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Avoiding Armageddon

America, India, and Pakistan to the Brink and Back

Bruce O. Riedel

India and Pakistan will be among the most important countries in the twenty-first century. In Avoiding Armageddon, Bruce Riedel clearly explains the challenge and the importance of successfully managing America's affairs with these two emerging powers and their toxic relationship.

Born from the British Raj, the two nations share a common heritage, but they are different in many important ways. India is already the world's largest democracy and will soon become the planet's most populous nation. Pakistan, soon to be the fifth most populous country, has a troubled history of military coups, dictators, and harboring terrorists such as Osama bin Laden.

The longtime rivals are nuclear powers, with tested weapons. They have fought four wars with each other and have gone to the brink of war several times. Meanwhile, U.S. presidents since Franklin Roosevelt have been increasingly involved in the region's affairs. In the past two decades alone, the White House has intervened several times to prevent nuclear confrontation on the subcontinent. South Asia clearly is critical to American national security, and the volatile relationship between India and Pakistan is the crucial factor determining whether the region can ever be safe and stable.

Based on extensive research and Riedel's role in advising four U.S. presidents on the region, Avoiding Armageddon reviews the history of American diplomacy in South Asia, the crises that have flared in recent years, and the prospects for future crisis. Riedel provides an in-depth look at the Mumbai terrorist attack in 2008, the worst terrorist outrage since 9/11, and he concludes with authoritative analysis on what the future is likely to hold for America and the South Asia puzzle as well as recommendations on how Washington should proceed.

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Brain Gain

Rethinking U.S. Immigration Policy

Darrell M. West

Many of America's greatest artists, scientists, investors, educators, and entrepreneurs have come from abroad. Rather than suffering from the "brain drain" of talented and educated individuals emigrating, the United States has benefited greatly over the years from the "brain gain" of immigration. These gifted immigrants have engineered advances in energy, information technology, international commerce, sports, arts, and culture. To stay competitive, the United States must institute more of an open-door policy to attract unique talents from other nations. Yet Americans resist such a policy despite their own immigrant histories and the substantial social, economic, intellectual, and cultural benefits of welcoming newcomers. Why?

In Brain Gain, Darrell West asserts that perception or "vision" is one reason reform in immigration policy is so politically difficult. Public discourse tends to emphasize the perceived negatives. Fear too often trumps optimism and reason. And democracy is messy, with policy principles that are often difficult to reconcile.

The seeming irrationality of U.S. immigration policy arises from a variety of thorny and interrelated factors: particularistic politics and fragmented institutions, public concern regarding education and employment, anger over taxes and social services, and ambivalence about national identity, culture, and language. Add to that stew a myopic (or worse) press, persistent fears of terrorism, and the difficulties of implementing border enforcement and legal justice.

West prescribes a series of reforms that will put America on a better course and enhance its long-term social and economic prosperity. Reconceptualizing immigration as a way to enhance innovation and competitiveness, the author notes, will help us find the next Sergey Brin, the next Andrew Grove, or even the next Albert Einstein.

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Fast Forward

Ethics and Politics in the Age of Global Warming

William Antholis and Strobe Talbott

Fast Forward is equal parts science primer, history lesson, policy prescription, and ethical treatise. This pithy and compelling book makes clear what we know and don't know about global warming; why the threat demands prudent and urgent action; why the transition to a low-carbon economy will be the most difficult political and economic transaction in history; and how it requires nothing less than a revolution in our sense of civic responsibility.

William Antholis and Strobe Talbott guide the reader through two decades of climate change politics and diplomacy, explaining the national and international factors that have influenced and often impeded domestic climate legislation and global negotiations. Recent United Nations–sponsored summits have demonstrated that the world cannot wait for a binding global treaty. Instead, the authors believe that the "Big Four" of America, the European Union, China, and India must lead the way forward. They recommend a new international mechanism modeled on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade that would monitor national commitments and create incentives for other countries to coordinate their efforts to cut emissions.

Antholis and Talbott put their recommendations for legislative and diplomatic action into the larger context of our obligation to future generations, echoing a theme stressed by a diverse coalition of religious leaders calling for ambitious action on climate change. The world we leave to our children and grandchildren is not an abstraction, or even just a legacy; we must think about what kind of world that will be in deciding how we live —and act —today.

Praise for Fast Forward

"William Antholis and Strobe Talbott brilliantly explode the economic and scientific myths about climate change while elevating the political debate to a transgenerational moral crisis. Their synthesis of science, economics, religion, and philosophy is a clarion call to action for anyone interested in the future of the planet —which means all of us." —Andrea Mitchell, NBC News

"In their very timely and fast-paced account of where we are today on the politics of global warming, the authors see Copenhagen as having pointed up the futility of relying on the United Nations as the only vehicle through which to tackle climate change." —Ed Luce, Financial Times

"Strobe Talbott and Bill Antholis have made an admirable and important effort to move beyond the recent political rancor in Washington. They have a plan for leaders who want to be serious about energy and climate." —Senator Richard G. Lugar (R-Ill.)

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Fast Forward

Ethics and Politics in the Age of Global Warming

William Antholis and Strobe Talbott

"Those of us alive today are the first generation to know that we live in the Age of Global Warming. We may also be the last generation to have any chance of doing something about it. Our forebears had the excuse of ignorance. Our descendants will have the excuse of helplessness. We have no excuse." —From Chapter One

Fast Forward is equal parts science primer, history lesson, policy prescription, and ethical treatise. This pithy and compelling book makes clear what we know and don't know about global warming; why the threat demands prudent and urgent action; why the transition to a low-carbon economy will be the most difficult political and economic transaction in history; and how it requires nothing less than a revolution in our sense of civic responsibility.

William Antholis and Strobe Talbott guide the reader through two decades of climate change diplomacy, explaining the national and international factors that have influenced and often impeded the negotiations. Their brisk narrative includes behind-the-scenes coverage of Barack Obama's impromptu meeting with key leaders in Copenhagen that broke a logjam and salvaged an agreement. The near-disaster of that summit demonstrated how the United Nations cannot move forward fast enough to produce a global deal. Instead, the "Big Four" of the United States, the European Union, China, and India must drive the next stage of the process. Antholis and Talbott also recommend a new international mechanism modeled on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade that would monitor national commitments and create incentives for other countries to coordinate their efforts to cut emissions.

Antholis and Talbott put their recommendations for immediate congressional and diplomatic action into the larger context of our obligation to future generations. They note that this theme is stressed by a diverse coalition of religious leaders who are calling for ambitious political action on climate change. The world we leave to our children and grandchildren is not an abstraction, or even just a legacy; we must think about what kind of world that will be in deciding how live —and act —today.

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Inside Out India and China

Local Politics Go Global

William Antholis

For the last decade, China and India have grown at an amazing rate —particularly considering the greatest downturn in the U.S. and Europe since the Great Depression. As a result, both countries are forecast to have larger economies than the U.S. or EU in the years ahead. Still, in the last year, signs of a slowdown have hit these two giants. Which way will these giants go? And how will that affect the global economy? Any Western corporation, investor, or entrepreneur serious about competing internationally must understand what makes them tick. Unfortunately, many in the West still look at the two Asian giants as monoliths, closely controlled mainly by their national governments. Inside Out, India and China makes clear how and why this notion is outdated.

William Antholis —a former White House and State Department official, and the managing director at Brookings —spent five months in India and China, travelling to over 20 states and provinces in both countries. He explored the enormously diversity in business, governance, and culture of these nations, temporarily relocating his entire family to Asia. His travels, research, and interviews with key stakeholders make the unmistakable point that these nations are not the immobile, centrally directed economies and structures of the past.

More and more, key policy decisions in India and China are formulated and implemented by local governments —states, provinces, and fast-growing cities. Both economies have promoted entrepreneurship, both by private sector and also local government officials. Some strategies work. Others are fatally flawed. Antholis's detailed narratives of local innovation in governance and business —as well as local failures —prove the point that simply maintaining a presence in Beijing and New Delhi – or even Shanghai and Mumbai —is not enough to ensure success in China or India, just as one cannot expect to succeed in America simply by setting up in Washington or New York. Each nation is as large, vibrant, innovative, diverse, and increasingly decentralized as are the United States, Europe and all of Latin America … combined. China and India each have their own agricultural heartlands, high-tech corridors, resource-rich areas, and powerhouse manufacturing regions. They also have major economic, social, environmental challenges facing them. But few people outside these countries can name those places, or have a mental map of how the local parts of these countries are shaping their global futures. Organizations, businesses, and other governments that do not recognize and plan for this evolution may miss that the most important changes in these emerging giants are coming from the inside out.

"This book is for people who wonder about the inside of China and India, and how different local perspectives inside those countries shape actions outside their borders. Though my family and I spent five months traveling in both countries to do research, this book is not a travelogue. Rather, it is an attempt to sketch how a few of China's and India's many component parts are being shaped by global forces —and in turn are shaping those forces —and what that means for Americans and Europeans conducting diplomacy and doing business there." —from the Introduction

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Mr. Putin

Operative in the Kremlin

Fiona Hill and Clifford G. Gaddy

Who is Vladimir Putin? Observers have described him as a "man from nowhere" —someone without a face, substance, or soul. Russia experts Fiona Hill and Clifford Gaddy argue that Putin is in fact a man of many and complex identities. Drawing on a range of sources, including their own personal encounters, they describe six that are most essential: the Statist, the History Man, the Survivalist, the Outsider, the Free Marketeer, and the Case Officer. Understanding Putin's multiple dimensions is crucial for policymakers trying to decide how best to deal with Russia.

Hill and Gaddy trace the identities back to formative experiences in Putin's past, including his early life in Soviet Leningrad, his KGB training and responsibilities, his years as deputy mayor in the crime and corruptionridden city of St. Petersburg, his first role in Moscow as the "operative" brought in from the outside by liberal reformers in the Kremlin to help control Russia's oligarchs, and his time at the helm of a resurgent Russian state. The authors then examine the nature of the political system Putin has built, explaining it as a logical result of these six identities.

Vladimir Putin has his own idealized view of himself as CEO of "Russia, Inc." But rather than leading a transparent public corporation, he runs a closed boardroom, not answerable to its stakeholders. Now that his corporation seems to be in crisis, with political protests marking Mr. Putin's return to the presidency in 2012, will the CEO be held accountable for its failings?

"For more than a dozen years —the equivalent of three American presidential terms — Vladimir Putin has presided over the largest nation on the planet, the second most powerful nuclear arsenal, and massive natural resources. Yet there is still debate about who he really is. Fiona Hill and Clifford Gaddy have gone a long way in answering that question, starting with the title, which makes a crucial point: even though 'Mr. Putin' was, in his upbringing and early career, a prototype of the Soviet man, he's no longer 'Comrade Putin.' His aim is not the restoration of communism. He has made a deal with the capitalists who have thrived in Russia over the past two decades: they support him in the exercise of his political power, and he supports them in amassing their fortunes." —from the foreword by Strobe Talbott

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The Opportunity

Next Steps in Reducing Nuclear Arms

Steven Pifer and Michael E. O'Hanlon

For some observers, nuclear arms control is either a relic of the cold war, or a utopian dream about a denuclearized planet decades in the future. But, as Brookings scholars Steven Pifer and Michael O'Hanlon argue in The Opportunity, arms control can address some key security challenges facing Washington today and enhance both American and global security.

Pifer and O'Hanlon make a compelling case for further arms control measures —to reduce the nuclear threat to the United States and its allies, to strengthen strategic stability, to promote greater transparency regarding secretive nuclear arsenals, to create the possibility for significant defense budget savings, to bolster American credibility in the fight to curb nuclear proliferation, and to build a stronger and more sustainable U.S.-Russia relationship.

President Obama gave priority to nuclear arms control early in his first term and, by all accounts, would like to be transformational on these questions. Can there be another major U.S.-Russia arms treaty? Can the tactical and surplus strategic nuclear warheads that have so far escaped controls be brought into such a framework? Can a modus vivendi be reached between the two countries on missile defense? And what of multilateral accords on nuclear testing and production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons? Pifer and O'Hanlon concisely frame the issues, the background, and the choices facing the president; provide practical policy recommendations, and put it all in clear and readable prose that will be easily understood by the layman.

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