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  • Author: Mona Yacoubian, Scott Lasensky
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Punctuated by conflict in Iraq, an ascendant ran, and continued instability in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, rising volatility in the Middle East threatens U.S. interests in the region. Meanwhile, sectarianism, al-Qaeda–inspired terrorism, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) all serve as troubling overlays to this complex mix. Mired in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States has yet to develop a comprehensive strategic framework that addresses these interrelated challenges. Instead, U.S. policy has been largely crisis-driven, attempting to put out fires by confronting issues on an ad hoc basis rather than seeking to respond to the underlying forces and tensions that catalyze conflict and instability in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iran, Middle East, North Korea, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Laurie Garrett
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In the wake of Cyclone Nargis, which may claim upwards of 100,000 lives immediately in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, and far more in coming months, the world food crisis has worsened. Millions of tons of food will be needed to feed the estimated 1.5 million now-homeless Burmese. United Nations experts reckon some 2,000 square miles of prime Burmese farmland is now underwater, devastating rice production.
  • Topic: United Nations
  • Author: Karen H. Johnson
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Increases in the prices for major food crops that are traded globally have reached extraordinary levels, sparking riots in some countries and becoming the focus of widespread debate and policy concern. During the current crop year, the price for wheat is nearly 90 percent above its average for the preceding five years, that for corn 60 percent, and that for rice more than 35 percent. At the June summit meeting of the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization in Rome, officials from around the world engaged in discussions of who or what is to blame.
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Author: David M. Marchick, Matthew J. Slaughter
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: A distinguishing feature of the current era of globalization has been cross-border flows of foreign direct investment (FDI) in which businesses in one country own part or all of businesses in other countries. Indeed, FDI flows have grown at much faster rates than have flows of goods and services. From 1990 through 2006, worldwide cross-border inflows of FDI rose an average of 12.4 percent annually, versus 7.7 percent growth in total exports of goods and services and 5 percent overall economic growth. Since 2003, world FDI flows have grown even faster—at an astonishing 30 percent per year—although they will likely drop precipitously this year with the worldwide economic slowdown. Many popular accounts of the current era of globalization see its distinguishing feature as the expansion of FDI and the creation of cross-border production networks by multinational companies. Even more than trade liberalization, investment liberalization has been the strongest driver of growth worldwide, giving a significant boost to economies in developing and developed countries. The decision by many countries over the past two decades to abandon long-standing restrictions on foreign investment has contributed substantially to the spread of prosperity.
  • Author: Ashley Deeks
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, the conflict with al-Qaeda, and escalating concerns about terrorism have meant that, in the past seven years, the United States has detained thousands of people. The government has held some of these individuals in the United States and some overseas. Many remain in U.S. custody. As U.S. policies and the nature of the current conflicts evolve, the United States finds itself seeking to return many of these people—combatants, suspected terrorists, and others—to their countries of origin. But, as it does so, it runs into a problem: in a significant number of cases, the U.S. government has concluded that it is more likely than not that the individuals will be tortured if the United States hands them back to their governments.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq
  • Author: Daniel Markey
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Today, few places on earth are as important to U.S. national security as the tribal belt along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan. The region serves as a safe haven for a core group of nationally and internationally networked terrorists, a training and recruiting ground for Afghan Taliban, and, increasingly, a hotbed of indigenous militancy that threatens the stability of Pakistan's own state and society. Should another 9/11-type attack take place in the United States, it will likely have its origins in this region. As long as Pakistan's tribal areas are in turmoil, the mission of building a new, democratic, and stable Afghanistan cannot succeed.
  • Topic: Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Asia, Taliban
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: This Task Force report takes stock of the current situation in Latin America and the main challenges and opportunities for U.S.-Latin America relations. Latin America has benefited greatly in recent years from democratic opening, stable economic policies, and increasing growth. Many countries are taking advantage of these developments to consolidate democratic institutions, broaden economic opportunities, and better serve their citizens. Yet Latin American nations face daunting challenges as they integrate into global markets and work to strengthen historically weak state institutions. These challenges increasingly matter for the United States, as deepening economic and social ties link U.S. well-being to the region's stability and development.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: United States, South America, Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Bruce W. MacDonald
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On January 11, 2007, China launched a missile into space, releasing a homing vehicle that destroyed an old Chinese weather satellite. The strategic reverberations of that collision have shaken up security thinking in the United States and around the world. This test demonstrated that, if it so chose, China could build a substantial number of these anti- satellite weapons (ASAT) and thus might soon be able to destroy substantial numbers of U.S. satellites in low earth orbit (LEO), upon which the U.S. military heavily depends. On February 21, 2008, the United States launched a modified missile-defense interceptor, destroying a U.S. satellite carrying one thousand pounds of toxic fuel about to make an uncontrolled atmospheric reentry. Thus, within fourteen months, China and the United States both demonstrated the capability to destroy LEO satellites, heralding the arrival of an era where space is a potentially far more contested domain than in the past, with few rules.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Brad W. Setser
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In the 1870s, the scope of Great Britain's financial empire exceeded the scope of its political empire. Dependence on British investors sometimes was a precursor, though, to informal—or even formal— political control. When Egypt's khedive needed to raise cash to cover his personal debt to private British banks, he sold his large personal stake in the Suez Canal to the British state. Egypt's ruler did little better managing Egypt's public debt: difficulties making payments led Britain and France to assume control over Egypt's treasury and, by 1882, to full British political control.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, America, Egypt
  • Author: Michael A. Levi
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Policymakers consistently identify nuclear terrorism as one of the greatest threats facing the United States and the world. Indeed, the diffusion of technology, the rise of extremist ideology, and the steady spread of nuclear materials conspire to make nuclear terrorism an increasingly worrying prospect.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, Washington
  • Author: David G. Victor, Michael A. Levi, George E. Pataki, Thomas J. Vilsack
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Unchecked climate change is poised to have wide-ranging and potentially disastrous effects over time on human welfare, sensitive ecosystems, and international security. This urgent challenge demands that the United States and the world take comprehensive action to limit the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and to address the consequences of any unavoidable climate change.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Douglas A. Irwin
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The news from Geneva of the breakdown of the Doha Round after seven years of effort has generated a great deal of pessimism about the future of multilateral trade agreements. America's troubles with the World Trade Organization (WTO) are of course only the beginning. There are also domestic problems when it comes to trade policy, an issue that ties together America's economic prosperity and its global political influence. Recent public opinion polls in the United States reveal increased skepticism about the benefits of globalization and diminished support for free trade policies. The post–World War II bipartisan consensus in favor of open trade has broken up, leading to gr eater resistance to new trade agreements in Congress, as reflected in the House's recent decision to postpone consideration of the Colombia free trade agreement (FTA). Despite efforts in the Doha Round to limit agricultural subsidies, Congress recently showered domestic farmers with more cash in the recently passed Farm Bill, even at a time when commodity prices are soaring.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Geneva, United States, America, Colombia
  • Author: Anthony W. Gambino
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher dedicated to being a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries. Founded in 1921, CFR carries out its mission by maintaining a diverse membership, with special programs to promote interest and develop expertise in the next generation of foreign policy leaders; convening meetings at its headquarters in New York and in Washington, DC, and other cities where senior government officials, members of Congress, global leaders, and prominent thinkers come together with CFR members to discuss and debate major international issues; supporting a Studies Program that fosters independent research, enabling CFR scholars to produce articles, reports, and books and hold roundtables that analyze foreign policy issues and make concrete policy recommendations; publishing Foreign Affairs, the preeminent journal on international affairs and U.S. foreign policy; sponsoring Independent Task Forces that produce reports with both findings and policy prescriptions on the most important foreign policy topics; and providing up-to-date information and analysis about world events and American foreign policy on its website, CFR.org.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, Washington, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Author: Monty G. Marshall
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: A public debate over the threat posed by weak, fragile, failing, and failed states and what can or should be done about them has become increasing visible and vocal since the attacks of September 11, 2001. As President George W. Bush declared in his 2002 National Security Strategy report: “America is now threatened less by conquering states than ... by failing ones.” This debate has grown particularly acute as the United States' prolonged military response to the war on global terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq has revealed the difficulties of controlling militancy and extremism by direct military intervention and enforced democratic change. The challenges associated with weak or failing states have garnered increase d attention by the policy community, but major differences about how to assess the level of risk in any given case remain.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Foreign Policy, Political Violence, Development, Diplomacy, Government, International Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, America
  • Author: Michael Levi
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The basis of nuclear doctrine during the Cold War was deterrence. Nuclear powers were deterred from attacking each other by the fear of retaliation. Today, much of the concern over possible nuclear attack comes in the context of rogue states and terrorism. And since only states are known to possess nuclear weapons, an important question is how to deter them from letting terrorists acquire a device, whether through an authorized transfer or a security breach. Michael A. Levi analyzes this aspect of deterrence in the post–Cold War world, as well as what to do if deterrence breaks down. He suggests how to discourage states from giving weapons or nuclear materials to terrorists and how to encourage states to bolster security against any accidental transfer. The report also discusses the role of nuclear attribution—the science of identifying the origin of nuclear materials—in deterring transfers, an essential link in assigning responsibility to governments for transfers of nuclear materials.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Cold War, Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: United States, Soviet Union
  • Author: Steven Simon
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: When this Council Special Report (CSR) was first issued in February 2007, the debate over the surge was raging. President George W. Bush had only announced his intention to deploy additional troops. Democrats and Republicans rushed to the barricades either to deplore or to defend it. This report, however, saw the surge as inevitable—since its opponents were powerless to stop it—and, more importantly, as beside the point.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Joshua W. Busby
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005, Americans witnessed on their own soil what looked like an overseas humanitarian-relief operation. The storm destroyed much of the city, causing more than $80 billion in damages, killing more than 1,800 people, and displacing in excess of 270,000. More than 70,000 soldiers were mobilized, including 22,000 active duty troops and 50,000-plus members of the National Guard (about 10 percent of the total Guard strength). Katrina also had severe effects on critical infrastructure, taking crude oil production and refinery capacity off-line for an unprecedented length of time. At a time when the United States was conducting military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, the country suddenly had to divert its attention and military resources to respond to a domestic emergency.
  • Topic: International Relations, Climate Change, Development
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, America
  • Author: Michelle D. Gavin
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, the refusal of President Robert Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) ruling party to tolerate challenges to their power has led them to systematically dismantle the most effective workings of Zimbabwe's economic and political systems, replacing these with structures of corruption, patronage, and repression. The resulting 80 percent unemployment rate, hyperinflation, and severe food, fuel, and power shortages have created a national climate of desperation and instability. Meanwhile, often-violent repression has left the opposition divided and eroded public confidence in mechanisms to effect peaceful political change.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, Development
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Gordon H. Hanson
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Illegal immigration is a source of mounting concern for politicians in the United States. In the past ten years, the U.S. population of illegal immigrants has risen from five million to nearly twelve million, prompting angry charges that the country has lost control over its borders. Congress approved measures last year that have significantly tightened enforcement along the U.S.-Mexico border in an effort to stop the flow of unauthorized migrants, and it is expected to make another effort this year at the first comprehensive reform of immigration laws in more than twenty years.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Robert LaLonde
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: An important component of U.S. productivity growth and economic competitiveness is a flexible labor market that shifts workers quickly into the jobs where they are most needed. Much of the time, this job shifting is fairly painless: Workers quickly find new positions that pay at least as much as their previous ones, often without an intervening spell of unemployment. But prime-aged and older workers can sometimes suffer large, long-term income losses. Such workers' well-founded fears about job displacement lead them and their advocates to resist policies such as free trade that are sometimes blamed for the job shifting. This resistance harms the majority of households because trade helps to lower prices, raise real incomes and promote economic growth. It also has foreign policy consequences since it threatens the United States' ability to play its traditional post–World War II role as the bulwark of a relatively open international trading system. And by reducing the dynamism of the U.S. economy, resistance to trade and other pro-growth policies can weaken the nation's long-term ability to exert global leadership.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Mathea Falco
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On May 30, 2003, the Burmese military regime orchestrated violent attacks by progovernment militia on Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD), and her supporters as they traveled outside Mandalay. At least four of her bodyguards were killed, as were a significant number of others. She has been in prison since then. Following the attacks, the regime arrested more than 100 democracy activists, imprisoned at least a dozen, shut down NLD offices across the country, and closed schools and universities. This is the bloodiest confrontation between Burma's military rulers and democracy supporters since 1988, when the government suppressed a popular uprising against the regime and thousands were killed.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Asia, Burma
  • Author: Vincent A. Mai, Frank G. Wisner, William L. Nash, ArthurMark Rubin
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Outside the continent's crisis areas, few African countries are more important to U.S. interests than Angola. The second-largest oil producer in Africa, Angola's success or failure in transitioning from nearly thirty years of war toward peace and democracy has implications for the stability of the U.S. oil supply as well as the stability of central and southern Africa. Consequently, the United States has an interest in helping Angola address its numerous and significant national challenges.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Angola
  • Author: Peter B. Kenen
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is undertaking a wide-ranging reform of its governance and operations within a framework proposed by Rodrigo de Rato, its managing director. The proposed reform is inspired in large part by the emergence of large middle-income developing countries such as China and India, which now play a major role in the world economy but are underrepresented in the Fund as the low-income developing countries. The proposed reform is also inspired by the need to simplify the Fund's internal practices and focus more intensively on its basic mandate: to “oversee the development of the international monetary system in order to ensure its effective operation.”
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China, India
  • Author: Robert I. Rotberg
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Nigeria's vital importance for Africa's political development, for U.S. and European interests, and for world order cannot be exaggerated. Nigeria's sheer aggregate numbers—possibly as many as 150 million of the full continent's 800 million—and its proportionate weight in sub-Saharan Africa' s troubled affairs, make the country's continuing evolution from military dictatorship to stable, sustained democracy critical.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Nigeria
  • Author: Charles D. Ferguson
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: According to a prevailing belief, humanity confronts two stark risks: catastrophes caused by climate change and annihilation by nuclear war. The conventional wisdom also believes that the former danger appears far more certain than the latter. This assessment has recently led an increasing number of policymakers, pundits, businesspeople, and environmentalists to advocate a major expansion of nuclear energy, which emits very few greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. While acknowledging the connection between nuclear fuel making and nuclear bomb building, nuclear power proponents suggest that nuclear proliferation and terrorism risks are readily manageable. Consequently, some of these advocates favor the use of subsidies to stimulate substantial growth of nuclear power.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Dennis C. Blair, Carla A. Hills, Frank Sampson Jannuzi
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: President Richard M. Nixon reached out to the People's Republic of China thirty-five years ago to advance U.S. strategic interests by balancing the Soviet Union and reinforcing the split between two former communist allies. Nixon and his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, briefed the Chinese on Soviet forces arrayed against China and also discussed the Vietnam War and Taiwan. Nixon and Kissinger sought to change the global U.S. stance from confrontation to détente and to extricate the United States from the Vietnam War. Their mission shifted the globe's geopolitical landscape.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, Vietnam
  • Author: Robert Z. Lawrence
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States likes to think of itself as a nation that abides by its treaties and commitments. Successive U.S. administrations have taken the obligations implied by international agreements seriously: They have opted out of parts of many agreements for fear that compliance would be contrary to U.S. interests, and have refused outright to sign some treaties on the grounds of potential legal exposure. But U.S. behavior toward the World Trade Organization is different; in this case, the United States has been quite willing to accept binding multilateral rules. Yet, the United States has also been repeatedly judged to be in violation of its WTO commitments by the organization's dispute settlement panels, and although some violations could be ascribed to uncertainties about the meaning of the rules, the United States is also guilty of disregarding the rules deliberately. Opinion in Congress sometimes encourages this behavior; legislators are less likely to question the legitimacy of U.S. conduct than to question the WTO's authority to pass judgment over the United States. Moreover, these tensions are likely to escalate if the Doha Round of global trade negotiations breaks down. If the diplomatic route to market access is blocked, trading partners will seek access to U.S. consumers by bringing more cases before the WTO's tribunals. A surge in such cases could increase resentment of the WTO in the United States, weakening America's commitment to its traditional postwar role as the bulwark of the international trading system. This would be unfortunate, because even without changes in the behavior of its trading partners, the rules of the WTO improve the performance of the U.S. economy.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Jennifer Cooke, David Henek
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On January 17, 2007, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), in collaboration with the Council on Foreign Relations, the U.S. Institute of Peace, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center, hosted a major conference in Washington, D.C., entitled "Somalia's Future: Options for Diplomacy, Assistance, and Peace Operations." The conference brought together expert observers from Mogadishu, senior U.S. policymakers, representatives from humanitarian assistance organizations, and regional analysts to convey to a U.S. audience the current situation in Somalia and to lay out the challenges facing the United States and the broader international community.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Somalia
  • Author: Eduardo A. Gamarra
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Since gaining independence from Spain in 1825, Bolivia has endured nearly two hundred coups and countercoups. Despite the establishment of comparatively democratic, civilian rule in Bolivia in 1982 through a system of “pacted democracy,” Bolivian leaders still face many of the same difficult problems as they did twenty years ago: deep-seated poverty, social exclusion of the indigenous and mestizo (of mixed racial ancestry) majority, and illegal drug production.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Arms Control and Proliferation, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States, South America, Spain, Bolivia
  • Author: Lee Feinstein
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The killing and destruction of national, ethnic, racial, or religious groups is a historical reality. So, too, is the dependable failure of the rest of the world to do much about it. Slow-motion ethnic cleansing in western Sudan is the most recent case of a state supporting mass atrocity and the rest of the world avoiding efforts to end the killing. Preventing and stopping such mass atrocities faces four reinforcing problems.
  • Topic: Genocide, Human Rights, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Dennis C. Blair
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: President Richard M. Nixon reached out to the People's Republic of China thirty-five years ago to advance U.S. strategic interests by balancing the Soviet Union and reinforcing the split between two former communist allies. Nixon and his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, briefed the Chinese on Soviet forces arrayed against China and also discussed the Vietnam War and Taiwan. Nixon and Kissinger sought to change the global U.S. stance from confrontation to détente and to extricate the United States from the Vietnam War. Their mission shifted the globe's geopolitical landscape.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Taiwan
  • Author: Richard Lapper
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The popularity of the new political and economic model being developed in Venezuela has been a consistent source of aggravation for the U.S. government. Since first winning the presidency in December 1998, Hugo Chávez has been able through repeated electoral victories and radical constitutional reform to dominate Venezuela's government and public institutions. Undaunted by stiff U.S. opposition, President Chávez has launched what he calls a Bolivarian revolution, named after Simón Bolívar, a nineteenth-century leader of Latin America's independence wars. Chávez has reasserted the role of the state in the Venezuelan economy and developed extensive social programs to advance an anti- U.S., anti-capitalist crusade. New or newly reinvigorated alliances with established U.S. adversaries have helped internationalize Chávez's aims. Most alarming to those concerned with the health of Venezuelan democracy, Chávez and his allies have concentrated political power in the hands of the executive, curtailed the independence of the judiciary, shown limited tolerance for domestic critics, and openly intervened in the electoral politics of neighboring states.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Pamela Starr
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After two decades of profound yet incomplete economic and political reforms, Mexico stands at a crossroads. Its economy is now one of the most open to international trade and capital flows among emerging markets, in stark contrast to the insular development model on which Mexico relied for more than half a century. Mexico also carried out a transition to democratic politics during the last decade, after seventy-one years under single-party, authoritarian rule. Many commentators heralded the 2000 election of an opposition leader to the presidency as the capstone of this process, but it was only an important step in a long, gradual transition. President Vicente Fox promised additional steps that would consolidate previous economic and political advances and place the country on an irreversible path to becoming a fully competitive market democracy. The last six years in Mexico have been characterized instead by political stalemate, leaving an unfinished agenda of structural change that is essential for long-term economic growth, job creation, and a deepening of democratic practices.
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, Politics
  • Political Geography: North America, Mexico
  • Author: Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, Stephen Cook
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The growing schism between the West and the Islamic world is one of the primary challenges confronting American foreign and defense policymakers. As a consequence, the relationship between the United States and Turkey—a Western-oriented, democratizing Muslim country—is strategically more important than ever. Turkey has the potential to be an invaluable partner as Washington endeavors to chart an effective course in its relations with the Muslim world. However, to achieve this level of cooperation, U.S.-Turkey relations must be repaired and modernized.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Washington, Turkey, North America
  • Author: Michael Levi, Charles Ferguson
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States has long sought to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and to build a relationship with India, a rising power but a nuclear pariah since it first exploded an atomic bomb in 1974. In announcing a sweeping negotiated framework for nuclear cooperation with India on July 18, 2005, followed by an agreement on details on March 2, 2006, the Bush administration has stirred deep passions and put Congress in the seemingly impossible bind of choosing between approving the deal and damaging nuclear nonproliferation, or rejecting the deal and thereby setting back an important strategic relationship. Yet patience and a few simple fixes would address major proliferation concerns while ultimately strengthening the strategic partnership—provided Congress and the administration work together.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, India, Asia, North America
  • Author: Daniel Prieto, Stephen Flynn
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In policy and strategy documents since September 11, 2001, the Bush administration and Congress have repeatedly stressed the critical importance of “public-private partnerships” to make the country safer. Yet the capabilities, assets, and goodwill of the private sector to bolster our homeland security remain largely untapped. That is the primary conclusion reached by the Council on Foreign Relations working group on homeland security and the private sector over the course of one year.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: North America
  • Author: Blair King
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In 2006 and 2007, the Indonesian government and the international community have a window of opportunity to begin to achieve a comprehensive solution that is acceptable to all sides to the conflict in Papua. With the October 2004 inauguration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice President Jusuf Kalla, Papuans had raised expectations that a comprehensive settlement could be achieved. These expectations have only increased with the implementation of a peace agreement for Aceh since August 2005. Furthermore, Yudhoyono and Kalla are not up for reelection until 2009, and their national public approval ratings remain quite high, providing them with plenty of political breathing room for reasonable initiatives.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Australia/Pacific, Papua
  • Author: Barnett Rubin
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and all that followed, Afghans and the handful of internationals working on Afghanistan could hardly have imagined being fortunate enough to confront today's problems. The Bonn Agreement of December 2001 providing for the “reestablishment of permanent government institutions” in Afghanistan was fully completed with the adoption of a constitution in January 2004, the election of President Hamid Karzai in October 2004, and the formation of the National Assembly in December 2005.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia, Asia
  • Author: Charles Ferguson
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The threat of a nuclear attack by terrorists has never been greater. Over the past two decades, terrorist violence and destructiveness have grown. As the September 11, 2001, attacks demonstrated, al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda–inspired terrorists desire to inflict mass casualties. Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations have expressed interest in and searched for unconventional means of attack, such as chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons. Of these weapons, only a nuclear detonation will guarantee immediate massive destruction.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism
  • Author: Terrance Lyons
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In 2006, the Horn of Africa witnessed major escalations in several conflicts, a marked deterioration of governance in critical states, and a general unraveling of U.S. foreign policy toward the strategically located region. The U.S.-brokered Algiers Agreement to end the 1998–2000 border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea is at a crossroads. Ethiopia has resisted implementing the decisions made by the Eritrea-Ethiopia Border Commission (EEBC), Eritrea has imposed unilateral restrictions on the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), and both states have rejected the EEBC's plans to demarcate the border unilaterally. In Sudan, implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement remains incomplete, and the violence in Darfur continues to rage and spill into Chad. In Somalia, the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) has failed to establish itself outside of Baidoa and its rival, the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), has seized control of Mogadishu and much of southern Somalia. The rapid rise of the UIC in mid-2006 in particular amplified prospects for regional conflict as Ethiopia and Eritrea sent significant military support to the opposing sides. On December 6, 2006, the UN Security SudanCouncil unanimously endorsed Resolution 1725, a plan supported by Washington to deploy African troops to prop up the authorities in Baidoa. The Islamic Courts have stated that this intervention will be regarded as an invading force and will escalate, rather than reduce, the conflict.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, United States, Washington, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea
  • Author: Pamela K. Starr
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After two decades of profound yet incomplete economic and political reforms, Mexico stands at a crossroads. Its economy is now one of the most open to international trade and capital flows among emerging markets, in stark contrast to the insular development model on which Mexico relied for more than half a century. Mexico also carried out a transition to democratic politics during the last decade, after seventy-one years under single-party, authoritarian rule. Many commentators heralded the 2000 election of an opposition leader to the presidency as the capstone of this process, but it was only one important step in a long, gradual transition. President Vicente Fox promised additional steps that would consolidate previous economic and political advances and place the country on an irreversible path to becoming a fully competitive market democracy. The last six years in Mexico have been characterized instead by political stalemate, leaving an unfinished agenda of structural change that is essential for long-term economic growth, job creation, and the deepening of democratic practices.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Mexico
  • Author: Keith E. Mascus
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: America's robust economic competitiveness is du e in no small part to a large capacity for innovation. That capacity is imperiled, however, by an increasingly overprotective patent system. Over the past twenty-five years, American legislators and judges have operated on the principle that stronger patent protection engenders more innovation. This principle is misguided. Although intellectual property rights (IPR) play an important role in innovation, the recent increase in patent protection has not spurred innovation so much as it has impeded the development and use of new technologies.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America
  • Author: David M. Marchick, Alan P. Larson
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Despite the significant benefits that foreign investment brings to the U.S. economy, a recent poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that 53 percent of Americans believe foreign ownership of U.S. companies is “bad for America,” a sentiment that reached a boiling point with the proposed acquisition of the U.S. port operations of P Steam Navigation Company by Dubai Ports World (DPW). The DPW case brought to the public's attention the little-known executive committee charged with reviewing the security risks of foreign investment—the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)—and ignited a flurry of congressional activity to change its mandate and operations under the Exon-Florio Amendment to the Defense Production Act of 1950.
  • Topic: Security, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Dubai
  • Author: Barnett Rubin
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and all that followed, Afghans and the handful of internationals working on Afghanistan could hardly have imagined being fortunate enough to confront today's problems. The Bonn Agreement of December 2001 providing for the "reestablishment of permanent government institutions" in Afghanistan was fully completed with the adoption of a constitution in January 2004, the election of President Hamid Karzai in October 2004, and the formation of the National Assembly in December 2005.
  • Topic: Development, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Asia
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The lack of sustained attention to energy issues is undercutting U.S. foreign policy and U.S. national security. Major energy suppliers—from Russia to Iran to Venezuela—have been increasingly able and willing to use their energy resources to pursue their strategic and political objectives. Major energy consumers—notably the United States, but other countries as well—are finding that their growing dependence on imported energy increases their strategic vulnerability and constrains their ability to pursue a broad range of foreign policy and national security objectives. Dependence also puts the United States into increasing competition with other importing countries, notably with today's rapidly growing emerging economies of China and India. At best, these trends will challenge U.S. foreign policy; at worst, they will seriously strain relations between the United States and these countries.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: Nancy Roman
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: People naturally disagree about who is responsible for the partisan tone and tactics in Washington, DC, these days, but most agree on this: It's worse, it's more intense, and it's nastier. And few on either side are enjoying it much.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: Washington, North America
  • Author: Menzie D. Chinn
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Twenty years ago, the United States was the world's largest creditor nation, unsurpassed in its ownership of assets outside of its borders, even after deducting what foreigners owned inside its borders. Yet over the past two decades, America has been transformed into the world's largest debtor nation. At the end of 2004, its debts to the rest of the world exceeded its assets by about $2.5 trillion—21 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP). This proportion is unmatched by any other major developed economy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The Middle East will be a central focus of U.S. foreign policy for the next generation and beyond. While the list of challenges in the region is long, the Arab world also presents opportunities. In a region marked by a "democracy deficit" and limited economic prospects, there is also ferment. From Marrakesh to Cairo and Ramallah to Riyadh, Arabs are engaged in intense debate, self-reflection, and reassessment of their societies. Washington has a chance to help shape a more democratic Middle East. Whereas emphasis on stability was once the hallmark of U.S.-Middle East policy, democracy and freedom have become a priority. Indeed, U.S. policymakers concluded shortly after the September 11 attacks that the prevailing domestic political, economic, and social conditions within Arab countries were a serious national security concern.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: William L. Nash, Amelia Branczik
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In 2002, the Center for Preventive Action published Balkans 2010, a Task Force report that laid out a vision for a stable, peaceful western Balkans (comprising Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Albania) and identified the requisite objectives and milestones to achieve that vision. Many of the report's recommendations remain valid today, particularly the need to strengthen democracy and the rule of law, dismantle politico-criminal syndicates, and promote economic reform and development.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Eastern Europe, Serbia, Balkans, Macedonia, Albania
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The security and well-being of its citizens stand at the very pinnacle of any government's responsibilities. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the futures of Canada, Mexico, and the United States are shared as never before. As a result, all three countries face a historic challenge: Do they continue on the path of cooperation in promoting more secure and more prosperous North American societies or do they pursue divergent and ultimately less secure and less prosperous courses? To ask the question is to answer it; and yet, if important decisions are not pursued and implemented, the three countries may well find themselves on divergent paths. Such a development would be a tragic mistake, one that can be readily avoided if they stay the course and pursue a series of deliberate and cooperative steps that will enhance both the security and prosperity of their citizens.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada, North America, Mexico