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Besieged

School Boards and the Future of Education Politics

edited by William Howell

School boards are fighting for their survival. Almost everything that they do is subject to regulations handed down from city councils, state boards of education, legislatures, and courts. As recent mayoral and state takeovers in such cities as Baltimore, Chicago, and New York make abundantly clear, school boards that do not fulfill the expectations of other political players may be stripped of what few independent powers they still retain. Teachers unions exert growing influence over board decision-making processes. And with the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, the federal government has aggressively inserted itself into matters of local education governance. B esieged is the first full-length volume in many years to systematically examine the politics that surround school boards. A group of highly renowned scholars, relying on both careful case studies and quantitative analyses, examine how school boards fare when they interact with their political superiors, teachers unions, and the public. For the most part, the picture that emerges is sobering: while school boards perform certain administrative functions quite well, the political pressures they face undermine their capacity to institute the wide-ranging school reforms that many voters and local leaders are currently demanding.

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Between Dictatorship and Democracy

Russian Post-Communist Political Reform

Michael McFaul, Nikolai Petrov, and Andrei Ryabov

For hundreds of years, dictators have ruled Russia. Do they still? In the late 1980s, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev launched a series of political reforms that eventually allowed for competitive elections, the emergence of an independent press, the formation of political parties, and the sprouting of civil society. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, these proto-democratic institutions endured in an independent Russia. But did the processes unleashed by Gorbachev and continued under Russian President Boris Yeltsin lead eventually to liberal democracy in Russia? If not, what kind of political regime did take hold in post-Soviet Russia? And how has Vladimir Putin's rise to power influenced the course of democratic consolidation or the lack thereof? Between Dictatorship and Democracy seeks to give a comprehensive answer to these fundamental questions about the nature of Russian politics.

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Between Religion and Politics

Nathan J. Brown and Amr Hamzawy

In recent decades, Islamist political movements in many Arab countries have strategically invested in a political process that was stacked heavily against them. And, to the surprise of many, they have actually succeeded by gaining more seats in parliaments and demonstrating their position as the only opposition movements with a popular base. Between Religion and Politics is a broad, cross-national study of Islamist parties in Arab parliamentary elections. The book focuses on those movements that have cast themselves, at least in part, as electorally oriented political parties. It probes the environment in which the movements operate, the checkered relationship between Islamists and national rulers, the Islamists' political platforms, and efforts to build alliances with other opposition groups. By examining the debates within the Islamists movements, Between Religion and Politics is able to assess the party leaders' evaluations of their political experiences and their prospects for future participation.

Contents include

• The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood: Islamist Participation in a Closing Political Environment

• Jordan and Its Islamic Movement: The Limits of Inclusion?

• Party for Justice and Development in Morocco: Participation and Its Discontents

• Pushing toward Party Politics? Kuwait's Islamic Constitutional Movement

• Between Government and Opposition: The Case of the Yemeni Congregation for Reform

• Hamas: Battling to Blend Religion, Politics, Resistance, and Governance

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Beyond NATO

A New Security Architecture for Eastern Europe

Michael E. O'Hanlon

In this new Brookings Marshall Paper, Michael O’Hanlon argues that now is the time for Western nations to negotiate a new security architecture for neutral countries in eastern Europe to stabilize the region and reduce the risks of war with Russia. He believes NATO expansion has gone far enough. The core concept of this new security architecture would be one of permanent neutrality. The countries in question collectively make a broken-up arc, from Europe’s far north to its south: Finland and Sweden; Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus; Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan; and finally Cyprus plus Serbia, as well as possibly several other Balkan states. Discussion on the new framework should begin within NATO, followed by deliberation with the neutral countries themselves, and then formal negotiations with Russia.

The new security architecture would require that Russia, like NATO, commit to help uphold the security of Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, and other states in the region. Russia would have to withdraw its troops from those countries in a verifiable manner; after that, corresponding sanctions on Russia would be lifted. The neutral countries would retain their rights to participate in multilateral security operations on a scale comparable to what has been the case in the past, including even those operations that might be led by NATO. They could think of and describe themselves as Western states (or anything else, for that matter). If the European Union and they so wished in the future, they could join the EU. They would have complete sovereignty and self-determination in every sense of the word. But NATO would decide not to invite them into the alliance as members. Ideally, these nations would endorse and promote this concept themselves as a more practical way to ensure their security than the current situation or any other plausible alternative.

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Beyond Preemption

Force and Legitimacy in a Changing World

edited by Ivo H. Daalder

America's three most recent wars —in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq —have raised profound questions about when to use military force, for what purpose, and who should make the decision whether to go to war. These crucial questions have been debated around the world with increasing intensity, and by beginning to provide important answers, Beyond Preemption moves the debate forward in significant ways. During the past three years, the contributors to this volume have engaged in a global dialogue with political officials, military figures and strategists, and international lawyers from around the world on when and how to use force and in what way its use can best be legitimized. They found consensus that the world has changed so dramatically that much of the old way of thinking about when and how to go to use force to deal with new challenges has become largely obsolete. Drawing on these high-level discussions, Ivo Daalder and his colleagues make specific proposals for how to forge a new international consensus on the vexing questions about the use of force, including its preemptive use, to address today's interrelated threats of terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and humanitarian crises. In Beyond Preemption, the authors also consider the critical matter of how these strategies could be best legitimized and be made palatable to domestic audiences and the international community at large. Contributors include Bruce W. Jentleson (Duke University), Anne E. Kramer (Brookings Institution), Susan E. Rice (Brookings Institution), James B. Steinberg (Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin).

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Beyond Snowden

Privacy, Mass Surveillance, and the Struggle to Reform the NSA

Timothy H. Edgar

Safeguarding Our Privacy and Our Values in an Age of Mass Surveillance

America’s mass surveillance programs, once secret, can no longer be ignored. While Edward Snowden began the process in 2013 with his leaks of top secret documents, the Obama administration’s own reforms have also helped bring the National Security Agency and its programs of signals intelligence collection out of the shadows. The real question is: What should we do about mass surveillance?

Timothy Edgar, a long-time civil liberties activist who worked inside the intelligence community for six years during the Bush and Obama administrations, believes that the NSA’s programs are profound threat to the privacy of everyone in the world. At the same time, he argues that mass surveillance programs can be made consistent with democratic values, if we make the hard choices needed to bring transparency, accountability, privacy, and human rights protections into complex programs of intelligence collection. Although the NSA and other agencies already comply with rules intended to prevent them from spying on Americans, Edgar argues that the rules—most of which date from the 1970s—are inadequate for this century. Reforms adopted during the Obama administration are a good first step but, in his view, do not go nearly far enough.

Edgar argues that our communications today—and the national security threats we face—are both global and digital. In the twenty first century, the only way to protect our privacy as Americans is to do a better job of protecting everyone’s privacy. Beyond Surveillance: Privacy, Mass Surveillance, and the Struggle to Reform the NSA explains both why and how we can do this, without sacrificing the vital intelligence capabilities we need to keep ourselves and our allies safe. If we do, we set a positive example for other nations that must confront challenges like terrorism while preserving human rights. The United States already leads the world in mass surveillance. It can lead the world in mass surveillance reform.

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Big Bets and Black Swans 2014

A Presidential Briefing Book

edited by Ted Piccone, Steven Pifer, and Thomas Wright

President Obama has just three years left in office to define his legacy in world affairs. He's facing a number of critical challenges—the ongoing war in Syria, the Iran nuclear negotiations, an enigmatic North Korea and other significant crises in world affairs. The president's advisors are busy devising policy recommendations aimed at grappling with these thorny issues. From these, the president must decide which priorities to pursue and how to best exercise U.S. power and influence to manage and shape the global order.

This book presents a set of policy analysis and recommendations from The Foreign Policy scholars at the Brookings Institution. Designed to provide the White House with innovative and actionable policy initiatives, the book is constructed as a series of memos to President Obama. This year, the memos are divided into five categories:

• Big Bets are issues where the president should consider investing his power, time and prestige in major efforts that can have a transformational impact on America and the world. • Double Downs are derived from the Big Bets from last year's recommendations that the president should redouble his efforts on.

• Black Swans are those low-probability but high-impact events that can divert the president and his administration's higher purposes, such as dramatic negative events that he will want to take steps in advance to avoid or to mitigate their consequences.

• Nightmares are events that look more likely than a Black Swan and could prove particularly troublesome for U.S. interests and the global order, and for which the administration should prepare.

• Holds are updated policy recommendations to stay the course on approaches suggested last year.

Contents: Big Bets

• Reassert U.S. Leadership of a Liberal Global Order by Robert Kagan and Ted Piccone

• Secure the Future of the Internet by Peter W. Singer and Ian Wallace

• Solidify the U.S.-Afghanistan Alliance by Michael E. O'Hanlon and Gen. John Allen (USMC, Ret.)

• Lift the Ban on U.S. Oil Exports by Tim Boersma and Charles K. Ebinger

• Strengthen Stability in Africa by Michael E. O'Hanlon

Double Downs

• Broaden the Approach to Iran by Suzanne Maloney

• Pursue Regime Change in Syria by Michael Doran

• Return to the Asia Rebalance by Jonathan D. Pollack and Jeffrey A. Bader

• Reach Out to Cuba by Ted Piccone

• Avert Conflict in the South and East China Seas by Richard C. Bush III, Bruce Jones and Jonathan D. Pollack

Black Swans

• Israeli-Palestinian Violence Erupts by Natan B. Sachs

• Putin's Russia Goes rogue by Fiona Hill and Steven Pifer

• Venezuela Breaks Down in Violence by Harold Trinkunas

Nightmares

• Korean Crisis Prompts Confrontation with China by Jonathan D. Pollack and Richard C. Bush III

• Iran Nuclear Talks Fail by Robert Einhorn and Kenneth Pollack

• Afghanistan's Presidential Election Goes Awry by Vanda Felbab-Brown

• Muslim Brotherhood Radicalizes by Daniel L. Byman and Tamara Cofman Wittes

Holds

• Avoid a U.S.-Saudi Divorce by Bruce Riedel

• Close the Deal on Free Trade by Mireya Solis

• Manage the Impact of Climate Change by Elizabeth Ferris

• Deepen Economic Ties to Turkey by Kemal Kirisci

• Beyond New START by Steven Pifer

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The Big Snoop

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Terrorists

Stuart Taylor Jr.

When Edward Snowden hit the send button on a laptop in Hong Kong in June 2013, just shy of his 30th birthday, he became the poster boy for an acutely American conundrum: the tension between the government's constitutional commitment to the privacy of individuals and its responsibility for the safety of the nation. Stuart Taylor, Jr. reviews 200 years of surveillance in the U.S., the leading actors in the NSA debate since Snowden's leaks, and the challenges that lie ahead—namely, finding the right balance between national security and individual privacy. Taylor also enlists four experts representing four distinct perspectives on the issue: U.S. senator Dianne Feinstein, U.S senator John Wyden, former NSA inspector general Joel Brenner, and deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Jameel Jafer.

THE BROOKINGS ESSAY: In the spirit of its commitment to high-quality, independent research, the Brookings Institution has commissioned works on major topics of public policy by distinguished authors, including Brookings scholars. The Brookings Essay is a multi-platform product aimed to engage readers in open dialogue and debate. The views expressed, however, are solely those of the author. Available in ebook only.

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Billionaires

Reflections on the Upper Crust

Darrell M. West

Meet the Billionaires: the 1,645 men and women who control a massive share of global assets worth $6.5 trillion. Darrell West reveals what the other 99.99998% of us need to know.

With rich anecdotes and personal narratives, West goes inside the world of the ultra wealthy. Meet U.S. billionaires such as Sheldon Adelson, Michael Bloomberg, David and Charles Koch, George Soros, Tom Steyer, and Donald Trump —as well as international billionaires from around the globe.

The growing political engagement of this small supra-wealthy group raises important questions about influence, transparency, and government performance, and West lays bare the wealthification of politics, including:

• How billionaires can block appointments and legislation they don't like

• Why the supra-wealthy moved into policy advocacy and referenda at the state level

• Why billionaires run for office in more than a dozen countries around the world

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Biological Resource Centers

Knowledge Hubs for the Life Sciences

Scott Stern

Biological resource centers (BRCs) collect, certify, and distribute organisms for use in research and in the development of commercial products in the pharmaceutical, agricultural, and biotechnology industries. They maintain a large and varied collection, including cell lines, micro-organisms, recombinant DNA material, biological media and reagents, and the information technology tools that allow researchers to access biological materials. BRCs have established themselves as a crucial element in the life science innovation infrastructure, from their early impact on virology, to their crucial role in addressing cross-culture contamination in the 1970s, to their current leadership in promoting a global biodiversity network. Today they confront new challenges, resulting from shifts in the nature of biological research, the interaction between public and private researchers, and the increasing focus on biosecurity. This book provides a systematic economic assessment of the impact of biological resource centers through their role in facilitating cumulative knowledge in the life sciences and building on their roles as knowledge hubs —institutions that facilitate the transfer of scientific and technical knowledge among members of a research community. The knowledge hubs framework offers insight into how to develop and evaluate policy proposals that impinge on the control and access of biological materials. Stern argues that science and innovation policy must be premised on a clear understanding of the role that knowledge hubs play and the policy mechanisms that encourage their sustained growth and effectiveness.

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