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  • Author: Ivo H. Daalder, Chuck Hagel, Malcolm Rifkind, Kevin Rudd
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: In recent decades, the threat of nuclear proliferation has emanated primarily from the Middle East and from south and northeast Asia. But the proliferation threat wasn’t always concentrated in these regions. Long before countries like North Korea and Iran topped the list of nuclear threats, leaders in Washington and elsewhere worried about a different group of countries—America’s allies in Europe and Asia. Indeed, in the early 1960s, intelligence officials projected that by the mid-1970s there likely would be 10 to 15 nuclear powers in the world within a decade, as countries like Australia, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, and Turkey would opt to join a growing nuclear club. The nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) of 1968 was designed to prevent this, and it did. But it succeeded in large part because of a concerted US effort since the 1960s to reassure its allies around the world that America’s nuclear umbrella would extend to their territory and ensure their security. Rather than developing their own national nuclear capabilities, key allies in Europe and Asia opted to rely on the US nuclear guarantee instead. Since the NPT entered into force in 1970, just four countries (India, Israel, Pakistan, and North Korea) have acquired nuclear weapons. More recently, however, questions about the credibility of the American nuclear guarantee have arisen again in Europe and Asia. Allies in both regions confront growing military threats from a resurgent Russia, a rising China, and a nuclear North Korea. At the same time, successive US administrations have sought to retreat from some longstanding commitments, leaving America’s allies around the world uncertain whether they can still rely on the United States for their defense and security—nuclear and otherwise. So far, the discussions about nuclear deterrence and reassurance have played out largely beyond public view. But the issue is becoming increasingly salient, given growing threats from Russia and China especially, and growing doubts about the United States. America and its allies cannot ignore this new reality. For if we are to prevent new nuclear proliferation among these allies, it is essential to acknowledge that what has long been unthinkable is becoming thinkable once more.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Nonproliferation, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Europe, East Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Catherine Bertini, Ertharin Cousin
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: The new Biden Administration will face global crises on multiple fronts. COVID-19, coupled with conflict and escalating climate disasters, is leading to one of the most disastrous humanitarian and hunger crises in the last century. In the past decade, previous Administrations have demonstrated the value and impact of food security and nutrition security programs for alleviating hunger and malnutrition and for reducing the threat of conflict and governmental instability. As a result of targeted and thoughtful assistance, there are 23.4 million more people today who live above the poverty line and 3.4 million more children are free from stunting. More than 5 million families now live free from hunger and billions of dollars in agricultural sales have been generated. The Biden Administration has the opportunity to build on a strong foundation of work. To strengthen this programming in the next decade, key considerations should include: Creating a more resilient and healthful food system that is capable of absorbing shocks and stressors. Systems thinking—especially the integration of food, nutrition, health, climate, and agriculture—can drive sustainable outcomes. Building inclusive partnerships from the beginning to create sustainable and resilient communities. Investing in agricultural economies beyond US borders should be understood as an investment in critical infrastructure that stretches back to our own heartland.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Food, Hunger, Nutrition
  • Political Geography: North America, Global Focus
  • Author: Craig Kafura, Dina Smeltz, Joshua W. Busby, Joshua D. Kertzer, Jonathan Monten
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: Following four years of former President Donald Trump’s “America first” foreign policy, President Joe Biden is seeking to reorient the US approach to world affairs, placing much greater emphasis on international cooperation. This reorientation has already been evident in Biden’s decisions to return the United States to the Paris climate agreement, extend the New START arms control treaty with Russia, remain in the World Health Organization, reengage with the United Nations Human Rights Council, and commit to rejoining the Iran nuclear deal if Iran returns to complying with it. To what extent do Democratic, Republican, and Independent foreign policy professionals support Biden’s international agenda? The results of the 2020 Chicago Council on Global Affairs-University of Texas at Austin survey of more than 900 US executive branch officials, congressional staff, think tank scholars, university professors, journalists, and interest group representatives indicates there is substantial support among leaders of different political persuasions for a greater emphasis on cooperation and less reliance on coercion in foreign policy. However, this consensus also has a partisan tilt: Democrats and Independents are far more likely to agree on cooperative foreign policy approaches the United States should use, while Republicans are more comfortable with coercive measures. Taken together, these findings suggest that Biden should be able to attract strong support for his foreign policy from Democratic and Independent members of the foreign 2 policy community but will find it much more difficult to gain Republican backing for many of his international initiatives.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Politics, Economy, Business , Trade, Survey
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, North America
  • Author: Karl Friedhoff, Lea Chang
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: In picking fronts that offer the paths of least resistance, trilateral cooperation will maximize the presence of all three countries in ASEAN, maintaining balance in the region and making collective progress toward economic and development goals. Despite its size, economic dynamism, and geographic position, Southeast Asia has received comparatively little attention in US foreign policy. Even as American policy becomes more focused on China, the United States lacks a coordinated strategy to respond to and compete with China’s vast trade and investment in Southeast Asia. But most ASEAN countries are wary of China’s growing influence and would be open to US involvement as they look to diversify. To take advantage of this opportunity, the United States must supplement its focus on the South China Sea with diplomatic and financial efforts on land. These efforts should offer an alternative to China’s largesse but should not seek a direct competition in hard infrastructure or in terms of dollar amounts invested. Nor should the United States go it alone. Instead, it should seek to cooperate with its allies—Japan and South Korea in particular—to pursue their respective competitive advantages. These include identifying and investing in small- and medium-sized enterprises in ASEAN, developing human capital in the region, and conducting joint maritime cleanup activities in coordination with ASEAN countries. Creating coordinated activities with Japan and South Korea in Southeast Asia should be the first step for the United States to roll back China’s influence in the region. But these efforts will need to be calibrated to ensure that they focus on the needs of countries in the region and not just engulf the region in the US-China competition.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Infrastructure, Investment, Trade
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, North America, Southeast Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Dina Smeltz, Craig Kafura
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: 2021 Chicago Council Survey data show a majority of Americans support a range of US policies towards Taiwan: recognition as an independent country, inclusion in international organizations, and a US-Taiwan free trade agreement. Tensions between Beijing and Taipei are running high. Chinese intimidation of Taiwan has increased since 2016, demonstrated by naval drills in the Taiwan Strait, incursions into Taiwanese airspace, and economic coercion targeted at Taiwanese industries. In turn, the United States has sold advanced weapons to Taiwan and normalized US warship transits nearby. While past administrations have not made formal commitments to defend Taiwan, the just-completed 2021 Chicago Council Survey finds that for the first time, a slim majority of Americans now favor sending US troops to defend Taiwan if China invades.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Treaties and Agreements, Public Opinion, Free Trade, Survey
  • Political Geography: Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Karl Friedhoff, Suh Young Park
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: Chicago Council survey data find majorities in South Korea view China as more of a security threat than a security partner and as more of an economic threat than an economic partner. On May 21, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in will meet President Joe Biden at the White House. In his first 100 days in office, Biden’s foreign policy has focused on repairing alliances and setting the administration’s policy toward China—in March and April alone, the administration participated in US-China talks in Alaska, 2+2 meetings in South Korea and Japan, trilateral talks among national security advisers, and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's visit to Washington. Moon’s visit will add North Korea to the agenda. The two leaders meet at a time when there are significant gaps on their preferred paths forward to dealing with Beijing and Pyongyang. However, recent Chicago Council surveys find that attitudes among publics in South Korea and the United States are remarkably similar when it comes to China and North Korea.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, Public Opinion
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North America, Southeast Asia