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  • Author: Tod Lindberg
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Discourse on global affairs often refers to the international community. Statesmen sometimes exhort it, as in "the international community must act"; they sometimes lament its passivity, as in "the international community has done nothing"; and sometimes they speak in its name, as in "the international community condemns this outrage."
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Globalization, International Cooperation, International Organization, Governance
  • Author: G. John Ikenberry, Daniel Deudney
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Over the past half-century—what is often called the “American century”—the United States enjoyed extraordinary success, growth, and influence. It was not only the pivotal “arsenal” in the defense of democracy but also the principal exemplar of democratic capitalism that held enormous appeal around the world. During this era, the United States was simultaneously locked in a geopolitical and ideological bipolar struggle with the Soviet Union and, within the free world community, acknowledged as the leader and defender of a broad community of democratic capitalist countries. Not surprisingly, therefore, the United States pursued a multifaceted grand strategy. It played the role of Cold War leader of a coalition in global great power rivalry. It was also the indispensable leader in building order and cooperation within the free world camp. At the same time, the United States often employed its immense influence to advance a universalistic program of human betterment centered on political democracy, market capitalism, free trade, human rights, national self-determination, and international law and organization.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Soviet Union
  • Author: Whitney Shepardson
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: If the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) did not exist today, the United States would not seek to create it. In 1949, it made sense in the face of a potential Soviet invasion to forge a bond in the North Atlantic area among the United States, Canada, and the west European states. Today, if the United States were starting from scratch in a world of transnational threats, the debate would be over whether to follow liberal and neoconservative calls for an alliance of democracies without regard to geography or to develop a great power concert envisioned by the realists to uphold the current order.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, NATO, International Cooperation, International Organization, International Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Canada, Soviet Union
  • Author: Michael A. Levi, Katherine Michonski
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Climate change has become a top-tier subject for international negotiation and debate, not only for environment specialists but also for people and institutions focused on economics, development, energy, technology, and other pressing international issues. Yet most discussions of institutions and governance for climate change remain narrow. Observers often focus on the negotiation process under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including the Kyoto Protocol (and more recently the Copenhagen Accord), along with its associated institutions, equating success and failure in combating climate change with success and failure in those arenas. Efforts to broaden the multilateral governance discussion beyond climate-specific forums still tend to emphasize how climate efforts fit within broader environment challenges and institutions.
  • Topic: International Relations, Climate Change, Environment, International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Author: Jeffrey Mankoff
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Like much of the world, Russia has been in the midst of a serious economic crisis since the late summer of 2008. Although the worst appears to be over, Russia will continue to feel its effects longer than many other industrialized countries, largely because of a rigid economy burdened with an overweening state role. The recognition that Russia faces serious long-term challenges has emboldened President Dmitry Medvedev and others to call for far-reaching economic restructuring. If successful, their economic policies could undermine the semi-authoritarian, state-capitalist model developed under Prime Minister and former president Vladimir Putin. Although concrete reforms have so far been limited, Medvedev's demands for change (seconded in some cases by Putin) have acquired increasing momentum in recent months. The speed of Russia's recovery and obstacles along the way will play a major role in determining both the success of Medvedev's call for modernization and the course of Russia's foreign policy since a quicker recovery would diminish the pressure for fundamental reform and lessen the need for caution internationally.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Economics, International Affairs, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Steven Dunaway
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The current economic and financial crisis has brought about a significant change in global economic governance as the international forum for discussions on the crisis has shifted from the small group of advanced countries in the Group of Seven (G7) to the Group of Twenty (G20), a broader group including important emerging market countries. The G20 summit held in Washington, DC, on November 15, 2008, dealt with the immediate concerns fostered by the crisis and focused on both macroeconomic policy actions needed to support global growth and ideas for implementing financial market reforms. Follow-up G20 summits are expected, starting with a gathering in the United Kingdom in April 2009. However, for these discussions to have a substantial impact, the agenda will have to be broadened beyond economic stimulus and financial market regulation. If not, global policymakers will miss a critical chance to make the world economy and financial markets more stable, as then U.S. treasury secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. pointed out: If we only address particular regulatory issues—as critical as they are—without addressing the global imbalances that fueled recent excesses, we will have missed an opportunity to dramatically improve the foundation for global markets and economic vitality going forward. The pressure from global imbalances will simply build up again until it finds another outlet.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Brad W. Setser, Arpana Pandey
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: China reported $1.95 trillion in foreign exchange reserves at the end of 2008. This is by far the largest stockpile of foreign exchange in the world: China holds roughly two times more reserves than Japan, and four times more than either Russia or Saudi Arabia. Moreover, China's true foreign port- folio exceeds its disclosed foreign exchange reserves. At the end of December, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE)—part of the People's Bank of China (PBoC) managed close to $2.1 trillion: $1.95 trillion in formal reserves and between $108 and $158 billion in “other foreign assets.” China's state banks and the China Investment Corporation (CIC), China's sovereign wealth fund, together manage another $250 billion or so. This puts China's total holdings of foreign assets at over $2.3 trillion. That is over 50 percent of China's gross domestic product (GDP), or roughly $2,000 per Chinese inhabitant.
  • Topic: International Relations, Debt, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Israel, Asia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Robert McMahon
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Interview with Michael Chertoff, Former Homeland Security Secretary, on how immigration reforms are essential to normalize labor flows. The global economic crisis has triggered calls in some U.S. policy circles for tightening immigration rules to prevent non-Americans from competing for scarce jobs. Yet despite conditions, lawmakers should be preparing changes to immigration policy in anticipation of the country's economic revival, says former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who had jurisdiction over immigration issues. "We are going to need to have some workers coming from other parts of the world to do the jobs that Americans will not be willing to do," Chertoff said. In addition, he said, U.S. officials should increase contacts with Mexican authorities to work out a system for rationalizing the legal flow of migrant workers into the United States. He also stressed that tough enforcement of immigration laws, at the workplace and border, must be at the core of comprehensive reforms.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Human Rights, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America
  • Author: Laurie A. Garrett, Kammerle Schneider
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The global response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic has radically transformed over the years. From 1981 through 1996 no effective treatment for HIV infection existed, and most governments ignored the epidemic or, worse, discriminated against those who were considered at risk of infection or sick with AIDS. As treatment became available, a global mobilization emerged, seeking to provide life-sparing medication to millions of people. The past decade has seen a tremendous expansion in funding and resources for HIV/AIDS funneled through a myriad of innovative and unprecedented initiatives.
  • Topic: International Relations, Health, Humanitarian Aid
  • Author: Michael T. Osterholm
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The outbreak of a new strain of deadly swine flu, which has killed more than one hundred people in Mexico and spread to the United States and Europe, has global health experts considering whether this may be the start of a long-feared pandemic. Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, says there are a lot of unknowns about the new flu strain but so far it presents "a very different picture" from that of recent avian flu outbreaks and the 2003 sudden acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak. "Osterholm says it may be a matter of months before experts understand the disease. He cautions against international policy overreactions, citing some countries' travel warnings and bans on some imported foods from the United States and Mexico as "hysterical." He says the best way to deal with panics is to keep people informed and not create false expectations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Globalization, Health, Human Welfare, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Canada
  • 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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