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  • Author: Robert D. Blackwill, Henry A. Kissinger, Ashley J. Tellis
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: "China represents and will remain the most significant competitor to the United States for decades to come. As such, the need for a more coherent U.S. response to increasing Chinese power is long overdue," write CFR Senior Fellow Robert D. Blackwill and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Senior Associate Ashley J. Tellis in a new Council Special Report, Revising U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China. "Because the American effort to 'integrate' China into the liberal international order has now generated new threats to U.S. primacy in Asia—and could result in a consequential challenge to American power globally—Washington needs a new grand strategy toward China that centers on balancing the rise of Chinese power rather than continuing to assist its ascendancy." The authors argue that such a strategy is designed to limit the dangers that China's geoeconomic and military power pose to U.S. national interests in Asia and globally, even as the United States and its allies maintain diplomatic and economic interactions with China.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Paul D. Williams
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The number of UN peacekeepers is at a record high, with nearly 110,000 uniformed deployed "blue helmets" worldwide, most of them in Africa. But the status quo is "untenable," warns Paul D. Williams, author and associate professor of international affairs at George Washington University, in a new Council Special Report, Enhancing U.S. Support for Peace Operations in Africa. Unrealistic mandates, unsustainable supplies of personnel, hostile host governments, and mission creep have undermined peace operations, Williams writes. "Given the growing interest in fostering a stable and prosperous Africa, the United States should wield its political influence to address these challenges."
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Humanitarian Aid, War, Fragile/Failed State, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Daniel S. Markey
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After 9/11, the global fight against al-Qaeda and the related war in Afghanistan forced the United States to reassess its strategy in Pakistan. The exigencies of counterterrorism and counterinsurgency established Washington's primary goals and many of its specific policies. Now, however, the impending drawdown of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, along with significant U.S. successes in operations against al-Qaeda, require the United States to take a fresh look at its Pakistan strategy and to move beyond the "Af-Pak" era.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Development, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, India
  • Author: Yanzhong Huang
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (hereafter "the Global Fund" or "the Fund") is the world's main multilateral funder in global health and the largest financier of anti-AIDS, anti-tuberculosis (TB), and anti-malaria programs. Since its inception in 2002, the Global Fund has disbursed $23.2 billion to more than 140 countries; today, it accounts for 21 percent of the international funding for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, 82 percent of that for TB, and 50 per cent of that for malaria. Until recently, it awarded grants based on the need of individual countries and the quality of each proposal. As a performance-based initiative, it closely tracks the results flowing from each grant disbursement. As a value-oriented organization, it requires recipients to have transparent, accountable, and inclusive governance mechanisms. Indeed, in terms of multisectoralism and civil society participation, the Fund is considered the most progressive global health institution. But unlike many other health-related multilateral organizations, it is not an implementing agency and lacks in-country presence. Instead, as a funding mechanism, it has grant applications and project/program implementation in each country overseen by a "country coordinating mechanism" (CCM), which draws representatives from government, UN and donor agencies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), the private sector, and people living with the diseases.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Health, Governance
  • Political Geography: China, East Asia
  • Author: Micah Zenko, Sarah Kreps
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The use of unmanned aerial systems—commonly referred to as drones—over the past decade has revolutionized how the United States uses military force. As the technology has evolved from surveillance aircraft to an armed platform, drones have been used for a wide range of military missions: the United States has successfully and legitimately used armed drones to conduct hundreds of counterterrorism operations in battlefield zones, including Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. It has also used armed drones in non-battlefield settings, specifically in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and the Philippines. Collectively, these strikes have eliminated a number of suspected terrorists and militants from Asia to Africa at no cost in terms of U.S. casualties, an advantage of drones over manned platforms that has made them attractive to many other states. However, non-battlefield strikes have drawn criticism, particularly those conducted under the assertion that they are acts of self-defense.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Asia
  • 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: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: An estimated one-third of girls around the globe become brides before the age of eighteen and one in nine do so before the age of fifteen. In recent decades, the issue of child marriage has grown in profile and priority for many policymakers. The Elders, a group of global leaders including former United Nations (UN) secretary-general Kofi Anna n and former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, have taken on the issue and opted to use their platform to speak out against the practice, as have other prominent international organizations. The UN estimated that in 2011, nearly seventy million women ages twenty to twenty-four had married before they turned eighteen. If current trends continue without pause, in the next ten years, more than 140 million girls will be married before their eighteenth birthdays. In order to design interventions that can scale to match the level of the challenge, it is critical to understand the drivers of child marriage and the factors that can curb it.
  • Topic: Globalization, Human Rights, Human Welfare, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Joshua Kurlantzick
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Between the late 1980s and the late 2000s, many countries in Southeast Asia were viewed, by global democracy analysts and Southeast Asians themselves, as leading examples of democratization in the developing world. By the late 2000s, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Singapore all were ranked as "free" or "partly free" by the monitoring organization Freedom House, while Cambodia and, perhaps most surprisingly, Myanmar had both taken sizable steps toward democracy as well. Yet since the late 2000s, Southeast Asia's democratization has stalled and, in some of the region's most economically and strategically important nations, gone into reverse. Over the past ten years, Thailand has undergone a rapid and severe regression from democracy and is now ruled by a junta. Malaysia's democratic institutions and culture have regressed as well, with the long-ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition cracking down on dissent and trying to destroy what had been an emerging, and increasingly stable, two-party system. Singapore's transition toward contested politics has stalled. In Cambodia and Myanmar, hopes for dramatic democratic change have fizzled. Only the Philippines and Indonesia have stayed on track, but even in these two countries democratic consolidation is threatened by the persistence of graft, public distrust of democratic institutions, and continued meddling in politics by militaries.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: For decades, child marriage has been viewed as an unfortunate but inevitable social ill. Few policy-makers have considered its eradication feasible given how entrenched the practice is across the globe: one in three girls worldwide marry before the age of eighteen and one in nine girls marry before the age of fifteen. The United Nations (UN) estimates that if current trends continue, in the next decade 142 million girls globally will become brides before they turn eighteen. The implications are dire: research shows that child marriage both reinforces poverty and makes it harder to escape. The practice has curtailed advancement on Millennium Development Goals Four and Five-which call for a two-thirds reduction in the under-five mortality rate and a three-fourths reduction in maternal deaths by 2015, respectively-and has undermined the goal of achieving universal primary education.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Human Welfare, Fragile/Failed State, Governance
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Author: Catherine Powell
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The significant gains that Afghan women and girls have made since the 2001 U.S.-led military invasion and overthrow of the Taliban are endangered. Presidential elections and possible peace efforts with the Taliban raise uncertainties about whether the future leadership in Afghanistan will protect gender equality. Further, President Barack Obama's plan to completely draw down U.S. troops in the country by the end of 2016 risks withdrawing critical security protection, which has provided Afghan women and girls with increased safety and opportunities to participate in education, employment, the health system, politics, and civil society. With these political and security transitions underway, the United States should act now, in coordination with Afghanistan and its partners, to cement and extend the gains and prevent reversal.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Human Rights, Islam, Culture, Reform
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Central Asia
  • Author: Sheila A. Smith
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Electoral reform in the early 1990s ended single-party dominance in Japan and promised an era of new politics in which political parties would alternate control of the government. In the two decades that followed, Japan's foreign and domestic policy priorities were subjected to greater scrutiny and debate as Japan, like so many other nations around the globe, sought to reorient itself in a new post-Cold War world. The U.S.-Japan alliance that anchored Japan's postwar foreign policy was not immune to these domestic political reforms. For half a century, the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) prided itself on managing the relationship with Washington. But its ouster in 2009 by the reformist Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) led many to expect that even Japan's alliance with the United States would be subject to serious review.
  • Topic: Government, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Asia
  • Author: Shannon K. O'Neil
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: North America was once called the New World. The people, their ideas, and the resources of the continent shaped the histories of the Old World—East and West. Today, North America is home to almost five hundred million people living in three vibrant democracies. If the three North American countries deepen their integration and cooperation, they have the potential to again shape world affairs for gen-erations to come.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: John Campbell
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The April 2014 kidnapping of more than 250 schoolgirls from Chibok in northern Nigeria by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram—and the lethargic response of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan's government— provoked outrage. But the kidnapping is only one of many challenges Nigeria faces. The splintering of political elites, Boko Haram's revolt in the north, persistent ethnic and religious conflict in the country's Middle Belt, the deterioration of the Nigerian army, a weak federal government, unprecedented corruption, and likely divisive national elections in February 2015 with a potential resumption of an insurrection in the oil patch together test Nigeria in ways unprecedented since the 1966–70 civil war.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Terrorism, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, Nigeria
  • Author: Micah Zenko
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, the use of unmanned aerial systems—commonly referred to as drones—by the U.S. government has expanded exponentially in scope, location, and frequency. From September 2001 to April 2012, the U.S. military increased its drone inventory from fifty to seventy-five hundred—of which approximately 5 percent can be armed. Yet despite the unprecedented escalation of its fleet and missions, the U.S. government has not provided a clear explanation of how drone strikes in nonbattlefield settings are coordinated with broader foreign policy objectives, the scope of legitimate targets, and the legal framework. Drones are critical counterterrorism tools that advance U.S. interests around the globe, but this lack of transparency threatens to limit U.S. freedom of action and risks proliferation of armed drone technology without the requisite normative framework.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Islam, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Middle East
  • Author: Seth G. Jones, Keith Crane
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Afghanistan will undergo three major transitions in 2014: from a Hamid Karzai–led government to one presumably headed by another president following the 2014 election; from a U.S.-led to an Afghan-led counterinsurgency; and from an economy driven by foreign expenditures on military support and assistance to one more reliant on domestic sources of growth, as the United States and other countries reduce their presence. The United States and its allies will need to shape each of these transitions in ways that safeguard their interests.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Islam, Terrorism, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Adam Segal, John D. Negroponte, Samuel J. Palmisano
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Since the idea of a worldwide network was introduced in the early 1980s, the Internet has grown into a massive global system that connects over a third of the world's population, roughly 2.5 billion people. The Internet facilitates communication, commerce, trade, culture, research, and social and family connections and is now an integral part of modern life. Another 2.5 billion individuals are expected to get online by the end of this decade, mainly in the developing world, and further billions of devices and machines will be used. This enlargement to the rest of the globe could bring enormous economic, social, and political benefits to the United States and the world. New technologies could reshape approaches to disaster relief, diplomacy, conflict prevention, education, science, and cultural production.
  • Topic: Security, Crime, Industrial Policy, Intelligence, Science and Technology, Communications
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Rachel B. Vogelstein
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The practice of child marriage is a violation of human rights. Every day, girls around the world are forced to leave their families, marry against their will, endure sexual and physical abuse, and bear children while still in childhood themselves. This practice is driven by poverty, deeply embedded cultural traditions, and pervasive discrimination against girls. Yet in many parts of the world, this ancient practice still flourishes: estimates show that nearly five million girls are married under the age of fifteen every year, and some are as young as eight or nine years old.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Human Rights, Poverty
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Seth G. Jones, Keith Crane
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Afghanistan will undergo three major transitions in 2014: from a Hamid Karzai-led government to one presumably headed by another president following the 2014 election; from a U.S.-led to an Afghan-led counterinsurgency; and from an economy driven by foreign expenditures on military support and assistance to one more reliant on domestic sources of growth, as the United States and other countries reduce their presence. The United States and its allies will need to shape each of these transitions in ways that safeguard their interests.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Military Strategy, Bilateral Relations, Border Control
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Joel I. Klein, Condoleezza Rice, Julia Levy
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Mission Statement. The Council on Foreign Relations 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, the Council takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. The Council carries out its mission by: Maintaining a diverse membership, including 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 Council members to discuss and debate major international issues; Supporting a Studies Program that fosters independent research, enabling Council 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 of 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: Economics, Education, Globalization, National Security
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, America, Washington
  • Author: Michael Shifter
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Central America is increasingly beset by spreading criminal violence. In the northern triangle—Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala—insecurity is particularly severe and widespread. In 2010, these countries ranked among the highest homicide rates (per one hundred thousand people) in the world: Honduras with eighty-two, El Salvador with sixty- six, and Guatemala with forty-one; in comparison, the homicide rate in the United States was less than five. The toll has been considerable, tallying nearly seventeen thousand murders in the northern triangle in 2011 and showing no signs of abating. The other four Central American states have also witnessed both heightened domestic insecurity and rising rates of crime and violence.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Corruption, Crime, War on Drugs, Narcotics Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Central America
  • Author: Laurie Garrett, Yanzhong Huang, Oren Ahoobim, Daniel Altman, Vicky Hausman
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: It might seem hard to believe, but just as the world is recovering from the most serious financial shock since World War II, governments around the world are engaging in serious discussions about how to expand health coverage.
  • Topic: Development, Emerging Markets, Health, Human Welfare, Law
  • Political Geography: South Africa
  • Author: Amanda Glassman, Thomas J. Bollyky
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Fewer people are smoking in the United States, Europe, and most of the developing world. Excise taxes, bans on smoking in public places, and graphic health warnings are achieving such dramatic reductions in tobacco use in developed countries that a recent Citigroup Bank investment analysis speculated that smoking could virtually disappear in wealthy countries over the next thirty to fifty years.
  • Topic: Health, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Economic development is a critical component of promoting stability and U.S. security interests, particularly in conflict and postconflict zones. Reviving institutions and rebuilding an economic base are among the first priorities after fighting ends and reconstruction begins. According to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), negative economic shocks of just 5 percent can increase the risk of a civil war by as much as 50 percent in fragile environments. Additionally, donor assistance, which can account for 20 percent to as much as 97 percent of a country's GDP, is unsustainable in the long term. Building local business capacity and supporting homegrown entrepreneurs can help curb this risk. Research from Iraq has found that labor-generating reconstruction programs can reduce violence during insurgencies, with a 10 percent increase in labor-related spending associated with a 10 percent decrease in violence. And as Shari Berenbach, director of the Office of Microenterprise Development at USAID, argues, the development of “private enterprise is an important stabilizing force,” particularly for countries suffering from the political uncertainty and civil unrest that often characterizes the postconflict period.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Suzanne Nossel
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The 2011–2012 crisis in Syria offers a painful reminder of the international community's limited ability to prevent and halt large-scale human rights violations. As the number of casualties in the country continued to rise, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the main international body responsible for maintaining peace and security, struggled to appropriately react. For over a year and despite more than nine thousand documented deaths, the UNSC remained deadlocked, and it eventually managed to issue only weak presidential statements and, in April 2012, dispatch a small team of monitors to bolster a faltering ceasefire. During the same period, however, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) showed significant signs of revival and effectiveness. Intended to be the centerpiece of the UN's human rights machinery, the UNHRC had—since its founding in 2006—been dubbed by diplomats a “leper of the UN system.” It was known for passivity in the face of human rights crises and for the polarized dynamic between countries of the global North and South.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Diplomacy, Human Rights, Human Welfare, United Nations, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Shanker A. Singham
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The U.S. economy faces major challenges competing internationally. One of the most worrisome is the growing use in China and other advanced developing countries of anticompetitive market distortions (ACMDs)—including regulatory protection that privileges specific companies—which put foreign competitors at a disadvantage. ACMDs are government actions that give certain business interests artificial competitive advantages over their rivals, be they foreign or domestic, to the detriment of consumer welfare. These market distortions are especially damaging to the industries in which the United States enjoys the greatest comparative advantages, but they are also harmful to the long-term prosperity of developing economies and cost the global economy trillions of dollars. To combat ACMDs, the conventional trade policy approach of focusing on the The U.S. economy faces major challenges competing internationally. One of the most worrisome is the growing use in China and other advanced developing countries of anticompetitive market distortions (ACMDs)—including regulatory protection that privileges specific companies—which put foreign competitors at a disadvantage.1 ACMDs are government actions that give certain business interests artificial competitive advantages over their rivals, be they foreign or domestic, to the detriment of consumer welfare. These market distortions are especially damaging to the industries in which the United States enjoys the greatest comparative advantages, but they are also harmful to the long-term prosperity of developing economies and cost the global economy trillions of dollars.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, India, Brazil
  • 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: Daniel W. Drezner
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The 2008 financial crisis posed the biggest challenge to the global economy since the Great Depression and provided a severe “stress test” for global economic governance. A review of economic outcomes, policy outputs, and institutional resilience reveals that these regimes performed well during the acute phase of the crisis, ensuring the continuation of an open global economy. Even though some policy outcomes have been less than optimal, international institutions and frameworks performed contrary to expectations. Simply put, the system worked.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Political Economy, Markets, Global Recession, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Author: Blake Clayton
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On June 23, 2011, the International Energy Agency (IEA) announced plans to coordinate the release of emergency oil stockpiles in an attempt to offset an ongoing loss of crude oil production in Libya. In the six months prior, oil prices had jumped more than 20 percent, as political upheaval in Libya had prevented an estimated 132 million barrels of oil from reaching the market. IEA member country policymakers feared that high oil prices risked undermining a nascent global economic recovery. To combat that threat, twelve IEA member countries made roughly sixty million barrels of crude oil and refined oil products, such as diesel and gasoline, available to the market. The release, which the IEA referred to as the “Libya collective action,” lasted from July 23, 2011, until September 15, 2011. It was only the third time in its nearly thirty-year history that the IEA, which was founded after the 1973 oil crisis, has undertaken a coordinated release, though the United States has unilaterally released strategic stocks on several occasions for reasons that include raising revenue and countering rising heating oil prices.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, International Cooperation, International Organization, Oil, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Libya
  • Author: Alexandra Starr
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Latino immigrant entrepreneurs are making important contributions to the U.S. economy. They have founded highly successful companies in the frozen food, construction, financial services, and high-tech industries. Many of these companies owe their success to cultural connections with Latin American markets abroad and U.S. Latino consumers at home—markets that are set to grow rapidly in the coming years. Small-scale Latino immigrant entrepreneurs, meanwhile, have helped revitalize city commercial strips and small-town Main Streets across the country.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Markets, Immigration
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Joshua Kurlantzick
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In a region largely bereft of regional organizations and long divided by the Cold War, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been the most significant multilateral group for the past forty-five years. Since the end of the Cold War, ASEAN has grown increasingly influential. While much of the West and most emerging markets continue to suffer because of the 2008 global recession, the leading ASEAN economies have recovered and are thriving. Perhaps most important, ASEAN has helped prevent interstate conflicts in Southeast Asia, despite several brewing territorial disputes in the region.
  • Topic: Cold War, Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia
  • Author: Bruce K. Rutherford
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: As protests continued in Cairo, questions intensified about when and how President Hosni Mubarak would step aside and what kind of transitional government might replace him. The "key actor" at this time is Egypt's military leadership, which is concerned about growing violence, economic damage, and continued instability, says Bruce K. Rutherford, author of Egypt After Mubarak: Liberalism, Islam, and Democracy in the Arab World. "If they want these demonstrations to end, they can either intervene and use force to disperse the demonstrators or they can ask President Mubarak to leave," he says, which would indicate the army's belief that Mubarak's continued presence is destabilizing. Rutherford says the opposition has organized a ten-person leadership group headed by Mohamed ElBaradei, but that Egyptians are skeptical about the government's offer to open discussions with the opposition because in the past, such dialogues haven't led to any change. He says a possible successor to Mubarak may be former foreign minister Amr Moussa, currently head of the Arab League.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Democratization, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: David A. Shirk
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Mexico is in the midst of a worsening security crisis. Explosive clashes and territorial disputes among powerful drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) have killed more than thirty-five thousand people since President Felipe Calderón took office in December 2006. The geography of that violence is limited but continues to spread, and its targets include a growing number of government officials, police officers, journalists, and individuals unrelated to the drug trade. The Mexican government has made the war on drugs its top priority and has even called in the military to support the country's weak police and judicial institutions. Even so, few Mexican citizens feel safer today than they did ten years ago, and most believe that their government is losing the fight.
  • Topic: Security, War on Drugs, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Michael Spence, Sandile Hlatshwayo
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: This paper examines the evolving structure of the American economy, specifically, the trends in employment, value added, and value added per employee from 1990 to 2008. These trends are closely connected with complementary trends in the size and structure of the global economy, particularly in the major emerging economies. Employing historical time series data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. industries are separated into internationally tradable and nontradable components, allowing for employment and value-added trends at both the industry and the aggregate level to be examined. Value added grew across the economy, but almost all of the incremental employment increase of 27.3 million jobs was on the nontradable side. On the nontradable side, government and health care are the largest employers and provided the largest increments (an additional 10.4 million jobs) over the past two decades. There are obvious questions about whether those trends can continue; without fast job creation in the nontradable sector, the United States would already have faced a major employment challenge.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Labor Issues, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: David A. Kaye
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: For nearly two decades, the United Nations has created international criminal tribunals to punish those responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Since the early 1990s the United States has strongly supported the UN tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia and hybrid UN/national courts for Sierra Leone and Cambodia. The era of court-building culminated in the 1998 adoption, over U.S. objections, of a treaty to establish a permanent International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. These international courts have brought dozens of perpetrators to justice, and the UN Security Council's requests that the ICC investigate the situations in Sudan (2005) and Libya (2011) show that policymakers across the spectrum, in the United States and abroad, believe that accountability-that is, bringing individuals to justice for committing atrocities-can be an important tool to combat war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Yet as important as these courts are, atrocities occur in places beyond their reach, and even where international courts investigate and prosecute, they lack the capacity to try all but a handful of the thousands of perpetrators of the worst international crimes.
  • Topic: Crime, Genocide, International Cooperation, International Law
  • Political Geography: United States, Sudan, Libya, Yugoslavia, Cambodia
  • Author: Samuel W. Bodman, James D. Wolfensohn, Julia E. Sweig
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Brazil has transcended its status as the largest and most resource-rich country in Latin America to now be counted among the world's pivotal powers. Brazil is not a conventional military power, it does not rival China or India in population or economic size, and it cannot match the geopolitical history of Russia. Still, how Brazil defines and projects its interests, a still-evolving process, is critical to understanding the character of the new multipolar and unpredictable global order.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, India, Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Isobel Coleman, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Global demographic and health trends affect a wide range of vital U.S. foreign policy interests. These interests include the desire to promote healthy, productive families and communities, more prosperous and stable societies, resource and food security, and environmental sustainability. International family planning is one intervention that can advance all these interests in a cost-effective manner. Investments in international family planning can significantly improve maternal, infant, and child health and avert unintended pregnancies and abortions. Studies have shown that meeting the unmet need for family planning could reduce maternal deaths by approximately 35 percent, reduce abortion in developing countries by 70 percent, and reduce infant mortality by 10 to 20 percent.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, Environment, Health
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Matthew J. Slaughter, Edward Alden, Andrew H. Card, Thomas A. Daschle
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The growth of global trade and investment has brought significant benefits to the United States and to the rest of the world. Freer trade and investment, facilitated by rules the United States led in negotiating and implementing, have alleviated poverty, raised average standards of living, and discouraged conflict.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Labor Issues, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Paul B. Stares, Micah Zenko
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: With the U.S. military overstretched after a decade of continuous combat operations and Washington facing acute fiscal pressures, the strategic logic of preventive action to reduce the number of foreign crises and conflicts that could embroil the United States in burdensome new commitments has never been more compelling.
  • Topic: Globalization, International Organization, International Trade and Finance, Peace Studies, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Washington, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Daniel Markey, Paul B. Stares, Evan A. Feigenbaum, Scott A. Snyder, John W. Vessey, Joshua Kurlantzick
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: If past experience is any guide, the United States and China will find themselves embroiled in a serious crisis at some point in the future. Such crises have occurred with some regularity in recent years, and often with little or no warning. Relatively recent examples include the Taiwan Strait crisis of 1996, the accidental bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1999, and the EP-3 reconnaissance plane incident in 2001, as well as several minor naval skirmishes since then. The ensuing tension has typically dissipated without major or lasting harm to U.S.-China relations. With China's rise as a global power, however, the next major crisis is likely to be freighted with greater significance for the relationship than in previous instances. Policymakers in both Washington and Beijing, not to mention their respective publics, have become more sensitive to each other's moves and intentions as the balance of power has shifted in recent years. As anxieties and uncertainties have grown, the level of mutual trust has inevitably diminished. How the two countries manage a future crisis or string of crises, therefore, could have profound and prolonged consequences for the U.S.-China relationship. Given the importance of this relationship to not only the future evolution of the Asia-Pacific region but also to the management of a host of international challenges, the stakes could not be higher.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Israel, Asia
  • Author: F. Gregory Gause III
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: There is arguably no more unlikely U.S. ally than Saudi Arabia: monarchical, deeply conservative socially, promoter of an austere and intolerant version of Islam, birthplace of Osama bin Laden and fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers. Consequently, there is no U.S. ally less well understood. Many U.S. policymakers assume that the Saudi regime is fragile, despite its remarkable record of domestic stability in the turbulent Middle East. “It is an unstable country in an unstable region,” one congressional staffer said in July 2011. Yet it is the Arab country least affected in its domestic politics by the Arab upheavals of 2011. Many who think it is unstable domestically also paradoxically attribute enormous power to it, to the extent that they depict it as leading a “counterrevolution” against those upheavals throughout the region. 2 One wonders just how “counterrevolutionary” the Saudis are when they have supported the NATO campaign against Muammar al-Qaddafi, successfully negotiated the transfer of power from Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen, and condemned the crackdown on protestors by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, and how powerful they are when they could do little to help their ally Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Islam, Oil, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Barack Obama
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: THE PRESIDENT: Madam Speaker, Vice President Biden, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans: Our Constitution declares that from time to time, the President shall give to Congress information about the state of our union. For 220 years, our leaders have fulfilled this duty. They've done so during periods of prosperity and tranquility. And they've done so in the midst of war and depression; at moments of great strife and great struggle.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Government, War, Labor Issues, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • 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: Bronwyn E. Bruton
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Somalia has been a failed state for the better part of two decades; bereft of central government, cantonized into clan fiefdoms, and wracked by deadly spasms of violence. Repeated efforts to create a viable national government have failed.1 For the United States, the principal concern, especially since 9/11, has been the fear that Somalia might become a safe haven for al-Qaeda to launch attacks in the region and even conceivably against the U.S. homeland. U.S. efforts to prevent that from happening, however, have been counterproductive, alienating large parts of the Somali population and polarizing Somalia's diverse Muslim community into “moderate” and “extremist” camps. Several indigenous militant Islamist groups have emerged and grown stronger in recent years. One coalition, headed by a radical youth militia known as the Shabaab, now controls most of southern Somalia and threatens the survival of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG)—the latest UN-brokered effort to establish a functioning authority in the capital city of Mogadishu.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, Fragile/Failed State, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Daniel Markey
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: India faces the real prospect of another major terrorist attack by Pakistan-based terrorist organizations in the near future. Unlike the aftermath of the November 2008 attack on Mumbai, in which 166 people died, Indian military restraint cannot be taken for granted if terrorists strike again. An Indian retaliatory strike against terrorist targets on Pakistani soil would raise Indo-Pakistani tensions and could even set off a spiral of violent escalation between the nuclear-armed rivals. Given Washington's effort to intensify pressure on al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated militants operating from Pakistani territory, increased tensions between India and Pakistan would harm U.S. interests even if New Delhi and Islamabad stop well short of the nuclear threshold because it would distract Pakistan from counterterror and counterinsurgency operations, jeopardize the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, and place new, extreme stresses on Islamabad.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, South Asia, Washington, India, New Delhi, Mumbai
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Many people argue that inappropriate compensation policies in financial companies contributed to the World Financial Crisis. Some say the overall level of pay was too high. Others criticize the structure of pay, claiming that contracts for CEOs, traders, and other key professionals induced them to pursue excessively risky and short-term strategies.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis, Governance
  • Author: Jack Boureston, Tanya Ogilvie-White
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In September 2008, Mohamed ElBaradei, former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), described nuclear terrorism as the number one threat to world security. Before then, El-Baradei had repeatedly pointed out that terrorist organizations are seeking nuclear materials. “If they get it, they will use it,” he warned in 2006. Since then, the IAEA has released data from its Illicit Trafficking Database, which confirmed at least fifteen cases of nuclear trafficking in 2008 alone—a statistic that might represent only the tip of the iceberg. The release of this information coincided with the official launch of nuclear energy programs in countries where governance is patchy, regulation is weak, and terrorists are known to operate.
  • Topic: Security, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Author: Katherine J. Almquist
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Sudan faces the prospect of renewed violence between north and south over the next twelve to eighteen months. Under the terms of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended Sudan's bloody civil war, which claimed two million lives and displaced four million more, a referendum in southern Sudan must be held by January 2011 to determine whether it remains united with the north or secedes from it. Given that popular sentiment in the south overwhelmingly favors secession, two basic scenarios are conceivable: the south secedes peacefully through a credible referendum process, or the CPA collapses and the south fights for independence. There is no scenario in which the south remains peacefully united with the north beyond 2011. Further complicating prospects for averting renewed violence are the ongoing conflict in Darfur and potential conflicts in other marginalized areas of the north. The violent secession of the south would hinder efforts to resolve these conflicts, as well as increase the prospect for greater internecine fighting among historic rivals in the south. The resulting significant loss of life and widespread political unrest would threaten regional stability and challenge U.S. interests in Africa.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Islam, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Sudan
  • Author: Paul Lettow
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The international nuclear nonproliferation regime—the principal objective of which is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons—is under severe strain. The North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs have exploited and underscored weaknesses in the regime that must be fixed if it is to serve its purpose. Those weaknesses are both structural—ambiguities and limitations in the current rules—and result from a failure to enforce the rules that exist.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, North Korea
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Runs by prime-brokerage clients and derivatives counterparties were a central cause of the World Financial Crisis. Worried about potential losses, many hedge funds withdrew their assets from brokerage accounts at Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers in the weeks before these banks failed. Although Morgan Stanley did not fail, it also suffered from the withdrawal of prime brokerage assets. These runs, together with runs by short-term creditors, precipitated Bear Stearns' and Lehman's demise. Even if these firms would have failed anyway, the runs made their failures much more sudden and chaotic, and made coherent policy responses much harder.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • 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: Vijay Padmanabhan, Benjamin N. Cardozo
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: For the foreseeable future the United States is unlikely to become a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the international tribunal in The Hague responsible for prosecuting human rights atrocities and war crimes. From the time the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (the “Rome Statute”)—the treaty that established the ICC—was negotiated in 1998, the United States has voiced strong concerns about the ICC exercising jurisdiction over nationals of nonparties and the ICC prosecutor's authority to investigate and prosecute suspects without the approval of the UN Security Council. Those concerns have not been alleviated, and the Obama administration has said that it will not seek U.S. Senate approval of the Rome Statute in the near future. Even if the treaty were submitted to the Senate, the Senate would not approve it in its current form. Moreover, U.S. concerns could be exacerbated by modifications to the Rome Statute ICC members may make in the coming months.
  • Topic: Crime, Human Rights, International Law
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Charles L. Pritchard, John H. Tilelli Jr., Scott A. Snyder
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The Korean peninsula simultaneously offers dramatically contrasting opportunities for and dangers to U.S. interests in Northeast Asia. On the one hand, a democratic and free market–oriented South Korea has developed enhanced military capacity and political clout and an expanded set of shared interests with the United States. This enables more active cooperation with the United States to respond to North Korea's nuclear challenge and promote regional and global stability and prosperity. On the other hand, a secretive and totalitarian North Korea has expanded its capacity to threaten regional and global stability through continued development of fissile materials and missile delivery capabilities, and has directly challenged the global nonproliferation regime and U.S. leadership.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, South Korea, North Korea, Korea, Phoenix
  • Author: Michael A. Levi
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: U.S. policymakers talk more today about energy security than they have at any time since the energy crises of the 1970s. Yet scholarly understanding of the challenges at the intersection of energy and national security, and of the various policy tools available to address them, is surprisingly weak. On April 12–13, 2010, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) convened a group of thirty-six scholars and practitioners to assess the current state of knowledge about oil, gas, and national security, and to identify those areas where research was most needed. Participants included experts from academia, industry, government, and international institutions, and brought backgrounds in economics, political science, international relations, science, engineering, and law to the discussion.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Francis E. Warnock
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In 1961, the Belgian economist Robert Triffin described the dilemma faced by the country at the center of the international monetary system. To supply the world's risk-free asset, the center country must run a current account deficit and in doing so become ever more indebted to foreigners, until the risk-free asset that it issues ceases to be risk free. Precisely because the world is happy to have a dependable asset to hold as a store of value, it will buy so much of that asset that its issuer will become unsustainably burdened. The endgame to Triffin's paradox is a global, wholesale dumping of the center country's securities. No one knows in advance when the tipping point will be reached, but the damage brought about by higher interest rates and slower economic growth will be readily apparent afterward.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Author: David P. Fidler
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Three crises in 2009 revealed the inadequacy of global health governance. The outbreak of pandemic influenza A (H1N1) found countries scrambling for access to vaccines, an unseemly process that led the World Health Organization to call for a new “global framework” on equitable influenza vaccine access. The global economic crisis damaged efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, most of which involve health problems or address policy areas affecting health. The year ended with the fractious Copenhagen negotiations on global climate change, a problem with fearsome portents for global health.
  • Topic: Globalization, Health, Human Welfare, Governance
  • Author: Henry Sokolski
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The replacement for the Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (START), which presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev signed in April 2010, marks the first legally binding arms control agreement to be reached in nearly twenty years. At the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference in May 2010, where the topic of nu clear disarmament will be discussed, the elimination of nuclear weapons will be viewed as a practical possibility. While this prospect can be easily dismissed as an optimistic or flee ting trend, it should instead be harnessed as a means to bolster international security, or at least not to make matter s worse. This requires both sound insights into what is and is not possible, and in Washington, sensitivity to an increasing number of contentious political views regarding nuclear controls.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Author: Joshua W. Busby
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Climate change is the most difficult collective action problem the world has ever faced. The activities responsible for greenhouse-gas emissions are central to our modern way of life, and the uncertain effects of climate change will disproportionately fall on future generations that have no say in current decision-making processes. Climate change is also a difficult challenge because it cannot be ad- dressed by governments alone—it depends on coordination with private actors and nongovernmental organizations.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Globalization, Treaties and Agreements
  • Author: Micah Zenko
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: President Barack Obama has made reductions in the United States' nuclear arsenal and a decreased reliance on nuclear weapons major foreign policy priorities for his administration. The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), signed in April 2010 by President Obama and Russia's president, Dmitry Medvedev, represents concrete movement toward these goals—goals that both presidents share. This follow-on accord to the 1991 START Treaty limits the United States and Russia to 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear and conventional war - heads, 800 strategic launchers, and 700 deployed strategic missiles and bombers. Yet while the New START Treaty represents a substantial decrease from Cold War levels, the United States will retain around 2,000 deployed strategic and tactical nuclear weapons and Russia will maintain approximately 3,500 deployed strategic and tactical nuclear weapons—which together will constitute over 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Author: Robert K. Knake
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States is being outmaneuvered in the international forums that will determine the future of the Internet. Led by Russia and China, nondemocratic regimes are organizing into a united front to promote a vision of the Internet that is tightly controlled by states. That vision is increasingly attractive to many Western nations wrestling with interrelated threats of cybercrime, industrial espionage, and cyber warfare. The United States must actively combat these threats while it works to protect U.S. national interests in the preservation and extension of the Internet as a platform for increased efficiency and economic exchange. Protecting this interest requires far more extensive engagement within Internet governance forums to shape the future of the network in a way that addresses security concerns without resulting in a cure that is worse than the disease.
  • Topic: Security, Crime, Science and Technology, Governance
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China
  • Author: Richard L. Armitage, Samuel R. Berger
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Al-Qaeda's attack on September 11, 2001, was the deadliest terrorist assault on the United States in history. In the hours and days that followed, Americans learned more about the perpetrators and their links to bases and networks in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Less than a month later, President George W. Bush launched Operation Enduring Freedom. Much changed nearly overnight as the United States focused military, economic, and diplomatic attention squarely on the region for the first time since the end of the Cold War. In Afghanistan, the Taliban regime—al-Qaeda's sympathetic host—was toppled. In Pakistan, the Pervez Musharraf regime was drafted into Washington's Global War on Terror.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Kay King
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Much has been written, blogged, and broadcast in the past several years about the dysfunction of the U.S. Congress. Filibusters, holds, and poison pill amendments have become hot topics, albeit intermittently, as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have increasingly exploited these tactics in pursuit of partisan or personal ends. Meanwhile, such pressing national issues as deficit reduction, immigration reform, and climate change have gone unresolved. To be fair, the 111th Congress has addressed many significant issues, but those it has addressed, such as health-care reform and economic stimulus, exposed Americans to a flawed process of backroom deals that favors obstruction over deliberation, partisanship over statesmanship, and narrow interests over national concerns. Although partisan politics, deal making, and parliamentary maneuvering are nothing new to Congress, the extent to which they are being deployed today by lawmakers and the degree to which they obstruct the resolution of national problems are unprecedented. This may explain why Congress registered a confidence level of only 11 percent in July 2010, marking its lowest rating ever in the annual Gallup institutional confidence survey and ranking it last among sixteen major U.S. institutions.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Adam Segal, Elizabeth C. Economy, Michael A. Levi, Shannon K. O'Neil
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: If governments are to respond effectively to the challenge of climate change, they will need to ramp up their support for innovation in low-carbon technologies and make sure that the resulting developments are diffused and adopted quickly. Yet for the United States, there is a tension inherent in these goals: the country's interests in encouraging the spread of technology can clash with its efforts to strengthen its own economy of particular importance is the spread of low-carbon technologies from the United States to the major emerging economies—China, India, and Brazil. Washington's strategy to promote the spread of low-carbon technologies to these countries must combine efforts to grow and open markets for low-carbon technologies with active support for accelerating the innovation and diffusion of these technologies. Its strategy will also need to reflect the unique challenges presented by each of the three countries.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, International Cooperation, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Washington, Brazil
  • Author: Kara C. McDonald, Stewart M. Patrick
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Advancing U.S. national interests in an era of global threats depends on effective multilateral action. Global institutions inherited from the past are struggling to adapt to the rise of new challenges and powers. “The international architecture of the 20th century is buckling,” declares the new U.S. National Security Strategy. President Barack Obama has committed his administration to renovating outdated institutions and integrating emerging powers as pillars of a rule-based international order. Renovation of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and its membership must be a core component of this agenda. President Obama's announcement in November 2010 of U.S. support for a permanent UNSC seat for India is a critical first step in this direction.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, International Organization, United Nations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Daniel C. Kurtzer
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Lebanon has been a flashpoint for Arab-Israeli violence and military confrontations since the mid1970s. Its political system is weak and outside parties continue to vie for political advantage as part of a larger regional conflict. In particular, Syria and Iran provide support for the militant Islamist group Hezbollah as a strategic asset to pressure Israel. Hezbollah now controls most of southern Lebanon, while its political wing has developed a strong presence in the Lebanese parliament. In July and August 2006, Israel and Hezbollah fought what became known as the “Second Lebanon War,” which killed and displaced many thousand s of people and destroyed much of Lebanon's infrastructure. Since then Hezbollah has steadily rearmed in contravention of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which requires, inter alia, “the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon, so that, pursuant to the Lebanese cabinet decision of July 27, 2006, there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese state” and “no sales or supply of arms and related materiel to Lebanon except as authorized by its government.” Hezbollah's arsenal is more potent in quantity and quality today than it was in 2006. Although the border area between Israel and Lebanon is quieter than at any time in the previous decade, speculation that a third Lebanon war will occur in the next twelve to eighteen months has been steadily rising. Israel could decide the security threat posed by Hezbollah has reached intolerable levels and take preemptive military action. Hezbollah, while outwardly showing no interest in confronting Israel at this time, may for various reasons choose or be pressured by Iran to flex its new military capabilities. As happened in 2006, even small-scale military engagements with limited objectives can escalate into a major conflict. Whatever the precipitating reasons, a new conflict over Lebanon would have significant implications for U.S. policy and interests in the region.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, War, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, United Nations, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: John Campbell
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Nigeria is a country of overlapping regional, religious, and ethnic divisions. Rifts between the North and the South of the country, ethnic groups, and Islam and Christianity often coincide and have sometimes resulted in sectarian violence. This has been the case particularly in its geographical center and in the Niger Delta region. In the Middle Belt, as the former is called, bouts of retributive bloodshed between Christian farmers and Muslim pastoralists erupt with some frequency. In the Niger Delta, an insurrection against the Abuja government has been raging for more than a decade over regional, ethnic, and environmental grievances. In all, credible observers ascribe over twelve thousand deaths since 1999 to ethnic, religious, and regional conflict in Nigeria.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Paul B. Stares
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Tensions ran perilously high on the Korean peninsula in the months after the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan on March 26, 2010, which claimed the lives of forty-six sailors. An international investigation subsequently attributed the incident to a North Korean torpedo attack, prompting both South Korea and the United States to impose new punitive measures on the regime in Pyongyang and to conduct a series of high-profile naval exercises to deter further provocations. These actions elicited an especially vituperative response from North Korea, including the threat to unleash a “retaliatory sacred war.”
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Bernard Gwertzman (interviewer)
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After nine months of political wrangling, Iraq's parliament confirmed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's new coalition government December 21. Though the government is "a good basis for setting out," says Iraq expert Joost Hiltermann, there's much uncertainty about how cohesive it will be and whether the inclusive government formed can govern. Hiltermann says there are questions about who will head the three major security ministries, whether a new National Council for Strategic Policy--designed as a "real check" against Maliki's power--will be approved by parliament, and whether Ayad Allawi, who headed the Iraqiya bloc that won the most seats in the election, will want to head that council. The United States pushed a power-sharing agreement "that went beyond the sharing of ministerial positions," says Hiltermann, but it remains to be seen whether various factions, including the prime minister and his allies, will allow that to happen.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Government, Politics, Governance, Sectarianism
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Jeffrey Mankoff
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: For two weeks in the freezing January of 2009, homes and businesses across Europe were left without heat, the result of a murky dispute over gas prices between Russia and Ukraine. When Moscow and Kiev failed to agree on a formula for calculating price and transit fees for the coming year, the gas simply stopped flowing. Europe, which gets a significant proportion of its gas through pipelines that transit both Russia and Ukraine, bore the brunt of this confrontation between the two feuding post-Soviet neighbors.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Markets, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Asia
  • Author: Paul B. Stares, Joel S. Wit
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: For most of the 1990s, North Korea was under what can only be called a prolonged deathwatch, so common and confident were predictions of its demise. Despite suffering acute economic stress from the loss of its principal economic patron—the Soviet Union—in 1991, the sudden death of its founding father––Kim Il-Sung––in 1994, and then soon after a devastating famine that may have claimed as many as a million lives, North Korea managed to survive. By decade's end, North Korea's extraordinary resilience, combined with its defiant and at times belligerent attitude to the rest of the world, had convinced most experts that this was not a country about to pass either quickly or quietly into the history books. Since then, the conventional wisdom among most if not all North Korea watchers is that it will muddle through indefinitely even if its long-term future remains doubtful.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, North Korea
  • Author: Daniel B. Prieto
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Political leaders, lawyers, and scholars have long grappled with questions of how to protect fundamental freedoms in times of national crisis. Supreme Court chief justice William Rehnquist observed that “the government's authority to engage in conduct that infringes civil liberty is greatest in time of declared war.” This observation is highly relevant in today's national security context. In an environment shaped by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, securing the U.S. homeland from fur the attacks and confronting terrorist networks abroad are central priorities of U.S. foreign and domestic policy. Yet the transformation of the U.S. security apparatus after 9/11 and a range of new national security programs have generated widespread concern over the protection of international human rights, democratic norms, and a number of rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution that form, collectively, the civil liberties of the American people.
  • Topic: Intelligence, Terrorism, Torture
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East
  • Author: Steven Pifer
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Ukraine faces a year of challenge in 2009. In the aftermath of the August 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict, Kiev must cope with an increasingly assertive Russian foreign policy. The Kremlin regards Ukraine as part of its sphere of privileged interests, has made clear its unhappiness with Kiev's desire to integrate into the European and Euro-Atlantic communities, and will attempt to disrupt that course. The possibility exists, more real following the August conflict, of a serious confrontation between Kiev and Moscow over issues such as Ukraine's geopolitical orientation and the Black Sea Fleet.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • 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
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Information about prices and quantities of assets lies at the heart of well-functioning capital markets. In the current financial crisis, it has become clear that many important actors-both firms and regulatory agencies-have not had sufficient information. Distributed by the Center for Geoeconomic Studies, this Working Paper proposes a new regulatory regime for gathering and disseminating financial market information. The authors argue that government regulators need a new infrastructure to collect and analyze adequate information from large (systemically important) financial institutions. This new information framework would bolster the government's ability to foresee, contain, and, ideally, prevent disruptions to the overall financial services industry.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Laurie A. Garrett
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Though the United States of America faces its toughest budgetary and economic challenges since the Great Depression, it cannot afford to eliminate, or even reduce, its foreign assistance spending. For clear reasons of political influence, national security, global stability, and humanitarian concern the United States must, at a minimum, stay the course in its commitments to global health and development, as well as basic humanitarian relief. The Bush administration sought not only to increase some aspects of foreign assistance, targeting key countries (Iraq and Afghanistan) and specific health targets, such as the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the President's Malaria Initiative, but also executed an array of programmatic and structural changes in U.S. aid efforts. By 2008, it was obvious to most participants and observers that too many agencies were engaged in foreign assistance, and that programs lacked coherence and strategy. Well before the financial crisis of fall 20 08, there was a strong bipartisan call for foreign assistance reform, allowing greater efficiency and credibility to U.S. efforts, enhancing engagement in multilateral institutions and programs, and improving institutional relations between U.S. agencies and their partners, including nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), recipient governments, corporate and business sector stakeholders, faith-based organizations (FBOs), academic-based implementers and researchers, foundations and private donors, United Nations (UN) agencies, and other donor nations.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Debt, Development, Economics, Health, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States
  • 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: Gene B. Sperling
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: One of the most compelling—yet most unrealized—global development challenges is ensuring that all children can pursue their right to a quality basic education. Seventy-two million young children around the world will not attend primary school this year, and, if we include those adolescents who could be enrolled in secondary school, the number of out-of-school children rises to over 300 million. To some degree, global awareness of both the silent crisis of education in developing nations and the individual and societal benefits of moving toward a quality education for all children has grown over the last decade. In recent years, more policymakers and foundations have gained greater knowledge of the high economic, health, and social returns of educating girls, while foreign policy specialists increasingly recognize a connection between educational opportunities and encouraging young people to resist opting for more destructive or violent futures. A new global effort on education—the Education for All Fast Track Initiative (FTI)—has been started, and increased civil society advocacy for schooling opportunities for girls and boys, as well as those affected by HIV/AIDS, conflict, disability, and child labor, have all raised the profile of education among the broader public.
  • Topic: Debt, Education, Globalization, Health, Poverty
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Benn Steil
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The story of the financial crisis will be retold endlessly as one of widespread greed, corruption, and incompetence, enabled by a policy agenda dominated by an ideology of deregulation. Yet even if the marketplace had been populated by more ethical and intelligent individuals, and even if their activities had been more carefully scrutinized by more diligent regulators, there would almost surely still have been a major financial boom and bust—such is the power, as history attests, of cheap money.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Political Economy
  • 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: Joseph S. Nye Jr, Philip D. Zelikow
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Stephen C. Freidheim Symposium on Global Economics Transcript: Joseph Nye, Philip Zelikow, Sebastian Mallaby, and Richard Medley discuss the global consequences of the financial crisis This session was part of the Stephen C. Freidheim Symposium on Global Economics: Financial Turbulence and U.S. Power, which was made possible through the generous support of Stephen C. Freidheim.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Globalization, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Scott G. Borgerson
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea—the instrument that created the overarching governance framework for nearly three-quarters of the earth's surface and what lies above and beneath it—has been signed and ratified by 156 countries and the European Community, but not by the United States. The Law of the Sea Convention, with annexes (hereafter in this report referred to as the “convention”), and the 1994 agreement on its implementation have been in force for more than a decade, but while the United States treats most parts of the convention as customary international law, it remains among only a handful of countries—and one of an even smaller number with coastlines, including Syria, North Korea, and Iran—to have signed but not yet acceded to the treaty.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Law, International Trade and Finance, International Affairs, Maritime Commerce
  • Political Geography: United States, North Korea, Syria
  • 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: Michael A. Levi
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Half a decade of high and volatile oil prices alongside increasingly dire warnings of climatic disaster have pushed energy security and climate change steadily up the U.S. policy agenda. Rhetoric in Washington has emphasized opportunities to deal with both challenges at once. But energy security and climate change do not always align: many important decisions in areas including unconventional oil, biofuels, natural gas, coal, and nuclear power will involve complex trade-offs and force policymakers to carefully navigate the two goals. Ongoing and heated debates in the United States and Canada over the future of the Canadian oil sands—touted at once as an energy security godsend and a climate change disaster—highlight that tension and emphasize the need to intelligently address it.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Energy Policy, Oil
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Canada
  • Author: Karim Sadjadpour
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Karim Sadjadpour, a leading Iranian analyst who worked for four years in Iran for the International Crisis Group, says that given the "unprecedented" scale of protests in Iran over the presidential election results, "it's very difficult to see how the status quo ante could prevail no matter what happens." However, he believes the United States should continue trying to stay out of the political infighting in Iran. "This is extremely delicate and the situation is so dynamic," Sadjadpour says. "We clearly have to be on the right side of history here, but if we try to insert ourselves into the momentous internal Iranian drama that's unfolding we may unwittingly undermine those whom we're trying to strengthen."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Islam, Politics, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: America, Iran
  • Author: Brad W. Setser, Arpana Pandey
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: This paper was originally published in January 2009. The May update incorporates quarter one 2009 data on China's foreign reserves, the Treasury International Capital (TIC) capital flows data for December, January, and February, and the results of the June 2008 survey of foreign portfolio investment in the United States. The June 2008 survey indicated that China bought fewer Treasury bonds and more equities than the authors estimated in the January paper.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Richard N. Haass
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Asserting that the Iranian theocracy has become a "thugocracy," CFR President Richard N. Haass says the Iranian regime will likely prevail because of its use of force against the population. This makes the urgency of negotiating an end to the country's nuclear program more pronounced, and possibly more difficult, Haass says. "The Iranian challenge still exists, and may actually be somewhat worse," he says. "I'm talking about the nuclear program, their influence in Afghanistan and Iraq, their support of Hezbollah and Hamas. None of that has changed." Haass says the Obama administration "still ultimately has to try to deal with [Iran]" but adds: "It has become extraordinarily difficult to talk to this regime, and Iran has become in absolute and relative terms far more capable."
  • Topic: Democratization, Islam
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Jeb Bush, Thomas McLarty
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States, a country shaped by generations of immigrants and their descendants, is badly mishandling its immigration policy, with serious consequences for its standing in the world. The urgency of this issue has led the Council on Foreign Relations to convene an Independent Task Force to deal with what is ordinarily regarded as a domestic policy matter. America's openness to and respect for immigrants has long been a foundation of its economic and military strength, and a vital tool in its diplomatic arsenal. With trade, technology, and travel continuing to shrink the world, the manner in which the United States handles immigration will be increasingly important to American foreign policy in the future. The Task Force believes that the continued failure to devise and implement a sound and sustainable immigration policy threatens to weaken America's economy, to jeopardize its diplomacy, and to imperil its national security.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Immigration
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: As its name suggests, the payoff on a credit default swap (CDS) depends on the default of a specific borrower, such as a corporation, or of a specific security, such as a bond. The value of these instruments is especially sensitive to the state of the overall economy. If the economy moves toward a recession, for example, the likelihood of defaults increases and the expected payoff on credit default swaps can rise quickly. The Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTC C) estimates that in April 2009, the notional amount of credit default swaps outstanding was about $28 trillion. As a result of the overall size of the CDS market and the sensitivity of CDS payoffs to economic conditions, large exposures to credit default swaps can create substantial systemic risk.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Charles D. Ferguson, Brent Scowcroft, William J. Perry
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: For more than sixty years, the United States and the world have benefited immeasurably from a de facto taboo on the use of nuclear weapons. Today, however, this period of nonuse may come to an end, given the rise of a new type of terrorist who seeks to acquire and would not hesitate to detonate nuclear weapons. Moreover, the emergence of more states with nuclear weapons capabilities has raised the likelihood of the use or loss of control of nuclear weapons or the materials used to make them. The imperative before the Obama administration, therefore, is to use all available tools to prevent the use and further acquisition of nuclear weapons. This Task Force report identifies how to leverage U.S. nuclear weapons posture and policy to achieve that objective. It focuses on near-term steps, primarily over the next four years.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Judith Burdin Asuni
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: When a group of Western oil workers was kidnapped in the Niger Delta in January 2006, the immediate hike in prices at gas stations around the world served as a timely reminder of the importance of this unstable region to international oil supplies. A previously unknown group announced it was holding the workers. It called itself the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) and quickly sparked panic within the oil industry with a second set of kidnappings and a series of attacks on oil facilities. Anxiety reached new heights when, in an email sent to journalists, MEND claimed responsibility for an attack on an offshore facility, Bonga, in mid-2008. The installation, located a full seventy-five miles from the mainland, had previously been considered too ambitious a target for the militants. By the summer of 2008, oil was trading at $147 a barrel and oil production in the Delta was down by a quarter. Who was this mysterious group, whose members—armed with little more than a few AK-47s and speedboats—were able to massively disrupt oil supplies and wreak havoc on world commodity prices? Where did it come from, and what does it want? Is it a coherent group with clearly defined aims and political ambitions? Or is it merely a disparate ragtag of disillusioned youths, with powerful backers, intent on little more than petty criminality?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Arms Control and Proliferation, Corruption, Crime, Oil
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Steven Dunaway
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The seeds of the current economic and financial crisis were sown by economic policies of the major countries that fostered the growth of global imbalances during the 2000s. Consequently, an essential element in any assessment of prospects for world economic recovery and the pace of future growth has to factor in exactly how these imbalances are likely to unwind—or fail to be resolved—in the period immediately ahead.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jeffry A. Frieden
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: When the leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) major economies met in Pittsburgh at the end of September 2009, the topic of “rebalancing” the world economy was high on the agenda. The final com- muniqué's first substantive commitment was “to work together as we manage the transition to a more balanced patter n of global growth.” There were good reasons for this focus. Global macroeconomic imbalances—massive borrowing by some countries and massive lending by others—drove the financial boom and bubble that eventually burs t into the current crisis. There is now nearly universal agreement that such imbalances cannot be sustained, and that the former deficit and surplus nations need to move toward macroeconomic balance.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Political Economy, Financial Crisis
  • Author: Rashid Khalidi
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: A leading expert on Palestinian affairs, Rashid Khalidi, says it is crucial for the Palestinian rivals, Hamas, in Gaza, and Fatah, in the West Bank, to reconcile and create a unified negotiating position with Israel. "This is not something that's impossible," he says. "Fatah and Hamas have agreed three times in the past, only to have those agreements collapse." Khalidi also urges the Obama administration to change its policy of isolating Hamas, which he says is counterproductive to the Mideast peace mission it has vowed to pursue. Khalidi says, despite his frustration, he has not given up on Obama's peace efforts. "I don't think that the moment has entirely passed when something can be done," he says. "I do not believe that it is too late to bring about a two-state solution."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza, Egypt
  • Author: Barack Obama
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: President Obama gave this address on December 1, 2009 at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, War, Armed Struggle, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, New York
  • Author: Robert A. Manning, Evan A. Feigenbaum
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: President Barack Obama heads to Singapore in November for the 2009 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) summit. It will be his first foray into the arcane world of Asian multilateralism. And if his administration adopts a new approach, it could yet fashion a more sustainable role for the United States in a changing Asia.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: There are critical holes in the existing regulatory framework for handling large complex financial institutions that become impaired. First, regulators may not have the legal authority to do what is necessary to resolve a distressed institution's problems, including selling some divisions, closing or liquidating others, renegotiating or abrogating some contracts, and finding parties to manage what is left. Second, even if regulators have the necessary authority over part of the institution, they may not have authority over the whole firm. Holding companies, for example, often have subsidiaries that are incorporated in multiple countries and therefore governed by different legal codes. Third, regulators are unlikely to be aware of all the interconnections within the institution, and between the institution's various subsidiaries and other firms. This uncertainty makes it difficult for regulators to know the best way to restructure a financial institution or, indeed, whether restructuring is even feasible without enormous disruption.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Author: Matthew C. Waxman
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The collective international failure to stop genocidal violence and result - ing humanitarian catastrophe in Sudan prompts the familiar question of whether the United States or, more broadly, the international community has the political will and capabilities necessary to deter or stop mass atrocities. It is well understood that mobilizing domestic and international political support as well as leveraging diplomatic, economic, and maybe even military tools are necessary to stop mass atrocities, though they may not always be enough. Other studies have focused, therefore, on what steps the United States and its international partners could take to build capabilities of the sort needed to prevent, stop, and remedy these crimes. This report approaches the problem from a different angle and asks whether the current international legal regime with regard to the use of military force—that is, international law regulating the resort to armed intervention—is appropriate and effective in deterring and stopping mass atrocities.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Genocide, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: United States, Sudan
  • Author: Paul B. Stares, Micah Zenko
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Since taking office, the Obama administration has repeatedly affirmed its intent to prevent potential future international crises from becoming the source of costly new U.S. military commitments. In one of the earliest foreign policy pronouncements of the new administration, Vice President Joseph R. Biden declared: “We'll strive to act preventively, not preemptively, to avoid whenever possible or wherever possible the choice of last resort between the risks of war and the dangers of inaction. We'll draw upon all the elements of our power—military and diplomatic; intelligence and law enforcement; economic and cultural—to stop crises from occurring before they are in front of us.” Not long afterward, General James L. Jones, in his first speech as national security adviser, echoed much the same objective: “We need to be able to anticipate the kind of operations that we should be thinking about six months to a year ahead of time in different parts of the world to bring the necessary elements of national and international power to bear to prevent future Iraqs and future Afghanistans.” And in a major speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in August 2009, President Barack Obama also declared that “one of the best ways to lead our troops wisely is to prevent the conflicts that cost American blood and treasure tomorrow.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq
  • Author: Steven Simon
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Successive Israeli governments have held that a nuclear weapons capability in the region, other than Israel's own, would pose an intolerable threat to Israel's survival as a state and society. Iran's nuclear program—widely regarded as an effort to obtain a nuclear weapon, or put Tehran a “turn of a screw” away from it—has triggered serious concern in Israel. Within the coming year, the Israeli government could decide, much as it did twenty-eight years ago with respect to Iraq and two years ago with respect to Syria, to attack Iran's nuclear installations in order to delay its acquisition of a weapons capability.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, War, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Tehran, Syria