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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: Richard Katz
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Tensions between China and Japan are rising, but an economic version of mutual deterrence is preserving the uneasy status quo. Put simply, China needs to buy Japanese products as much as Japan needs to sell them.
  • Topic: Cold War, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Beijing
  • Author: Scott G. Borgerson
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: No matter what one thinks should be done about global warming, the fact is, it's happening. And its effects are not all bad. In the Arctic, it is turning an impassible region into an emerging epicenter of industry and trade.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Canada
  • Author: Patricio Asfura-Heim, Ralph H. Espach
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Across Mexico, the lawlessness and carnage of the drug wars have given rise to scores of local self-defense forces aiming to defend their communities. The federal government may be tempted to disband and disarm these armed vigilantes, but until it can shape up its security sector, the local groups offer an imperfect but acceptable alternative.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Mexico
  • Author: Jagdish Bhagwati, Francisco Rivera-Batiz
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Ever since Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act, in 1986, attempts at a similar comprehensive reform of U.S. immigration policies have failed. Yet today, as the Republican Party smarts from its poor performance among Hispanic voters in 2012 and such influential Republicans as former Florida Governor Jeb Bush have come out in favor of a new approach, the day for comprehensive immigration reform may seem close at hand. President Barack Obama was so confident about its prospects that he asked for it in his State of the Union address in February 2013. Now, the U.S. Senate looks poised to offer illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship.
  • Topic: Government, Immigration, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States, Syria
  • Author: Henning Meyer
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: When the global financial crisis hit in 2008, social democrats in Europe believed that their moment had finally arrived. After a decade in which European politics had drifted toward the market-friendly policies of the right, the crisis represented an opportunity for the political center left's champions of more effective government regulation and greater social justice to reassert themselves.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, France, Denmark, Slovakia
  • Author: Henry Farrell, Martha Finnemore
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The U.S. government seems outraged that people are leaking classified materials about its less attractive behavior. It certainly acts that way: three years ago, after Chelsea Manning, an army private then known as Bradley Manning, turned over hundreds of thousands of classified cables to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, U.S. authorities imprisoned the soldier under conditions that the UN special rapporteur on torture deemed cruel and inhumane. The Senate's top Republican, Mitch McConnell, appearing on Meet the Press shortly thereafter, called WikiLeaks' founder, Julian Assange, “a high-tech terrorist.”
  • Topic: Security, Government, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, India
  • Author: Cindy Williams
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On March 1, 2013, the U.S. Department of Defense lost $37 billion overnight to sequestration. The cut marked the first wave of a series of planned cutbacks that will shrink future budgets across the federal government by about $1 trillion over nine years. The reductions had been set in motion back in 2011, when a special “super committee” established by the Budget Control Act (BCA) failed to reach a deficit-reduction agreement, triggering automatic cuts designed to punish both parties. Unlike other budget cuts, sequestration is implemented across the board, taking the same percentage bite out of every account. Except for the decision to spare the military personnel account that provides the pay for the United States' men and women in uniform, defense leaders had no choice about where to take the 2013 cuts. And so, with just seven months left in the fiscal year, sequestration abruptly erased about eight percent of the the Pentagon's budget for the year.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Charles W. Calomiris, Stephen H. Haber
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: People routinely blame politics for outcomes they don't like, often with good reason: when the dolt in the cubicle down the hall gets a promotion because he plays golf with the boss, when a powerful senator delivers pork-barrel spending to his home state, when a well-connected entrepreneur obtains millions of dollars in government subsidies to build factories that will probably never become competitive enterprises. Yet conventional wisdom holds that politics is not at fault when it comes to banking crises and that such crises instead result from unforeseen and extraordinary circumstances.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Andrew S. Natsios, Michael Abramowitz
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Ahead of last weekend's secession referendum in Sudan, Andrew S. Natsios and Michael Abramowitz wrote on the prospects for compromise and reconciliation between the country's north and south.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Sudan
  • Author: Clay Shirky
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Discussion of the political impact of social media has focused on the power of mass protests to topple governments. In fact, social media's real potential lies in supporting civil society and the public sphere -- which will produce change over years and decades, not weeks or months
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States