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  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 08-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The recent increase in arrests on espionage charges and expansion of activity by Russia's security and intelligence agencies appears to be signalling a reversion to aggressive Cold War tactics. They are seeking to increase their political influence and appear to be testing the limits of the 'civilised' intelligence competition which has evolved in the last decade. While Moscow has the means and apparent will to intensify intelligence competition, its clumsy and outdated methods threaten the country's commercial interests and could harm broader foreign policy goals.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Cold War
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 08-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: An analysis of Texas Governor George Bush's record as a modest tax cutter and education policy activist suggests that these issues would probably shape his policy preferences if he were elected president. A Bush White House would probably settle for smaller tax cuts than those the governor is currently proposing. It would also be likely to focus on achieving a series of moderately conservative education and crime reforms.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: United Nations peacekeeping forces are expected to deploy to the Lebanese-Israeli international border soon. Considerable diplomatic efforts have been required to win 'acceptance' of the border by Beirut and Tel Aviv, and thereby enable UN deployment to the area from which Israel withdrew nearly two months ago. The United Nations is likely to find it even more difficult to implement the other terms of its mandate.
  • Topic: Security, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Lebanon
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Official attention has shifted from the need to avert recession towards the problems of managing growth. There is some evidence that higher interest rates have begun to slow the expansion to a more sustainable pace in the Anglo-Saxon economies, but it remains unclear whether the principal central banks have done enough to bring demand growth back into line with sustainable increases in supply. The markets expect any further tightening to be limited, but the current position of the monetary authorities should probably be characterised as a pause in the tightening cycle, rather than the peak.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: In the initial burst of euphoria that has accompanied the end of virtual one-party rule in Mexico, the magnitude of the challenge facing the incoming government is in danger of being overlooked. For those concerned with furthering democracy, it is enough that former Coca-Cola executive Vicente Fox will become the country's first president from outside the Partido Revolucionario Institutional (PRI) in more than seven decades. Investors, who sent the peso and the Mexico City bourse soaring after Sunday's election, are just happy that a clear winner emerged and that the feared collapse of governability has apparently been avoided.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: North America, Mexico
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: This year's Senate elections will be only modestly affected by the outcome of the presidential election. The Republicans currently hold a 55-45 seat advantage in the chamber, a margin that will be extremely difficult for the Democrats to overturn this November. The Democrats will therefore hope to gain three or four seats; a surge which would enable the party to launch a strong challenge to the Senate Republicans in 2002. Although more Republicans are seeking re-election this year, the Democrats are defending four of the five seats in which the incumbent senator is retiring (so-called 'open seats').
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, New York
  • Publication Date: 05-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The US economy is experiencing its longest-ever recorded period of sustained growth. The current expansion, which began in March 1991, is the longest of the 32 which have been registered by the Bureau of Economic Analysis since 1854 and is now in its tenth year and 110th month. Moreover, since 1995, real GDP has grown at an average annual rate of more than 4.25% -- a rate not experienced since the 1960s. The expansion is consistent with the changing pattern of business cycles, insofar as the average length of economic expansions has nearly doubled from about 2.5 years during 1900-53 to about 5 years in the second half of the century (while the average length of contractions has fallen to less than twelve months). However, even allowing for this transformation, the current expansion seems to be exceptional, both for its duration and its strength. The coincidence of a long and inflation-free expansion with the boom in information and communication technologies (ICT) has sparked a debate about their interdependence.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: With the presidential primary season having ended this week, the race for the White House now heads for the party conventions. Since effectively securing the Republican nomination, Texas Governor George Bush has regained his poll lead over the de facto Democratic nominee, Vice-President Al Gore. If Bush retains a clear poll lead by the convention season, the current signs of apprehension amongst Democratic leaders will become more apparent. If Gore can more closely identify himself with the economy's exceptionally strong performance, he is perfectly capable of staging a full recovery and securing victory in November.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 05-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: WTO members are unlikely to reach agreement on radical changes, at least in the short term. At most they may conclude an accord which reaffirms both the principle of consensus and the need for Green Room meetings, and which gives the director-general a role (possibly informal) in ensuring that efficiency is balanced by other considerations. However, an agreement on institutional changes will have little impact on prospects for launching a new trade round. Such prospects will continue to depend on whether members can develop an agenda that all believe will serve their national interests.
  • Topic: International Organization, International Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 05-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Inflation has begun to accelerate throughout the OECD-area, mainly as a result of higher oil prices. The increase comes from a low base and official forecasts suggest that the price outlook is generally benign. However, a further tightening of monetary policy in order to contain inflation at these low levels is now probably the most important threat to asset market valuations and the continued expansion of the global economy. Product market liberalisation, globalisation and the advent of the internet have brought real and lasting changes in pricing behaviour that will not disappear with a global upturn. These trends have been reinforced by improvements in the operation, credibility and effectiveness of national monetary policies. Nevertheless, historical experience suggests that inflationary pressures could accelerate rapidly as the major economies enter their first period of coincident growth since 1988-90. The result is likely to be tighter monetary policy rather than permanently higher inflation and long-term interest rates.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada