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Expert Roundup

Debating the Legality of the Post-9/11 ‘Forever War’

Authors: Michael J. Glennon, John B. Bellinger III, Elizabeth N. Saunders, and Samuel Moyn

The Authorization for the Use of Military Force, passed by Congress in the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks, has been cited by the Bush and Obama administrations as sanctioning far-ranging military operations. Four scholars offer their perspectives on the AUMF’s legacy fifteen years on.

See more in United States; Wars and Warfare

Foreign Affairs Article

America’s Brewing Debt Crisis

Author: Robert E. Litan

“Although short-term debt poses one of the greatest threats to the financial stability of the United States, Dodd-Frank has done little to mitigate it. Fortunately, several experts have proposed ambitious ways of dealing with the problem, including expanding federal insurance of bank deposits, allowing the Federal Reserve to lend money to more firms in the case of a panic, and banning unregulated financial institutions from issuing runnable liabilities,” writes Robert E. Litan.

See more in United States; Budget, Debt, and Deficits

Op-Ed

Britain’s Post-Brexit Warning for Americans Seduced by Trump

Author: Sebastian Mallaby
The Washington Post

Donald Trump’s ungainly back-and-forth on immigration has a parallel in Britain, which is struggling to make sense of its own impetuous resolution to take control of its borders. Indeed, if Britain after the Brexit referendum is anything to go by, a Trump presidency would be dominated by zigzagging: sometimes to dilute past promises, sometimes to double down.

See more in United Kingdom; United States; Elections

Article

Democratic Backsliding and the Reach of ISIS in Southeast Asia

Author: Joshua Kurlantzick
Current History

In early May 2016, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines made a major announcement. The three countries, which often have trouble cooperating on transnational challenges, and have long disputed ownership of some of their adjacent waters, said they would begin coordinated patrols at sea and install a threeway hotline to discuss kidnappings and other militant activities.

See more in Asia and Pacific; Terrorist Organizations and Networks

Op-Ed

Civil War Within Nigerian Islam

Author: John Campbell
The Cipher Brief

There is a leadership struggle underway within Boko Haram, the violent, extremist movement that has claimed more than 20,000 lives since 2011 and destabilized the secular Nigerian state and its neighbors. The personal struggle between Abubakar Shekau and Abu Musab al-Barnawi reflects in part the rivalry between Boko Haram and a splinter group, “Ansaru,” and are part of a complex, intra-Muslim conflict across the Sahel, including competition between rival al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the Islamic State.

See more in Nigeria; Religion

Article

Venture Capital and Cleantech: The Wrong Model for Clean Energy Innovation

Author: Varun Sivaram
MIT Energy Initiative

Venture capital (VC) firms spent over $25 billion funding clean energy technology (cleantech) start-ups from 2006 to 2011 and lost over half their money; as a result, funding has dried up in the cleantech sector. In this report, we present the most comprehensive account to date of the cleantech VC boom and bust, aggregating hundreds of investments to calculate the risk/return profile of cleantech, compared with those of medical and software technology investments. The results are stark—cleantech offered VCs a dismal risk/return profile, dragged down by companies developing new materials, chemistries, or processes that never achieved manufacturing scale. We conclude that the VC model is broken for the cleantech sector, which suffers especially from a dearth of large corporations willing to invest in innovation. Fortunately, new public and private capital may be on the way after announcements made at the 2015 Paris Climate Change Summit. If a new and more diverse set of actors avoids the mistakes of the cleantech VC boom and bust, then they may be able to support a new generation of cleantech companies."

See more in Global; Energy and Environment

Other Report

Global Economics Monthly August 2016

Author: Robert Kahn

Steven A. Tananbaum Senior Fellow for International Economics Robert Kahn argues that markets have absorbed the initial economic shock from Brexit, but navigating the new landscape will remain a challenge. Two months after the vote, the politics of Brexit is producing a lengthy and uncertain renegotiation of Britain’s place in Europe and the world. Such extended uncertainty is likely to produce a long-lasting drag on both UK and European economies, which could ultimately threaten the viability of the European Union (EU).

See more in Europe; Economics

Article

The Problem With Vows to 'Defeat' the Islamic State

Authors: Stephen D. Biddle and Jacob Shapiro
The Atlantic

In recent weeks, ISIS has suffered territorial losses on multiple fronts, including in Iraq, Libya, and Syria. The organization may look nearer to defeat than at any time in the past two years, but there is still a great deal of fighting to be done before the group is destroyed, or more likely beaten back to an underground terrorist organization as it was in 2009.

See more in Iraq; Syria; Counterterrorism