome these challenges; Iraq is a critical state within a critical region.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Oil, Fragile/Failed State, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Isobel Coleman, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Global demographic and health trends affect a wide range of vital U.S. foreign policy interests. These interests include the desire to promote healthy, productive families and communities, more prosperous and stable societies, resource and food security, and environmental sustainability. International family planning is one intervention that can advance all these interests in a cost-effective manner. Investments in international family planning can significantly improve maternal, infant, and child health and avert unintended pregnancies and abortions. Studies have shown that meeting the unmet need for family planning could reduce maternal deaths by approximately 35 percent, reduce abortion in developing countries by 70 percent, and reduce infant mortality by 10 to 20 percent.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, Environment, Health
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Oscar Arias
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Latin Americans must look in the mirror and confront the reality that many of our problems lie not in our stars but in ourselves. Only then will the region finally attain the development it has so long sought.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America
  • Author: Stephen Flynn
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States has made a mess of homeland security. This is hardly surprising. The policymakers responsible for developing homeland security policy in the wake of September 11, 2001, did so under extraordinary conditions and with few guideposts. The Bush administration's emphasis on combating terrorism overseas meant that it devoted limited strategic attention to the top-down law enforcement and border-focused efforts of the federal departments and agencies assigned new homeland security responsibilities. President Barack Obama has largely continued his predecessor's policies, and congressional oversight has been haphazard. As a result, nearly a decade after al Qaeda struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Washington still lacks a coherent strategy for harnessing the nation's best assets for managing risks to the homeland -- civil society and the private sector. For much of its history, the United States drew on the strength of its citizens in times of crisis, with volunteers joining fire brigades and civilians enlisting or being drafted to fight the nation's wars. But during the Cold War, keeping the threat of a nuclear holocaust at bay required career military and intelligence professionals operating within a large, complex, and highly secretive national security establishment. The sheer size and lethality of U.S. and Soviet nuclear arsenals rendered civil defense measures largely futile. By the time the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Union collapsed, two generations of Americans had grown accustomed to sitting on the sidelines and the national security community had become used to operating in a world of its own. To an extraordinary extent, this same self-contained Cold War-era national security apparatus is what Washington is using today to confront the far different challenge presented by terrorism. U.S. federal law enforcement agencies, the border agencies, and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are subsumed in a world of security clearances and classified documents. Prohibited from sharing information on threats and vulnerabilities with the general public, these departments' officials have become increasingly isolated from the people that they serve.
  • Topic: Cold War, Development
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Soviet Union
  • Author: Edward Miguel
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Steven Radelet's accessible new book argues that much of the credit for Africa's recent economic boom goes to its increasingly open political systems. But Radelet fails to answer the deeper question: why some countries have managed to develop successful democracies while others have tried but failed.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Asia, Liberia