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  • Author: Nuala O'Conner
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Half of all Americans believe their personal information is less secure now than it was five years ago, and a sobering study from the Pew Research Center reveals how little faith the public has in organizations, whether governmental or private-sector, to protect their data—and with good reason. In 2017, there was a disastrous breach at Equifax, Yahoo’s admission that billions of its email accounts were compromised, Deep Root Analytics’ accidental leak of personal details of nearly two hundred million U.S. voters, and Uber’s attempt to conceal a breach that affected fifty-seven million accounts. Individuals are left stymied about what action they can take, if any, to protect their digital assets and identity. Nuala O’Connor Yet record-shattering data breaches and inadequate data-protection practices have produced only piecemeal legislative responses at the federal level, competing state laws, and a myriad of enforcement regimes. Most Western countries have already adopted comprehensive legal protections for personal data, but the United States—home to some of the most advanced, and largest, technology and data companies in the world—continues to lumber forward with a patchwork of sector-specific laws and regulations that fail to adequately protect data. U.S. citizens and companies suffer from this uneven approach—citizens because their data is not adequately protected, and companies because they are saddled with contradictory and sometimes competing requirements. It is past time for Congress to create a single legislative data-protection mandate to protect individuals’ privacy and reconcile the differences between state and federal requirements.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Cybersecurity, Privacy, Data, Digitization
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: David P. Fidler
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The tasks of securing outer space and cyberspace are converging. The internet increasingly depends on space-enabled communication and information services. Likewise, the operation of satellites and other space assets relies on internet-based networks, which makes these assets, like cars and medical equipment, devices on the internet of things. New government actors, companies, goals, and technologies are expanding and transforming space activities. However, neither space policy nor cybersecurity policy is prepared for the challenges created by the meshing of space and cyberspace, which could increase national security risks. To meet these challenges, government, industry, and international action is needed. The Donald J. Trump administration’s National Space Council should develop cybersecurity recommendations for space activities, and federal agencies should prioritize these within the government and in cooperation with the private sector. In crafting needed legislation for commercial space activities, Congress should bolster industry efforts to strengthen cybersecurity. Private-sector actors should strengthen their adoption of cybersecurity best practices and collaborate with one another on improving implementation of cybersecurity strategies. Internationally, the United States should pursue collaboration on space cybersecurity through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), plurilateral space cooperation mechanisms, and bilateral forums.
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Cybersecurity, Space
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Emerging challenges to international order require cooperation between the United States and China, two countries that share a common interest in preventing the world from becoming more dangerous and disorderly. U.S.-China relations are becoming more strained and antagonistic, however, and the prospects for cooperation appear to be receding. To explore whether there are still grounds for cooperation on issues of common concern between the two countries, in March 2018 the Center for Preventive Action (CPA) at the Council on Foreign Relations convened a group of fifteen experts from the United States and China for the workshop “Managing Global Disorder: Prospects for U.S.-China Cooperation.” CPA partnered with Peking University’s School of International Studies in Beijing for the workshop and also met with experts at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations in Beijing and the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies in Shanghai. During the workshop, President Donald J. Trump announced plans to impose about $60 billion in new tariffs on Chinese imports. While trade was a major topic of discussion, it was by no means the only area discussed. Workshop participants assessed conflicting views of the sources of global disorder and examined areas of global governance such as international trade, development, the environment, and the future of various multilateral institutions. They also discussed the most pressing security challenges in East and Southwest Asia. Participants highlighted the need for a greater understanding between the United States and China on the evolving international order. No major transnational problems will be solved without some cooperation between the two powers. It is therefore imperative that the two countries avoid a further deterioration of the relationship and instead identify areas of potential cooperation.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Tariffs, Social Order
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North America
  • Author: Robert K. Knake
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The U.S. government and private industry have been stuck at an impasse concerning cybersecurity information sharing for over a decade. While the Barack Obama administration rolled out executive and legislative efforts to increase information sharing, many U.S. companies still argue that the federal government should do more to provide them with useful intelligence on cyber threats. But the U.S. intelligence community argues that greater declassification and sharing of information with private companies could put technical sources and methods at risk. Fixes to this problem exist. The Department of Defense already provides a classified network for cleared defense contractors to receive intelligence on threats to their companies. Replicating this network for cyber threats has long been discussed as a way to share more information with the financial sector, electricity suppliers, and other private-sector entities critical to the U.S. economy. Expanding this network requires increasing the number of cleared personnel and of facilities that can hold classified information, as well as changing intelligence collection priorities. These hurdles can be addressed by cooperative efforts between the public and private sectors. As a crucial first step, the U.S. government should begin the targeted collection of intelligence on cyber threats to critical infrastructure. To disseminate this information, the government should establish security standards different from those applicable to defense contractors to determine who may hold clearances.
  • Topic: Security, Cybersecurity, Information Age, Private Sector
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Although the Barack Obama administration rhetorically made Southeast Asia a centerpiece of its “rebalance to Asia” strategy, the administration still largely focused on the Middle East and Europe, and Southeast Asia remained a low U.S. policy priority. The Obama administration did try to boost U.S. economic ties with Southeast Asia in 2016 by forging the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but that trade deal was broadly unpopular in the United States. The following year, the Donald J. Trump administration ended U.S. participation in the TPP, and it also suggested launching punitive economic measures against Southeast Asian states currently running trade surpluses with the United States. Many Southeast Asian leaders now worry that Washington has no clear security or economic strategy for the region, other than applying pressure on Beijing to respect freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. In this perceived void of U.S. leadership and strategy, workshop participants assessed how Southeast Asia might change as China becomes an increasingly dominant regional security and economic actor. They also discussed the future of U.S. strategic and economic relationships with important partners in the region, including Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Participants further considered how China might use its growing leverage in Southeast Asia, and whether Beijing’s tactics could backfire. Finally, several workshop participants posited that the United States, China, and Southeast Asian states could cooperate on at least some nontraditional security issues, such as combating piracy and terrorism.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Despite recent turbulence in the transatlantic relationship, the United States and the European Union share a common interest in managing emerging sources of global disorder. To explore prospects for and challenges to transatlantic cooperation, the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations convened an international group of twenty-three experts at the Tufts University Center in Talloires, France, on July 12–13, 2018, for the workshop “Managing Global Disorder: Prospects for Transatlantic Cooperation.” The workshop is the third in a series of meetings supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. It is premised on the belief that the United States, China, the European Union, and Russia not only share a common interest in preventing the world from becoming more dangerous and disorderly, but also that the nature and scope of this task necessitates cooperation among them. Workshop participants discussed their perceptions of the growing sources of disorder in the world, examined areas of strategic cooperation, and explored where the United States and the European Union might work together to address a variety of regional concerns emanating from Africa, China, the Middle East, and Russia. While highlighting how the two can work together to address increasing political instability and violent conflict, participants also cited the importance of the transatlantic relationship in preventing or mitigating the demise of the liberal international order.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Cooperation, European Union, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, North America, Atlantic Ocean
  • Author: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: While relations between the United States and Russia have deteriorated in recent years, making it exceedingly difficult for both countries to collaborate in managing a variety of common concerns, emerging challenges to global order make such cooperation increasingly imperative. To explore where U.S.-Russia cooperation is desirable and, in some places, even necessary, the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations convened an international group of twenty-three experts at the Tufts University European Center in Talloires, France, on June 9 and 10, 2017, for the workshop “Managing Global Disorder: Prospects for U.S.-Russian Cooperation.”
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Anupam Chander
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Digital commerce and trade are increasingly important to the global economy. Seven of the ten most valuable firms today are technology companies (Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Alibaba, and Tencent). Data, according to some analysts, is the new oil. A major study concluded that the internet has powered some one-fifth of recent economic growth within the leading economies. Jobs are increasingly dependent on digitization; digital skills are needed for all but two job categories [PDF] in the United States: dishwashing and food cooking. Just as national economies are becoming more digitized, barriers to digital trade are being erected. These barriers limit opportunities for consumers to access global providers and for small- and medium-sized enterprises to reach new customers. It is not only technology firms that suffer; all enterprises with international operations need cross-border data flows to process, analyze, and transfer data about employees, customers, and operations. Global supply chains depend on the flow of goods, data, and services across borders. Moreover, commitment to the free flow of information across borders is essential to freedom of expression. Digital trade is about more than access to markets; it is about access to information. The renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is an excellent opportunity to set the gold standard for digital free trade. Despite public pronouncements about the harm free trade causes to the steel and automobile industries, the Donald J. Trump administration, to its credit, recognizes the importance of removing digital trade barriers in its stated objectives for the NAFTA renegotiation [PDF]. In its negotiations with Canada and Mexico, the Trump administration should seek rules limiting data localization, promote a balanced approach to intellectual property protections, support cross-border privacy rules, and remove barriers that hinder the trade of services.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Digital Economy, NAFTA
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Jamille Bigio, Rachel Vogelstein
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Armies and armed groups often subject noncombatants—particularly women and children—to conflict-related sexual violence, such as rape, sexual slavery, and forced marriage. Despite international recognition of this devastating abuse as a crime against humanity, sexual violence continues to plague conflicts from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to Syria. This practice has also proliferated among extremist groups, including Boko Haram in Nigeria and the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Additionally, sexual violence has tarnished the operations of peacekeepers charged with protecting civilians, thereby undermining the integrity and effectiveness of international peacekeeping institutions across the globe. Sexual violence in conflict is not simply a gross violation of human rights—it is also a security challenge. Wartime rape fuels displacement, weakens governance, and destabilizes communities, thereby inhibiting postconflict reconciliation and imperiling long-term stability. Combating conflict-related sexual violence merits a higher place on the U.S. foreign policy agenda. Although the U.S. government has taken modest steps to address sexual violence in conflict under successive Republican and Democratic administrations, more action is needed. To counter such violence, the Donald J. Trump administration should require training on conflict-related sexual violence in U.S. security cooperation efforts; expand the number of women serving in militaries, police, and peacekeeping forces around the world; increase accountability for the crime of sexual violence; and undermine terrorist financing streams raised through the abduction of women and children. These steps will help the United States and its allies respond effectively to the security threat posed by conflict-related sexual violence and advance U.S. interests in peace and stability.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Gender Based Violence , Conflict, Sexual Violence
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Congo
  • Author: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Chinese firms, both private and state-owned, have in recent years invested billions of dollars in the U.S. technology industry, raising concerns that a powerful rival has gained or could soon gain access to sensitive and, in some cases, critical technologies that underpin American military superiority and economic might. At the workshop entitled “Chinese Investment in Critical U.S. Technology: Risks to U.S. Security Interests,” held in San Francisco, on July 18, 2017, CFR convened nearly thirty current and former government officials, academics, bankers, investors, and corporate executives to explore whether the large and growing early-stage Chinese investment in critical U.S. technology poses a threat to U.S. national security, and, if so, to outline policies that mitigate the risks of unbridled Chinese investment and to bolster U.S. competitiveness.
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Foreign Direct Investment, Cybersecurity
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North America
  • Author: Heung-kyu Kim
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: As the Republic of Korea faces an increasing threat from North Korea, evolving U.S.-China relations are becoming important to Seoul’s strategy for dealing with Pyongyang. The United States and China are competitors, but they also seek cooperation on a range of global issues. And although South Korea seeks to have good relations with both great powers, it is increasingly being pushed to take sides in the ongoing U.S.-China competition. As the U.S.-China relationship becomes more complex, South Korea needs to carefully evaluate its policy toward China in order to find the best ways to ensure Chinese cooperation on the North Korean issue, particularly taking into account China’s evolving view of North Korea. Under the leadership of Xi Jinping, China is profoundly changing its foreign policy, including its relations with the United States and the two Koreas. With more confidence in its own diplomatic, military, and economic capacity to protect its national interests, China under Xi’s leadership has begun to regard the entire Korean Peninsula as part of its sphere of influence.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Military Strategy, Denuclearization
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Christopher Smart
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The recent collapse in the U.S.-Russia relationship has roots that stretch back to fundamental misunderstandings at the end of the Cold War. Western democracies have watched with dismay as tightening political controls in Russia have throttled domestic pluralism, while Moscow’s roughshod foreign policy and military tactics have driven its neighbors into submission or open hostility. Russia has bemoaned what it sees as Western arrogance and a stubborn refusal to recognize its security concerns and great-power status. Today, Russia’s annexation of Crimea, support of Syrian repression, and, above all, meddling in the U.S. presidential election have shattered any desire in Washington—at least outside the Oval Office—to search for common ground. Indeed, amid congressional logjams on nearly every issue, overwhelming bipartisan majorities passed a stiffer sanctions regime. The narrative in Moscow, meanwhile, paints a consistent picture of Washington actively rallying Europeans to expand footholds around Russia’s borders with an ultimate goal of regime change in the Kremlin itself. In spite of President Donald J. Trump’s apparent eagerness to improve relations, deepening resistance across the political spectrum makes any progress fanciful at this stage.Whether either side understands how to get relations back on track remains uncertain. What is clear is that neither side wants to. Deep-seated U.S. mistrust and an unyielding Russian government seem likely to confine the bilateral relationship to a series of sour exchanges and blustery confrontations for now. Yet one persistent weakness will ultimately limit Russia’s foreign agenda: an economy that is likely to fall increasingly behind those of its major neighbors and partners. For now, Russia has largely learned to tolerate Western economic sanctions, and its companies have found ways to live with restricted access to finance. Without reform and economic integration with the West, however, Russian influence will drift toward the margins of global diplomacy. Russia’s economy will atrophy from a combination of hyperconcentrated decision-making, continuing dependence on hydrocarbons, and persistent financial isolation. Core goals of Russia’s foreign policy will steadily recede from view, including important elements of the economic agenda with its immediate neighbors, the European Union and China. Though a snapback of oil prices would undoubtedly delay any day of reckoning, even large new inflows of petro-profits will not fundamentally close the widening gap with major partners.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, International Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Keir Giles
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: As investigations into attempts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election continue, more aspects of Russia’s approach to information warfare are coming to light. A steady stream of new disclosures is revealing a complex blend of hacking, public disclosures of private emails, and use of bots, trolls, and targeted advertising on social media designed to interfere in political processes and heighten societal tensions. Moscow’s hostile actions are driven by the belief that Russia is already in a state of conflict with the West, led by the United States, and that the internet is a domain for waging this conflict. From the earliest stages of the internet’s development, Russia has held a starkly different view from the West of its benefits and its potential. Russia’s national security establishment immediately saw connectivity as a threat and a potential weapon—and eventually as one that could help achieve regime change and deprive a country of its sovereignty—rather than as an enabler of economic development. The organization of Russia’s information-warfare capabilities, which include cyber operators, media outlets, and false flag entities, is shrouded in secrecy. In the West, generally only the intelligence community has a clear picture of how Russian capabilities are directed. Barring the sudden appearance of a Russian counterpart to Edward Snowden, the only view into Russia’s information toolbox is provided by cybersecurity companies and criminal prosecutions. The picture is further muddied because the Russian government keeps many of its cyberwarfare actors at arm’s length by employing contractors and former criminals through middlemen, giving Moscow a degree of deniability if caught. Nevertheless, both Western governments and private industry can take steps to mitigate Russian influence operations. Western governments should swiftly and decisively denounce Russian information activities as soon as they are identified, and their counterintelligence agencies should identify quantitative means to measure the effectiveness of Russia’s methods. Social media companies should more aggressively police their platforms for malicious state-sponsored content, and they should work with news organizations to promote verified and fact-checked content on their platforms.
  • Topic: Cybersecurity, Political stability, Disinformation, Election Interference
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Jaehyon Lee
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Traditional security issues in the Asia-Pacific, such as tensions on the Korean Peninsula or disputes over the South China Sea, consistently attract the attention of policymakers within the region and abroad. But their consequences for ordinary people are often dwarfed by the fallout from nontraditional security (NTS) events, such as climate change, resource scarcity, infectious diseases, natural disasters, irregular migration, famine, people smuggling, drug trafficking, and transnational crime. For countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the human and economic losses from NTS threats can be staggering. Moreover, economic and social costs from NTS threats consume resources that otherwise could be channeled toward economic growth and social welfare. Historically, there have been bilateral and multilateral attempts at cooperation on NTS in the Asia-Pacific, but they have not been enough. Trilateral cooperation among the United States, ASEAN, and South Korea would benefit not just the participating parties, but also the region as a whole. Such cooperation would allow South Korea to contribute to the region and is consistent with the Moon Jae-in government’s desire to play a greater foreign policy role beyond the Korean Peninsula. It would also advance the U.S.-South Korean alliance and give South Korea experience that could be used in future NTS crises in North Korea such as famines, natural disasters, or pandemics.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Natural Disasters, Natural Resources, Drugs
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, South Korea, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Jennifer M. Harris
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Chinese outbound investment is on the rise, and much of it is finding its way into the United States. Be- tween 2010 and 2015, China’s foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to the United States grew by an average of 32 percent annually.1 Within the past two years alone, Chinese foreign investment inflows to the United States increased four-fold, and available data suggests 2017 will see the second highest annual investment on record, after 2016.2 This is not a two-way street: the United States and other foreign investors do not enjoy similar open market access in China. China maintains a dizzying assortment of formal and informal barriers to for- eign investment—from outright restrictions and quotas to mandatory joint ventures, forced localization measures, and domestic licensing regimes. Despite years of negotiations, these barriers are, if anything, growing more cumbersome in many sectors. U.S. firms paint a darkening picture of the business climate they face in China. U.S. FDI in China has slowed considerably in recent years: after growing roughly 180 percent from 2002 to 2007 (albeit from a low baseline), U.S. FDI flows into China have declined since 2012.3 The one-way surge of Chinese investment into the United States comes against a backdrop of strategic mistrust between Washington and Beijing. Ongoing accusations of state-sponsored cyber predation of U.S. firms, Beijing’s increasing aggressiveness over territorial disputes, its systematic efforts to under- mine the U.S. alliance system in Asia, and mounting tensions over North Korea all contribute to a dark- ening mood in the U.S.-China relationship. And, like so much involving China, this investment is simply different. Rarely, if ever, has the United States seen an increase in investment of this magnitude—espe- cially from a non-ally and especially from one where the lines between state ownership and private own- ership are so inherently blurred. For all the concern surrounding Japanese investment in the United States in the 1980s—coming as it did amid fierce economic competition—those debates ultimately re- mained under the umbrella of the U.S.-Japan military alliance. All of this raises questions about whether the United States needs to tighten its stance on Chinese in- bound investment; proposals to that effect have bipartisan support in the Congress. The Donald J. Trump administration has signaled its desire for a tougher approach in its economic dealings with China, which U.S. businesses seem to welcome. One foundation for such an approach is the principle of reciprocity. Roughly two dozen sectors in China—construction, mining, banking, insurance, and so on—remain effectively off-limits to American investment, because the Chinese government protects its domestic companies through regulations and financial subsidies. Even in sectors that technically allow foreign investment, discriminatory industrial policies tilt the playing field in favor of Chinese firms. Until this changes, Washington would be justi- fied—even obligated—to limit Chinese investment in the U.S. market. However, U.S. policymakers do not have a consensus on what a policy of reciprocity would entail, and different policy interpretations could spell quite different economic and foreign policy consequences for the United States. The United States should aim for a version of reciprocity that allows it the flexibility to maximize pressure on the broad range of Chinese industrial policy concerns while leaving a clear route to negotiations. The United States should also encourage European and other Western countries, many of which are seeing similar increases in Chinese investment, to adopt this new approach.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North America
  • Author: Micah Zenko, Sarah Kreps
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The use of unmanned aerial systems—commonly referred to as drones—over the past decade has revolutionized how the United States uses military force. As the technology has evolved from surveillance aircraft to an armed platform, drones have been used for a wide range of military missions: the United States has successfully and legitimately used armed drones to conduct hundreds of counterterrorism operations in battlefield zones, including Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. It has also used armed drones in non-battlefield settings, specifically in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and the Philippines. Collectively, these strikes have eliminated a number of suspected terrorists and militants from Asia to Africa at no cost in terms of U.S. casualties, an advantage of drones over manned platforms that has made them attractive to many other states. However, non-battlefield strikes have drawn criticism, particularly those conducted under the assertion that they are acts of self-defense.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Asia
  • Author: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: An estimated one-third of girls around the globe become brides before the age of eighteen and one in nine do so before the age of fifteen. In recent decades, the issue of child marriage has grown in profile and priority for many policymakers. The Elders, a group of global leaders including former United Nations (UN) secretary-general Kofi Anna n and former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, have taken on the issue and opted to use their platform to speak out against the practice, as have other prominent international organizations. The UN estimated that in 2011, nearly seventy million women ages twenty to twenty-four had married before they turned eighteen. If current trends continue without pause, in the next ten years, more than 140 million girls will be married before their eighteenth birthdays. In order to design interventions that can scale to match the level of the challenge, it is critical to understand the drivers of child marriage and the factors that can curb it.
  • Topic: Globalization, Human Rights, Human Welfare, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States
  • 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: Sheila A. Smith
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Electoral reform in the early 1990s ended single-party dominance in Japan and promised an era of new politics in which political parties would alternate control of the government. In the two decades that followed, Japan's foreign and domestic policy priorities were subjected to greater scrutiny and debate as Japan, like so many other nations around the globe, sought to reorient itself in a new post-Cold War world. The U.S.-Japan alliance that anchored Japan's postwar foreign policy was not immune to these domestic political reforms. For half a century, the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) prided itself on managing the relationship with Washington. But its ouster in 2009 by the reformist Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) led many to expect that even Japan's alliance with the United States would be subject to serious review.
  • Topic: Government, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Asia
  • Author: Shannon K. O'Neil
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: North America was once called the New World. The people, their ideas, and the resources of the continent shaped the histories of the Old World—East and West. Today, North America is home to almost five hundred million people living in three vibrant democracies. If the three North American countries deepen their integration and cooperation, they have the potential to again shape world affairs for gen-erations to come.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: John Campbell
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The April 2014 kidnapping of more than 250 schoolgirls from Chibok in northern Nigeria by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram—and the lethargic response of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan's government— provoked outrage. But the kidnapping is only one of many challenges Nigeria faces. The splintering of political elites, Boko Haram's revolt in the north, persistent ethnic and religious conflict in the country's Middle Belt, the deterioration of the Nigerian army, a weak federal government, unprecedented corruption, and likely divisive national elections in February 2015 with a potential resumption of an insurrection in the oil patch together test Nigeria in ways unprecedented since the 1966–70 civil war.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Terrorism, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, Nigeria
  • Author: Seth G. Jones, Keith Crane
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Afghanistan will undergo three major transitions in 2014: from a Hamid Karzai–led government to one presumably headed by another president following the 2014 election; from a U.S.-led to an Afghan-led counterinsurgency; and from an economy driven by foreign expenditures on military support and assistance to one more reliant on domestic sources of growth, as the United States and other countries reduce their presence. The United States and its allies will need to shape each of these transitions in ways that safeguard their interests.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Islam, Terrorism, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Rachel B. Vogelstein
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The practice of child marriage is a violation of human rights. Every day, girls around the world are forced to leave their families, marry against their will, endure sexual and physical abuse, and bear children while still in childhood themselves. This practice is driven by poverty, deeply embedded cultural traditions, and pervasive discrimination against girls. Yet in many parts of the world, this ancient practice still flourishes: estimates show that nearly five million girls are married under the age of fifteen every year, and some are as young as eight or nine years old.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Human Rights, Poverty
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Seth G. Jones, Keith Crane
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Afghanistan will undergo three major transitions in 2014: from a Hamid Karzai-led government to one presumably headed by another president following the 2014 election; from a U.S.-led to an Afghan-led counterinsurgency; and from an economy driven by foreign expenditures on military support and assistance to one more reliant on domestic sources of growth, as the United States and other countries reduce their presence. The United States and its allies will need to shape each of these transitions in ways that safeguard their interests.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Military Strategy, Bilateral Relations, Border Control
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Joel I. Klein, Condoleezza Rice, Julia Levy
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Mission Statement. The Council on Foreign Relations is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher dedicated to being a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries. Founded in 1921, the Council takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. The Council carries out its mission by: Maintaining a diverse membership, including special programs to promote interest and develop expertise in the next generation of foreign policy leaders; Convening meetings at its headquarters in New York and in Washington, DC, and other cities where senior government officials, members of Congress, global leaders, and prominent thinkers come together with Council members to discuss and debate major international issues; Supporting a Studies Program that fosters independent research, enabling Council scholars to produce articles, reports, and books and hold roundtables that analyze foreign policy issues and make concrete policy recommendations; Publishing Foreign Affairs, the preeminent journal of international affairs and U.S. foreign policy; Sponsoring Independent Task Forces that produce reports with both findings and policy prescriptions on the most important foreign policy topics; and Providing up-to-date information and analysis about world events and American foreign policy on its website, CFR.org.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Globalization, National Security
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, America, Washington
  • Author: Amanda Glassman, Thomas J. Bollyky
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Fewer people are smoking in the United States, Europe, and most of the developing world. Excise taxes, bans on smoking in public places, and graphic health warnings are achieving such dramatic reductions in tobacco use in developed countries that a recent Citigroup Bank investment analysis speculated that smoking could virtually disappear in wealthy countries over the next thirty to fifty years.
  • Topic: Health, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • 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: Shanker A. Singham
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The U.S. economy faces major challenges competing internationally. One of the most worrisome is the growing use in China and other advanced developing countries of anticompetitive market distortions (ACMDs)—including regulatory protection that privileges specific companies—which put foreign competitors at a disadvantage. ACMDs are government actions that give certain business interests artificial competitive advantages over their rivals, be they foreign or domestic, to the detriment of consumer welfare. These market distortions are especially damaging to the industries in which the United States enjoys the greatest comparative advantages, but they are also harmful to the long-term prosperity of developing economies and cost the global economy trillions of dollars. To combat ACMDs, the conventional trade policy approach of focusing on the The U.S. economy faces major challenges competing internationally. One of the most worrisome is the growing use in China and other advanced developing countries of anticompetitive market distortions (ACMDs)—including regulatory protection that privileges specific companies—which put foreign competitors at a disadvantage.1 ACMDs are government actions that give certain business interests artificial competitive advantages over their rivals, be they foreign or domestic, to the detriment of consumer welfare. These market distortions are especially damaging to the industries in which the United States enjoys the greatest comparative advantages, but they are also harmful to the long-term prosperity of developing economies and cost the global economy trillions of dollars.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, India, Brazil
  • Author: G. John Ikenberry, Daniel Deudney
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Over the past half-century—what is often called the “American century”—the United States enjoyed extraordinary success, growth, and influence. It was not only the pivotal “arsenal” in the defense of democracy but also the principal exemplar of democratic capitalism that held enormous appeal around the world. During this era, the United States was simultaneously locked in a geopolitical and ideological bipolar struggle with the Soviet Union and, within the free world community, acknowledged as the leader and defender of a broad community of democratic capitalist countries. Not surprisingly, therefore, the United States pursued a multifaceted grand strategy. It played the role of Cold War leader of a coalition in global great power rivalry. It was also the indispensable leader in building order and cooperation within the free world camp. At the same time, the United States often employed its immense influence to advance a universalistic program of human betterment centered on political democracy, market capitalism, free trade, human rights, national self-determination, and international law and organization.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Soviet Union
  • 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: David A. Shirk
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Mexico is in the midst of a worsening security crisis. Explosive clashes and territorial disputes among powerful drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) have killed more than thirty-five thousand people since President Felipe Calderón took office in December 2006. The geography of that violence is limited but continues to spread, and its targets include a growing number of government officials, police officers, journalists, and individuals unrelated to the drug trade. The Mexican government has made the war on drugs its top priority and has even called in the military to support the country's weak police and judicial institutions. Even so, few Mexican citizens feel safer today than they did ten years ago, and most believe that their government is losing the fight.
  • Topic: Security, War on Drugs, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Michael Spence, Sandile Hlatshwayo
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: This paper examines the evolving structure of the American economy, specifically, the trends in employment, value added, and value added per employee from 1990 to 2008. These trends are closely connected with complementary trends in the size and structure of the global economy, particularly in the major emerging economies. Employing historical time series data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. industries are separated into internationally tradable and nontradable components, allowing for employment and value-added trends at both the industry and the aggregate level to be examined. Value added grew across the economy, but almost all of the incremental employment increase of 27.3 million jobs was on the nontradable side. On the nontradable side, government and health care are the largest employers and provided the largest increments (an additional 10.4 million jobs) over the past two decades. There are obvious questions about whether those trends can continue; without fast job creation in the nontradable sector, the United States would already have faced a major employment challenge.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Labor Issues, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: David A. Kaye
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: For nearly two decades, the United Nations has created international criminal tribunals to punish those responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Since the early 1990s the United States has strongly supported the UN tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia and hybrid UN/national courts for Sierra Leone and Cambodia. The era of court-building culminated in the 1998 adoption, over U.S. objections, of a treaty to establish a permanent International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. These international courts have brought dozens of perpetrators to justice, and the UN Security Council's requests that the ICC investigate the situations in Sudan (2005) and Libya (2011) show that policymakers across the spectrum, in the United States and abroad, believe that accountability-that is, bringing individuals to justice for committing atrocities-can be an important tool to combat war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Yet as important as these courts are, atrocities occur in places beyond their reach, and even where international courts investigate and prosecute, they lack the capacity to try all but a handful of the thousands of perpetrators of the worst international crimes.
  • Topic: Crime, Genocide, International Cooperation, International Law
  • Political Geography: United States, Sudan, Libya, Yugoslavia, Cambodia
  • 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: Matthew J. Slaughter, Edward Alden, Andrew H. Card, Thomas A. Daschle
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The growth of global trade and investment has brought significant benefits to the United States and to the rest of the world. Freer trade and investment, facilitated by rules the United States led in negotiating and implementing, have alleviated poverty, raised average standards of living, and discouraged conflict.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Labor Issues, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Paul B. Stares, Micah Zenko
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: With the U.S. military overstretched after a decade of continuous combat operations and Washington facing acute fiscal pressures, the strategic logic of preventive action to reduce the number of foreign crises and conflicts that could embroil the United States in burdensome new commitments has never been more compelling.
  • Topic: Globalization, International Organization, International Trade and Finance, Peace Studies, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Washington, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Daniel Markey, Paul B. Stares, Evan A. Feigenbaum, Scott A. Snyder, John W. Vessey, Joshua Kurlantzick
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: If past experience is any guide, the United States and China will find themselves embroiled in a serious crisis at some point in the future. Such crises have occurred with some regularity in recent years, and often with little or no warning. Relatively recent examples include the Taiwan Strait crisis of 1996, the accidental bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1999, and the EP-3 reconnaissance plane incident in 2001, as well as several minor naval skirmishes since then. The ensuing tension has typically dissipated without major or lasting harm to U.S.-China relations. With China's rise as a global power, however, the next major crisis is likely to be freighted with greater significance for the relationship than in previous instances. Policymakers in both Washington and Beijing, not to mention their respective publics, have become more sensitive to each other's moves and intentions as the balance of power has shifted in recent years. As anxieties and uncertainties have grown, the level of mutual trust has inevitably diminished. How the two countries manage a future crisis or string of crises, therefore, could have profound and prolonged consequences for the U.S.-China relationship. Given the importance of this relationship to not only the future evolution of the Asia-Pacific region but also to the management of a host of international challenges, the stakes could not be higher.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Israel, Asia
  • Author: F. Gregory Gause III
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: There is arguably no more unlikely U.S. ally than Saudi Arabia: monarchical, deeply conservative socially, promoter of an austere and intolerant version of Islam, birthplace of Osama bin Laden and fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers. Consequently, there is no U.S. ally less well understood. Many U.S. policymakers assume that the Saudi regime is fragile, despite its remarkable record of domestic stability in the turbulent Middle East. “It is an unstable country in an unstable region,” one congressional staffer said in July 2011. Yet it is the Arab country least affected in its domestic politics by the Arab upheavals of 2011. Many who think it is unstable domestically also paradoxically attribute enormous power to it, to the extent that they depict it as leading a “counterrevolution” against those upheavals throughout the region. 2 One wonders just how “counterrevolutionary” the Saudis are when they have supported the NATO campaign against Muammar al-Qaddafi, successfully negotiated the transfer of power from Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen, and condemned the crackdown on protestors by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, and how powerful they are when they could do little to help their ally Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Islam, Oil, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Barack Obama
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: THE PRESIDENT: Madam Speaker, Vice President Biden, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans: Our Constitution declares that from time to time, the President shall give to Congress information about the state of our union. For 220 years, our leaders have fulfilled this duty. They've done so during periods of prosperity and tranquility. And they've done so in the midst of war and depression; at moments of great strife and great struggle.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Government, War, Labor Issues, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Whitney Shepardson
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: If the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) did not exist today, the United States would not seek to create it. In 1949, it made sense in the face of a potential Soviet invasion to forge a bond in the North Atlantic area among the United States, Canada, and the west European states. Today, if the United States were starting from scratch in a world of transnational threats, the debate would be over whether to follow liberal and neoconservative calls for an alliance of democracies without regard to geography or to develop a great power concert envisioned by the realists to uphold the current order.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, NATO, International Cooperation, International Organization, International Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Canada, Soviet Union
  • Author: Daniel Markey
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: India faces the real prospect of another major terrorist attack by Pakistan-based terrorist organizations in the near future. Unlike the aftermath of the November 2008 attack on Mumbai, in which 166 people died, Indian military restraint cannot be taken for granted if terrorists strike again. An Indian retaliatory strike against terrorist targets on Pakistani soil would raise Indo-Pakistani tensions and could even set off a spiral of violent escalation between the nuclear-armed rivals. Given Washington's effort to intensify pressure on al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated militants operating from Pakistani territory, increased tensions between India and Pakistan would harm U.S. interests even if New Delhi and Islamabad stop well short of the nuclear threshold because it would distract Pakistan from counterterror and counterinsurgency operations, jeopardize the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, and place new, extreme stresses on Islamabad.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, South Asia, Washington, India, New Delhi, Mumbai
  • Author: Katherine J. Almquist
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Sudan faces the prospect of renewed violence between north and south over the next twelve to eighteen months. Under the terms of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended Sudan's bloody civil war, which claimed two million lives and displaced four million more, a referendum in southern Sudan must be held by January 2011 to determine whether it remains united with the north or secedes from it. Given that popular sentiment in the south overwhelmingly favors secession, two basic scenarios are conceivable: the south secedes peacefully through a credible referendum process, or the CPA collapses and the south fights for independence. There is no scenario in which the south remains peacefully united with the north beyond 2011. Further complicating prospects for averting renewed violence are the ongoing conflict in Darfur and potential conflicts in other marginalized areas of the north. The violent secession of the south would hinder efforts to resolve these conflicts, as well as increase the prospect for greater internecine fighting among historic rivals in the south. The resulting significant loss of life and widespread political unrest would threaten regional stability and challenge U.S. interests in Africa.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Islam, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Sudan
  • Author: Paul Lettow
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The international nuclear nonproliferation regime—the principal objective of which is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons—is under severe strain. The North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs have exploited and underscored weaknesses in the regime that must be fixed if it is to serve its purpose. Those weaknesses are both structural—ambiguities and limitations in the current rules—and result from a failure to enforce the rules that exist.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, North Korea
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Runs by prime-brokerage clients and derivatives counterparties were a central cause of the World Financial Crisis. Worried about potential losses, many hedge funds withdrew their assets from brokerage accounts at Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers in the weeks before these banks failed. Although Morgan Stanley did not fail, it also suffered from the withdrawal of prime brokerage assets. These runs, together with runs by short-term creditors, precipitated Bear Stearns' and Lehman's demise. Even if these firms would have failed anyway, the runs made their failures much more sudden and chaotic, and made coherent policy responses much harder.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Vijay Padmanabhan, Benjamin N. Cardozo
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: For the foreseeable future the United States is unlikely to become a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the international tribunal in The Hague responsible for prosecuting human rights atrocities and war crimes. From the time the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (the “Rome Statute”)—the treaty that established the ICC—was negotiated in 1998, the United States has voiced strong concerns about the ICC exercising jurisdiction over nationals of nonparties and the ICC prosecutor's authority to investigate and prosecute suspects without the approval of the UN Security Council. Those concerns have not been alleviated, and the Obama administration has said that it will not seek U.S. Senate approval of the Rome Statute in the near future. Even if the treaty were submitted to the Senate, the Senate would not approve it in its current form. Moreover, U.S. concerns could be exacerbated by modifications to the Rome Statute ICC members may make in the coming months.
  • Topic: Crime, Human Rights, International Law
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Charles L. Pritchard, John H. Tilelli Jr., Scott A. Snyder
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The Korean peninsula simultaneously offers dramatically contrasting opportunities for and dangers to U.S. interests in Northeast Asia. On the one hand, a democratic and free market–oriented South Korea has developed enhanced military capacity and political clout and an expanded set of shared interests with the United States. This enables more active cooperation with the United States to respond to North Korea's nuclear challenge and promote regional and global stability and prosperity. On the other hand, a secretive and totalitarian North Korea has expanded its capacity to threaten regional and global stability through continued development of fissile materials and missile delivery capabilities, and has directly challenged the global nonproliferation regime and U.S. leadership.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, South Korea, North Korea, Korea, Phoenix
  • Author: Michael A. Levi
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: U.S. policymakers talk more today about energy security than they have at any time since the energy crises of the 1970s. Yet scholarly understanding of the challenges at the intersection of energy and national security, and of the various policy tools available to address them, is surprisingly weak. On April 12–13, 2010, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) convened a group of thirty-six scholars and practitioners to assess the current state of knowledge about oil, gas, and national security, and to identify those areas where research was most needed. Participants included experts from academia, industry, government, and international institutions, and brought backgrounds in economics, political science, international relations, science, engineering, and law to the discussion.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Henry Sokolski
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The replacement for the Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (START), which presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev signed in April 2010, marks the first legally binding arms control agreement to be reached in nearly twenty years. At the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference in May 2010, where the topic of nu clear disarmament will be discussed, the elimination of nuclear weapons will be viewed as a practical possibility. While this prospect can be easily dismissed as an optimistic or flee ting trend, it should instead be harnessed as a means to bolster international security, or at least not to make matter s worse. This requires both sound insights into what is and is not possible, and in Washington, sensitivity to an increasing number of contentious political views regarding nuclear controls.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Author: Micah Zenko
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: President Barack Obama has made reductions in the United States' nuclear arsenal and a decreased reliance on nuclear weapons major foreign policy priorities for his administration. The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), signed in April 2010 by President Obama and Russia's president, Dmitry Medvedev, represents concrete movement toward these goals—goals that both presidents share. This follow-on accord to the 1991 START Treaty limits the United States and Russia to 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear and conventional war - heads, 800 strategic launchers, and 700 deployed strategic missiles and bombers. Yet while the New START Treaty represents a substantial decrease from Cold War levels, the United States will retain around 2,000 deployed strategic and tactical nuclear weapons and Russia will maintain approximately 3,500 deployed strategic and tactical nuclear weapons—which together will constitute over 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Author: Robert K. Knake
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States is being outmaneuvered in the international forums that will determine the future of the Internet. Led by Russia and China, nondemocratic regimes are organizing into a united front to promote a vision of the Internet that is tightly controlled by states. That vision is increasingly attractive to many Western nations wrestling with interrelated threats of cybercrime, industrial espionage, and cyber warfare. The United States must actively combat these threats while it works to protect U.S. national interests in the preservation and extension of the Internet as a platform for increased efficiency and economic exchange. Protecting this interest requires far more extensive engagement within Internet governance forums to shape the future of the network in a way that addresses security concerns without resulting in a cure that is worse than the disease.
  • Topic: Security, Crime, Science and Technology, Governance
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China
  • Author: Richard L. Armitage, Samuel R. Berger
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Al-Qaeda's attack on September 11, 2001, was the deadliest terrorist assault on the United States in history. In the hours and days that followed, Americans learned more about the perpetrators and their links to bases and networks in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Less than a month later, President George W. Bush launched Operation Enduring Freedom. Much changed nearly overnight as the United States focused military, economic, and diplomatic attention squarely on the region for the first time since the end of the Cold War. In Afghanistan, the Taliban regime—al-Qaeda's sympathetic host—was toppled. In Pakistan, the Pervez Musharraf regime was drafted into Washington's Global War on Terror.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Kay King
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Much has been written, blogged, and broadcast in the past several years about the dysfunction of the U.S. Congress. Filibusters, holds, and poison pill amendments have become hot topics, albeit intermittently, as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have increasingly exploited these tactics in pursuit of partisan or personal ends. Meanwhile, such pressing national issues as deficit reduction, immigration reform, and climate change have gone unresolved. To be fair, the 111th Congress has addressed many significant issues, but those it has addressed, such as health-care reform and economic stimulus, exposed Americans to a flawed process of backroom deals that favors obstruction over deliberation, partisanship over statesmanship, and narrow interests over national concerns. Although partisan politics, deal making, and parliamentary maneuvering are nothing new to Congress, the extent to which they are being deployed today by lawmakers and the degree to which they obstruct the resolution of national problems are unprecedented. This may explain why Congress registered a confidence level of only 11 percent in July 2010, marking its lowest rating ever in the annual Gallup institutional confidence survey and ranking it last among sixteen major U.S. institutions.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Adam Segal, Elizabeth C. Economy, Michael A. Levi, Shannon K. O'Neil
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: If governments are to respond effectively to the challenge of climate change, they will need to ramp up their support for innovation in low-carbon technologies and make sure that the resulting developments are diffused and adopted quickly. Yet for the United States, there is a tension inherent in these goals: the country's interests in encouraging the spread of technology can clash with its efforts to strengthen its own economy of particular importance is the spread of low-carbon technologies from the United States to the major emerging economies—China, India, and Brazil. Washington's strategy to promote the spread of low-carbon technologies to these countries must combine efforts to grow and open markets for low-carbon technologies with active support for accelerating the innovation and diffusion of these technologies. Its strategy will also need to reflect the unique challenges presented by each of the three countries.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, International Cooperation, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Washington, Brazil
  • Author: Kara C. McDonald, Stewart M. Patrick
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Advancing U.S. national interests in an era of global threats depends on effective multilateral action. Global institutions inherited from the past are struggling to adapt to the rise of new challenges and powers. “The international architecture of the 20th century is buckling,” declares the new U.S. National Security Strategy. President Barack Obama has committed his administration to renovating outdated institutions and integrating emerging powers as pillars of a rule-based international order. Renovation of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and its membership must be a core component of this agenda. President Obama's announcement in November 2010 of U.S. support for a permanent UNSC seat for India is a critical first step in this direction.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, International Organization, United Nations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Daniel C. Kurtzer
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Lebanon has been a flashpoint for Arab-Israeli violence and military confrontations since the mid1970s. Its political system is weak and outside parties continue to vie for political advantage as part of a larger regional conflict. In particular, Syria and Iran provide support for the militant Islamist group Hezbollah as a strategic asset to pressure Israel. Hezbollah now controls most of southern Lebanon, while its political wing has developed a strong presence in the Lebanese parliament. In July and August 2006, Israel and Hezbollah fought what became known as the “Second Lebanon War,” which killed and displaced many thousand s of people and destroyed much of Lebanon's infrastructure. Since then Hezbollah has steadily rearmed in contravention of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which requires, inter alia, “the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon, so that, pursuant to the Lebanese cabinet decision of July 27, 2006, there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese state” and “no sales or supply of arms and related materiel to Lebanon except as authorized by its government.” Hezbollah's arsenal is more potent in quantity and quality today than it was in 2006. Although the border area between Israel and Lebanon is quieter than at any time in the previous decade, speculation that a third Lebanon war will occur in the next twelve to eighteen months has been steadily rising. Israel could decide the security threat posed by Hezbollah has reached intolerable levels and take preemptive military action. Hezbollah, while outwardly showing no interest in confronting Israel at this time, may for various reasons choose or be pressured by Iran to flex its new military capabilities. As happened in 2006, even small-scale military engagements with limited objectives can escalate into a major conflict. Whatever the precipitating reasons, a new conflict over Lebanon would have significant implications for U.S. policy and interests in the region.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, War, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, United Nations, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Paul B. Stares
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Tensions ran perilously high on the Korean peninsula in the months after the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan on March 26, 2010, which claimed the lives of forty-six sailors. An international investigation subsequently attributed the incident to a North Korean torpedo attack, prompting both South Korea and the United States to impose new punitive measures on the regime in Pyongyang and to conduct a series of high-profile naval exercises to deter further provocations. These actions elicited an especially vituperative response from North Korea, including the threat to unleash a “retaliatory sacred war.”
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Bernard Gwertzman (interviewer)
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After nine months of political wrangling, Iraq's parliament confirmed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's new coalition government December 21. Though the government is "a good basis for setting out," says Iraq expert Joost Hiltermann, there's much uncertainty about how cohesive it will be and whether the inclusive government formed can govern. Hiltermann says there are questions about who will head the three major security ministries, whether a new National Council for Strategic Policy--designed as a "real check" against Maliki's power--will be approved by parliament, and whether Ayad Allawi, who headed the Iraqiya bloc that won the most seats in the election, will want to head that council. The United States pushed a power-sharing agreement "that went beyond the sharing of ministerial positions," says Hiltermann, but it remains to be seen whether various factions, including the prime minister and his allies, will allow that to happen.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Government, Politics, Governance, Sectarianism
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Paul B. Stares, Joel S. Wit
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: For most of the 1990s, North Korea was under what can only be called a prolonged deathwatch, so common and confident were predictions of its demise. Despite suffering acute economic stress from the loss of its principal economic patron—the Soviet Union—in 1991, the sudden death of its founding father––Kim Il-Sung––in 1994, and then soon after a devastating famine that may have claimed as many as a million lives, North Korea managed to survive. By decade's end, North Korea's extraordinary resilience, combined with its defiant and at times belligerent attitude to the rest of the world, had convinced most experts that this was not a country about to pass either quickly or quietly into the history books. Since then, the conventional wisdom among most if not all North Korea watchers is that it will muddle through indefinitely even if its long-term future remains doubtful.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, North Korea
  • Author: Daniel B. Prieto
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Political leaders, lawyers, and scholars have long grappled with questions of how to protect fundamental freedoms in times of national crisis. Supreme Court chief justice William Rehnquist observed that “the government's authority to engage in conduct that infringes civil liberty is greatest in time of declared war.” This observation is highly relevant in today's national security context. In an environment shaped by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, securing the U.S. homeland from fur the attacks and confronting terrorist networks abroad are central priorities of U.S. foreign and domestic policy. Yet the transformation of the U.S. security apparatus after 9/11 and a range of new national security programs have generated widespread concern over the protection of international human rights, democratic norms, and a number of rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution that form, collectively, the civil liberties of the American people.
  • Topic: Intelligence, Terrorism, Torture
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East
  • Author: Steven Dunaway
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The current economic and financial crisis has brought about a significant change in global economic governance as the international forum for discussions on the crisis has shifted from the small group of advanced countries in the Group of Seven (G7) to the Group of Twenty (G20), a broader group including important emerging market countries. The G20 summit held in Washington, DC, on November 15, 2008, dealt with the immediate concerns fostered by the crisis and focused on both macroeconomic policy actions needed to support global growth and ideas for implementing financial market reforms. Follow-up G20 summits are expected, starting with a gathering in the United Kingdom in April 2009. However, for these discussions to have a substantial impact, the agenda will have to be broadened beyond economic stimulus and financial market regulation. If not, global policymakers will miss a critical chance to make the world economy and financial markets more stable, as then U.S. treasury secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. pointed out: If we only address particular regulatory issues—as critical as they are—without addressing the global imbalances that fueled recent excesses, we will have missed an opportunity to dramatically improve the foundation for global markets and economic vitality going forward. The pressure from global imbalances will simply build up again until it finds another outlet.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Information about prices and quantities of assets lies at the heart of well-functioning capital markets. In the current financial crisis, it has become clear that many important actors-both firms and regulatory agencies-have not had sufficient information. Distributed by the Center for Geoeconomic Studies, this Working Paper proposes a new regulatory regime for gathering and disseminating financial market information. The authors argue that government regulators need a new infrastructure to collect and analyze adequate information from large (systemically important) financial institutions. This new information framework would bolster the government's ability to foresee, contain, and, ideally, prevent disruptions to the overall financial services industry.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Laurie A. Garrett
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Though the United States of America faces its toughest budgetary and economic challenges since the Great Depression, it cannot afford to eliminate, or even reduce, its foreign assistance spending. For clear reasons of political influence, national security, global stability, and humanitarian concern the United States must, at a minimum, stay the course in its commitments to global health and development, as well as basic humanitarian relief. The Bush administration sought not only to increase some aspects of foreign assistance, targeting key countries (Iraq and Afghanistan) and specific health targets, such as the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the President's Malaria Initiative, but also executed an array of programmatic and structural changes in U.S. aid efforts. By 2008, it was obvious to most participants and observers that too many agencies were engaged in foreign assistance, and that programs lacked coherence and strategy. Well before the financial crisis of fall 20 08, there was a strong bipartisan call for foreign assistance reform, allowing greater efficiency and credibility to U.S. efforts, enhancing engagement in multilateral institutions and programs, and improving institutional relations between U.S. agencies and their partners, including nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), recipient governments, corporate and business sector stakeholders, faith-based organizations (FBOs), academic-based implementers and researchers, foundations and private donors, United Nations (UN) agencies, and other donor nations.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Debt, Development, Economics, Health, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Brad W. Setser, Arpana Pandey
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: China reported $1.95 trillion in foreign exchange reserves at the end of 2008. This is by far the largest stockpile of foreign exchange in the world: China holds roughly two times more reserves than Japan, and four times more than either Russia or Saudi Arabia. Moreover, China's true foreign port- folio exceeds its disclosed foreign exchange reserves. At the end of December, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE)—part of the People's Bank of China (PBoC) managed close to $2.1 trillion: $1.95 trillion in formal reserves and between $108 and $158 billion in “other foreign assets.” China's state banks and the China Investment Corporation (CIC), China's sovereign wealth fund, together manage another $250 billion or so. This puts China's total holdings of foreign assets at over $2.3 trillion. That is over 50 percent of China's gross domestic product (GDP), or roughly $2,000 per Chinese inhabitant.
  • Topic: International Relations, Debt, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Israel, Asia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Gene B. Sperling
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: One of the most compelling—yet most unrealized—global development challenges is ensuring that all children can pursue their right to a quality basic education. Seventy-two million young children around the world will not attend primary school this year, and, if we include those adolescents who could be enrolled in secondary school, the number of out-of-school children rises to over 300 million. To some degree, global awareness of both the silent crisis of education in developing nations and the individual and societal benefits of moving toward a quality education for all children has grown over the last decade. In recent years, more policymakers and foundations have gained greater knowledge of the high economic, health, and social returns of educating girls, while foreign policy specialists increasingly recognize a connection between educational opportunities and encouraging young people to resist opting for more destructive or violent futures. A new global effort on education—the Education for All Fast Track Initiative (FTI)—has been started, and increased civil society advocacy for schooling opportunities for girls and boys, as well as those affected by HIV/AIDS, conflict, disability, and child labor, have all raised the profile of education among the broader public.
  • Topic: Debt, Education, Globalization, Health, Poverty
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Robert McMahon
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Interview with Michael Chertoff, Former Homeland Security Secretary, on how immigration reforms are essential to normalize labor flows. The global economic crisis has triggered calls in some U.S. policy circles for tightening immigration rules to prevent non-Americans from competing for scarce jobs. Yet despite conditions, lawmakers should be preparing changes to immigration policy in anticipation of the country's economic revival, says former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who had jurisdiction over immigration issues. "We are going to need to have some workers coming from other parts of the world to do the jobs that Americans will not be willing to do," Chertoff said. In addition, he said, U.S. officials should increase contacts with Mexican authorities to work out a system for rationalizing the legal flow of migrant workers into the United States. He also stressed that tough enforcement of immigration laws, at the workplace and border, must be at the core of comprehensive reforms.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Human Rights, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America
  • Author: Joseph S. Nye Jr, Philip D. Zelikow
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Stephen C. Freidheim Symposium on Global Economics Transcript: Joseph Nye, Philip Zelikow, Sebastian Mallaby, and Richard Medley discuss the global consequences of the financial crisis This session was part of the Stephen C. Freidheim Symposium on Global Economics: Financial Turbulence and U.S. Power, which was made possible through the generous support of Stephen C. Freidheim.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Globalization, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Scott G. Borgerson
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea—the instrument that created the overarching governance framework for nearly three-quarters of the earth's surface and what lies above and beneath it—has been signed and ratified by 156 countries and the European Community, but not by the United States. The Law of the Sea Convention, with annexes (hereafter in this report referred to as the “convention”), and the 1994 agreement on its implementation have been in force for more than a decade, but while the United States treats most parts of the convention as customary international law, it remains among only a handful of countries—and one of an even smaller number with coastlines, including Syria, North Korea, and Iran—to have signed but not yet acceded to the treaty.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Law, International Trade and Finance, International Affairs, Maritime Commerce
  • Political Geography: United States, North Korea, Syria
  • Author: Michael T. Osterholm
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The outbreak of a new strain of deadly swine flu, which has killed more than one hundred people in Mexico and spread to the United States and Europe, has global health experts considering whether this may be the start of a long-feared pandemic. Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, says there are a lot of unknowns about the new flu strain but so far it presents "a very different picture" from that of recent avian flu outbreaks and the 2003 sudden acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak. "Osterholm says it may be a matter of months before experts understand the disease. He cautions against international policy overreactions, citing some countries' travel warnings and bans on some imported foods from the United States and Mexico as "hysterical." He says the best way to deal with panics is to keep people informed and not create false expectations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Globalization, Health, Human Welfare, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Canada
  • Author: Michael A. Levi
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Half a decade of high and volatile oil prices alongside increasingly dire warnings of climatic disaster have pushed energy security and climate change steadily up the U.S. policy agenda. Rhetoric in Washington has emphasized opportunities to deal with both challenges at once. But energy security and climate change do not always align: many important decisions in areas including unconventional oil, biofuels, natural gas, coal, and nuclear power will involve complex trade-offs and force policymakers to carefully navigate the two goals. Ongoing and heated debates in the United States and Canada over the future of the Canadian oil sands—touted at once as an energy security godsend and a climate change disaster—highlight that tension and emphasize the need to intelligently address it.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Energy Policy, Oil
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Canada
  • Author: Brad W. Setser, Arpana Pandey
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: This paper was originally published in January 2009. The May update incorporates quarter one 2009 data on China's foreign reserves, the Treasury International Capital (TIC) capital flows data for December, January, and February, and the results of the June 2008 survey of foreign portfolio investment in the United States. The June 2008 survey indicated that China bought fewer Treasury bonds and more equities than the authors estimated in the January paper.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Richard N. Haass
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Asserting that the Iranian theocracy has become a "thugocracy," CFR President Richard N. Haass says the Iranian regime will likely prevail because of its use of force against the population. This makes the urgency of negotiating an end to the country's nuclear program more pronounced, and possibly more difficult, Haass says. "The Iranian challenge still exists, and may actually be somewhat worse," he says. "I'm talking about the nuclear program, their influence in Afghanistan and Iraq, their support of Hezbollah and Hamas. None of that has changed." Haass says the Obama administration "still ultimately has to try to deal with [Iran]" but adds: "It has become extraordinarily difficult to talk to this regime, and Iran has become in absolute and relative terms far more capable."
  • Topic: Democratization, Islam
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Jeb Bush, Thomas McLarty
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States, a country shaped by generations of immigrants and their descendants, is badly mishandling its immigration policy, with serious consequences for its standing in the world. The urgency of this issue has led the Council on Foreign Relations to convene an Independent Task Force to deal with what is ordinarily regarded as a domestic policy matter. America's openness to and respect for immigrants has long been a foundation of its economic and military strength, and a vital tool in its diplomatic arsenal. With trade, technology, and travel continuing to shrink the world, the manner in which the United States handles immigration will be increasingly important to American foreign policy in the future. The Task Force believes that the continued failure to devise and implement a sound and sustainable immigration policy threatens to weaken America's economy, to jeopardize its diplomacy, and to imperil its national security.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Immigration
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: As its name suggests, the payoff on a credit default swap (CDS) depends on the default of a specific borrower, such as a corporation, or of a specific security, such as a bond. The value of these instruments is especially sensitive to the state of the overall economy. If the economy moves toward a recession, for example, the likelihood of defaults increases and the expected payoff on credit default swaps can rise quickly. The Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTC C) estimates that in April 2009, the notional amount of credit default swaps outstanding was about $28 trillion. As a result of the overall size of the CDS market and the sensitivity of CDS payoffs to economic conditions, large exposures to credit default swaps can create substantial systemic risk.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Charles D. Ferguson, Brent Scowcroft, William J. Perry
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: For more than sixty years, the United States and the world have benefited immeasurably from a de facto taboo on the use of nuclear weapons. Today, however, this period of nonuse may come to an end, given the rise of a new type of terrorist who seeks to acquire and would not hesitate to detonate nuclear weapons. Moreover, the emergence of more states with nuclear weapons capabilities has raised the likelihood of the use or loss of control of nuclear weapons or the materials used to make them. The imperative before the Obama administration, therefore, is to use all available tools to prevent the use and further acquisition of nuclear weapons. This Task Force report identifies how to leverage U.S. nuclear weapons posture and policy to achieve that objective. It focuses on near-term steps, primarily over the next four years.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Steven Dunaway
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The seeds of the current economic and financial crisis were sown by economic policies of the major countries that fostered the growth of global imbalances during the 2000s. Consequently, an essential element in any assessment of prospects for world economic recovery and the pace of future growth has to factor in exactly how these imbalances are likely to unwind—or fail to be resolved—in the period immediately ahead.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Barack Obama
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: President Obama gave this address on December 1, 2009 at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, War, Armed Struggle, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, New York
  • Author: Robert A. Manning, Evan A. Feigenbaum
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: President Barack Obama heads to Singapore in November for the 2009 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) summit. It will be his first foray into the arcane world of Asian multilateralism. And if his administration adopts a new approach, it could yet fashion a more sustainable role for the United States in a changing Asia.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia
  • Author: Matthew C. Waxman
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The collective international failure to stop genocidal violence and result - ing humanitarian catastrophe in Sudan prompts the familiar question of whether the United States or, more broadly, the international community has the political will and capabilities necessary to deter or stop mass atrocities. It is well understood that mobilizing domestic and international political support as well as leveraging diplomatic, economic, and maybe even military tools are necessary to stop mass atrocities, though they may not always be enough. Other studies have focused, therefore, on what steps the United States and its international partners could take to build capabilities of the sort needed to prevent, stop, and remedy these crimes. This report approaches the problem from a different angle and asks whether the current international legal regime with regard to the use of military force—that is, international law regulating the resort to armed intervention—is appropriate and effective in deterring and stopping mass atrocities.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Genocide, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: United States, Sudan
  • Author: Paul B. Stares, Micah Zenko
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Since taking office, the Obama administration has repeatedly affirmed its intent to prevent potential future international crises from becoming the source of costly new U.S. military commitments. In one of the earliest foreign policy pronouncements of the new administration, Vice President Joseph R. Biden declared: “We'll strive to act preventively, not preemptively, to avoid whenever possible or wherever possible the choice of last resort between the risks of war and the dangers of inaction. We'll draw upon all the elements of our power—military and diplomatic; intelligence and law enforcement; economic and cultural—to stop crises from occurring before they are in front of us.” Not long afterward, General James L. Jones, in his first speech as national security adviser, echoed much the same objective: “We need to be able to anticipate the kind of operations that we should be thinking about six months to a year ahead of time in different parts of the world to bring the necessary elements of national and international power to bear to prevent future Iraqs and future Afghanistans.” And in a major speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in August 2009, President Barack Obama also declared that “one of the best ways to lead our troops wisely is to prevent the conflicts that cost American blood and treasure tomorrow.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq
  • Author: Mona Yacoubian, Scott Lasensky
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Punctuated by conflict in Iraq, an ascendant ran, and continued instability in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, rising volatility in the Middle East threatens U.S. interests in the region. Meanwhile, sectarianism, al-Qaeda–inspired terrorism, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) all serve as troubling overlays to this complex mix. Mired in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States has yet to develop a comprehensive strategic framework that addresses these interrelated challenges. Instead, U.S. policy has been largely crisis-driven, attempting to put out fires by confronting issues on an ad hoc basis rather than seeking to respond to the underlying forces and tensions that catalyze conflict and instability in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iran, Middle East, North Korea, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Ashley Deeks
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, the conflict with al-Qaeda, and escalating concerns about terrorism have meant that, in the past seven years, the United States has detained thousands of people. The government has held some of these individuals in the United States and some overseas. Many remain in U.S. custody. As U.S. policies and the nature of the current conflicts evolve, the United States finds itself seeking to return many of these people—combatants, suspected terrorists, and others—to their countries of origin. But, as it does so, it runs into a problem: in a significant number of cases, the U.S. government has concluded that it is more likely than not that the individuals will be tortured if the United States hands them back to their governments.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq
  • Author: Daniel Markey
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Today, few places on earth are as important to U.S. national security as the tribal belt along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan. The region serves as a safe haven for a core group of nationally and internationally networked terrorists, a training and recruiting ground for Afghan Taliban, and, increasingly, a hotbed of indigenous militancy that threatens the stability of Pakistan's own state and society. Should another 9/11-type attack take place in the United States, it will likely have its origins in this region. As long as Pakistan's tribal areas are in turmoil, the mission of building a new, democratic, and stable Afghanistan cannot succeed.
  • Topic: Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Asia, Taliban
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: This Task Force report takes stock of the current situation in Latin America and the main challenges and opportunities for U.S.-Latin America relations. Latin America has benefited greatly in recent years from democratic opening, stable economic policies, and increasing growth. Many countries are taking advantage of these developments to consolidate democratic institutions, broaden economic opportunities, and better serve their citizens. Yet Latin American nations face daunting challenges as they integrate into global markets and work to strengthen historically weak state institutions. These challenges increasingly matter for the United States, as deepening economic and social ties link U.S. well-being to the region's stability and development.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: United States, South America, Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Bruce W. MacDonald
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On January 11, 2007, China launched a missile into space, releasing a homing vehicle that destroyed an old Chinese weather satellite. The strategic reverberations of that collision have shaken up security thinking in the United States and around the world. This test demonstrated that, if it so chose, China could build a substantial number of these anti- satellite weapons (ASAT) and thus might soon be able to destroy substantial numbers of U.S. satellites in low earth orbit (LEO), upon which the U.S. military heavily depends. On February 21, 2008, the United States launched a modified missile-defense interceptor, destroying a U.S. satellite carrying one thousand pounds of toxic fuel about to make an uncontrolled atmospheric reentry. Thus, within fourteen months, China and the United States both demonstrated the capability to destroy LEO satellites, heralding the arrival of an era where space is a potentially far more contested domain than in the past, with few rules.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Brad W. Setser
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In the 1870s, the scope of Great Britain's financial empire exceeded the scope of its political empire. Dependence on British investors sometimes was a precursor, though, to informal—or even formal— political control. When Egypt's khedive needed to raise cash to cover his personal debt to private British banks, he sold his large personal stake in the Suez Canal to the British state. Egypt's ruler did little better managing Egypt's public debt: difficulties making payments led Britain and France to assume control over Egypt's treasury and, by 1882, to full British political control.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, America, Egypt
  • Author: Michael A. Levi
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Policymakers consistently identify nuclear terrorism as one of the greatest threats facing the United States and the world. Indeed, the diffusion of technology, the rise of extremist ideology, and the steady spread of nuclear materials conspire to make nuclear terrorism an increasingly worrying prospect.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, Washington
  • Author: David G. Victor, Michael A. Levi, George E. Pataki, Thomas J. Vilsack
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Unchecked climate change is poised to have wide-ranging and potentially disastrous effects over time on human welfare, sensitive ecosystems, and international security. This urgent challenge demands that the United States and the world take comprehensive action to limit the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and to address the consequences of any unavoidable climate change.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Douglas A. Irwin
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The news from Geneva of the breakdown of the Doha Round after seven years of effort has generated a great deal of pessimism about the future of multilateral trade agreements. America's troubles with the World Trade Organization (WTO) are of course only the beginning. There are also domestic problems when it comes to trade policy, an issue that ties together America's economic prosperity and its global political influence. Recent public opinion polls in the United States reveal increased skepticism about the benefits of globalization and diminished support for free trade policies. The post–World War II bipartisan consensus in favor of open trade has broken up, leading to gr eater resistance to new trade agreements in Congress, as reflected in the House's recent decision to postpone consideration of the Colombia free trade agreement (FTA). Despite efforts in the Doha Round to limit agricultural subsidies, Congress recently showered domestic farmers with more cash in the recently passed Farm Bill, even at a time when commodity prices are soaring.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Geneva, United States, America, Colombia
  • Author: Anthony W. Gambino
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher dedicated to being a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries. Founded in 1921, CFR carries out its mission by maintaining a diverse membership, with special programs to promote interest and develop expertise in the next generation of foreign policy leaders; convening meetings at its headquarters in New York and in Washington, DC, and other cities where senior government officials, members of Congress, global leaders, and prominent thinkers come together with CFR members to discuss and debate major international issues; supporting a Studies Program that fosters independent research, enabling CFR scholars to produce articles, reports, and books and hold roundtables that analyze foreign policy issues and make concrete policy recommendations; publishing Foreign Affairs, the preeminent journal on international affairs and U.S. foreign policy; sponsoring Independent Task Forces that produce reports with both findings and policy prescriptions on the most important foreign policy topics; and providing up-to-date information and analysis about world events and American foreign policy on its website, CFR.org.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, Washington, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Author: Monty G. Marshall
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: A public debate over the threat posed by weak, fragile, failing, and failed states and what can or should be done about them has become increasing visible and vocal since the attacks of September 11, 2001. As President George W. Bush declared in his 2002 National Security Strategy report: “America is now threatened less by conquering states than ... by failing ones.” This debate has grown particularly acute as the United States' prolonged military response to the war on global terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq has revealed the difficulties of controlling militancy and extremism by direct military intervention and enforced democratic change. The challenges associated with weak or failing states have garnered increase d attention by the policy community, but major differences about how to assess the level of risk in any given case remain.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Foreign Policy, Political Violence, Development, Diplomacy, Government, International Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, America
  • Author: Michael Levi
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The basis of nuclear doctrine during the Cold War was deterrence. Nuclear powers were deterred from attacking each other by the fear of retaliation. Today, much of the concern over possible nuclear attack comes in the context of rogue states and terrorism. And since only states are known to possess nuclear weapons, an important question is how to deter them from letting terrorists acquire a device, whether through an authorized transfer or a security breach. Michael A. Levi analyzes this aspect of deterrence in the post–Cold War world, as well as what to do if deterrence breaks down. He suggests how to discourage states from giving weapons or nuclear materials to terrorists and how to encourage states to bolster security against any accidental transfer. The report also discusses the role of nuclear attribution—the science of identifying the origin of nuclear materials—in deterring transfers, an essential link in assigning responsibility to governments for transfers of nuclear materials.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Cold War, Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: United States, Soviet Union
  • Author: Steven Simon
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: When this Council Special Report (CSR) was first issued in February 2007, the debate over the surge was raging. President George W. Bush had only announced his intention to deploy additional troops. Democrats and Republicans rushed to the barricades either to deplore or to defend it. This report, however, saw the surge as inevitable—since its opponents were powerless to stop it—and, more importantly, as beside the point.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Joshua W. Busby
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005, Americans witnessed on their own soil what looked like an overseas humanitarian-relief operation. The storm destroyed much of the city, causing more than $80 billion in damages, killing more than 1,800 people, and displacing in excess of 270,000. More than 70,000 soldiers were mobilized, including 22,000 active duty troops and 50,000-plus members of the National Guard (about 10 percent of the total Guard strength). Katrina also had severe effects on critical infrastructure, taking crude oil production and refinery capacity off-line for an unprecedented length of time. At a time when the United States was conducting military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, the country suddenly had to divert its attention and military resources to respond to a domestic emergency.
  • Topic: International Relations, Climate Change, Development
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, America
  • Author: Gordon H. Hanson
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Illegal immigration is a source of mounting concern for politicians in the United States. In the past ten years, the U.S. population of illegal immigrants has risen from five million to nearly twelve million, prompting angry charges that the country has lost control over its borders. Congress approved measures last year that have significantly tightened enforcement along the U.S.-Mexico border in an effort to stop the flow of unauthorized migrants, and it is expected to make another effort this year at the first comprehensive reform of immigration laws in more than twenty years.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Robert LaLonde
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: An important component of U.S. productivity growth and economic competitiveness is a flexible labor market that shifts workers quickly into the jobs where they are most needed. Much of the time, this job shifting is fairly painless: Workers quickly find new positions that pay at least as much as their previous ones, often without an intervening spell of unemployment. But prime-aged and older workers can sometimes suffer large, long-term income losses. Such workers' well-founded fears about job displacement lead them and their advocates to resist policies such as free trade that are sometimes blamed for the job shifting. This resistance harms the majority of households because trade helps to lower prices, raise real incomes and promote economic growth. It also has foreign policy consequences since it threatens the United States' ability to play its traditional post–World War II role as the bulwark of a relatively open international trading system. And by reducing the dynamism of the U.S. economy, resistance to trade and other pro-growth policies can weaken the nation's long-term ability to exert global leadership.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Vincent A. Mai, Frank G. Wisner, William L. Nash, ArthurMark Rubin
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Outside the continent's crisis areas, few African countries are more important to U.S. interests than Angola. The second-largest oil producer in Africa, Angola's success or failure in transitioning from nearly thirty years of war toward peace and democracy has implications for the stability of the U.S. oil supply as well as the stability of central and southern Africa. Consequently, the United States has an interest in helping Angola address its numerous and significant national challenges.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Angola
  • Author: Charles D. Ferguson
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: According to a prevailing belief, humanity confronts two stark risks: catastrophes caused by climate change and annihilation by nuclear war. The conventional wisdom also believes that the former danger appears far more certain than the latter. This assessment has recently led an increasing number of policymakers, pundits, businesspeople, and environmentalists to advocate a major expansion of nuclear energy, which emits very few greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. While acknowledging the connection between nuclear fuel making and nuclear bomb building, nuclear power proponents suggest that nuclear proliferation and terrorism risks are readily manageable. Consequently, some of these advocates favor the use of subsidies to stimulate substantial growth of nuclear power.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Dennis C. Blair, Carla A. Hills, Frank Sampson Jannuzi
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: President Richard M. Nixon reached out to the People's Republic of China thirty-five years ago to advance U.S. strategic interests by balancing the Soviet Union and reinforcing the split between two former communist allies. Nixon and his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, briefed the Chinese on Soviet forces arrayed against China and also discussed the Vietnam War and Taiwan. Nixon and Kissinger sought to change the global U.S. stance from confrontation to détente and to extricate the United States from the Vietnam War. Their mission shifted the globe's geopolitical landscape.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, Vietnam
  • Author: Robert Z. Lawrence
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States likes to think of itself as a nation that abides by its treaties and commitments. Successive U.S. administrations have taken the obligations implied by international agreements seriously: They have opted out of parts of many agreements for fear that compliance would be contrary to U.S. interests, and have refused outright to sign some treaties on the grounds of potential legal exposure. But U.S. behavior toward the World Trade Organization is different; in this case, the United States has been quite willing to accept binding multilateral rules. Yet, the United States has also been repeatedly judged to be in violation of its WTO commitments by the organization's dispute settlement panels, and although some violations could be ascribed to uncertainties about the meaning of the rules, the United States is also guilty of disregarding the rules deliberately. Opinion in Congress sometimes encourages this behavior; legislators are less likely to question the legitimacy of U.S. conduct than to question the WTO's authority to pass judgment over the United States. Moreover, these tensions are likely to escalate if the Doha Round of global trade negotiations breaks down. If the diplomatic route to market access is blocked, trading partners will seek access to U.S. consumers by bringing more cases before the WTO's tribunals. A surge in such cases could increase resentment of the WTO in the United States, weakening America's commitment to its traditional postwar role as the bulwark of the international trading system. This would be unfortunate, because even without changes in the behavior of its trading partners, the rules of the WTO improve the performance of the U.S. economy.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Jennifer Cooke, David Henek
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On January 17, 2007, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), in collaboration with the Council on Foreign Relations, the U.S. Institute of Peace, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center, hosted a major conference in Washington, D.C., entitled "Somalia's Future: Options for Diplomacy, Assistance, and Peace Operations." The conference brought together expert observers from Mogadishu, senior U.S. policymakers, representatives from humanitarian assistance organizations, and regional analysts to convey to a U.S. audience the current situation in Somalia and to lay out the challenges facing the United States and the broader international community.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Somalia