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  • Author: Howard Shaffer, Teresita Schaffer
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Bangladesh’s independence in 1971 shocked the world with its violence and the callousness of U.S. policy, inspired a unique Beatles concert, and became a feature in a major shift in relations among the United States, China, the Soviet Union, and India. But the Bangladesh movement did not arise in a vacuum. Instead, it grew out of the fragmented geographic, ethnic, and power structure left behind from its first independence movement, when the subcontinent was partitioned into India and Pakistan in 1947. After independence, Bangladesh was expected to be a “basket case.” Relatively successful economically, its political trajectory has been more volatile, albeit more promising than other countries studied for this project. However, many issues that shaped the Bangladesh movement—the second of the country’s two independence movements—still stalk Bangladeshi politics four decades after its bloody creation.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Independence
  • Political Geography: Bangladesh, Asia
  • Author: J. Stephen Morrison
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: As President Trump and Kim Jong-un meet for their second summit in Hanoi, will there be serious consideration given to what concrete actions can be taken to protect and advance a health and humanitarian agenda that can directly benefit North Korea’s impoverished majority and reduce the threat of a runaway tuberculosis (TB) outbreak? Perhaps. Certainly, let’s hope so. There is much that can be done.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Health, Poverty, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Mark Sobel
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Barack Obama administration’s efforts to secure Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), in conjunction with advancing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), brought into focus a congressional push to associate currency provisions with U.S. trade agreements. Since that time, discussions on the association of currency provisions with trade deals have gained momentum and become a feature of U.S. foreign exchange policy, especially under the Donald Trump administration. What is the historical context for including currency provisions alongside or as part of trade deals in U.S. exchange rate policy? What has actually been done? Is including currency provisions alongside or in trade deals a good idea? How should this be best managed?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Exchange Rate Policy, Trans-Pacific Partnership
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Mark L Schneider, Michael Matera
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Central America has been a concern for U.S. foreign policy for more than a half century, spanning the Cold War, the Alliance for Progress, military regimes, and popular upheavals. Insurgencies had ideological roots, but most of the popular movements were aimed at securing democracy, justice, and economic change and were linked to ending elite dominance, corruption, and closed political systems. Only Costa Rica, and Panama since the removal of Noriega, have managed over the past three decades to see steady political and economic forward movement. Nicaragua remains mired in the throes of a despotic, discredited regime whose disregard for human rights and national well-being is beyond argument. The Northern Triangle Countries (NTC) of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras have loomed larger in national attention ever since 2014 when a large number of unaccompanied minors suddenly appeared on the southwest border of the United States. Migrants from these countries were not new. Total migration had hit three million even before 2014, perhaps half living in the shadows, undocumented and vulnerable. This migration had been driven by the civil conflicts of the 1980s, the deportation of violent gang members (who brought back organized crime and violence from their Los Angeles barrios), and a paucity of economic opportunity. U.S. support for development efforts in the NTC since the end of the region’s domestic civil conflicts more than 20 years ago has been marked by inconsistent attention, with sudden peaks in financial commitments combining development and security cooperation. Then as other crises loomed and the Central American isthmus seemingly mellowed, Washington lost interest, without ever recognizing that weak and corrupt justice systems, dysfunctional governance, and elite-dominated economies had not changed fundamentally.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, Hegemony, Regionalism
  • Political Geography: Central America, North America, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, United States of America
  • Author: Moises Rendon, Max Price
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: As the United States, the Lima Group, the European Union, and other like-minded nations continue to increase pressure on the regime of Nicolás Maduro with diplomatic measures such as challenging his government’s legitimacy, the question remains as to whether sanctions are an effective measure for changing the behavior of the Venezuelan regime and pushing Maduro to step down. Despite external support by Russia, Cuba, China, and a few others, Maduro is more alienated on the world stage than ever before. That said, stiff sanctions and diplomatic isolation have not yet convinced Maduro to negotiate his exit while his regime has proven to be resilient and adaptable . As the humanitarian crisis deteriorates further, a debate has raged on among policymakers who worry that sanctions may be worsening conditions for Venezuelan citizens. This brief provides clarity on this complex issue. This report will assess the efficacy of past sanctions, as well as their impact on standards of living in Venezuela, and provide recommendations for improving policy in this area.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Sanctions, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: South America, Venezuela
  • Author: Amy K. Lehr, Michael J. Green, Victor D. Cha, Jon B. Alterman, Judd Devermont, Melissa Dalton, Mark L Schneider, Erol Yayboke
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Human Rights are part of the American DNA. Congress has long advocated for human rights to play an integral role in U.S. foreign policy, with significant success. However, rising authoritarianism and the gross human rights violations taking place around the world call for immediate and stronger U.S. leadership and Congressional action. To that end, the Human Rights Initiative of CSIS worked with CSIS scholars, who developed recommendations relevant to their expertise that identify how Congress can build on its past human rights leadership to meet today’s challenges.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Human Rights, Authoritarianism, Democracy, Leadership
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Sarah Ladislaw, Nikos Tsafos
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: For several decades, energy security has been defined and pursued in a multilateral world with relatively open markets and technology transfer, where energy relations have become increasingly commodified. But that world may soon disappear—energy relationships might become more political, open trade might give way to friction, and great powers might leverage energy relations or energy technology to gain an edge over each other. For decades the United States has promoted a rules-based, multilateral order, supported by shared gains from free trade and deeper economic and political integration within and among countries. Energy security, the ability to secure affordable and reliable supplies of energy, has been widely recognized as common good promoted by this system. As the world’s largest consumer and importer of energy, it was squarely in the United States’ national interest to support this approach through domestic and international energy policy as well as foreign policy. Today, this multilateral order is being challenged. The world is experiencing a new era of competition for greater geographic and economic power driven by the shifting center of gravity of the global economy, the realignment of relationships between and among countries, and rapid technological change. Energy is poised to play an important role in this upheaval and will be affected by these changes. The United States is no longer the largest consumer or importer of energy. Instead, it is now the largest producer of oil and natural gas and will soon be a net exporter of energy. The energy world also is changing rapidly, with renewable energy resources like solar and wind making up the fastest growing and largest source of new supplies and global imperatives like climate change challenging the role of status quo fuels. These changes have heralded a reexamination of the United States’ national interest regarding energy in this changing global system. The United States has important decisions to make about its position in this new environment. Can energy play an influential role in achieving U.S. foreign policy objectives in various regions of renewed geopolitical competition? Is any country or group of countries poised to dominate a given energy market or fuel and might that negatively affect U.S. national security interests? How does this changing global dynamic in which countries are vying for greater geographic and economic spheres of influence affect our approach to global energy security? Will the energy sector become fundamentally more mercantilist, and will the United States be competitive if it does? Greater insight about each of these questions is a prerequisite to the formulation of U.S. foreign and energy policy. So far, the United States has grappled with these questions by pursuing “energy dominance,” a strategy in which energy represents (1) a tool for gaining geopolitical influence in a given region and (2) an area of competitive and strategic economic advantage for the United States. But other global powers, like China and Russia, pose strong competition for this U.S. strategy. Energy features prominently in the economic, foreign, and national security strategies of all three countries but in different ways. And although all three recognize the importance of maintaining affordable and reliable energy supplies for the good of the global economy as well as their own economic well-being, they also recognize the influence of energy in the execution of foreign policy at the global and regional level. The issue for the international energy community is whether the multilateral approach to shared energy security, supported by the promotion of free and integrated markets, is breaking down into regional and economic spheres of influence more mercantile in nature—and if so, how the United States should respond.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: David Kelly
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The debate about China’s changing role in global affairs is often framed as a dichotomous choice between a peacefully rising China that seeks to be a constructive stakeholder and an increasingly dangerous China that is challenging the status quo, both in terms of its norms and the place of the United States. The reality is more complicated. There are not only signs of both elements, but the foundations shaping Chinese behavior is multifold. Most international relations scholars examine China through one or another version of realism or liberalism. David Kelly, head of research at China Policy, offers an alternative approach that examines the nature of Chinese identity, or rather, Chinese identities, plural, and how they exhibit themselves in Chinese foreign policy. Using his renowned skills in reading Chinese-language official documents and the broader commentary, Kelly teases out seven narratives that Chinese tell themselves and the world, and he provides a codebook for explicating shifting Chinese behavior in different arenas. Kelly concludes that some of these narratives facilitate cooperation, but most point toward deep-seated tensions between China and the West in the years ahead.

  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Globalization, Imperialism, Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North America, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Melissa Dalton, Hijab Shah
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: With the range of security challenges confronting the United States in the 21st century, characterized by competition by both state and nonstate actors, the importance of working with allies and partners to address common challenges is paramount. Deeper examination of the relative effectiveness of U.S. security sector assistance and how it must nest in a broader foreign policy strategy, including good governance, human rights, and rule of law principles, is required. Improving oversight and accountability in U.S. security sector assistance with partners are at the core of ongoing security assistance reform efforts to ensure that U.S. foreign policy objectives are met and in accordance with U.S. interests and values. This report examines key areas in security sector programming and oversight where the U.S. Departments of Defense and State employ accountability mechanisms, with the goal of identifying ways to sharpen and knit together mechanisms for improving accountability and professionalism into a coherent approach for partner countries.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Diplomacy, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Bonnie S. Glaser, Matthew Funaiole
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The papers in this compendium were written by the 10 members of the 2017 CSIS Taiwan-U.S. Policy Program (TUPP) delegation. TUPP provides a much-needed opportunity for future leaders to gain a better understanding of Taiwan through first-hand exposure to its politics, culture, and history. Each participant was asked to reflect on his or her in-country experience and produce a short article analyzing a policy issue related to Taiwan. These papers are a testament to the powerful impact that follows first-hand exposure to Taiwan.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Taiwan, Asia, Asia-Pacific