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  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: First-quarter GDP grew by 5.8%, the US government announced on Friday, 26 April 2002. The high growth figure will provide sustenance for optimists and help support high stock market valuations. However, the contrast with high-profile corporate earnings disappointments, together with a closer look at sources of demand, suggests a far weaker performance in the rest of 2002 and in 2003.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The largest US-based pension fund last week listed 13 emerging markets that its fund managers will be allowed to invest in. Investment firms appointed by the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) will actively manage up to one billion dollars in equity investments in 13 countries and unwind CalPERS' equity positions in markets outside them. As a large institutional investor, CalPERS' decisions have an important signalling role for a variety of institutional funds.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The US Supreme Court heard oral argument last month on whether 'medical necessity' should override the federal government's blanket prohibition on the use of marijuana. If the Court were to accept this argument, it would provide a powerful boost to the medical marijuana movement and hamper the federal government's ability to pursue its current drugs policy. A ruling in favour of the federal government, however, would constrain the ability of states to formulate independent drug policies. The Supreme Court is likely to sidestep the substantive issue of whether 'medical necessity' allows the distribution of marijuana to seriously ill patients. Its inclination will be to decide the case on a narrow procedural ground which would leave the federal government to decide if it wishes to pursue criminal prosecutions.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: A combination of good fortune and some skilful planning have allowed the Bush administration to make a successful start in office. These factors will probably allow the president to pursue much of his agenda effectively this year. However, difficulties will be encountered once Washington politics becomes preoccupied by the 2002 congressional elections.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Congressional criticism of 'Plan Colombia's' military component, and the advent of a new administration in Washington, are likely to lead to a strategic review of US policy. The outcome may be a policy that is less military focused, more regionally oriented, and based on closer cooperation with other aid donors. It has become increasingly clear that Plan Colombia can only be implemented if the EU and its member states are prepared to increase their financial contribution. This will give the Europeans considerable leverage, and they are likely to use it to insist on a less militarised approach. However, even with a change in policy emphasis, the prospects of success will remain poor.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Washington, Colombia
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 08-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Vice-President Al Gore officially accepted the Democratic presidential nomination at the party's National Convention in Los Angeles on August 17. A continued deficit in the polls forced Gore to use the convention as a platform to consolidate his base vote. He also sought to differentiate himself from the Clinton presidency, despite the fact that he has adopted similar positions to the outgoing administration on many key issues. If Gore is to win in November, he must convince voters that the current expansion, and the benign political climate that it has fostered, would be imperilled by a Bush presidency.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 08-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: An analysis of Texas Governor George Bush's record as a modest tax cutter and education policy activist suggests that these issues would probably shape his policy preferences if he were elected president. A Bush White House would probably settle for smaller tax cuts than those the governor is currently proposing. It would also be likely to focus on achieving a series of moderately conservative education and crime reforms.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: This year's Senate elections will be only modestly affected by the outcome of the presidential election. The Republicans currently hold a 55-45 seat advantage in the chamber, a margin that will be extremely difficult for the Democrats to overturn this November. The Democrats will therefore hope to gain three or four seats; a surge which would enable the party to launch a strong challenge to the Senate Republicans in 2002. Although more Republicans are seeking re-election this year, the Democrats are defending four of the five seats in which the incumbent senator is retiring (so-called 'open seats').
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, New York
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: With the presidential primary season having ended this week, the race for the White House now heads for the party conventions. Since effectively securing the Republican nomination, Texas Governor George Bush has regained his poll lead over the de facto Democratic nominee, Vice-President Al Gore. If Bush retains a clear poll lead by the convention season, the current signs of apprehension amongst Democratic leaders will become more apparent. If Gore can more closely identify himself with the economy's exceptionally strong performance, he is perfectly capable of staging a full recovery and securing victory in November.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Immediately following the first round, US pressure was influential in eliciting the delayed official announcement that Fujimori had failed to secure outright victory, and that he would have to contest a run-off against leading opposition contender Alejandro Toledo. However, from Toledo's point of view, the US pressure is likely to yield only limited benefits. While it may persuade Fujimori to ensure that the organisation of the second round is unimpeachable, or at least not too openly corrupt, it will not of itself end Fujimori's regime. On the contrary, it is likely to boost the Fujimori campaign by allowing the incumbent to appeal to strong nationalist sentiments in the Peruvian electorate.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, South America
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Vice-President Al Gore and Texas Governor George Bush officially secured the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations respectively yesterday. Both candidates have won the nominations exceptionally speedily and the ensuing presidential campaign promises to be one of the longest ever. Providing that the economy continues to perform strongly, Gore should be considered the modest favourite to win November's ballot.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 01-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Later this month, the US presidential primary season will commence. The opening contests—the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary—provide the best opportunities for either former Democratic senator Bill Bradley or Republican Senator John McCain and Republican Steve Forbes to prevent the present front-runners, Vice-President Al Gore and Texas Governor George Bush, from securing the Democratic and Republican nominations respectively. If Gore or Bush win clear victories in both these early polls, they will be extremely difficult to defeat in later contests. Both of the leading candidates are currently encountering more difficulties in New Hampshire than in Iowa.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 12-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Croatia is preparing for two elections—parliamentary polls on January 3 and, following the recent death of President Franjo Tudjman, a presidential contest on January 24. Thus, the population has an opportunity to choose real change, and to set Croatia firmly on the path of economic transformation and European integration, after a period of stilted political and economic development, marked by cronyism, under Tudjman. However, this scenario is by no means certain.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 09-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Debate surrounding the US elections in 2000 has centred on the contests for the presidency, and control of the House of Representatives. Far less attention has been placed on the partisan balance within the Senate. During the past two decades, the upper chamber has increased its influence over policy direction, a trend that appears likely to continue. Growing senatorial influence will act as a moderating force in US politics regardless of who occupies the White House or which party holds a majority in the House.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 08-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: In the past nine months, the United States and the United Kingdom have pursued a low-intensity military campaign against Iraq. Such actions have been made easier by a lack of political scrutiny. However, the US administration in particular now faces mounting criticism from France, China and Russia, who favour a relaxation of policy, and domestic US interest groups favouring a more activist stance. Despite these pressures, US President Bill Clinton is unlikely to change policy significantly in his remaining 18 months of office.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Iraq, United Kingdom, Middle East, France