The United States needs a civilian capacity to foster better-functioning institutions in chaotic countries, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) should lead that effort. To embrace a state-building mission, however, USAID will have to be transformed. Max Boot and Michael Miklaucic argue that the agency will need to do less but do it better, and limit its efforts to strategically important states while enhancing its focus on building core state functions.
In his memoir, The Lion Awakes, Ashish Thakkar describes how, as a young entrepreneur selling computer parts across Africa in the 1990s, he noticed that flights within the continent seemed to take longer than the distances on a map would suggest. “Were the planes slower?” he wondered.
Authors: Stephen G. Brooks and William C. Wohlforth
After two and a half decades, is the United States’ run as the world’s sole superpower coming to an end? Many say yes, seeing a rising China ready to catch up to or even surpass the United States in the near future. By many measures, after all, China’s economy is on track to become the world’s biggest, and even if its growth slows, it will still outpace that of the United States for many years.
The massive “Lava Jato” (car wash) corruption scandal cut a wide swath across the Brazilian political landscape, contributing to public outcry against President Dilma Rousseff. Brazil’s Senate voted to suspend Rousseff in May, pending her impeachment trial on alleged budgetary improprieties.
Nearly 3,000 years ago, according to the Old Testament, an army of Arameans, led by King Ben-hadad, besieged the West Bank city of Samaria. Cut off from its agricultural hinterlands, the city soon ran out of food.
When it comes to wealth and income, people tend to compare themselves to the people they see around them rather than to those who live on the other side of the world. The average Frenchman, for example, probably does not care how manyChinese exceed his own standard of living, but that Frenchman surely would pay attention if he started lagging behind his fellow citizens.
As growth slows in mature economies across the developed world, economic inequality has reachednew heights. Defined in terms of the shares of disposable income of households across the economic spectrum, adjusted for varying needs, inequality today in the United States is significantly higher than it was a generation ago.
Since the early 1990s, daily life in poor countries has been changing profoundly for the better: one billion people have escaped extreme poverty, average incomes have doubled, infant death rates have plummeted, millions more girls have enrolled in school, chronic hunger has been cut almost in half, deaths from malaria and other diseases have declined dramatically, democracy has spread far and wide, and the incidence of war—even with Syria and other conflicts—has fallen by half.
This Memorial Day is the first in which the ban on women in ground combat is history. Last month, West Point celebrated 40 years of women in its ranks. And the first women to graduate from Army Ranger School last year have now become part of the new old guard.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2015 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »