What CFR.org Editors are reading the week of March 9–13, 2015.
What CFR.org Editors are reading the week of March 9–13, 2015.
"Democracy is going through a difficult time. Where autocrats have been driven out of office, their opponents have mostly failed to create viable democratic regimes. Even in established democracies, flaws in the system have become worryingly visible and disillusion with politics is rife. Yet just a few years ago democracy looked as though it would dominate the world."
The NSC staff has emerged as a major factor in the formulation (and at times in the implementation) of national security policy. Similarly, the head of the NSC staff, the National Security Adviser, has played important, and occasionally highly public, roles in policymaking. This report traces the evolution of the NSC from its creation to the present
Chronic mismanagement by local governments has left a number of California cities teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.
See more in Organization of Government
In the aftermath of the 2012 U.S. elections, Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei comments on and compares the political systems in the U.S. and China.
In the Wall Street Journal, George P. Shultz writes that unaccountable White House aides are a product of a broken cabinet-nomination process, and this is not the form of government the Founders intended.
The Atlantic's James Fallows reacts to fears of American decline, pointing to unwarranted cries of imminent doom throughout American history, but also worries that the system of government needs fixing in order for the U.S. to maintain its strength.
The United States may be the largest donor of foreign assistance in the world, but it ranks among the lowest in terms of quality and effectiveness of its aid, according to a report by the Center for Global Development (CGD), in cooperation with the Brookings Institution, that assesses more than 150 countries' foreign aid money.
The return of big government means that policymakers must grapple again with some basic questions. They are now even harder to answer.
Washington showing little appetite to reign the corrupt in, one well-financed lawyer is trying his best to shed light on these profiteers, and his target is none other than Cheney's KBR.
This special report from the United States Institute of Peace says that Iraq’s neighbors are playing a major role—both positive and negative—in the country’s worsening crisis, and reviews the interests and influence of the countries surrounding Iraq and the impact on U.S. bilateral relations.
Lt. Col. Paul Yingling writes in the Armed Forces Journal that the current difficulties in the Iraq war are largely caused by a crisis in American's general officer corps.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has some of the most extensive acquisition needs within theU.S. government. This report summarizes GAO reports and testimonies, which have reported on various aspects of DHS acquisitions. It examines areas where DHS has been successful in promoting collaboration among its various organizations, challenges it still faces in integrating the acquisition function across the department, and DHS' implementation of an effective review process for its major, complex investments. Since its establishment in March 2003, DHS has been faced with assembling 23 separate federal agencies and organizations with multiple missions and cultures into one department. This mammoth task involved a variety of transformational efforts, one of which is to design and implement the necessary management structure and processes for the acquisition of goods and services. The report highlights the need for improved oversight of contractors and adherence to a rigorous management review process.
Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson is by all accounts a shrewd, pragmatic, and successful dealmaker. In another administration, he might have made an excellent secretary of State. Serving a president with a strong moral grounding and certain fixed principles, he might have been successful in sanding off the rough edges and making the compromises necessary to get things done. But under Donald Trump, a man of few if any discernible principles beyond a desire for self-aggrandizement, he would be a dangerous choice because his role will be not just to implement policy but—more than most previous secretaries of State—to shape it.
Election hacks and Russia-friendly nominees pose a historic choice of party or principle. The test for Republicans is how they will react given that Trump has publicly pondered the possibility of lifting all sanctions on Russia, has appointed as his national security adviser a retired general who had recently been seen dining with Putin and as his secretary of State an executive who had received an Order of Friendship from Putin.
Max Boot argues that Petraeus would be a superbly qualified secretary of state—one who already has more diplomatic experience than most of those previously selected for this position. And far from giving a pro-war tilt to the new administration, Petraeus would be an important restraint on a president who has spoken far too freely of bombing various countries and of torturing terrorists.
The president of the United States has vast power—nearly unlimited in the realm of foreign affairs. He can order U.S. troops into combat. He can bomb any country he wants. He can round up illegal immigrants. He can spy on millions of people. Soon all that power will be in the hands of Donald J. Trump, hardly the most sober and restrained individual ever to occupy the Oval Office. Checks and balances on a president's national security powers have never been more important, writes CFR's Max Boot.
ISIS and internal feuds have destroyed Iraq. To avoid endless future conflicts, the main groups there and in the US should try to stich it back together somehow, says Leslie H. Gelb.
Joshua Kurlantzick discusses the global decline of democratic governments.
Looking to Egypt, Steven Cook writes, "democracy is built on democratic principles, not coups."
Knopf argues that the only remaining path for South Sudan is for an international transitional administration to run the country for a finite period.
The U.S. relationship with Israel is in trouble. Blackwill and Gordon offer six core policy proposals to repair, redefine, and invigorate the partnership.
To ensure the success of Myanmar's historic democratic transition, the United States should revise its outdated and counterproductive sanctions policy.
CFR President Haass argues for an updated global operating system to address challenges from terrorism to climate change. More
Alden provides an enlightening history of the last four decades of U.S. trade policies and a blueprint for how to keep the United States competitive in a globalized economy. More
In this award-winning biography of Alan Greenspan, Mallaby explores Greenspan's life and legacy and tells the story of the making of modern finance. More
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.
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