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  • 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: 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: 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: Steven A. Cook
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Egypt is experiencing a deep economic crisis. The country's foreign currency r e serves are less than half of what they were before the January 2011 uprising, threatening Egypt's ability to pay for food and fuel. Egypt's budget deficit is 14 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and its overall debt, which is the result of accumulated deficits, is more than the country's economic output. In this difficult economic climate, roughly 4 5 percent of Egyptians live on less than two dollars per day. Inflation, which reached as high as 12.97 percent after the July 2013 military coup, is currently at 11.4 percent. Tourism revenue—traditionally a primary source of foreign currency along with Suez Canal tolls and remittances from Egyptians working abroad—is less than half of what it was in the last full year before the uprising. Foreign direct investment has dried up outside the energy sector. Unemployment remains high at 13.4 percent. Among the unemployed, 71 percent are between fifteen and twenty-nine years old. This economic weakness makes it politically difficult to address the problems that contribute to a potential solvency crisis because the necessary reforms will impose hardship on a population that is already experiencing economic pain.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Regime Change, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Arabia, North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Edward Alden, Rebecca Strauss
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Each year, U.S. state and local governments spend tens of billions of dollars to lure or retain business investment. The subsidies waste scarce taxpayer dollars that could better be used to strengthen public services such as education and infrastructure, or to lower overall tax burdens to create a more favorable investment climate. No state wants to dole out such subsidies, but most fear losing jobs to competing states if they refuse. States should take steps to curb subsidies, beginning with greater disclosure and cost-benefit analyses, and building up to a multistate agreement that creates strong disincentives for continuing subsidies. Existing international arrangements provide models and tools for achieving this.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Isobel Coleman
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Fossil fuel subsidies are a global scourge. They distort markets, strain government budgets, encourage overconsumption, foster corruption, and harm the environment while doing little to remedy inequality or stimulate development. Yet despite compelling arguments for reform, fossil fuel subsidies remain deeply entrenched. Citizens have yet to be convinced that fuel subsidies can and should be replaced with more efficient poverty alleviation programs. As a result, governments refrain from phasing out fuel subsidies for fear of triggering a public backlash, and even civil unrest. To bolster the prospects for subsidy reform, the United States should support the creation of a new public-private partnership within the World Bank, the Global Subsidy Elimination Campaign (GSEC), to work with governments to execute country-specific communication programs that would build the case for fossil fuel subsidy reform among citizens. The GSEC would start with pilot programs in select countries, and on the basis of these efforts, expand its work to other countries interested in fuel subsidy reform. If the GSEC help s generate just a 5 percent reduction in the more than half a trillion dollars that governments now spend on fossil fuel subsidies, it would free up billions of dollars for more effective anti-poverty initiatives.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: United States
  • 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: Kal Raustiala, Christopher Sprigman
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Given that Chinese counterfeiting has benefits as well as costs, and considering China's historical resistance to Western pressure, trying to push China to change its approach to intellectual property law is not worth the political and diplomatic capital the United States is spending on it.
  • Topic: Economics, Law
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe
  • Author: Julia E. Sweig, Michael J. Bustamante
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Cuba has entered a new era of economic reform that defies easy comparison to post-Communist transitions elsewhere. Washington should take the initiative and establish a new diplomatic and economic modus vivendi with Havana.
  • Topic: Economics, Reform
  • Political Geography: Washington, Cuba
  • Author: R. Glenn Hubbard, Tim Kane
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Hardly the blow to democracy that many painted it as, the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United will make American politics more competitive, less beholden to party bosses, and more responsive to the public at large. It may even help break the fiscal stalemate strangling the U.S. economy.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: J. Bradford DeLong
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The global economic downturn is hardly over, and without a more dramatic set of actions, the United States is likely to suffer another major crisis in the years ahead. A new book by Alan Blinder may be the best general volume on the recession to date, but it paints an overly optimistic portrait of the current situation.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Benjamin H. Friedman, Justin Logan
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Security, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Ruchir Sharma
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: When Nitish Kumar became chief minister of the dirt-poor Indian state of Bihar in 2005, kidnapping was said to be the leading industry in the capital city of Patna. People searching for stolen cars were advised to check the driveway of a leading politician, who reportedly commandeered vehicles for “election duty.” Although known for his soft-spoken manner, Kumar cracked down hard. He straightened out the crooked police, ordering them to move aggressively against all criminals, from the daylight robbers to the corrupt high officials. He set up a new fast-track court to speed the miscreants to jail. As Biharis gained the courage to go out on the street, even after dark, Kumar set about energizing a landlocked economy with few outlets for manufactured exports. He focused on improving the yields of Bihar's fertile soil and ushered in a construction boom. Within a few years, a state once described by the writer V. S. Naipaul as “the place where civilization ends” had built one of the fastest-growing state economies in India. And Kumar was recognized as a leader in the new generation of dynamic chief ministers who are remaking the economic map and future of India.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: India, Patna
14. Left Out
  • 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: Mike Wenstrup
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Scott Borgerson (“The Coming Arctic Boom,” July/August 2013) is right to argue that “Alaska should invest its considerable wealth in its underdeveloped university system, finance ambitious infrastructure projects, and create policies that attract talented immigrants and encourage them to start new businesses, such as renewable energy ventures.” Unfortunately, the recently passed Alaskan Senate Bill 21 reduces the income Alaskans receive from oil produced on public lands. Alaska has already begun to run deficits, is unable to finance university investments, and, for the fourth straight year, has frozen funding for basic classroom instruction. Oil companies have high profit margins yet pay less for extracting oil in Alaska than in Norway or countless other countries. Alaskan Governor Sean Parnell is squandering an opportunity to convert oil wealth into human and physical capital. Alaska's oil resources are finite, and the state should invest the profits now in capital development and economic diversification.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Oil
  • Political Geography: Norway, Alaska
  • Author: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States has made economic development a central tenet of its national security policy, alongside defense and diplomacy. One of the best and most cost-effective avenues for furthering economic development is investing in locally owned businesses, and yet the United States currently has no means for effectively and efficiently doing so. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have shown great potential in spurring economies, but their owners—especially women—are often unable to acquire the skills, resources, and support necessary to grow and sustain their businesses. Promoting local programs and global initiatives that encourage investments in SMEs and women entrepreneurs in lower-income countries will strengthen growth engines, diversify economies, improve communal well-being, stabilize societies, and accelerate progress toward international development goals. All of these results are in the interest of the United States, and could be achieved more quickly with the creation of an American development bank that aims to invest in and direct technical assistance to entrepreneurs in lower-income nations—the next-generation emerging markets. This can be done by expanding on the work already under way at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). Though several multilateral organizations have tackled pieces of this work, the United States has a unique role to play: investing in entrepreneurialism that creates jobs, bolsters the middle class, and spurs economic growth.
  • Topic: Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Economics, Treaties and Agreements, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Central Asia
  • 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Christopher Sabatini
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Running down the list of the U.S. State Department's Latin America policy objectives in El País in September 2010, the economist Moisés Naím noted that they focused almost exclusively on domestic concerns: building democratic institutions, promoting local social and economic opportunity, and so forth. These issues were not only given a higher priority in policy toward Latin America than they were for other regions, but they were also issues largely beyond Washington's ability to control. Naím was correct, but the point can be taken further. The focus on politics within Latin American states rather than on relations between them is characteristic not simply of the State Department but also of the Latin American regional studies community in the United States more generally, from where the U.S. policy and advocacy community absorbs much of its personnel and intellectual orientation. Such attitudes have harmed U.S. policy by focusing excessive attention on small countries with little geostrategic influence and fostering the facile notion that political and economic liberalization are the necessary and sufficient criteria for the advancement of all major U.S. interests. This approach has distorted Washington's calculations of regional politics and hampered its ability to counter outside influences and deal sensibly with rising regional powers. U.S. scholars and policymakers need a reminder that development does not mean the end of politics and that twenty-first-century Latin America has its own, autonomous power dynamics. A little realism would go a long way. THAT '80S SHOW When it comes to Latin America, for decades U.S. universities and regional studies centers have focused almost exclusively on matters of comparative politics and political and economic development. In the 1970s and 1980s, the last time scholars paid much attention to the region's international relations, their chief concern was the workings and implications of U.S. hegemony. The issue facing both scholars and policymakers today, however, is what happens as U.S. power declines and new forces in the region emerge, and unfortunately, when it comes to these questions, there is little intellectual capital on which to draw.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America
  • 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Timur Kuran
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: A new book by Ian Morris tracks the development of the East and the West over the millennia. But methodological problems lead him to miss the crucial differences between modern and premodern life -- and understate what is really keeping the West ahead.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, History
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Michael Spence
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Jobs growth was slow in May, renewing pessimism about the U.S. economy. Spence, a Nobel Prize-winning economist writes that economic growth and employment in the United States have started to diverge, increasing income inequality and reducing jobs for less-educated workers.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Poverty, Labor Issues
  • Author: George Packer
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Like an odorless gas, economic inequality pervades every corner of the United States and saps the strength of its democracy. Over the past three decades, Washington has consistently favored the rich -- and the more wealth accumulates in a few hands at the top, the more influence and favor the rich acquire, making it easier for them and their political allies to cast off restraint without paying a social price.
  • Topic: Economics, Education
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Baghdad
  • Author: Hugo Nixon
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Conventional wisdom has it that the eurozone cannot have a monetary union without also having a fiscal union. Euro-enthusiasts see the single currency as the first steppingstone toward a broader economic union, which is their dream. Euroskeptics do, too, but they see that endgame as hell -- and would prefer the single currency to be dismantled. The euro crisis has, for many observers, validated these notions. Both camps argue that the eurozone countries' lopsided efforts to construct a monetary union without a fiscal counterpart explain why the union has become such a mess. Many of the enthusiasts say that the way forward is for the 17 eurozone countries to issue euro bonds, which they would all guarantee (one of several variations on the fiscal-union theme). Even the German government, which is reluctant to bail out economies weaker than its own, thinks that some sort of pooling of budgets may be needed once the current debt problems have been solved. A fiscal union would not come anytime soon, and certainly not soon enough to solve the current crisis. It would require a new treaty, and that would require unanimous approval. It is difficult to imagine how such an agreement could be reached quickly given the fierce opposition from politicians and the public in the eurozone's relatively healthy economies (led by Finland, Germany, and the Netherlands) to repeated bailouts of their weaker brethren (Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain). Moreover, once the crisis is solved, the enthusiasm for a fiscal union may wane. Even if Germany is still prepared to pool some budgetary functions, it will insist on imposing strict discipline on what other countries can spend and borrow. The weaker countries, meanwhile, may not wish to submit to a Teutonic straitjacket once the immediate fear of going bust has passed.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland, Greece, Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Ireland
  • Author: Karen Brooks
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Indonesia is in the midst of a yearlong debut on the world stage. This past spring and summer, it hosted a series of high-profile summits, including for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation in May, the World Economic Forum on East Asia the same month, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in July. With each event, Indonesia received broad praise for its leadership and achievements. This coming-out party will culminate in November, when the country hosts the East Asia Summit, which U.S. President Barack Obama and world leaders from 17 other countries will attend. As attention turns to Indonesia, the time is ripe to assess whether Jakarta can live up to all the hype. A little over ten years ago, during the height of the Asian financial crisis, Indonesia looked like a state on the brink of collapse. The rupiah was in a death spiral, protests against President Suharto's regime had turned into riots, and violence had erupted against Indonesia's ethnic Chinese community. The chaos left the country -- the fourth largest in the world, a sprawling archipelago including more than 17,000 islands, 200 million people, and the world's largest Muslim population -- without a clear leader. Today, Indonesia is hailed as a model democracy and is a darling of the international financial community. The Jakarta Stock Exchange has been among the world's top performers in recent years, and some analysts have even called for adding Indonesia to the ranks of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China). More recent efforts to identify the economic superstars of the future -- Goldman Sachs' "Next 11," PricewaterhouseCoopers' "E-7" (emerging 7), The Economist's "CIVETS" (Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey, and South Africa), and Citigroup's "3G" -- all include Indonesia.
  • Topic: Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Indonesia, India, East Asia, Brazil, Island
  • Author: Yanzhong Huang
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Although China has made remarkable economic progress over the past few decades, its citizens' health has not improved as much. Since 1980, the country has achieved an average economic growth rate of ten percent and lifted 400–500 million people out of poverty. Yet Chinese official data suggest that average life expectancy in China rose by only about five years between 1981 and 2009, from roughly 68 years to 73 years. (It had increased by almost 33 years between 1949 and 1980.) In countries that had similar life expectancy levels in 1981 but had slower economic growth thereafter -- Colombia, Malaysia, Mexico, and South Korea, for example -- by 2009 life expectancy had increased by 7–14 years. According to the World Bank, even in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore, which had much higher life expectancy figures than China in 1981, those figures rose by 7–10 years during the same period.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Malaysia, Asia, South Korea, Colombia, Australia, Mexico, Hong Kong
  • Author: Edward Miguel
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Steven Radelet's accessible new book argues that much of the credit for Africa's recent economic boom goes to its increasingly open political systems. But Radelet fails to answer the deeper question: why some countries have managed to develop successful democracies while others have tried but failed.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Asia, Liberia
  • Author: Joshua Marks
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) led by President Joseph Kabila faces the prospect of collapse. Popular disaffection has grown as a consequence of endemic corruption and a failure to provide broad and sustained economic growth. The possibility of widespread violence around national elections scheduled for November 2011 as well as the emergence of antigovernment movements in the Kivus, Bas Congo, Katanga, or Equateur provinces could precipitate a major political and humanitarian crisis with destabilizing consequences for the region. Having provided billions in foreign assistance and UN peacekeeping support to the DRC and eager to avoid another violent catastrophe in central Africa, the United States faces a looming foreign policy challenge.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States
  • Author: Sheila Smith
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan will have a severe, lasting impact on the Japanese economy, says CFR's Sheila Smith, Senior Fellow for Japan Studies.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Natural Disasters
  • Political Geography: Japan, East Asia
  • 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
  • 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: 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: 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: Stuart E. Eizenstat, Anthony Luzzatto Gardner
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On December 1, 2009, after nearly a decade of acrimonious debate, the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force across the 27 member states of the European Union. The treaty reforms EU institutions, making the organization more accountable to voters and enhancing its ability to address European and global challenges. Over the long term, the treaty may make the EU a more coherent international actor, thereby significantly affecting non-EU countries, including the United States. The Lisbon Treaty is the latest in a long line of EU reform efforts. It is the fifth amendment to the 1957 Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community, the EU's predecessor. Following the Single European Act of 1986 -- which laid the foundations for Europe's single market, assuring for the first time the free flow of goods, capital, people, and services among the member states -- the EU reformed its institutions and decision-making process through the Maastricht Treaty of 1992, the Amsterdam Treaty of 1997, and the Nice Treaty of 2001. But with the cumulative effect of these amendments widely acknowledged to have complicated decision-making -- and with the organization planning to enlarge from 15 to 25 member states in 2004 -- EU leaders sought to replace the confusing patchwork of EU treaties with a single, overarching constitution. The resulting document, drafted by a constitutional convention in 2002-3, was signed by all EU heads of government in 2004 but was rejected the following year by French and Dutch voters, who feared that a European constitution would limit their countries' national voting rights, sovereignty, and access to EU funds. In 2007, after a two-year "period of reflection," the EU heads of state agreed in Lisbon on a draft treaty that was nearly identical in substance to the constitution but -- in deference to public opinion in some member states -- dropped references to the trappings of statehood (such as an EU flag and an EU anthem) and sought to amend, rather than replace, earlier EU treaties. By November 2009, every EU member state had ratified the treaty.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Charles A. Kupchan
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In his inaugural address, U.S. President Barack Obama informed those regimes "on the wrong side of history" that the United States "will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist." He soon backed up his words with deeds, making engagement with U.S. adversaries one of the new administration's priorities. During his first year in office, Obama pursued direct negotiations with Iran and North Korea over their nuclear programs. He sought to "reset" relations with Russia by searching for common ground on arms control, missile defense, and Afghanistan. He began scaling back economic sanctions against Cuba. And he put out diplomatic feelers to Myanmar (also called Burma) and Syria. Over a year into Obama's presidency, the jury is still out on whether this strategy of engagement is bearing fruit. Policymakers and scholars are divided over the merits and the risks of Obama's outreach to adversaries and over how best to increase the likelihood that his overtures will be reciprocated. Debate continues on whether rapprochement results from mutual concessions that tame rivalries or rather from the iron fist that forces adversaries into submission. Equally controversial is whether the United States should pursue reconciliation with hardened autocracies or instead make engagement contingent on democratization. And disagreement persists over whether diplomacy or economic engagement represents the most effective pathway to peace. Many of Obama's critics have already made up their minds on the merits of his outreach to adversaries, concluding not only that the president has little to show for his efforts but also that his pliant diplomacy demeans the United States and weakens its hand. Following Obama's September 2009 speech to the United Nations General Assembly, in which he called for "a new era of engagement based on mutual interest and mutual respect" and "new coalitions that bridge old divides," the conservative commentator Michelle Malkin charged that the president had "solidified his place in the international view as the great appeaser and the groveler in chief."
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Europe, North Korea
  • Author: William Drozdiak
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: These days, there is a great deal of talk about the dawn of an Asian century -- hastened by the rise of China and India. Meanwhile, the fractious Atlantic alliance, enfeebled by two wars and an economic crisis, is said to be fading away. But the West is not doomed to decline as a center of power and influence. A relatively simple strategic fix could reinvigorate the historic bonds between Europe and North America and reestablish the West's dominance: it is time to bring together the West's principal institutions, the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. When NATO's 28 leaders gather in Portugal later this year to draw up a new security strategy for the twenty-first century, they will consider a range of options, including military partnerships with distant allies such as Australia, Japan, and South Korea. Yet the most practical solution lies just down the road from the alliance's sprawling headquarters near the Brussels airport. Genuine cooperation between NATO and the 27-nation European Union would allow Western governments to meld hard power with soft, making both organizations better equipped to confront modern threats, such as climate change, failed states, and humanitarian disasters. A revitalized Atlantic alliance is by far the most effective way for the United States and Europe to shore up their global influence in the face of emerging Asian powers. NOT-SO-FRIENDLY NEIGHBORS Anybody who spends time in Brussels comes away mystified by the lack of dialogue between the West's two most important multinational organizations, even though they have been based in the same city for decades. Only a few years ago, it was considered a minor miracle when the EU's foreign policy czar and NATO's secretary-general decided that they should have breakfast together once a month. An EU planning cell is now ensconced at NATO military headquarters, but there is scarcely any other communication between the two institutions. With Europe and the United States facing common threats from North Africa to the Hindu Kush, it is imperative for Western nations to take advantage of these two organizations' resources in the fields of law enforcement, counterterrorism, intelligence gathering, drug interdiction, and even agricultural policy.
  • Topic: NATO, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, North America, Brussels
  • Author: Robert D. Kaplan
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The English geographer Sir Halford Mackinder ended his famous 1904 article, "The Geographical Pivot of History," with a disturbing reference to China. After explaining why Eurasia was the geostrategic fulcrum of world power, he posited that the Chinese, should they expand their power well beyond their borders, "might constitute the yellow peril to the world's freedom just because they would add an oceanic frontage to the resources of the great continent, an advantage as yet denied to the Russian tenant of the pivot region." Leaving aside the sentiment's racism, which was common for the era, as well as the hysterics sparked by the rise of a non-Western power at any time, Mackinder had a point: whereas Russia, that other Eurasian giant, basically was, and is still, a land power with an oceanic front blocked by ice, China, owing to a 9,000-mile temperate coastline with many good natural harbors, is both a land power and a sea power. (Mackinder actually feared that China might one day conquer Russia.) China's virtual reach extends from Central Asia, with all its mineral and hydrocarbon wealth, to the main shipping lanes of the Pacific Ocean. Later, in Democratic Ideals and Reality, Mackinder predicted that along with the United States and the United Kingdom, China would eventually guide the world by "building for a quarter of humanity a new civilization, neither quite Eastern nor quite Western."
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia