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  • Author: Nikos Tsafos
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: On November 6, 2018, CSIS hosted a workshop on “Transportation in Emerging Economies.” The Chatham House Rule event convened representatives from government, international organizations, think tanks, academia, and private businesses. The group gathered to explore the economic, environmental, and social drivers of urban transportation and mobility in emerging economies. The focus was on the interplay between transportation and energy consumption and the potential to disrupt conventional modeling and planning with new, multi-modal transport policies and investments, new vehicle technologies, and changing business models. This workshop was part of CSIS’s ongoing work on energy and development. There were five main takeaways from that wide-ranging conversation.
  • Topic: Urbanization, Industrialization , Transportation, Emerging Powers
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Kimberly Flowers
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: There has been strong bipartisan support for the United States to be a worldwide leader in addressing global food and nutrition security. Congressional champions are still needed, particularly under the Trump administration. Policymakers should elevate the issue within diplomatic and national security discussions, invest more in nutrition, better link humanitarian and agricultural development strategies, renew commitments to agricultural science, and scale up agricultural technologies.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Science and Technology, Food Security, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: James Andrew Lewis
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Recent legislative changes call for enhanced scrutiny on potential transfers of “emerging and foundational technologies.” These are broadly defined as technologies essential to U.S. national security. The Congressional intent is for agencies to develop a more specific list, with robotics and artificial intelligence as primary concerns. Developing this list raises several issues. These include how to determine the military utility of an emerging technology, how to control the diffusion of the technology, and how to manage the risks of increased control for American innovation. Enhancing controls on the transfer of emerging technologies is necessary for several reasons. First, the U.S. finds itself in a contest with China. China intends to eventually displace the U.S as a global leader in technology, part of its larger effort to expands its influence and power. China is a technological rival of a kind the U.S. has never had before, given the deep interconnections between the two economies. China is still dependent on the West for advanced technology and uses a combination of techniques to acquire it. The 2015 Obama-Xi agreement on commercial cyber espionage attempted to address the problem, but China now ignores that agreement. In this environment, strengthening oversight of technology transfers from the U.S. and its allies to China is essential. In particular, new rules are needed to review technology transfers through co-production, joint ventures, or intangible exports, as these have been a major source of China’s access to technology. Second, current controls on technology transfers do not adequately protect emerging and foundational technologies. The current technology transfer control system is too close to its Cold War roots. Thresholds were set by asking what was the state of the art, how close our Soviet competitor was to this, and whether a technology was “controllable” or if it had become a commodity or was widely available from foreign sources. These are no longer the right questions to ask. The approach needed now is whether we want to transfer a technology to China and whether an effort to prevent this would do more harm than good to America’s own technological capabilities. This calls the whole complex structure of precise control thresholds into question. Modernizing export controls will be difficult, but the proposed rulemaking offers an opportunity to begin the process of revision. Export controls have their background in the 20th Century, when two bifurcated economic blocs were in competition and where thresholds for controls could be set with a degree of precision. This is no longer the case. Attempting to layer a 20th century export control regime over the new dynamics of global trade and innovation will not adequately protect emerging technologies. Reform will necessarily be an iterative process, part of a larger restructuring of export controls for a new international environment. A key point to bear in mind is that since China is still dependent on advanced Western technology (and this is an unlikely change in the near future), access to western technology should be used to gain leverage in talks to change China’s aggressively mercantilist policies. This will be difficult, and it will take time, but a failure to confront China and bring about change will lead to the outcomes that technology controls seek to avoid. The goal is not to defeat or contain China, but to bring its practices in line with international expectations in ways that allow commercial relationships to continue without risk to national security.
  • Topic: Security, Industry, Emerging Technology
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jonathan Hillman
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: This report illustrates how states use foreign infrastructure to advance strategic objectives. Some avenues for influence are intuitive, while others require a more detailed understanding of how infrastructure projects are conceived, financed, built, and operated. With an eye toward illuminating current issues, this report draws from examples throughout history and shows how China is updating and exercising tactics used by Western powers during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. With developing Asia alone requiring $26 trillion in additional infrastructure investment by 2030, these issues, and the strategic implications they carry, are likely to intensify in the coming years.
  • Topic: Development, Infrastructure, Foreign Interference
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Melissa Dalton
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Like it or not, countries beset by instability from terrorist organizations or contested by state-based adversaries will continue to pose national security challenges to the United States. In the face of these challenges and given political and budgetary constraints at home, the United States must be more selective in how it scopes and executes efforts to consolidate gains after military operations and build institutional resiliency against adversaries. The Trump administration released its Stabilization Assistance Review (SAR) framework on June 19, 2018, which is a strategic document to guide U.S. government efforts to maximize the effectiveness of stabilizing conflict-affected areas. Following the large-scale reconstruction efforts of the early 2000s in Iraq and Afghanistan, the SAR recognizes changing geopolitical realities and U.S. domestic political and budgetary constraints that will shape future stabilization efforts. This interagency framework, co-produced by the Department of State (DoS), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Department of Defense (DoD) provided the first-ever U.S. government unified definition of stabilization, recognized as an “inherently political endeavor involving an integrated civilian-military process to create conditions where locally legitimate authorities and systems can peaceably manage conflict and prevent a resurgence of violence.”2 The SAR defined roles for the key agencies involved in providing stabilization assistance to foreign countries. DoS is designated as the overall lead for stabilization efforts, formulating the political strategy. USAID is intended to be the lead implementor for non-security stabilization assistance, bringing considerable technical expertise. The SAR specifies that DoD is a supporting element in providing security-related stabilization assistance in support of civilian-led efforts. Other U.S. government departments and agencies may also play roles in stabilization under this organizational rubric. The SAR also highlighted the intended short-term nature of stabilization efforts, typically lasting between one to five years, agile, and adaptive to host country needs. Furthermore, the SAR underscored the need to coordinate and burden-share with allies and multilateral institutions in bolstering support for locally legitimate actors on the ground. The SAR rightly responds to U.S. taxpayer fatigue regarding previous U.S. reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan by focusing on cost-effectiveness and allied support for future U.S. foreign assistance programs. However, stabilization efforts should also be placed in a broader context. Conflict in the twenty-first century has become increasingly localized in nature and often results in longer, more violent clashes between state and non-state actors. It is also characterized by state-based competitors, which can exploit localized conflict and undermine the institutions of allies and partners. Indeed, given the emphasis the Trump administration has placed on prioritizing great power competition in both the U.S. National Security and Defense Strategies, future stabilization policies also need to account for competition with U.S. adversaries such as Russia and China.3 Traditional conflict phases are also melding together, such that stabilization operations may well take place during active conflict than following a ceasefire or temporary cessation of hostilities and share strong characteristics with preventive activities. Planning for stabilization should be required at the outset of any military operation, reevaluated as the environment shifts during operations, and deployed in parallel as conditions permit.
  • Topic: Political stability, Conflict, Peace, Strategic Stability
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The United States has now been continuously at war for more than seventeen years. It is still fighting an active war in Afghanistan, has yet to fully defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq – much less establish a state of lasting security in either country – and is playing a role in low level conflicts against extremist and terrorists in many other parts of the world. The U.S. government, however, has never developed a convincing method of reporting on the cost of the wars, and its estimates are a confusing morass of different and conflicting Departmental, Agency, and other government reporting that leave major gaps in key areas during FY2001-FY2019. It has never provided useful forecasts of future cost, instead providing empty "placeholder" numbers or none. It has failed to find any useful way to tie the cost estimates it does release to its level of military and civil activity in each conflict or found any way to measure the effectiveness of its expenditures or tie them to a credible strategy to achieve some form of victory. The result is a national embarrassment and a fundamental failure by the Executive Branch and Congress to produce the transparency and public debate and review that are key elements of a responsible government and democracy.
  • Topic: Security, Military Strategy, Budget, Military Spending
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Howard Shaffer, Teresita Schaffer
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Bangladesh’s independence in 1971 shocked the world with its violence and the callousness of U.S. policy, inspired a unique Beatles concert, and became a feature in a major shift in relations among the United States, China, the Soviet Union, and India. But the Bangladesh movement did not arise in a vacuum. Instead, it grew out of the fragmented geographic, ethnic, and power structure left behind from its first independence movement, when the subcontinent was partitioned into India and Pakistan in 1947. After independence, Bangladesh was expected to be a “basket case.” Relatively successful economically, its political trajectory has been more volatile, albeit more promising than other countries studied for this project. However, many issues that shaped the Bangladesh movement—the second of the country’s two independence movements—still stalk Bangladeshi politics four decades after its bloody creation.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Independence
  • Political Geography: Bangladesh, Asia
  • Author: Terrance Lyons
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Eritrea’s saga of achieving independence in 1993 entails a brutal 30-year war and the mobilization of a remarkable national liberation movement. In the late nineteenth century, this small state in the Horn of Africa suffered under the colonial domination of the Italians, followed by Ethiopia’s imperialism and military rule. Self-determination, not secession, was sought by Eritrean nationalists because they never accepted colonial rule or Ethiopia’s sovereignty. After a war that included near victory in the mid-1970s, internecine splits, and a strategic retreat to a mountain redoubt in the far northwest, the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) defeated the Soviet-backed Ethiopian army and seized control of all of Eritrea in May 1991. The postwar independence era started with great hopes, a referendum in which 99 percent of the population voted in favor of independence, the conversion of the rebel movement into a ruling party, and the creation of a consultative process to write a new constitution. In 1998, however, a border war broke out with Ethiopia, resulting in the almost complete militarization of Eritrean society. In 2001, a group of leaders who played key roles in the liberation war demanded political reforms and were arrested by President Isaias Afwerki. Since then Eritrea has experienced the complete closure of political space, economic decline, international sanctions, and isolation. It ranks near the bottom of global assessments regarding democracy, human rights, religious freedom, and free media.
  • Topic: Nationalism, Military Strategy, Geopolitics, Independence
  • Political Geography: Africa, Eritrea
  • Author: Miks Muizarajs
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: At the turn of the twenty-first century, a small half-island nation emerged from the chaos of conflict against monumental odds. Within just 15 years of independence, Timor-Leste managed to become the most democratic nation in Southeast Asia. Its success was possible due to the skill of its leaders, shifts in geopolitics, and unprecedented levels of international support. Leaders were able to unite East Timor’s ethnically and politically divided society and transform it into a powerful resistance network that coalesced military, clandestine, diplomatic, and activist efforts at a critical juncture in history. A successful campaign to win the hearts and minds of the global audience and the realignment of powerful interests after the Cold War culminated in considerable pressure on Indonesia to release its grip. Brief UN administration and considerable commitments from Australia, Portugal, the United States, and other nations to construct institutions and deploy troops helped prevent a return to violence. Timor-Leste’s savvy and dynamic leadership capitalized on this international support and managed to use its considerable oil reserves to overcome fragility. Despite centrifugal forces, the leadership continues to share aspirations of building a sovereign and prosperous nation.
  • Topic: Nationalism, Geopolitics, Independence, Resistance
  • Political Geography: Asia, Timor-Leste, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Daniel Serwer
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: he modern Kosovo state is a product of Albanian nonviolent and violent rebellion, Serbian repression, the dissolution of socialist Yugoslavia, state collapse in Albania, NATO intervention, U.S. and EU support, Russian weakness, and UN administration. Without one or another of these ingredients, it might never have occurred, and certainly not in the surprising way that it did.
  • Topic: Nationalism, United Nations, Geopolitics, Independence, Resistance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Kosovo, Balkans