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  • Author: Leonard S. Rubenstein
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Globalization of infectious disease transmission has led to international and regional initiatives to improve surveillance and response. The World Health Organization's revised International Health Regulations provide a more robust legal framework for outbreak investigations. New regional networks are strengthening collaborative approaches to prevention of pandemics even in parts of the world where political tensions usually run high. To fulfill the promise of these new mechanisms, the United States should integrate capacity development for disease surveillance into its global health strategy, including providing greater investment in laboratories, training and technical assistance for low-income countries. Effective international cooperation has not extended to creating a system for equitable distribution of vaccines, resulting in vast disparities in availability of vaccines between richer and poorer countries. As a result, political tensions between wealthy and low-income countries have increased. Unless inequity is addressed, global health security will not advance.
  • Topic: Globalization, World Health Organization
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Sean Kane
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The institution of Iraq's prime minister has evolved since the previous national government was formed in 2006. The success of incumbent Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki in building an independent power base around the office and the diminishing U.S. presence in Iraq have transformed the perception and stature of Iraq's chief executive. This evolution of the position helps to explain why negotiations over the government's formation have struggled to move beyond the top post to discuss other assignments and the new government's agenda. The talks are not just about agreeing on a prime minister in the context of inconclusive, close election results, and competing regional influences; these talks are trying to define the role of the premiership and possible checks on its power. Understanding the debate on possible checks and balances is important because of its potential ramifications for Iraq's democratic experiment, and also because agreement on this issue might pave the way for the nomination of a prime minister.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Author: Roderick Kefferpütz
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The US natural gas industry is abuzz. Until recently the United States seemed poised to become one of the world's largest importers of liquefied natural gas (LNG). However, the development of two innovative drilling techniques – hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling – has led to the emergence of new unconventional gas supplies, the majority coming from gas trapped in shale formations, transforming the American energy scene. Today, shale gas is responsible for roughly 20% of total US production with expectations that it could reach 50% by 2035 – an astounding feat given that it represented only 1% back in 2000. The increase in US shale gas production also contributed to the US displacing the Russian Federation as the largest producer of gas, with its production of 624 billion cubic meters (bcm) trumping Russia's 582 bcm. In addition, it has caused LNG demand to sink and sent prices tumbling, turning the market upside-down.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Jeffrey J. Schott, Meera Fickling
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: A year ago, we wrote a policy brief titled Setting the NAFTA Agenda on Climate Change, which explored issues of energy and environmental cooperation among the three North American countries in light of the climate legislation that had recently passed the US House of Representatives. Similar legislation did not pass the Senate, and Congressional leaders are now considering much more modest measures aimed at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and reforming US energy policy.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Julia Muir
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: On May 31, 2010 a majority of the Lower House of the National Diet of Japan approved legislation that would reverse a decade's worth of effort to fully privatize key subsidiaries of Japan Post Holdings Co. Ltd. Besides postal services, the state-run postal system offers banking and insurance services, through Japan Post Bank (JPB) and Japan Post Insurance (JPI), respectively. These are the financial engines of Japan Post and were the units slated for privatization. Both subsidiaries have long received favorable government treatment, tilting the playing field against private banks and insurance firms, whether foreign or domestic. The government of Japan is in clear violation of its commitments under the World Trade Organization (WTO), and if the Upper House approves the legislation, Japan will reverse the efforts made by the United States and the European Union, as well as domestic private banks and insurance firms, to establish a level playing field. What's more, Japan risks having a formal WTO dispute brought against it.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Privatization
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Europe
  • Author: Daniel H. Rosen
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: On Sunday, June 13, 2010 representatives from China and Taiwan held a third round of talks in Beijing on an Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) that would liberalize important aspects of cross-Strait economic relations. Details of what was agreed and what remains under negotiation are still trickling out, and in any case the nature of this framework is that various elements will be agreed upon on an ongoing basis rather than at once. But it is clear from available details that ECFA will be an ambitious accord that fundamentally changes the game between Taiwan and China and hence affects the regional economy and even the transpacific tempo for the United States.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Taiwan
  • Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Theodore H. Moran
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The US House of Representatives has just passed the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act (HR 4213). This bill will hurt American workers, reduce American exports, and make American companies less competitive in the international marketplace. Since the US Senate has already passed companion legislation, the American Workers, State, and Business Relief Act (S 3336), these ill-considered bills could soon be reconciled in conference and become the law of the land. If so, American firms and workers will pay the price.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Trevor Houser
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: On May 12, 2010, Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) released details of their proposed American Power Act, a comprehensive energy and climate change bill developed over the preceding nine months by the two senators, chairmen of the Senate Foreign Relations and Homeland Security Committees respectively, along with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).1 With US unemployment just below 10 percent and the sunken Deepwater Horizon drilling rig's ruptured well pouring thousands of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico each day, the senators promised that if passed the bill will: (1) reduce US oil consumption and dependence on oil imports; (2) cut US carbon pollution 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and over 80 percent by 2050; and (3) create jobs and restore US global economic leadership. In this policy brief we evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed American Power Act in achieving those goals.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jeffrey J. Schott
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: For the past 18 months, the G-20 summit countries have worked together to contain the global economic crisis and encourage a sustainable economic recovery. As part of these efforts, the G-20 leaders have sought to constrain the protectionist pressures that invariably arise during times of economic stress and to maintain an open international trading regime. The G-20 trade agenda, as enunciated in the three summit declarations, has covered two specific trade actions: a “standstill” on new protectionism and a charge to complete the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations.
  • Topic: Development, Human Rights, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington
  • Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Theodore H. Moran
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: As presidential candidate, Barack Obama repeatedly advocated tax “reforms” aimed squarely at US-based multinational enterprises (MNEs). As president, he again declared—in the same State of the Union address that laid out an ambitious goal for export expansion—that “it is time to finally slash the tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas, and give those tax breaks to companies that create jobs right here in the United States of America."
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: These are difficult times. Not only are 10 percent of Americans unemployed but the federal budget is out of whack thanks to the specter of rising entitlement outlays. A natural impulse in difficult times is to protect domestic products and domestic producers. The tone of political economy during the global recession of 2007–09 is no different from that in past recessions—but louder because the economic damage is more severe. Emblematic of this spirit is a proposal to discriminate against foreign-owned insurance companies, using the tax code.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Einar Wigen
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The Turkish-Armenian protocols signed in October 2009 seemed to represent a historic advance that could help resolve the two countries' dispute over the events of 1915 and change the regional dynamics for the better. But six months on, the implementation of the protocols has stalled, the much vaunted normalisation of Turkish-Armenian state-to-state relations appears all but dead, and the will to revive the process is at a low point.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Genocide, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Turkey, Asia
  • Author: Thomas P. Gies
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: How might recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) affect federal labor law? Controversial appointee Craig Becker is known for advocating policies that fall outside the mainstream view of labor laws. Although the views of one member of the NLRB will not automatically translate into dramatic policy changes, concerns that members of the NLRB may rewrite important principles of federal labor laws through litigation are not unfounded. Whether President Barack Obama's NLRB would be able to enact key provisions of the Employee Free Choice Act through litigation rather than congressional action remains to be seen.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Law
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Lawrence Woocher, Jonas Claes, Abiodun Williams
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Conflict prevention is widely endorsed in principle—including in the 2010 U.S. National Security Strategy—but too rarely put into serious practice. It is thus important to narrow the gap between rhetoric and action in preventing violent conflicts. The interest of elites in exploiting ethnic differences for political gains, the absence of well-established mechanisms for prevention in certain regions, and the destabilizing role of external meddling continue to impede the development of effective prevention strategies. Yet, much progress has been made in the field of conflict prevention, both at the normative and the operational levels. As a crucial actor in conflict prevention, the United States should work with others to forge a consistent approach to countries at risk, urge countries to deal with arbitrary borders through negotiation rather than violence, and support greater cooperation between regional organizations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Education, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: William R. Cline
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: On June 21, 2010, in the run-up to the G-20 meeting in Toronto, China announced that it would shift to a more flexible exchange rate policy. From mid-June to July 30 the yuan rose 0.8 percent against the dollar. In contrast, the currency had remained fixed (at about 6.83 yuan to the dollar) from September 2008 to early June 2010. Pressure not only from the United States and the European Union but also from Russia, Brazil, and India as well as the IMF seems likely to have played a role in China's decision, although concerns about domestic inflation may also have been a factor.
  • Topic: Economics, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Richard J. Smith
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The 1987 Montreal Protocol to the Vienna Convention on the Protection of the Ozone Layer was a pivotal agreement in the history of global environmental negotiations. It established a process that remains an important precedent for dealing with global environmental problems, including global warming. What made the negotiation of that agreement such an iconic event, and what useful lessons does it hold for climate change negotiators?
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The August 3 fatal shooting of an Israel Defense Forces officer by a Lebanese Armed Forces soldier has sparked debate regarding the utility and wisdom of the U.S. military assistance program to Lebanon. Although such assistance is not new, the program's scope dramatically increased after the 2005 Cedar Revolution ended Syria's thirty-year occupation and swept the Arab world's only pro-Western, democratically elected government to power. In recent months, however, Syrian influence has returned, while Hizballah has secured enough political power to effectively reverse many of the revolution's gains. Even before the August 3 incident, these changes on the ground prompted Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, to place a hold on the 2011 assistance package.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On July 31, according to Iran's semiofficial Mehr News Agency, presidential chief of staff Esfandiar Rahim Mashai claimed that the West had raised no objections to President Mahmoud Ahmadinezhad's open proclamation that the Islamic Republic could build a nuclear bomb. How should this surprising claim be interpreted? And what implications might it hold for Iran's domestic politics, especially when viewed alongside Ahmadinezhad's history of confrontational rhetoric?
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Politics, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran
  • Author: Christina Lin
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Starting in August, U.S. officials are visiting East Asia, Latin America, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to garner support for tightening Iran sanctions under UN Security Council Resolution 1929. Robert Einhorn, the U.S. State Department's special advisor for nonproliferation and arms control, and Daniel Glaser, deputy assistant secretary of the treasury for terrorist financing and financial crime, started with a trip to Japan and South Korea and are planning a trip to China in late August. On July 29, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing entitled "Implementation of Iran Sanctions" in which both Einhorn and Glaser expressed concern over China's compliance, with Einhorn emphasizing the "need for [China] not to 'backfill' when responsible countries have distanced themselves from Iran."
  • Topic: United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Israel, Latin America, United Arab Emirates
  • Author: J. Scott Carpenter
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak's recent health scares -- including major surgery in Germany in March --have raised critical questions regarding the future of one of America's most important allies. In the event of his death, how would his successor be chosen, and who would it most likely be? Will the next president respect core U.S interests or challenge them? And how would the United States advance those interests in post-Mubarak Egypt? To reflect on these questions, The Washington Institute's Project Fikra recently brought together leading scholars, former senior U.S. diplomats, and other officials and activists for an off-the-record discussion on what to expect from Egyptian succession. Much of this PolicyWatch is based on that discussion.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Egypt
  • Author: J. Scott Carpenter, Matthew Levitt, Juan Zarate
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Many of the functional and structural recommendations of the Institute's March 2009 bipartisan task force have since been adopted by the Obama administration, and remarkable progress has been made in certain areas. Nevertheless, more must be done to combat radical Islamism, particularly given the recent acceleration of homegrown radicalization. Proving that ideology recognizes no borders, the global threat of violent Islamism has come home. This new study recognizes the important steps the Obama administration has taken to address violent extremism and suggests ways to advance counterradicalization efforts even further.
  • Topic: Islam, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: David Makovsky, Michael Eisenstadt, Robert Satloff, Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Although a full narrative will have to wait until the ongoing Israeli inquiry is complete, it is possible to sketch the outlines of what happened on the Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara . The six boats of the "Free Gaza Flotilla" departed Turkey on May 28, and Israeli naval vessels began shadowing them two days later, around 11:00 p.m. on May 30. At that time, Israel requested that the boats divert to Ashdod to allow inspection of their cargo for contraband, but they refused to comply.
  • Topic: Political Violence, International Law, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: During an August 9 visit to Syria, Ali Akbar Velayati, influential advisor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, stated that Iran is ready to negotiate with the United States regarding its nuclear program. Yesterday, however, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast announced that Iran has no plans for bilateral negotiation with Washington. These and other conflicting signals point to deep internal divisions among former allies in Iran's hardline camp. Such divisions are part of a longstanding pattern in the Islamic Republic: as soon as one faction seizes power by cutting out its opponents, it splits into warring parties.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Syria
  • Author: Simon Henderson, Stefanie Peterson
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: At a ceremony near the southern Iranian coastal city of Bushehr this Saturday, Russia will begin the process of loading fuel rods into Iran's first civilian nuclear reactor. Theoretically distinct from the rest of the regime's disturbing nuclear program, the Bushehr plant nevertheless remains a major international concern. The low-enriched uranium in the fuel rods would, if diverted, substantially increase Iran's existing stock of the material, which many suspect is already being used to develop nuclear weapons. Even if they were used solely for electricity generation, the rods would eventually produce plutonium-rich residue that could also be reprocessed for use in a weapon. For Iran, the Bushehr event will be a gesture of defiance against U.S.-led international pressure; for Russia, a sign of Moscow's different diplomatic approach to the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran; and for the United States, an exception to the tightening sanctions regime, which officials claim is forcing Tehran to reconsider the wisdom of its policies.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Asia, Moscow
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: For nearly two weeks, the Persian Gulf island state of Bahrain has experienced near-daily disturbances following government arrests of opposition activists from the majority Shiite community. The timing of the arrests seemed geared toward preempting trouble in advance of the scheduled October 23 parliamentary and municipal elections, which minority Sunni parties and candidates are currently projected to win. The street violence and other incidents are of particular concern to the United States because Bahrain hosts the headquarters of the U.S. Fifth Fleet and Naval Forces Central Command, whose mission is to "deter and counter disruptive countries" -- a wording likely aimed at Iran, which claimed the island as its territory prior to 1970.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Asia, Arabia
  • Author: Michael Knights, Ahmed Ali
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In an August 2 speech, President Obama confirmed that regardless of the status of government formation in Iraq, the U.S. military remained committed to the withdrawal of all combat forces by the month's end. Meanwhile, Iraq is still struggling to form a government in the long wake of the March elections, and the Muslim fasting period of Ramadan -- when much political and business life slows almost to a standstill -- begins next week. If an Iraqi government does not form fairly quickly after Ramadan ends in mid-September, Iraq's political scene may worsen, including an increased risk for violence. Ramadan has always existed in Iraqi and U.S. minds as a break point, when a new government may finally come together. Failure to make progress during the month is thus likely to elicit at least mild panic amongst politicians and the public. So how might the deadlock be broken?
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On Friday, August 20, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the resumption of direct peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, to be launched in Washington next week. On September 1, President Obama will welcome Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas, as well as Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah. Direct talks between Netanyahu and Abbas are scheduled to begin the next day, with the objective of reaching agreement on the permanent-status issues of borders, security, Jerusalem, and refugees within a year. The meeting will mark the first time that Israeli and Palestinian leaders have discussed these issues directly during the Obama administration.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Egypt
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas conducted an unprecedented sequence of three public events during his visit to Washington last week, during which he articulated his positions on a range of issues. The events included an on-the-record dinner hosted by philanthropist Daniel Abraham, a television appearance with PBS host Charlie Rose, and a speech at the Brookings Institution.
  • Topic: Politics, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Stephen Hadley, Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The two-state solution is widely accepted as the ultimate outcome of any Middle East peace process. Despite this consensus, progress toward a solution has slowed to a near halt. The difficulty Israel's right wing coalition faces in making concessions on key issues has proven a major obstacle to negotiations, while the split between a Palestinian Authority-controlled West Bank and Hamas in Gaza further diminishes the probability of reaching a solution in the foreseeable future.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Politics, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: J. Scott Carpenter, Dina Guirguis
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Although likely eclipsed in the media by recent Israeli naval action against blockade runners, the first anniversary of President Obama's much-quoted address in Cairo occurs on June 4. In his remarks, described as a "new beginning," he identified seven issues at the heart of tensions between the United States and the world's 1.2 billion Muslims: the need to confront violent extremism, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Iran's drive to obtain nuclear weapons, democracy, religious freedom, women's rights, and economic development. For each issue, the president indicated where American action was required. On violent extremism, for instance, he highlighted his decision to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center within the year. Given that two issues -- the Arab-Israeli peace process and Iranian nuclear issue -- have garnered the lion's share of attention over the past year, it is timely and useful to assess progress on the other five.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Israel, Egypt
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With smiles, compliments, and a strong dose of hospitality, President Obama did his best to provide a dramatically improved backdrop for U.S.-Israeli relations during Binyamin Netanyahu's July 6 visit to the White House, compared to the climate that greeted the Israeli prime minister upon his strained April visit. This included strikingly specific commitments on key issues important to Israeli security. Netanyahu, in turn, responded with generous and deferential praise for U.S. leadership on the broad array of Middle East policy issues. Given the near-term political and policy imperatives of both leaders, the result was a meeting doomed to succeed. Lurking behind the warmth and banter, however, remain tactical obstacles on how to proceed in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations as well as strategic uncertainty about how each side views the other's regional priorities.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: When Congress returns from its summer recess after Labor Day, the Department of Defense will provide informal notification of the U.S. intention to sell up to $60 billion in military equipment to Saudi Arabia. The likely deal is part of a U.S. commitment predating the Obama administration to strengthen regional allies in the face of a growing threat from Iran. For the Saudis, the transaction represents a clear return to considering the United States as its principal arms supplier, a position the Americans risked losing to France as recently as 2006.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, International Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Since 2005, Washington has obligated more than $700 million in military assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces. In the aftermath of the LAF's August 3 cross-border shooting of two Israeli officers, one fatal, this funding has come under increasing scrutiny. Not coincidentally, the shooting followed a series of setbacks for Washington's allies in Beirut, which in turn fundamentally altered the conditions that had spurred the 2005 spike in U.S. funding. It is unclear how this new dynamic is affecting the military, but many infer from the shooting that the LAF is shifting away from neutrality and toward Hizballah. More broadly, the incident has resurrected questions as to whether Washington's main policy objective for the LAF --establishing state sovereignty throughout Lebanese territory -- is ultimately achievable.
  • Political Geography: United States, Lebanon
  • Author: Ash Jain
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Four years ago this week, Israel launched a military campaign in Lebanon in retaliation for a brazen Hizballah attack on its soldiers. The goal, according to an Israeli official, was "to put Hizballah out of business." But neither war nor subsequent U.S. diplomatic efforts aimed at weakening the group have succeeded, and some in the Obama administration now appear to view direct engagement as an option worth exploring. Reaching out to Hizballah, however, at a time when it is politically and military emboldened, would be an exercise in futility that could prove counterproductive.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Lebanon
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: It is important to recall that the Gaza incident had the unintended consequence of wiping from the headlines much discussion about the U.S. decision to accede to the final resolution of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference. Indeed, if Gaza had not occurred, there would be much more intense focus on how the decision to acquiesce in a deeply flawed NPT document gave clarity to the administration's priorities.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Christopher Boucek
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Although al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is not the biggest problem -- or even the biggest security challenge -- facing the Yemeni government, the United States and much of the international community still place it above other issues. Successful counterterrorism is directly linked to state stability. If Yemen becomes a failed state within the next few decades, U.S. counterterrorism objectives would be decisively undermined. The challenge for U.S. policy is finding a way to bolster the struggle against AQAP without exacerbating other aspects of Yemen's overlapping security, economic, and political crises.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Yemen, Arab Countries
  • Author: Nathan M. Jensen, Edmund J. Malesky
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Despite broad skepticism about the benefits of globalization, the majority of U.S. states have offered lucrative tax incentives to attract investment. The size of these incentives is generally considered too large to be welfare enhancing, and many economists are skeptical of the effectiveness of these policies. Yet despite the mounting evidence to the contrary, the incentives offered by U.S. states (and foreign countries) continue and have actually increased in their generosity over time.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Politics, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Mark E. Plotkin, David N. Fagan
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: There was considerable public scrutiny of the Obama Administration's performance in its inaugural year, but comparatively little focus on one of the Administration's key processes governing the flow of investment into the United States — namely, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). Yet, this is a frequent question we receive from foreign investors -- has the change in the administration affected CFIUS?
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: S. Akbar Zaidi
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Over the last sixty years, Pakistan\'s economy has seen severe ups and downs. Once considered a model for other developing nations, Pakistan has been unable to sustain solid growth. Furthermore, a third of its population now lives below the poverty line, and its literacy rate is abysmally low. Pakistan\'s economic instability stems in large part from low government revenue resulting from the elite\'s use of tax evasions, loopholes, and exemptions. Fewer than three million of Pakistan\'s 175 million citizens pay any income taxes, and the country\'s tax-to-GDP ratio is only 9 percent. Tax evasion means fewer resources are available for essential social services. Pakistan spends too much on defense and too little on development: It has spent twice as much on defense during peacetime as it has on education and health combined. The government knows how to increase its revenue through tax reform, but the rich and powerful have resisted such measures for fear of lowering their own incomes. Without sufficient revenue the government will continue to be burdened with an unsustainable debt. It needs to end tax exemptions for the wealthy and develop broader, long-term economic plans for sustain able growth. In the past, the United States and other Western nations have come to Pakistan\'s rescue by paying off debts and funding development initiatives. Pakistan\'s elite has no reason to support reform as long as these bailouts come with no conditions attached.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States
  • Author: William B. Taylor
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: President Barack Obama's policy of a conditions-based redeployment in Afghanistan starting in July 2011 leaves him a lot of flexibility. The administration will likely decide to maintain the troop numbers in Afghanistan near the surge level next year, pending another review.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Matt Waldman
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: There are reasons for skepticism about government-insurgent talks, especially as both sides are known for abusive, unjust and discriminatory policies. However, given the constraints of counterinsurgency, obstacles to an anticipated security transition, and the threat of worsening conflict, the potential for negotiations should be explored. Field research indicates that the coalition's military surge is intensifying the conflict, and compounding enmity and mistrust between the parties. It is therefore reducing the prospects of negotiations, which require confidence-building measures that should be incremental, structured and reciprocal. Strategies should be developed to deal with powerful spoilers, on all sides, that may try to disrupt the process. The form of pre-talks, and the effectiveness of mediators and “track two” interlocutors, will be critical. Pakistan provides assistance to, and has significant influence over, the Taliban. Talks require Pakistan's support, but giving its officials excessive influence over the process could trigger opposition within Afghanistan and countermeasures from regional states. The perceived threat from India is driving Pakistan's geostrategic policies, thus concerted efforts are required to improve Pakistan-India relations. Negotiations could lead to a power-sharing agreement, but implementation would be highly challenging, especially due to multifarious factional and other power struggles. An agreement could also involve constitutional or legislative changes that curtail fundamental civil and political rights, especially those of women and girls. Genuine reconciliation efforts are required to build better relations between hostile groups. For legitimacy and viability, any settlement must be both inclusive and just: it should therefore seek to reflect the aspirations of all elements of Afghanistan's diverse society. It should also seek to address underlying causes of the conflict, especially the abuse of power.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, India
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The recent clash between a Chinese fishing vessel and the Japanese coast guard in the East China Sea demonstrates continuing potential for conflict between China and Japan over territory and maritime resources, one that could affect the United States. China's stronger navy and air force in and over the waters east and south of the country's coast is one dimension of that country's growing power. But the deployment of these assets encroaches on the traditional area of operations of Japan's navy and air force - and a clash between Chinese and Japanese ships and planes cannot be ruled out.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia
  • Author: Stephanie Schwartz
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The June 21st Supreme Court decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project affirmed the constitutionality of the material support statue which makes it illegal for U.S. citizens and organizations to provide material support, including expert advice or assistance, service or personnel, to designated terrorist organizations regardless of whether the support is intended to promote nonviolence and peace. The material support law and the process of listing terrorist groups provides the U.S. government with an enhanced legal structure to arrest alleged terrorists and prevent terrorist acts. However, it is unclear that the process is effective in practice or that enhancing the government's legal power to prevent acts of terrorism outweighs the unintentional consequences of prohibiting nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from working on the front lines of conflict zones to promote conflict resolution. Looking to the future, NGOs can work with the State Department and Congress to find ways to allow peacebuilding and humanitarian organizations to continue their operations legally, while also not threatening national security.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Humanitarian Aid, Terrorism, Foreign Aid, Law Enforcement, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: U.S. military operations in Afghanistan are now entering their tenth year and policymakers in Washington are looking for a way out. A policy review is due in December but the outline is already clear: U.S. forces will try to pummel the Taliban to bring them to the table, responsibility for security will increasingly be transferred to Afghan forces and more money will be provided for economic development. NATO partners agreed at the Lisbon summit to a gradual withdrawal of combat troops with the goal of transitioning to full Afghan control of security by the end of 2014. The aim will be a dignified drawdown of troops as public support wanes while at the same time ensuring that a post-withdrawal Afghanistan, at the very least, does not become the epicentre of transnational terrorism. While success is being measured in numbers of insurgents killed or captured, there is little proof that the operations have disrupted the insurgency's momentum or increased stability. The storyline does not match facts on the ground.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Washington, Taliban, Lisbon
  • Author: Jeffrey J. Schott
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) was signed on June 30, 2007. Since then, the Korean National Assembly has vetted the agreement and the pact cleared a major legislative hurdle when the Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee approved it in April 2009; the full assembly has deferred final passage pending comparable action by the US Congress. In the United States, the ratification process has not yet begun; neither President George W. Bush nor President Barack Obama has submitted implementing legislation to Congress.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Law
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Asia, Korea
  • Author: Jason Webb Yackee
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: A remarkable number of countries have recently entered into bilateral investment treaties (BITs) as a means of protecting and promoting inward foreign direct investment (FDI). But do the treaties “work?” In exchange for giving up some mea sure of regulatory autonomy, host countries hope to receive increased flows of investment. Scholars have devoted substantial energy to examining whether this so-called “grand bargain” has in fact been realized. Most studies follow a common research design. The number of BITs that a state has signed are counted up, with the resulting independent variable regressed against country-level FDI flow data. Unfortunately, the results of these various and increasingly complex statistical exercises are inconsistent. 1 Some studies show that BITs can have massive positive impacts on foreign investment; others show modest positive impacts; others show no impact at all, or even a negative impact.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Fred McGoldrick
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: It is hard to know what is more disturbing — Iran's continued defiance of UN Security Council Resolutions ordering Tehran to cease its uranium enrichment activities and to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), or the tour that North Korea recently gave to U.S. scientists of its new uranium enrichment plant. Policymakers fear that these programs will enable these states to produce more fissile materials for nuclear weapons.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Trine Flockhart, Li Xing
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The re-emergence of China as a key political and economic actor since the liberalization of the late 1970s may well turn out to be one of the most important developments in recent world history. China's economic impact is already felt worldwide, cemented by China's new status as the world's second largest economy, after it overtook Germany in 2009 and Japan in 2010. The question now is what impact China's increasing economic and political power will have on the existing international system and established institutional order, built largely on Western principles and liberal values that are not shared by China.
  • Topic: Globalization, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Europe
  • Author: Walter Kemp
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: On December 1 and 2, 2010, Kazakhstan will host the heads of state or government of fifty-six countries for the first summit of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) since 1999. This is a major achievement for a country that was considered by some to be an inappropriate choice to lead the OSCE. Yet the Astana summit is not a test of Kazakhstan's leadership. It is about the future of Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security, and the viability of the OSCE. At a time when the European Union, Russia, and the United States are redefining their relationships and looking for common ground, the Astana summit provides an opportunity to focus on issues that unite all stakeholders—finding a sense of common purpose to deal with common threats and challenges on the basis of common principles. This brief looks at what it will take to reach the “summit” at Astana, examines the main issues at stake, and considers the relevance and future direction of the OSCE.
  • Topic: Security, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Asia
  • Author: Uri Dadush, Vera Eidelman
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The Great Recession included five major surprises: (1) the severity of the global trade and output collapse, (2) the United States suffered a milder than expected recession, (3) Europe saw the onset of a severe sovereign debt crisis, (4) China grew at an extraordinary rate even though it's greatly dependent on exports, and (5) Latin America showed remarkable resilience.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Global Recession, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Latin America
  • Author: Laila Bokhari
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The six Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along Pakistan's western border have long been seen as a hub for militants, some with sympathies to the Taliban and al-Qaeda. The region has increasingly come to the world's attention as a recruitment and training base for groups responsible for attacks on Pakistani soil and as a launch pad for attacks on US troops and their allies in Afghanistan. Even though the various groups comprising the Pakistani Taliban have been around for a number of years, it was only in December 2007 that they formally established themselves as a united force.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Taliban
  • Author: Steven Haines
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: During the period of the Bush presidency, from 2001-2009, there was much concern expressed, both domestically within the United States and internationally, about Washington's apparently cavalier attitude towards international law. 1 Much of this – though by no means all – was prompted by the US reaction to the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington (the so-called 'global war on terrorism'), and the decision in 2002/3 to opt for regime change in Iraq. For many commentators it seemed as though US policy in that period provided solid evidence that law within the international system was of little influence in the face of determined power. This perception reflects realist assumptions about the pre-eminence of national interest and power as determinants of policy. Of particular moment is the power of those states that fall within the category of 'great power' – and 'superpower' has a special quality all its own.
  • Topic: Economics, International Law, International Affairs, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Michael D. Nolan, Frédéric Sourgens
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: State-controlled entities (SCEs) are increasingly important participants in international investment flows and international trade. Cumulative FDI by sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) has reportedly reached US$100 billion. SWFs are significant equity investors in, and provide significant debt financing to, every kind of company, from professional sports franchises to container ports. In addition to the role of these funds, national oil companies are growing in regional and international importance. In many countries, other industries are also increasingly government-owned.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Recognizing the strategic potential for expanding cooperation on regional and global challenges and the shared values among the United States, Japan and India, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), and the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA) initiated the U.S.-Japan-India Strategic Dialogue in June 2006.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, India
  • Author: Djavad Salehi-Isfahani
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The effect of the international sanctions on Iran is to deepen its current economic recession and make recovery very difficult if not impossible. In doing so, it will inflict pain on the general population. By prolonging the recession, the sanctions will hurt Iran's youth (15-29 year olds) particularly harshly, as they will bear the brunt of the resulting unemployment. They account for 70 percent of unemployment, and any improvement in their condition depends on economic recovery.
  • Topic: Economics, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran
  • Author: Nicolas Véron
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In the context of a transatlantic comparison, the first thing to be mentioned is the difference between the time sequence of financial reforms in the European Union and its equivalent in the United States. The financial crisis started simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic, with the initial disruption of some financial market segments in August 2007 and the major panic episode of September through October 2008. But they are not at the same stage of policy reaction and especially regulatory reform now. At least four reasons can be identified for this difference.
  • Topic: Economics, Global Recession, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Jeffrey J. Schott
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: On December 3, 2010, the United States and South Korea agreed to incremental changes to the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) that was signed in June 2007 but not ratified by the US Congress or the Korean National Assembly. Most of the changes affect bilateral trade in autos and light trucks; other minor changes involve pharmaceutical patents, US pork exports, and US visas.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, South Korea
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Transparency International
  • Abstract: Whistleblowing is increasingly recognised as an important tool in the prevention and detection of corruption and other malpractice. By disclosing wrongdoing in an organisation, whistleblowers can avert harm, protect human rights, help to save lives and safeguard the rule of law. The clandestine nature of corrupt behaviour means that it may never come to light unless cases are reported by people who discover them in the course of their work. But reporting can come at a high price: whistleblowers often expose themselves to great personal risks in order to protect the public interest. As a result of speaking out, they may lose their jobs, dampen their career prospects, and even put their own lives at risk. To provide a safe alternative to silence, TI recommends policy and legal measures to provide: Effective legal protection of whistleblowers against retaliation with full compensation in case of reprisals; Adequate mechanisms in public, private and not-for-profit organisations to ensure that disclosures are properly handled and thoroughly investigated; Public research, data collection, information and training to inform about the public benefit of whistleblowing.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Corruption, Crime, Human Rights, Law
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Since the end of the Cold War, administrations of both political parties have underfunded the military, first harvesting a "peace dividend" by reducing the size of the force and then repeatedly postponing investments needed to replace worn out equipment and preserve the technological advantages that have been a traditional source of American strength. Now, just as this strain on the military--engaged in today's persistent irregular wars, yet unable to prepare fully for the wars of the future--reaches a point of crisis, come new calls to cut the Defense Department's budget, amplified by the fears of a faltering economy, the federal government's desire to boost spending elsewhere, and its inability to rein in other spending. Yet the arguments frequently made for Pentagon spending cuts are concocted from a mix of faulty analysis and out-of-context "facts."
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Debt
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Raymond Burghardt
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Vietnamese and Americans joined together in Hanoi last December for a happy celebration, commemorating the tenth anniversary of the entrance into force of the US-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement signed in December, 2001. The gathering of current and former trade negotiators, diplomats, and business leaders exchanged witty anecdotes about who had been the toughest negotiator. However, the main focus for both American and Vietnamese participants was on the positive prospects for future US-Vietnam relations across the spectrum of trade and strategic common interests.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Cold War, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Vietnam, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Jean-Christophe Hoste
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: A political commitment was reached in Copenhagen between five countries: US, China, India Brazil and South Africa. The rest of the conference simply “took note of it”, most with resignation, many with anger. This policy brief will have a closer look at the climate change negotiations from an African perspective. It will try to answer three questions to see whether the outcome of the negotiations was as unacceptable as South Africa said it was. First, what was the African Common Position and what were some of their demands? Second, how did the negotiating strategy to defend the African Common Position on climate change evolve? Third, why did South Africa call the agreement it negotiated with the US, China and India unacceptable but did it not decline to be part of that deal?
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Globalization, International Cooperation, Politics, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States, China, India, South Africa, Brazil
  • Author: Thomas G. Mahnken
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, University of California
  • Abstract: Given the high stakes involved in China's rise, both in Asia and globally, understanding the scope and pace of Chinese military modernization is an important undertaking. This brief applies insights from the theory and history of military innovation to the task of understanding China's development of anti-access and area denial capabilities and provides recommendations on how the United States can improve its ability to detect and recognize Chinese military innovation.
  • Topic: International Relations, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North America
  • Author: Dennis Blasko
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, University of California
  • Abstract: Within China's overall national strategy, priority goes to national economic development. How this fits with the PLA's needs to modernize and China's overall military strategy is driven by the concept of People's War that emphasizes strategy over technology and may hold some surprises for the United States.
  • Topic: Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: James Mulvenon, Matthew Luce
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, University of California
  • Abstract: Contrary to popular perceptions of China as either "technology thief" or "technology superpower," the success of the Chinese defense electronics sector can be attributed to a combination of indigenous innovation, adaptation of foreign technology, and large-scale technology espionage. Advanced defense electronics components and systems play a key role in this revolution in military capability, making it imperative to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the Chinese defense electronics industry and their implications for U.S. interests in the region.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Andy Johnson, Kyle Spector
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Third Way
  • Abstract: If the Afghanistan-Pakistan region is the most dangerous place in the world at the moment, Afghanistan's neighbor to the West, Iran, is making a strong play for number two. It is alarming the world community, rattling its saber loudly at Israel and the West, and brutally suppressing internal dissent. Iran's regime, yet again, is showing why it remains a major threat to America n national security interests.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, America, Iran, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Andy Johnson
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Third Way
  • Abstract: Third Way's National Security Program is launching a Defeating Terrorism Initiative to help US policymakers better understand and confront the threat posed by al Qaeda and other violent extremist organizations. The Defeating Terrorism Initiative will analyze in a series of products what is fueling the continued recruitment and radicalization of terrorists, how the battlefield—both geographical and ideological—is fluid and shifting, and what tools should be brought to bear to attack the root causes of the threat and halt the spread of violent extremism. In doing so, Third Way will provide near- and long-term policy recommendations for defeating terrorism that cover the military-intelligence-diplomatic spectrum and bridge the foreign-domestic divide. The first of these products—"Disrupting, Dismantling and Defeating Terrorism 2.0"— offers a policy framework for how the US can build on and broaden the disrupt, dismantle and defeat strategy that President Obama has begun in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Andy Johnson, Scott Payne
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Third Way
  • Abstract: A key component of US strategy to defeat global terrorist groups like al Qaeda is denying them the physical space to operate with impunity. The ability of the US and our allies to train foreign military and security forces can be an effective tool in both preventing terrorists from establishing a foothold in vulnerable states and empowering foreign partners to move against terrorists where they exist today. Yet the current array of US training programs is fragmented, ad hoc, and underfunded. Moreover, overreliance on contractors to provide large scale military and police training in Iraq and Afghanistan, at a collective cost of $48 billion, has led to findings of poor performance, wasteful spending, weak oversight and insufficient accountability.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, North America
  • Author: Andy Johnson, Kyle Spector
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Third Way
  • Abstract: The proposed "Park51" Islamic center in lower Manhattan (universally and improperly dubbed the "Ground Zero Mosque") and a fringe Florida pastor's plan to burn copies of the Quran on September 11th dominated much of the public discourse in recent weeks, bouncing around the media and Internet echo chambers and serving as cable television catnip. Though the Florida story may have passed, the debate over the center in New York continues with some of the rhetoric and actions devolving into outright anti-Muslim bigotry. Furthermore, it's likely there will be more anti-Muslim incidents to come. Copycat bigots are sure to have noticed the attention that merely the threat of action by one unknown crank can generate in the sensationalism of the 24-hour news cycle and information age.
  • Topic: Security, Islam, Public Opinion
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, North America
  • Author: Robert Hunter, Sven Biscop
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The drafters of the new Strategic Concept for NATO must realize that the transatlantic context in which the Alliance operates has changed fundamentally. Accordingly, in addition to improving NATO-EU relations and streamlining the NATO apparatus, basic changes in the organization of transatlantic relations overall are required, taking into account two major developments.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Franklin D. Kramer
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The transatlantic partnership has historically been at the heart of U.S. foreign policy, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has been at the heart of the partnership. But the factors that long made "transatlantic" the dominant foreign policy construct have fundamentally changed – and with it has come a need for concomitant strategic and operational changes to meet new requirements.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, International Cooperation, Reform
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Harry G. Ulrich
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The United States Government experienced a remarkable rebirth in aviation security after 9/11. We have become familiar with air marshals, enhanced baggage screening, passenger information exchanges, no-fly lists, body scanning and travel document standardization. As our image of aviation security matures, we have become more accepting of previously objectionable government-authorized technological applications, routines and procedures. In fact, we are much more appreciative of the persistent dimension of aviation security, especially after the attempted hijacking or destruction of American Airlines Flight 63 by the "shoe bomber" Richard Reid on December 22, 2001 or more recently Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on December 25, 2009 by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.
  • Topic: Maritime Commerce, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Ross Wilson, Damon Wilson
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Kyrgyzstan is lurching forward, its future uncertain. Eleven weeks after street protests forced the collapse of the regime of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev and three weeks after the worst ethnic violence in the country's history, a measure of security-enforced calm has returned. The apparently successful June 27 referendum on a new constitution and mandate for Interim President Roza Otunbayeva will provide legitimacy and confidence to the government. But Otunbayeva and the group around her appear to underestimate the difficulties they face and to overestimate their ability to control events. They will have to work hard to overcome divisions among their ranks, staggering political and economic challenges, the risks of renewed violence in the south and antipathy toward Kyrgyzstan elsewhere in Central Asia.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Central Asia
  • Author: Damon Wilson, Jonathan Ruemelin, Jeff Lightfoot
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: This week, David Cameron will visit Washington for the first time as Prime Minister to reaffirm Great Britain's 'special relationship' with the United States. Cameron will look to build on his June meeting with President Obama in Toronto as well as the recent visit of UK defense secretary Liam Fox by returning to Great Britain with concrete deliverables in exchange for London's long-standing staunch support of U.S. foreign policy goals. Despite his criticism of former PMs Blair and Brown's handling of the relationship with Washington, Cameron has vowed early in his tenure as prime minister to continue the UK's strong engagement in Afghanistan and to put a priority on relations with Washington. His ministers have nonetheless cautioned that London would not "slavishly" follow Washington's lead. A successful visit, as judged by the British public and media, will help end the unhelpful debate in the UK on the health of the 'special relationship.'
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe, North America
  • Author: Franklin D. Kramer
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Cyber security has emerged as a critical challenge in an era defined by global interconnectedness and digital information. While there are multiple ongoing efforts that seek to enhance cyber security, an integrated governmental strategy to meet that challenge has only begun and has yet fully to take shape. All strategies demand recognition of risk and prioritization of resources, and cyber strategy will be no different.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Intelligence, Science and Technology, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Chris Demchak
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: A spate of attacks from both state and nonstate actors have provoked other Western nations to join the United States in emphasizing cyber security as a national security priority. As noted by Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn last July, any peer state, proxy organization, or skilled group of close friends anywhere in the world with unfettered internet access is able to attack in milliseconds due to the global, open, and easy nature of the world's now huge telecommunications systems. The world of "cybered conflict" is one in which even the part-time foreign attacker can to an unprecedented degree flexibly choose the scale, proximity, and precision of any attempted attack. They can at their leisure aim at any state's military, government or commercial networks, or those of any of our allies, or associates.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Science and Technology, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Barbara Slavin
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Seventeen months after disputed presidential elections, the Iranian government has forced opposition protestors off the streets but continues to face an unprecedented crisis of legitimacy that is undermining its capacity to implement effective domestic and foreign policies.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Sarwar A. Kashmeri
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: General Brent Scowcroft, dean of the American foreign policy establishment, has proposed a deceptively simple test to determine whether NATO is still relevant. His test is a question: "What is NATO for? "
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Bruno Gruselle
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In France, missile defense comes with a long and complicated history. When the U.S. Congress passed the "National Missile Defense Act of 1999," which called for the development and deployment of a U.S. national missile defense system, Paris reacted negatively. At that time, France still considered missile defense to be both unnecessary and destabilizing. French policy makers still considered the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction to be the cornerstones of strategic stability. French thinkers viewed missile defense as jeopardizing both the doctrine and the Treaty, as well as risking a new arms race with Russia.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, France, North America
  • Author: Annette Heuser, Frances G. Burwell
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The U.S.-EU Summit has lost its moorings. The Obama administration's decision on January 31, 2010 to postpone the May 2010 U.S.-EU Summit was a tacit recognition that the Summit lacks clarity of purpose and strategic vision. Neither side had successfully articulated any particular reason to meet. While Obama's decision was largely based on domestic political calculus, the move prompted some deep soul-searching in Brussels. Confidence in Brussels about the new administration's commitment to the U.S.-EU Summit process, and to working with the EU in general, reached a low point when Anne-Marie Slaughter, the Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. State Department, said that the Summit should take place “only when necessary.”
  • Topic: NATO, Globalization, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Franklin D. Kramer, John R. Lyman, Mihaela Carstei
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Energy security presents quintessential geopolitical challenges. In Central Europe, achieving energy security can be a critical element for a continent seeking to resolve vestigial Cold War complexities with Russia and toward meeting 21st century challenges including balanced economic development, energy diversity and climate change. Central Europe, utilizing both European Union support and Western European national assistance and enhanced by United States technical assistance, can take five key steps that will go far toward resolving energy security challenges and help to reframe the geopolitics of the continent.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Energy Policy, Oil, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe
  • Author: Melissa Hathaway
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: America's future economic and national security posture, enabled by the digital revolution, is at risk. If the Obama administration is serious about mitigating that risk by increasing the security of the nation's information and communications infrastructure, it should exercise every instrument of power at hand to move the United States toward a better place.
  • Topic: Communications
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: How is one to engage Damascus? As the incoming U.S. administration examines the future of its relationship with Syria, seemingly persuaded that an improvement in bilateral ties and an Israeli-Syrian agreement could fundamentally modify the regional landscape, France's recent experience offers useful lessons. Determined to engage in dialogue - but also ready to break off if the other side was uncooperative - and creative in approach, while fixing it within a clearly defined framework of objectives, President Sarkozy also knew how to seize on unexpected opportunities when they presented themselves.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Tianjian Shi, Meredith Wen
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: After the election of Barack Obama as president, Carnegie's Beijing Office assembled a group of leading scholars of international relations to discuss their expectations of the new administration. This policy brief conveys their opinions on various aspects of Sino-American relations and on America foreign policy in general.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Beijing
  • Author: Marina Ottaway, Amr Hamzawy
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The Carnegie Endowment has monitored closely the Arab media's coverage of the long U.S. election campaign and the reactions to Barack Obama's victory. Recently, the Carnegie Middle East Center commissioned a series of commentaries from Arab writers and analysts.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Katrine Barnekow Rasmussen
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This is a brief English version of a Danish DIIS Report on the foreign policy of Iran. In the Report, Iran's foreign policy is investigated both ideologically and in respect of its pragmatic motivations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Islam, Oil, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Asia
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Seven years after the U.S.-led intervention in Afghanistan the country is still at war against extremists and has developed few resilient institutions. A policy review by the Obama administration has reopened debate about how to defeat the forces of violent global jihadism – al-Qaeda and its Taliban protectors – in Afghanistan and in neighbouring Pakistan. In most cases, the ideas on offer – from declaring victory and pulling out, to negotiating with the insurgents, to organising regional conferences, to prioritising relationships with favoured individuals and allies over the development of strong democratic institutions – have been tried at least once in the past two decades, with no success: we know now what not to do.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Islam, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Central Asia
  • Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Claire Brunel
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: As the financial crisis threatens to lead to a depression, the woes of the automobile industry are second only to the distress of the financial sector. Employment in the US auto industry dropped 9 percent between 2007 and 2008, with much more to follow in 2009. Overall, US auto sales dropped 18 percent between 2007 and 2008, and sales of SUVs plunged 44 percent on a year-over-year basis. Since some sort of financing is required for 90 percent of US car sales, the global credit freeze hit the auto industry with a second blow.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Poverty, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Trevor Houser, Shashank Mohan, Robert Heilmayr
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: As the 111th Congress begins and a new president takes office, the economic crisis dominates the US policy agenda. The financial system remains in a tenuous state despite massive bank recapitalization, and the economy, more than a year into the current recession, shows no signs of recovery. Given the scale of the challenge Washington faces and the amount of money required to combat it, there will likely be little room for other legislative priorities. As a result, policymakers are hoping to direct government spending over the next two years in a way that not only generates short-term economic growth and employment but also addresses long-term policy goals sidelined by the current crisis.
  • Topic: International Relations, Climate Change, Economics, Environment, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Jeffrey J. Schott
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: On January 28, 2009, the US House of Representatives passed its economic stimulus plan, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Out of the bill's 700 text pages, a small half-page section attracted enormous media attention: the section requiring that all public projects funded by the stimulus plan must use only iron and steel produced in the United States (box 1). Another provision, which drew less attention, extends the so-called Berry Amendment (an old Buy American provision) to uniforms purchased by the Department of Homeland Security.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Government, Industrial Policy, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jacob Funk Kirkegaard
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: It is generally believed that the United States is a country of low taxes and small government, at least when compared with countries in Europe (and until the financial crisis so greatly expanded the role of the federal government in the United States in late 2008). Fully accounting for the role, size, and effect of the government in an economy is a complex endeavor, however, and it is hardly accomplished by repeatedly restating differences in top marginal tax rates, overall tax burdens, or gross sizes of governments in GDP terms.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Political Economy, Privatization
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Robert Perito
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: While the U.S. and world economies are slowing markedly, Security Sector Reform (SSR) is a growth industry for the private sector. U.S. government employees may set SSR policy and design projects, but implementation is extensively outsourced to private contractors. With the forthcoming surge of U.S. military forces into Afghanistan, the U.S. Army has announced contracts worth $1.1 billion for the construction of military bases and training centers for Afghan military and police. Private firms supply everything from construction materials to trainers and administrative staff. Private contractors operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan are required to provide their own security. Up to 15 percent of the cost of construction will go to private security firms, which guard convoys, facilities and personnel.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: J Alexander Thier, John Dempsey
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The current political crisis over elections in Afghanistan stems, in part, from a fundamental gap in Afghanistan's legal and political system: lack of agreement on what entity(s) has the power to resolve constitutional disputes, and how that power is accessed. Without a clear path to settling constitutional disagreements, the system becomes deadlocked as disputes arise, exacerbating tensions between Afghanistan's fragile institutions and factionalized political elite.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Political Violence, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Central Asia
  • Author: Jonas Hartelius
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: Precious metals and gemstones have long been valued for their aesthetic properties and ability to retain (or increase) their value. Many precious metals today are also used in the manufacture of high technology commodities. Their high value makes precious metals and precious gems attractive to criminals. They have several functions in the criminal economy: They are attractive goods for theft and other forms of criminal acquisition, calling for special protection on the part of the owners and governments. They can be used for re-circulating stolen goods, including jewelry, antiques, and works of art, through fragmentation, smelting, and other forms of destruction or transformation. Such processes reduce or even destroy the commercial or cultural value of the material, but they also increase the difficulties for police and other authorities to trace the material and bring criminals to justice. They can be used for transporting and transferring valuables outside regular channels and thus finance war, civil conflicts, terrorism, and other forms of dangerous crime. They can be used to hide criminal assets and thus make recovery more difficult. They can be used for tax evasion through smuggling, hiding of assets, etc. The full extent or value of criminal activities with precious metals and precious gems has not been fully investigated. It can safely be assumed, however, that the criminal market in these goods is considerable.
  • Topic: Globalization, International Law, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Liu Xuecheng, Robert Oxnam
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: Young and charismatic Barack Obama won a historic victory in the U.S. presidential election. This victory has sparked an international frenzy filled with hope and expectations. Obama, who ran on a platform of “change,” has vowed to rebuild U.S. national power, reshape its international image, and renew its global leadership. However, he will face daunting internal and external challenges—fighting the disastrous financial crisis and economic recession, bringing the war on terror to an end, and coping with emerging powers, including China. What relevance does his victory have for U.S. policy toward China? Will Obama's China policy be one of change or continuity? What would we expect from the Obama administration in cultivating the future course for a China-U.S. constructive and cooperative partnership? These questions are the real concerns of the Chinese people as political power changes hands in the United States.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Michael F. Cannon, Arnold Kling
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The traditional model of medical delivery, in which the doctor is trained, respected, and compensated as an independent craftsman, is anachronistic. When a patient has multiple ailments, there is no longer a simple doctor patient or doctor-patient-specialist relationship. Instead, there are multiple specialists who have an impact on the patient, each with a set of interdependencies and difficult coordination issues that increase exponentially with the number of ailments involved.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Martha Brill Olcott
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: With Washington's influence on the Caspian region at its lowest ebb in many years, the Obama administration could reverse this trend with a new approach that accepts Russia's presence and China's interest as historical and geographical givens and emphasizes short- and medium-term problem solving in multilateral and bilateral settings instead of long-term political and economic transformations. The United States can accomplish more in the Caspian region by focusing on military reform and building security capacity than on forming military alliances. The United States should switch from a multiple pipeline strategy to a policy that advances competition by promoting market pricing for energy producers, consumers, and transit states. The United States could facilitate the introduction of renewable sources of energy as a stimulus to economic recovery and a source of enhanced social security. The United States should develop a nuanced strategy that encourages political development through social and educational programs and local capacity building. The Obama administration should name a high-level official as a presidential envoy to this region.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Washington, Central Asia
  • Author: Thomas Carothers
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The Bush's administration's highly problematic legacy on democracy promotion and general pessimism about the global state of democracy create pressure on the Obama administration to pull the United States substantially back from supporting democracy abroad. Although dissociating U.S. democracy support from the errors of the Bush approach is crucial, a broad realist corrective of U.S. policy is not necessary. The way forward for Obama will be more about changing how the United States goes about supporting democracy abroad than about what emphasis to place on democracy relative to other interests. Cardinal values of Obama's political philosophy and style—non-confrontational, measured, persistent, bipartisan, cooperative, effective, and empowering—provide a natural basis for a new framework to help the United States regain its place as a respected, trusted, and influential ally of democracy around the world.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Nathan J. Brown
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The international effort to achieve a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict has come to a dead end, at least for the present. Things can—and might well—get worse unless the United States and other outside actors couple a realistic view of the present with a serious effort to push for a more promising future. The first step in a new diplomatic approach must be to establish a cease-fire that builds on the common interest of both Israel and Hamas to avoid fighting in the short term. A new cease-fire should be clear and perhaps even written; mediators (whether Arab or European) must be willing to make an agreement more attractive to both sides to sustain (Hamas can be enticed by some opening of the border with Egypt; Israel will demand serious efforts against the supply of arms to Hamas). The second step must be an armistice that would offer each side what they crave for the present—Israel would get quiet and a limit on arms to Hamas; Palestinians would get open borders, a freeze on settlements, and an opportunity to rebuild their shattered institutions. Such an armistice must go beyond a one-year cease-fire to become something sustainable for at least five to ten years. Finally, the calm provided by the armistice must be used to rebuild Palestinian institutions and force Palestinians and Israelis to confront rather than avoid the choices before them.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Peace Studies, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: On December 16, 2008, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke exercised decisive leadership at a watershed meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). In its official statement after the meeting, the committee pledged to “employ all available tools to promote the resumption of sustainable economic growth and to preserve price stability.” The pledge to preserve price stability was not a commitment to fight inflation, as is typical, but a highly unusual commitment to fight deflation.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The global financial and economic crisis that emerged in August 2007 has entered a dismaying fourth phase. The January 17–18, 2009, weekend edition of the Financial Times, which has been a major chronicler of the crisis and its many aspects, laid out a frightening timeline of an accelerating and intensifying oscillatory cycle of crisis and failed policy response that started just fifteen months ago. Each phase begins with a shock and ends with a seemingly decisive policy measure meant to contain or “fix” the crisis. Each phase is shorter than the previous one and culminates in a much larger policy response. Throughout the crisis, the losses of financial institutions have steadily grown at an accelerating pace as the underlying conditions in the financial sector and, since September 2008, in the underlying global economy deteriorate more rapidly. Such a disturbing pattern must be truncated by a large, coordinated global policy response to arrest the accelerating erosion of the market capitalization of multinational banks and insurance companies that has resulted.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Markets, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States