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  • 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: 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: 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
  • 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: Brad W. Setser
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In the 1870s, the scope of Great Britain's financial empire exceeded the scope of its political empire. Dependence on British investors sometimes was a precursor, though, to informal—or even formal— political control. When Egypt's khedive needed to raise cash to cover his personal debt to private British banks, he sold his large personal stake in the Suez Canal to the British state. Egypt's ruler did little better managing Egypt's public debt: difficulties making payments led Britain and France to assume control over Egypt's treasury and, by 1882, to full British political control.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, America, Egypt
  • Author: Monty G. Marshall
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: A public debate over the threat posed by weak, fragile, failing, and failed states and what can or should be done about them has become increasing visible and vocal since the attacks of September 11, 2001. As President George W. Bush declared in his 2002 National Security Strategy report: “America is now threatened less by conquering states than ... by failing ones.” This debate has grown particularly acute as the United States' prolonged military response to the war on global terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq has revealed the difficulties of controlling militancy and extremism by direct military intervention and enforced democratic change. The challenges associated with weak or failing states have garnered increase d attention by the policy community, but major differences about how to assess the level of risk in any given case remain.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Foreign Policy, Political Violence, Development, Diplomacy, Government, International Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, America
  • Author: Robert LaLonde
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: An important component of U.S. productivity growth and economic competitiveness is a flexible labor market that shifts workers quickly into the jobs where they are most needed. Much of the time, this job shifting is fairly painless: Workers quickly find new positions that pay at least as much as their previous ones, often without an intervening spell of unemployment. But prime-aged and older workers can sometimes suffer large, long-term income losses. Such workers' well-founded fears about job displacement lead them and their advocates to resist policies such as free trade that are sometimes blamed for the job shifting. This resistance harms the majority of households because trade helps to lower prices, raise real incomes and promote economic growth. It also has foreign policy consequences since it threatens the United States' ability to play its traditional post–World War II role as the bulwark of a relatively open international trading system. And by reducing the dynamism of the U.S. economy, resistance to trade and other pro-growth policies can weaken the nation's long-term ability to exert global leadership.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: When the leaders of Canada, Mexico, and the United States meet in Texas on March 23, they will be representing countries whose futures are shared as never before.U.S. trade with Mexico and Canada accounts for almost one-third of total U.S. trade. U.S. trade with its North American neighbors substantially exceeds its trade with the European Union, and with Japan and China combined. In the energy sector, Canada and Mexico are now the two largest exporters of oil to the United States. Canada alone supplies the United States with over 95 percent of its imported natural gas and 100 percent of its imported electricity. In 2005, the borders between Canada, Mexico, and the United States will be crossed almost 400 million times.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Canada, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Warren B. Rudman, Richard A. Clarke, Jamie F. Metzl
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: If we knew that there was going to be a terrorist attack sometime in the next five years but did not know what type of attack it would be, who would carry it out, or where in the United States it would occur, what actions would we take to prepare and how would we allocate our human and financial resources to do so? The tragic events of September 11, 2001 brought home to the American people the magnitude of the danger posed by terrorism on U.S. soil. Now, in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the United States must assume that terrorists will strike again, possibly using chemical, biological, radiological, or even nuclear materials. The unthinkable has become thinkable.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Lee Feinstein, David Dreier, Lee Hamilton, Adrian Karatnycky
  • Publication Date: 10-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Enhanced American leadership at the United Nations is beneficial for U.S. interests and can help strengthen the UN and the international system. For many years, however, the United States has not been nearly as effective at the UN as it can or should be.
  • Topic: Government, International Cooperation, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: James J. Shinn, Peter Gourevitch
  • Publication Date: 06-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Corporate governance—the rules that govern the relationship between managers and shareholders—belongs on the foreign policy agenda of American decision-makers. The vigorous debates underway about corporate governance, both at home and abroad, present an opportunity for the United States to advance its foreign policy goals of enhancing free trade and financial stability.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Government, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Pat Choate, Bruce Stokes
  • Publication Date: 11-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Storm clouds signaling trouble with American trade policy have been gathering for some time. In the early 1990s, Congress barely approved creation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and only strenuous efforts by the Clinton administration and the business community ensured passage of legislation creating the World Trade Organization (WTO). In the late 1990s, President Clinton twice failed to obtain congressional renewal of his trade-negotiating authority. The massive demonstrations during the meeting of the world's trade ministers in Seattle in 1999 reflected a widespread public unease with the impact of trade policy on a range of issues, from clear-cutting practices in the forests of Indonesia to the price of AIDS drugs in southern Africa. Today, public opinion polls consistently demonstrate that, although the American public supports freer trade in theory, it often has profound reservations about trade liberalization in practice. And the current global economic slowdown may only further polarize public opinion on trade issues.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Indonesia, South America, North America
  • Author: Walter Russell Mead, Sherle R. Schwenninger
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The Case For Middle-Class-Oriented Development International financial architecture works best when it serves social goals that command widespread support and legitimacy. Without neglecting the more conventional goal of allowing the greatest possible global flow of capital with the least risk of financial crisis, the primary goal of international financial reform, for both economic and political reasons, ought to be to promote middle-class-oriented development around the world.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Yezid Sayigh, Henry Siegman, Michel Rocard, Khalil Shikaki
  • Publication Date: 06-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The Interim Period of Palestinian Self-Government Arrangements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as stipulated in the Declaration of Principles signed by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the state of Israel on September 13, 1993, came to an end on May 4, 1999. During that period the two parties signed additional agreements on the transfer of functional and territorial jurisdiction to the Palestinian Authority, which assumed direct responsibility for the conduct of daily life and for cooperation and coordination with Israel in a wide range of spheres. Progress toward a permanent settlement of the decades-old conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, as well as toward peaceful relations in the region, requires the establishment of a capable, credible, and meaningful Palestinian political entity. Good governance is a necessary condition for the success of the peace process, and therefore all parties bear a responsibility to assist and facilitate the strengthening of Palestinian public institutions. The United States, the European Union, Norway as chair of the international donor community, and the international community as a whole hold this view firmly. They have demonstrated a sustained commitment to these goals, extending strong political support, reassurance, and diplomatic input to the process. Moreover, the international community pledged $4.1 billion in assistance for Palestinian reconstruction and development in 1994-98, of which some $3.6 billion was committed against specific projects and $2.5 billion of which was actually disbursed by the end of 1998. Around 10 percent of total disbursement was directed toward Palestinian institution-building. The construction and consolidation of effective and democratic governing institutions based on transparency and accountability is a major step on the road to attaining genuine self-determination for the Palestinians, peace and security for Israel and its neighbors, and stability for the region as a whole. This is the basis for the Palestinians to gain ownership over the assistance, investment, and planning programs that are at present shepherded by the international donor community and its representative institutions on the ground. Ownership is necessary for the Palestinians to make a successful transition from externally assisted emergency rehabilitation and post-conflict reconstruction to sustainable social and economic development, greater self-reliance, and confident competitiveness in global markets. A primary goal of the Palestinian Authority, and of its partners and counterparts in Israel and the international community, should therefore be to achieve good governance, based on the following: a constitutional government; political accountability and judicial review; the transparent and accountable management of public resources; the rule of law and citizens' rights; democratic participatory politics and pluralist civil society; and an effective and responsive public administration. The issue is not only one of organization—that is, of the structures composed of individuals working toward common ends. Even more important, it is one of the rules, norms, and practices that define public institutions and their operating culture and determine relations with their constituents. The Palestinians are moving into a new and decisive phase in their national history, and the purpose of this report is to assist in identifying what needs to be done in order to make that transition successfully.
  • Topic: Government, International Cooperation, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Norway, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Samuel R. Berger, Charles Hagel
  • Publication Date: 07-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: And I know we're all interested to hear from Sandy Berger, whom I will introduce in a moment. But I have been given some very specific instructions here, and I will make sure I fulfill my responsibilities. First, as many of you know, all of you who are members of this organization, most of these are off the record, but I think, as you can tell, this is not just the Sandy Berger Fan Club showing up with cameras. So this is very much on the record and wanted to remind you of that.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, Ethnic Conflict, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Laura D'Andrea Tyson, Haruhiko Kuroda, Dr. Norbert Walter, Robert C. Pozen, Thomas W. Jones, Alice M. Rivlin, Marshall Carter, Olivia S. Mitchell, Russell J. Cheetham, Yves Guerard, Jan Svejnar, David Hale, Martin S. Feldstein, Robert D. Hormats
  • Publication Date: 11-1996
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Social Security has been described as the crown jewel of American federal government programs. It is widely recognized to be the major reason why the poverty rate among the elderly in the United States has fallen in half since 1959 and is lower today than the poverty rate for any other population group as a whole. Fifteen million older Americans are kept out of poverty by Social Security.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, America