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  • Author: Kal Raustiala, Steven Tepp, Chritopher Springman
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In their essay “Fake It Till You Make It” (July/August 2013), Kal Raustiala and Christopher Sprigman urged the United States to “relax” when it comes to the flagrant disregard for intellectual property laws in China. The authors make two essential arguments: first, that the United States in its early days, like China today, was a “pirate nation,” and second, that copying drove the United States' economic growth. As China's economy develops, they say, so, too, will its “balance of interests.” Like the United States before it, China will rely less on copying and “adopt a less permissive approach” to copyright infringement -- not in response to U.S. prodding but on its own initiative.
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Michael O'Hanlon
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Stephen Biddle and Karl Eikenberry are outstanding public servants and scholars, but their respective articles on Afghanistan (“Ending the War in Afghanistan” and “The Limits of Counter­insurgency Doctrine in Afghanistan,” September/October 2013) convey excessively negative assessments of how the war is going and of Afghanistan's prospects. Their arguments could reinforce the current American malaise about the ongoing effort and thereby reduce the odds that the United States will continue to play a role in Afghanistan after the current NATO-led security mission there ends in December 2014. That would be regrettable; the United States should lock in and solidify its gains in Afghanistan, not cut its losses.
  • Topic: NATO, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Anish Goel
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In their respective articles “Why Drones Work” and “Why Drones Fail” (July/August 2013), Daniel Byman and Audrey Kurth Cronin make arguments that are not mutually exclusive. Byman emphasizes that U.S. drone strikes have decimated al Qaeda's senior leadership; Cronin, that they have galvanized extremist recruiting and soured foreign public opinion of the United States. Both points are undoubtedly true, and to argue otherwise in either case would be to deny the basic realities of U.S. drone warfare. Both authors neglect to mention, however, that the use of drone strikes needs to be tempered by the domestic political realities in the countries where they are carried out. Only then can drone warfare achieve the benefits outlined by Byman while minimizing the drawbacks explained by Cronin.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • 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: Adam Segal
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In March 2011, the U.S. computer security company RSA announced that hackers had gained access to security tokens it produces that let millions of government and private-sector employees, including those of defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin, connect remotely to their office computers. Just five months later, the antivirus software company McAfee issued a report claiming that a group of hackers had broken into the networks of 71 governments, companies, and international organizations. These attacks and the many others like them have robbed companies and governments of priceless intellectual property and crucial military secrets. And although officials have until recently been reluctant to name the culprit, most experts agree that the majority of the attacks originated in China. In response, analysts and policymakers have suggested that Washington and Beijing work toward some form of détente, a broad-based agreement about how countries should behave in cyberspace that might eventually turn into a more formal code of conduct. Proponents argue that the two sides' long-term interests are aligned, that one day China will be as dependent on digital infrastructure for economic and military power as the United States is today. As Major General Jonathan Shaw, the head of the British military's Defence Cyber Operations Group, has said, China's “dependence on cyber is increasing, the amount of cybercrime taking place inside that society is huge, and the impact on their economic growth and their internal stability is also going to be huge. . . . There's more common ground than people might suggest.”
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Washington, Beijing
  • Author: Henry Kissinger
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On January 19, 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao issued a joint statement at the end of Hu's visit to Washington. It proclaimed their shared commitment to a “positive, cooperative, and comprehensive U.S.-China relationship.” Each party reassured the other regarding his principal concern, announcing, “The United States reiterated that it welcomes a strong, prosperous, and successful China that plays a greater role in world affairs. China welcomes the United States as an Asia-Pacific nation that contributes to peace, stability and prosperity in the region.” Since then, the two governments have set about implementing the stated objectives. Top American and Chinese officials have exchanged visits and institutionalized their exchanges on major strategic and economic issues. Military-to-military contacts have been restarted, opening an important channel of communication. And at the unofficial level, so-called track-two groups have explored possible evolutions of the U.S.-Chinese relationship. Yet as cooperation has increased, so has controversy. Significant groups in both countries claim that a contest for supremacy between China and the United States is inevitable and perhaps already under way. In this perspective, appeals for U.S.-Chinese cooperation appear outmoded and even naive.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, Washington
  • 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: 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