President Trump asserts that the U.S. economy is a disaster and that he alone can fix it. The truth is that the U.S. economy is doing better than most Americans realize, and activist attempts to fix what ain’t broke are one of the gravest threats to it. What’s at stake is not simply that the president is vague or wrong about the facts. It’s that bad facts make for bad policy.
When then-President Bill Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement in a White House ceremony in December 1993, he called it “a defining moment” for the United States and praised Mexico and Canada as “our partners in the future that we are trying to make together.” All three countries had made what then seemed like an irreversible decision to marry their economic futures. Yet today, less than a quarter-century later, those bonds are badly fraying.
Benn Steil and Emma Smith show how China mirrors the U.S. “exorbitant privilege” from minting the world’s primary reserve currency. While the United States is deeply indebted to the rest of the world, it still earns far more abroad than it pays out. China, in contrast, has become the world’s largest creditor while paying foreigners far more than it receives. Steil and Smith argue that China is making itself vulnerable to financial crisis by massively subsidizing its geostrategic objectives.
Donald Trump came to Washington determined to shake up America’s economic relations with the world, to pursue what he has unapologetically called an “America first” strategy “to benefit American workers and American families." At the heart of that strategy is restoring manufacturing to its former glory, writes Edward Alden.
Cyber threats are escalating in sophistication and magnitude, but mistrust between Washington and Silicon Valley continues to stymie progress on cybersecurity. In a new Council Special Report, Adam Segal examines the security risks exacerbated by the divide between government and the technology community and offers policy recommendations to help restore trust.
Former United States Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman will join the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) this month as a distinguished fellow, where his work will focus on international economic policy and trends, trade and investment policy, and globalization and populism.
President Donald J. Trump has wide latitude to enact the sweeping changes to U.S. foreign policy that he has promised, but his executive authority is constrained by congressional legislation, treaty obligations, and bureaucratic processes.
Argentine President Mauricio Macri and his team can take a bow for their first year in office. Despite Macri’s outsider status and his party’s limited influence in the Congress, he in short order took on the country’s biggest economic distortions—unifying the exchange rate, resolving the fight with international creditors, cutting energy subsidies, reestablishing credible statistics, and eliminating a whole host of tariffs, quotas, and export licenses.
Germany’s foreign minister reports “astonishment and agitation.” The French president protests indignantly about unsolicited “outside advice .” Even Secretary of State John F. Kerry sees behavior that is “inappropriate.” President-elect Donald Trump’s weekend interview, in which he casually predicted the breakup of the European Union, has certainly attracted attention.
When Rex Tillerson, Exxon Mobil Corp.’s longtime chief executive and now Donald Trump’s choice to be secretary of state, appears before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, he will get a lot of questions about his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. If senators want a better conversation with Mr. Tillerson, they should get him to acknowledge—or dispute—the basic facts of Russian-American relations. Stephen Sestanovich presents three questions aimed at getting Tillerson to admit how much sanctions have accomplished.
Steven A. Tananbaum Senior Fellow for International Economics Robert Kahn writes that markets showed impressive resilience in the face of a range of geopolitical shocks in 2016, but recent market moves suggest this year could be different. A greater range of possible, if unlikely, political challenges, as well as U.S. monetary policy normalization, could bring a crisis back to the fore.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2016 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 »