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  • Author: Fouad Ajami
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Throughout 2011, a rhythmic chant echoed across the Arab lands: "The people want to topple the regime." It skipped borders with ease, carried in newspapers and magazines, on Twitter and Facebook, on the airwaves of al Jazeera and al Arabiya. Arab nationalism had been written off, but here, in full bloom, was what certainly looked like a pan-Arab awakening. Young people in search of political freedom and economic opportunity, weary of waking up to the same tedium day after day, rose up against their sclerotic masters.
  • Topic: Economics, Oil
  • Political Geography: America, Europe, Arabia
  • Author: Robert Zoellick
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In 2007, the World Bank was in crisis. Some saw conflicts over its leadership. Others blamed the institution itself. When the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the cornerstone of what became the World Bank Group, was founded in 1944, poor and war-torn countries had little access to private capital. Sixty years later, however, private-sector financial flows dwarfed public development assistance. “The time when middle-income countries depended on official assistance is thus past,” Jessica Einhorn, a former managing director of the World Bank wrote in these pages in 2006, “and the IBRD seems to be a dying institution.” In roundtable discussions and op-ed pages, the question was the same: Do we still need the World Bank?
  • Topic: War, World Bank
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Japan, Europe
  • Author: Michael Cohen, Micah Zenko
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Last August, the Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney performed what has become a quadrennial rite of passage in American presidential politics: he delivered a speech to the annual convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. His message was rooted in another grand American tradition: hyping foreign threats to the United States. It is “wishful thinking,” Romney declared, “that the world is becoming a safer place. The opposite is true. Consider simply the jihadists, a near-nuclear Iran, a turbulent Middle East, an unstable Pakistan, a delusional North Korea, an assertive Russia, and an emerging global power called China. No, the world is not becoming safer.” Not long after, U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta echoed Romney's statement. In a lecture last October, Panetta warned of threats arising “from terrorism to nuclear proliferation; from rogue states to cyber attacks; from revolutions in the Middle East, to economic crisis in Europe, to the rise of new powers such as China and India. All of these changes represent security, geopolitical, economic, and demographic shifts in the international order that make the world more unpredictable, more volatile and, yes, more dangerous.” General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, concurred in a recent speech, arguing that “the number and kinds of threats we face have increased significantly.” And U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reinforced the point by claiming that America resides today in a “very complex, dangerous world.”
  • Topic: Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, Middle East, India
  • Author: Ned Parker
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Nine years after U.S. troops toppled Saddam Hussein and just a few months after the last U.S. soldier left Iraq, the country has become something close to a failed state. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki presides over a system rife with corruption and brutality, in which political leaders use security forces and militias to repress enemies and intimidate the general population. The law exists as a weapon to be wielded against rivals and to hide the misdeeds of allies. The dream of an Iraq governed by elected leaders answerable to the people is rapidly fading away.
  • Topic: Government, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington
  • Author: Carter Malkasian, J. Kael Weston
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States, facing deepening economic and fiscal woes at home, is preparing to withdraw from Afghanistan. More and more policymakers, congressional representatives, and members of the public are calling for the majority of U.S. forces to pull out as quickly as possible and for Washington to shift from an expensive counterinsurgency strategy, in which tens of thousands of U.S. and NATO troops protect the Afghan population, to a cheaper counterterrorism strategy, in which special operations forces strike at terrorist leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the Afghans are left largely on their own. The counterinsurgency strategy began in earnest in 2009, when the United States raised its total number of troops in Afghanistan to nearly 100,000. This Afghan surge led to tactical success: Kandahar and Helmand were largely secured, and the number of Afghan police and army soldiers nearly doubled. But it was expensive. In 2011, the U.S. Congress authorized nearly $114 billion for the effort, roughly a fourth of the entire cost of the Afghan war since 2001. Given the current economic climate, such high annual outlays are no longer sustainable. Last June, U.S. President Barack Obama announced that 33,000 American troops will leave Afghanistan by the end of 2012 and that Afghan forces will take the lead in the country's security by the end of 2014. Although it remains undecided exactly how fast the withdrawal will proceed after 2012 and what sort of U.S. presence will remain after 2014, Washington is facing strong domestic pressure to bring its troops home and to focus on rebuilding the economy. At first glance, shifting to counterterrorism would seem the best way to meet this goal. A counterterrorism approach would cut costs by pulling out most U.S. ground troops. Special operations forces would remain in the larger bases, with responsibility for launching missions to kill or capture al Qaeda members, high-level Taliban figures, and leaders of the Haqqani network. What is more, the U.S. Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden last May seemed to give this approach credibility by suggesting that knocking out al Qaeda -- the primary reason why the United States entered Afghanistan in the first place -- does not require tens of thousands of U.S. troops.
  • Topic: NATO
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Peter Singer, Miyun Parker
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, articulates the idea that it is wrong to exclude any member of the human species from the circle of moral concern. This enlightened vision was a tremendous advance over earlier, more restricted views about who matters morally; yet it still excludes a far larger number of beings who can both enjoy life and suffer: nonhuman animals. They, or at least those capable of feeling pain, which at a minimum includes all vertebrates, are also entitled to concern. Pain is pain, irrespective of the species of the being that experiences it. Concern for the welfare of animals is not a new idea. In the fourth century BC, the Chinese Taoist philosopher Zhuangzi said that compassion should permeate relations not only between humans but also between all sentient beings. Buddhist teachings consider caring for all sentient beings a central ethical precept. The Indian emperor Ashoka, who ruled in the third century BC, issued edicts against the unnecessary killing and mutilation of animals, including hunting for sport. He also established animal hospitals and promoted, but did not require, a vegetarian diet. In seventeenth-century Japan, Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, the so-called Dog Shogun, enacted various rules protecting animals, especially dogs. The Hebrew Bible requires that the Sabbath be a day of rest for oxen, as well as for humans, and other texts command Jews to relieve the suffering of animals, even if they belong to an enemy. The Koran, too, encourages Muslims to treat animals with kindness; the Prophet Muhammad is said to have cut off the sleeve of his shirt rather than disturb a cat who was sleeping on it.
  • Topic: Globalization, Human Rights
  • Author: Amory Lovins
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Nearly 90 percent of the world's economy is fueled every year by digging up and burning about four cubic miles of the rotted remains of primeval swamp goo. With extraordinary skill, the world's most powerful industries have turned that oil, gas, and coal into affordable and convenient fuels and electricity that have created wealth, helped build modern civilization, and enriched the lives of billions. Yet today, the rising costs and risks of these fossil fuels are undercutting the security and prosperity they have enabled. Each day, the United States spends about $2 billion buying oil and loses another $4 billion indirectly to the macroeconomic costs of oil dependence, the microeconomic costs of oil price volatility, and the cost of keeping military forces ready for intervention in the Persian Gulf. In all, the United States spends one-sixth of its GDP on oil, not counting any damage to foreign policy, global stability, public health, and the environment. The hidden costs are also massive for coal and are significant for natural gas, too. Even if oil and coal prices were not high, volatile, and rising, risks such as fuel insecurity and dependence, pollution-caused illnesses, energy-driven conflicts over water and food, climate change, and geopolitical tensions would make oil and coal unattractive. Weaning the United States from those fossil fuels would require two big shifts: in oil and electricity. These are distinct -- nearly half of electricity is made from coal, and almost none is made from oil -- but power plants and oil burning each account for over two-fifths of the carbon that is emitted by fossil-fuel use. In the United States, three-fourths of electricity powers buildings, three-fourths of oil fuels transportation, and the remaining oil and electricity run factories. So saving oil and electricity is chiefly about making buildings, vehicles, and factories far more efficient -- no small task.
  • Topic: Environment, Oil
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Reihan Salam
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After Lyndon Johnson's victory over Barry Goldwater in the 1964 U.S. presidential election, the once-mighty Republican Party was reduced to a regional rump. The Democrats won overwhelming majorities in the House and the Senate, which they used to pass Johnson's Great Society legislation. Republicans, meanwhile, were at one another's throats, having endured the most divisive campaign in modern political history. Goldwater had managed to win the Republican presidential nomination over the impassioned opposition of moderate and progressive Republicans, who at the time may well have constituted a majority of the party's members. Moderates blamed Goldwater's right-wing views for the defection of millions of Republican voters.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America
  • Author: David Bell
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Armand-Jean du Plessis, better known to history as Cardinal Richelieu (1585–1642), spent most of his career contending for and then exercising control over a deeply divided, indebted, and dysfunctional superpower. His country's politics were vicious, and its government paralyzingly complex. In short, if he were dropped into Washington today, he might feel right at home.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Washington
  • Author: Michael Mann
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Francis Fukuyama shot to fame with a 1989 essay called "The End of History?" which he expanded into a 1992 book, The End of History and the Last Man. His thesis was a reworking of the "end of ideology" argument propounded in the 1950s by Daniel Bell and others, with an even more emphatic twist. "What we may be witnessing," Fukuyama declared, "is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of postwar history, but the end of history as such: that is, the endpoint of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government." The argument seemed hubristic, a product of the era's American triumphalism.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Colin Kahl
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In "Time to Attack Iran" (January/February 2012), Matthew Kroenig takes a page out of the decade-old playbook used by advocates of the Iraq war. He portrays the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran as both grave and imminent, arguing that the United States has little choice but to attack Iran now before it is too late. Then, after offering the caveat that "attacking Iran is hardly an attractive prospect," he goes on to portray military action as preferable to other available alternatives and concludes that the United States can manage all the associated risks. Preventive war, according to Kroenig, is "the least bad option."
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Iran
  • Author: Jack Chow, Shenglan Tang, Enis Baris
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Yanzhong Huang (“The Sick Man of Asia,” November/December 2011) paints a troubling picture of a China that has rapidly industrialized yet lags in modernizing its health-care system. Yet in his cogent history of China's health policy, much of which centers on self-reliance, Huang puzzlingly omits China's success in winning nearly $1 billion in recent years from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. That the country's health officials have had to resort to tapping a fund ostensibly dedicated to helping the world's poorest countries speaks to their inability to persuade the government to pay for public health with its national coªers. Only when the incongruity of a financial giant getting grants at the expense of impoverished African countries was illuminated did China choose to stop taking Global Fund awards.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia
  • Author: David Harris
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After reading the compelling case made by Yosef Kuperwasser and Shalom Lipner in “The Problem Is Palestinian Rejectionism” (November/December 2011), it was quite jarring to read the companion piece, “Israel's Bunker Mentality,” by Ronald Krebs. Krebs' argument boils down to this: Israel was doing quite nicely as a liberal, secular state until 1967, when a war mysteriously descended on it, and since then an illiberal, ethnocentric nationalism has taken over and redefined the country. In the process, Krebs contends, Israel became enamored with the occupation of territories acquired during the Six-Day War, helped along by a growing ultra-Orthodox community and large-scale Russian immigration.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Mark Adomanis
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Nicholas Eberstadt (“The Dying Bear,” November/December 2011) is surely correct that a rapidly depopulating Russia would be confronted with a number of essentially irresolvable economic, military, and political problems. However, data from Russia's Federal State Statistics Service suggest that over the last decade, Russia's demographic indicators have in fact been getting better. Moreover, this improvement has intensified since the onset of the 2008 global financial crisis, confounding a number of Western experts who predicted that the downturn would have a similar eªect within Russia to that of the country's debt default in 1998, when fertility plummeted and mortality skyrocketed.
  • Topic: Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Norman Davies
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Andrew Moravcsik's review of David Marquand's book The End of the West (“Recent Books on International Relations,” September/October 2011) characterized Marquand as both a political turncoat and a weak-kneed, inconsistent thinker who has reversed his position on European integration. These are damaging accusations, and both are manifestly untrue. Marquand has always been a pillar of the United Kingdom's democratic left; he stuck with the Social Democratic Party from start to finish, and he has never wavered in his advocacy of European integration.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Timothy Garton Ash
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After World War II, Europe began a process of peaceful political unification unprecedented there and unmatched anywhere else. But the project began to go wrong in the early 1990s, when western European leaders started moving too quickly toward a flawed monetary union. Now, as Europe faces a still-unresolved debt crisis, its drive toward unification has stalled -- and unless fear or foresight gets it going again, the union could slide toward irrelevance.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: C. Fred Bergsten
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The euro's naysayers have it all wrong. True, the continent's powerhouses have yet to agree on a clear plan to save the common currency, as each one is seeking to secure the best deal for itself. But they all also know that the collapse of the eurozone would be a political and economic disaster, so they will ultimately pay whatever price is necessary to keep it together.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Author: Adam Tooze
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: With the euro in crisis, Germany has come to seem like a lone island of fiscal stability in Europe. Its debt levels are modest, its government bonds are safe havens for investors around the world, and it has avoided the kinds of private credit booms and housing bubbles that have destabilized the rest of the continent. The German economy, fueled by record exports, has grown steadily, expanding by a quarter over the last decade. But beneath the glowing headlines lies a darker story: Germany's economic position is simply unsustainable. For starters, much of its trade surplus has been earned at the expense of the corresponding current account deficits of the European countries in crisis. At the same time, this outsized surplus goes hand in hand with major imbalances within Germany's domestic economy. German businesses have invested their profits abroad, helping finance foreign imports. Meanwhile, as German money has flowed out of the country, domestic investment has languished at unprecedentedly low levels. Germany, like other rich, polluting, and aging countries, faces enormous long-term challenges. Its work force is shrinking, its energy sector needs to be remade, and its public infrastructure has gone too long without improvement. For all the talk of its financial strength, Germany has so far squandered the opportunity to secure long-term economic growth by addressing these challenges through badly needed domestic investments.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Aaron L. Friedberg
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: United States worries about China's rise, but Washington rarely considers how the world looks through Beijing's eyes. Even when U.S. officials speak sweetly and softly, their Chinese counterparts hear sugarcoated threats and focus on the big stick in the background. America should not shrink from setting out its expectations of Asia's rising superpower -- but it should do so calmly, coolly, and professionally.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, Washington, Asia
  • Author: Daniel Treisman, Mikhail Dmitriev
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Moscow's anti-Putin protesters have captured the world's attention. But does their message resonate outside the big cities? New research shows that although Russians in the provinces have no taste for revolution, noisy street protests, or abstract slogans, they are deeply unhappy with the current political system and may soon demand change themselves.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Moscow
  • Author: Daniel Byman, Natan Sachs
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Israeli authorities in the West Bank have long worried about stopping Palestinian terrorism. Now, they need to add a new item to the agenda: stopping radical Jewish settlers who have begun attacking innocent Palestinians and Israeli soldiers alike. Jerusalem has to the stop the violence, and Washington should help.
  • Topic: Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Barry Friedman
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Pundits predicted that the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on the Affordable Care Act would make history. In fact, by upholding the individual mandate as a tax, the justices took themselves largely out of the picture, ensuring that the debate over health care will play out in the political sphere, where it belongs.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Andrea Louise Campbell
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Compared with other developed countries, the United States has very low taxes, little income redistribution, and an extraordinarily complex tax code. If it wanted to, the government could raise taxes without crippling growth or productivity. Tax reform is ultimately a political choice, not an economic one -- a statement about what sort of society Americans want.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Charles King
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: As a referendum on Scotland's independence looms, the question of the region's place in the United Kingdom has become the most pressing issue in British politics. Its experience shows how a smart secessionist party can dismantle a functioning country, and how central governments eager to buy off regions can end up making matters worse.
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom
125. Arms Away
  • Author: Ethan B. Kapstein, Jonathan Caverley
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: For two decades, the United States has dominated the global arms trade, reaping a broad range of economic and geopolitical benefits in the process. But shortsighted decisions to produce expensive, cutting-edge weapons systems, rather than cheaper, more practical ones, are squandering this monopoly and letting other countries get into the market.
  • Topic: Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Ray Suarez
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Discussions of Hispanic Americans in the media and on the campaign trail are warped by ignorance about who they really are and what they really want. A new book seeks to fill the gap with a data-rich portrait of this complex community.
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Jeffrey D. Sachs
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: According to Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson's Why Nations Fail, economic development hinges on a country's political institutions. But their monocausal analysis ignores other important factors (such as geography) that can also affect growth.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: H.W. Brands
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In the latest installment of his epic biography of U.S. President Lyndon Johnson, Robert Caro reveals a man who obsessively sought power to assuage a misplaced sense of his own suffering -- but also to help those whose struggles were less abstract.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Colin H. Kahl, Kenneth N. Waltz
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: U.S. and Israeli officials have declared that a nuclear-armed Iran is a uniquely terrifying prospect, even an existential threat. In fact, by creating a more durable balance of military power in the Middle East, a nuclear Iran would yield.
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Frances Beinecke, Dennis Meadows, Jørgen Randers, John Harte, Mary Ellen Harte, Bjørn Lomborg
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: ENVIRONMENTALISTS DO NOT OPPOSE GROWTH Frances Beinecke In 1970, U.S. President Richard Nixon signed the Clean Air Act into law, launching one of the most successful public health and environmental programs in history. In the first decade that followed, in Los Angeles, the amount of pollution from ozone -- the main component of smog -- exceeded government health standards on 200 days each year. By 2004, that number had dropped to 28 days. In the 1970s, also as a result of polluted air, nearly 90 percent of American children had lead in their blood at levels higher than what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deemed safe, and parents were alarmed by studies showing that lead interfered with cognitive development. Today, only two percent of children have such high levels of lead in their bodies. By controlling hazardous emissions, the Clean Air Act delivered these and many other health benefits. And it did so without curbing economic growth. The United States' GDP has risen by 207 percent since the law was passed over four decades ago. And because the law sparked innovation -- from catalytic converters, which convert toxic exhaust fumes from automobiles into less dangerous substances, to smokestack scrubbers -- pollution reductions have proved relatively inexpensive. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for every dollar the United States has spent on cutting pollution through the Clean Air Act, it has gained more than $40 in benefits.
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Menzie D. Chinn, Raghuram G. Rajan, Karl Smith
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Since weak demand is at the heart of the recession, governments need to enact not just structural reforms but also stimulus programs, argues Menzie Chinn. Such reforms, moreover, don't always work out, writes Karl Smith. Raghuram Rajan demurs.
  • Author: Stephen J. Hadley, Steven A. Cook, Madeleine Albright
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Among the most important developments in international affairs of the past decade is the emergence of Turkey as a rising regional and global power. Turkey has long been an important country as a stalwart member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), an aspirant to European Union (EU) membership, and an important link between the West and the East. Yet the changes in Turkey over the past decade have been so dramatic—with far-reaching political and economic reforms, significant social reforms, and an active foreign policy—that the country is virtually unrecognizable to longtime Turkey watchers. Today Turkey is more democratic, prosperous, and politically influential than it was five, ten, and fifteen years ago.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Political Violence, Democratization, Economics, Human Rights, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Central Asia, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Max Boot
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Afghanistan is approaching a major inflection point in its long and turbulent history. In 2014 most of the foreign military forces are due to pull out. With them will go the bulk of foreign financing that has accounted for almost all of the state's budget. Twenty fourteen is also the year that Afghanistan is due to hold presidential elections. Hamid Karzai, the only president the country has known since the fall of the Taliban, has said he will not seek another term in office. Thus Afghanistan is likely to have a new president to lead it into a new era. This era will be shaped by many factors, principally decisions made by Afghans themselves, but the United States has the ability to affect the outcome if it makes a sustained commitment to maintain security, improve the political process, and reduce Pakistani interference so as to build on the tenuous gains achieved by the U.S. troop surge since 2010.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Islam, Terrorism, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Taliban
  • Author: Bonnie S. Glaser
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The risk of conflict in the South China Sea is significant. China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines have competing territorial and jurisdictional claims, particularly over rights to exploit the region's possibly extensive reserves of oil and gas. Freedom of navigation in the region is also a contentious issue, especially between the United States and China over the right of U.S. military vessels to operate in China's two-hundred-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ). These tensions are shaping—and being shaped by—rising apprehensions about the growth of China's military power and its regional intentions. China has embarked on a substantial modernization of its maritime paramilitary forces as well as naval capabilities to enforce its sovereignty and jurisdiction claims by force if necessary. At the same time, it is developing capabilities that would put U.S. forces in the region at risk in a conflict, thus potentially denying access to the U.S. Navy in the western Pacific.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Oil, Natural Resources, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Malaysia, Israel, Taiwan, Vietnam, Southeast Asia, Brunei
  • Author: Mark P. Lagon
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The rule of law is critical for people to have a meaningful opportunity to thrive. Still, for billions of people around the world today, the rule of law exists on paper but not in practice. Even though a theme for the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Panel in fall 2012 is rule of law, various UN programs devoted to rule of law have not had a transformative impact. Traditional intergovernmental institutions will never offer enough to achieve systemic change. To supplement them and achieve what they alone cannot, the United States should take the lead to forge a more nimble partnership with public, private, and nonprofit sectors and establish a Global Trust for Rule of Law (“Global Trust”). Similar to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (“Global Fund”), a diverse board of donor states, philanthropists, rule of law experts, and civil society representatives would run this Global Trust. Its purpose would be to build developing nations' capacity to implement rule of law and unleash the potential of marginalized groups worldwide, promoting not only human dignity but, crucially, global economic growth.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Human Rights, International Cooperation, International Law, Non-Governmental Organization, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Douglas A. Ollivant
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Iraq remains a fragile state deeply traumatized and riven by thirty years of war, sanctions, occupation, and civil strife. Although there are numerous positive signs of progress in Iraq—violence has fallen to its lowest level since 2003, its economy is growing modestly, oil production recently surpassed that of Iran, and foreign investment is beginning to restore infrastructure decayed by years of war and sanctions—the risk of acute instability and renewed conflict remains. Already, in the wake of the U.S. military withdrawal in December 2011, Iraq has seen a fierce political struggle between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and many of his rivals in the Sunni-dominated Iraqiya parliamentary coalition, plus increasing tension with at least some segments of the Kurdish minority. For the positive trends to continue, Iraq will need to contain various threats to internal stability and weather regional turmoil that could worsen significantly in the coming months. The United States has a significant stake in helping Iraq overcome these challenges; Iraq is a critical state within a critical region.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Oil, Fragile/Failed State, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Patrick D. Duddy
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In the coming months, Venezuela could experience significant political unrest and violence that lead to the further curtailment of democracy in the country. Presidential elections are scheduled to take place on October 7, 2012. President Hugo Chavez is in the midst of a tough reelection campaign against Henrique Capriles Radonski—the young and energetic governor of the state of Miranda–– who enjoys multiparty support and appears to have a better chance of defeating the incumbent than earlier challengers.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Development, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Venezuela
  • Author: John Campbell
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: As Zimbabwe moves closer to elections, the prospect for political violence, even civil war, grows. President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are wrangling over a new constitution and the timing of upcoming elections. The eighty-eight-year-old Mugabe is suffering from cancer and wants elections soon to ensure his "liberation" legacy. At the same time, Mugabe-allied military factions, flush with off-the-books cash from Marange diamonds mined in the eastern part of the country, are mobilizing to stay in power when Mugabe dies. Political murder is on the upswing and Zimbabwe is as tense and divided now as it was during the run-up to the violent 2008 elections.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Corruption, Democratization, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, South Africa, Zimbabwe
  • 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: Oscar Arias
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Latin Americans must look in the mirror and confront the reality that many of our problems lie not in our stars but in ourselves. Only then will the region finally attain the development it has so long sought.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America
  • Author: Josef Joffe, James W. Davis
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: All previous attempts at total nuclear disarmament have failed, as strategic logic and state interest have prevailed over wishful thinking. A similar fate awaits Global Zero, the newest disarmament movement, for similar reasons.
  • Political Geography: United States