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A Presidential Briefing Book
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
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
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
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
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
Canada and Mexico at the Crossroads
In the post-NAFTA era, Canada and Mexico face dramatic and irreversible changes from the Bush revolution in foreign public policy, the rising economic power of China and India, new concerns about border security and human rights, and the trends of economic integration. The essays in Big Picture Realities: Canada and Mexico at the Crossroads address the sea change in the political economic order of North America and chronicle the attempts of Canada and Mexico, two very different societies, to come to terms with the accumulated and often contradictory effects of micro and macro changes.
Contributors are Canadian and Mexican scholars and leading authorities in security, immigration, human rights, foreign policy, Canada-Mexico relations, and market integration. This book is particularly valuable for public policy experts and scholars and students in international relations.
Crisis and Compromise in American Intelligence after 9/11
After the September 11 attacks, the 9/11 Commission argued that the United States needed a powerful leader, a spymaster, to forge the scattered intelligence bureaucracies into a singular enterprise to vanquish AmericaÆs new enemiesùstateless international terrorists. In the midst of the 2004 presidential election, Congress and the president remade the postûWorld War II national security infrastructure in less than five months, creating the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and a National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC).
Blinking Red illuminates the complicated history of the bureaucratic efforts to reform AmericaÆs national security after the intelligence failures of 9/11 and IraqÆs missing weapons of mass destruction, explaining how the NSC and Congress shaped the U.S. response to the 9/11 attacks. Michael Allen asserts that the process of creating the DNI position and the NCTC is a case study in power politics and institutional reform. By bringing to light the legislative transactions and political wrangling during the reform of the intelligence community, Allen helps us understand why the effectiveness of these institutional changes is still in question.
The El Paso Operation That Remade Immigration Enforcement
To understand border enforcement and the shape it has taken, it is imperative to examine a groundbreaking Border Patrol operation begun in 1993 in El Paso, Texas, “Operation Blockade.” The El Paso Border Patrol designed and implemented this radical new strategy, posting 400 agents directly on the banks of the Rio Grande in highly visible positions to deter unauthorized border crossings into the urban areas of El Paso from neighboring Ciudad Juárez—a marked departure from the traditional strategy of apprehending unauthorized crossers after entry. This approach, of “prevention through deterrence,” became the foundation of the 1994 and 2004 National Border Patrol Strategies for the Southern Border. Politically popular overall, it has rendered unauthorized border crossing far less visible in many key urban areas. However, the real effectiveness of the strategy is debatable, at best. Its implementation has also led to a sharp rise in the number of deaths of unauthorized border crossers. Here, Dunn examines the paradigm-changing Operation Blockade and related border enforcement efforts in the El Paso region in great detail, as well as the local social and political situation that spawned the approach and has shaped it since. Dunn particularly spotlights the human rights abuses and enforcement excesses inflicted on local Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants as well as the challenges to those abuses. Throughout the book, Dunn filters his research and fieldwork through two competing lenses, human rights versus the rights of national sovereignty and citizenship.
Legal and Political Pluralism in Eritrea
In Eritrea, state, traditional, and religious laws equally prevail, but any of these legal systems may be put into play depending upon the individual or individuals involved in a legal dispute. Because of conflicting laws, it has been difficult for Eritreans to come to a consensus on what constitutes their legal system. In Blood, Land, and Sex, Lyda Favali and Roy Pateman examine the roles of the state, ethnic groups, religious groups, and the international community in several key areas of Eritrean law -- blood feud or murder, land tenure, gender relations (marriage, prostitution, rape), and female genital surgery. Favali and Pateman explore the intersections of the various laws and discuss how change can be brought to communities where legal ambiguity prevails, often to the grave harm of women and other powerless individuals. This significant book focuses on how Eritrea and other newly emerging democracies might build pluralist legal systems that will be acceptable to an ethnically and religiously diverse population.
A History of Union and Confederate Foreign Relations
In an examination of Union and Confederate foreign relations during the Civil War from both European and American perspectives, Jones explores a number of themes, including the international economic and political dimensions of the war, the North’s attempts to block the South from winning foreign recognition as a nation, Napoleon III's meddling in the war and his attempt to restore French power in the New World, and the inability of Europeans to understand the interrelated nature of slavery and union. Most of all, Jones explores the horrible nature of a war that attracted outside involvement as much as it repelled it.
Comparing Border Security in North America and Europe
Border security has been high on public-policy agendas in Europe and North America since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York City and on the headquarters of the American military in Washington DC. Governments are now confronted with managing secure borders, a policy objective that in this era of increased free trade and globalization must compete with intense cross-border flows of people and goods. Border-security policies must enable security personnel to identify, or filter out, dangerous individuals and substances from among the millions of travelers and tons of goods that cross borders daily, particularly in large cross-border urban regions. This book addresses this gap between security needs and an understanding of borders and borderlands. Specifically, the chapters in this volume ask policy-makers to recognize that two fundamental elements define borders and borderlands: first, human activities (the agency and agent power of individual ties and forces spanning a border), and second, the broader social processes that frame individual action, such as market forces, government activities (law, regulations, and policies), and the regional culture and politics of a borderland. Borders emerge as the historically and geographically variable expression of human ties exercised within social structures of varying force and influence, and it is the interplay and interdependence between people's incentives to act and the surrounding structures (i.e. constructed social processes that contain and constrain individual action) that determine the effectiveness of border security policies. This book argues that the nature of borders is to be porous, which is a problem for security policy makers. It shows that when for economic, cultural, or political reasons human activities increase across a border and borderland, governments need to increase cooperation and collaboration with regard to security policies, if only to avoid implementing mismatched security policies.
International in scope and featuring a diverse group of contributors, The Borders of Justice investigates the complexities of transitional justice that emerge from its “social embeddedness.” This original and provocative collection of essays, which stem from a collective research program on social justice undertaken by the Calcutta Research Group, confronts the concept and practices of justice. The editors and contributors question the relationship between geography, methodology, and justice—how and why justice is meted out differently in different places.
Expanding on Michael Walzer's idea of the “spheres of justice,” the contributors argue that justice is burdened with our notions of social realities and expectations, in addition to the influence of money, law, and government. Chapters provide close readings of Pascal, Plato and Marx, theories on global justice, the relationship between liberalism and multiculturalism, struggles of social injustice, and how and where we draw the borders of justice.
How Ethnic Politics Have Shaped Government Responses to AIDS
Why have governments responded to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in such different ways? During the past quarter century, international agencies and donors have disseminated vast resources and a set of best practice recommendations to policymakers around the globe. Yet the governments of developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean continue to implement widely varying policies. Boundaries of Contagion is the first systematic, comparative analysis of the politics of HIV/AIDS. The book explores the political challenges of responding to a stigmatized condition, and identifies ethnic boundaries--the formal and informal institutions that divide societies--as a central influence on politics and policymaking.
Evan Lieberman examines the ways in which risk and social competition get mapped onto well-institutionalized patterns of ethnic politics. Where strong ethnic boundaries fragment societies into groups, the politics of AIDS are more likely to involve blame and shame-avoidance tactics against segments of the population. In turn, government leaders of such countries respond far less aggressively to the epidemic. Lieberman's case studies of Brazil, South Africa, and India--three developing countries that face significant AIDS epidemics--are complemented by statistical analyses of the policy responses of Indian states and over seventy developing countries. The studies conclude that varied patterns of ethnic competition shape how governments respond to this devastating problem. The author considers the implications for governments and donors, and the increasing tendency to identify social problems in ethnic terms.
Social Sector Reform in Latin America
Why do very different countries often emulate the same policy model? Two years after Ronald Reagan's income-tax simplification of 1986, Brazil adopted a similar reform even though it threatened to exacerbate income disparity and jeopardize state revenues. And Chile's pension privatization of the early 1980s has spread throughout Latin America and beyond even though many poor countries that have privatized their social security systems, including Bolivia and El Salvador, lack some of the preconditions necessary to do so successfully.
In a major step beyond conventional rational-choice accounts of policy decision-making, this book demonstrates that bounded--not full--rationality drives the spread of innovations across countries. When seeking solutions to domestic problems, decision-makers often consider foreign models, sometimes promoted by development institutions like the World Bank. But, as Kurt Weyland argues, policymakers apply inferential shortcuts at the risk of distortions and biases. Through an in-depth analysis of pension and health reform in Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Peru, Weyland demonstrates that decision-makers are captivated by neat, bold, cognitively available models. And rather than thoroughly assessing the costs and benefits of external models, they draw excessively firm conclusions from limited data and overextrapolate from spurts of success or failure. Indications of initial success can thus trigger an upsurge of policy diffusion.