All CFR Reports

Divided They Dally?

Divided They Dally?

Author: Michael Young

How would the Arab states of the Middle East react if Iran were to acquire a nuclear weapons capability? In this Working Paper, sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Michael Young explores the possible impact of a nuclear Iran on Arab governments' self-perceptions, relations with Iran, relations with one another, and relations with non-Arab actors in the region such as the United States and Turkey. Young concludes that an Iranian nuclear weapon would threaten to drastically alter the regional status quo, empower Iran and its allies, and provoke sectarian reactions from some Arab states.

See more in Proliferation; Iran

Deterring a Nuclear Iran

Deterring a Nuclear Iran

Author: Kenneth M. Pollack

From a military perspective, what would be required for a containment scheme to successfully deter a nuclear Iran? In this Working Paper, sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Kenneth M. Pollack presents formal and informal structures requisite to effectively deter a postnuclear Iran. Pollack's robust recommendations take into consideration important lessons learned during the Cold War.

See more in Proliferation; Iran

Deterrence Misapplied

Deterrence Misapplied

Author: Frederick W. Kagan

Given the nature and structure of its government, is it possible to contain an Iran with nuclear weapons? In this discussion paper, sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Frederick W. Kagan explores the applicability of deterrence--from a historic and theoretical perspective--to the Iranian regime. Kagan concludes that for numerous structural and strategic reasons, it is impossible to assess with any confidence that the Islamic Republic with nuclear weapons could be contained or deterred.

See more in Proliferation; Iran

Prime Brokers and Derivatives Dealers

Prime Brokers and Derivatives Dealers

Author: Squam Lake Working Group on Financial Regulation

Runs by prime-brokerage clients and derivatives counterparties were a central cause of the global financial crisis. These runs precipitated the failures of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers by substantially reducing the broker's liquidity. This Working Paper, the ninth in the Squam Lake series distributed by the Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies, argues for higher regulatory liquidity requirements for dealer banks that use assets of clients and counterparties as a source of liquidity.

See more in Financial Crises; Financial Regulation; United States

Strengthening the Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime

Strengthening the Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime

Author: Paul Lettow

Violations of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty by Iran and North Korea threaten to undermine the legitimacy of the nonproliferation regime. Paul Lettow proposes a comprehensive agenda for improvements, including tougher sanctions against transgressors, a criteria-based system to limit the spread of enrichment and processing technologies, and expansion of International Atomic Energy Agency authority.

See more in Global; Arms Control, Disarmament, and Nonproliferation; Global Governance

The Russian Economic Crisis

The Russian Economic Crisis

Author: Jeffrey Mankoff

Since 2008, Russia, like many other countries, has experienced a deep economic crisis. The question is how this crisis might affect Russia's domestic politics and foreign policy and, consequently, whether any change is warranted in U.S. policy toward Moscow. Jeffrey Mankoff argues that Russia's need to focus on repairing its economy during this global crisis gives the West an opportunity to deepen its economic engagement with Russia, which could bind Moscow more firmly to the liberal global economic order and encourage reform in both Russia and neighboring states.

See more in Financial Crises; Russian Federation

Renewed Conflict in Sudan

Renewed Conflict in Sudan

Author: Katherine Almquist Knopf

Sudan faces the prospect of renewed violence between north and south over the next twelve to eighteen months. Overwhelmingly in favor of independence, the south will either secede peacefully through a credible referendum process as agreed to in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) or pursue this by force if the CPA should collapse. This Center for Preventive Action Contingency Planning Memorandum presents the likely triggers of renewed civil war and discusses the U.S. policy options for preventing it from happening and mitigating its consequences in the event that it does.

See more in Conflict Prevention; Sudan

Somalia

Somalia

Author: Bronwyn E. Bruton

Failed states provide fertile ground for terrorism, drug trafficking, and a host of other ills that threaten to spill beyond their borders. Somalia is thus a problem not just for Somalis but for the United States and the world. Bronwyn E. Bruton takes on one of today's most vexing foreign policy challenges, offering concise analysis and thoughtful recommendations grounded in a realistic assessment of U.S. and international interests and capabilities in Somalia.

See more in Somalia; Fragile or Failed States

Regulation of Executive Compensation in  Financial Services

Regulation of Executive Compensation in Financial Services

Author: Squam Lake Working Group on Financial Regulation

Many people argue that inappropriate compensation policies in financial companies contributed to the global financial crisis. Some say the overall level of pay was too high. Others criticize the structure of pay, claiming that contracts for CEOs, traders, and other professionals induced them to pursue excessively risky and short-term strategies. This Working Paper, the eighth in the Squam Lake Working Group series distributed by the Center for Geoeconomic Studies, argues that governments should generally not regulate the level of executive compensation at financial firms. Instead, a fraction of compensation should be held back for several years to reduce employees' incentives to take excessive risk.

See more in Financial Crises; Corporate Regulation; United States

Terrorism and Indo-Pakistani Escalation

Terrorism and Indo-Pakistani Escalation

Author: Daniel S. Markey

India faces the real prospect of another major terrorist attack by Pakistan-based terrorist organizations in the near future, an event that would jeopardize important U.S. security interests in South Asia. This Center for Preventive Action Contingency Planning Memorandum examines the factors that would condition India's response; the consequences of Indian military retaliation and Pakistani counterretaliation for the United States; and Washington's policy options for preventing and containing the crisis.

See more in India; Terrorist Attacks

Intervention to Stop Genocide and Mass Atrocities

Intervention to Stop Genocide and Mass Atrocities

Author: Matthew C. Waxman

Recent events in Darfur raise the familiar question of whether international law facilitates the kind of early, decisive, and coherent action needed to effectively combat genocide. Matthew C. Waxman argues that putting decisions about international intervention solely in the hands of the UN Security Council risks undermining the threat or use of intervention when it may be most potent in stopping mass atrocities.

See more in United States; Genocide; Humanitarian Intervention

An Israeli Strike on Iran

An Israeli Strike on Iran

Author: Steven Simon

Israel would regard any expansion of nuclear weapons capability within its region as an intolerable threat to its survival, and as such regards Iran's developing nuclear program with concern, in turn causing speculation that the Israeli government may choose to attack Iran's nuclear installations. This Center for Preventive Action Contingency Planning Memorandum assesses the likelihood of an Israeli strike on Iran, the policy options available to diminish that likelihood, the implications should it take place, and measures that can be taken to mitigate the consequences should it occur.

See more in Iran; Israel; Wars and Warfare

Improving Resolution Options for Systemically Relevant Financial Institutions

Improving Resolution Options for Systemically Relevant Financial Institutions

Author: Squam Lake Working Group on Financial Regulation

This Squam Lake Working Group Paper endorses legislation that would give authorities the necessary powers to effect an orderly resolution of large complex financial institutions. As part of this authority, every such institution should be required to create "living wills" that would help authorities address the difficulties that might arise in a resolution.

See more in Financial Crises; Corporate Regulation; United States

The United States in the New Asia

The United States in the New Asia

Authors: Evan A. Feigenbaum and Robert A. Manning

For more than a decade, the United States has mostly watched from the sidelines as Asian countries organize themselves into an alphabet soup of new multilateral groups. In this report, the authors review the relationship between pan-Asian and trans-Pacific institutions and suggest policy guidelines for a new U.S. approach to this new Asian landscape. A purposeful multilateralism that pools the efforts of those with the greatest capacity, the authors argue, could make Asia a more prosperous and secure region.

See more in Asia and Pacific; Politics and Strategy; United States

Enhancing U.S. Preventive Action

Enhancing U.S. Preventive Action

Authors: Paul B. Stares and Micah Zenko

The United States can ill afford the burden of additional foreign policy challenges, making it imperative that the U.S. government find ways to identify, delay, and avert international crises that could harm U.S. interests or even lead to military engagement. In this report, the authors provide an actionable road map for how the U.S. government should revamp its existing U.S. prevention architecture to make it more effective in dealing with potential crises abroad.

See more in United States; Conflict Prevention

Understanding the Armed Groups of the Niger Delta

Understanding the Armed Groups of the Niger Delta

Author: Judith Burdin Asuni

Nigeria's underdeveloped but oil-rich Niger Delta region currently is the site of a crippling insurgency. Fueled by a complex mixture of protest, crime, and political corruption, the network of armed groups that create this instability pose serious problems both for Abuja and for oil-importing countries across the globe. This Working Paper provides insights into these militias' origins, characteristics, and interactions with one another.

See more in Nigeria

U.S. Immigration Policy

U.S. Immigration Policy

This Task Force report offers a strategy for maintaining America's political and economic leadership by attracting skilled immigrants, a program of legalization for those living in the United States illegally, and steps for securing the country's borders in an effective and humane way.

See more in Immigration; United States

Political Instability in Egypt

Political Instability in Egypt

Author: Steven A. Cook

Egypt is now entering a period of political transition with the expectation that President Hosni Mubarak's almost twenty-eight-year tenure will shortly come to an end. This Center for Preventive Action Contingency Planning Memorandum assesses the possibility of a troubled leadership succession or an Islamist push for political power, the implications for the United States, and policy steps the U.S. government might take depending on what it determines as its broader policy objectives in Egypt.

See more in Egypt

Regulation of  Retirement Saving

Regulation of Retirement Saving

Author: Squam Lake Working Group on Financial Regulation

Retirement saving is undergoing a fundamental change as employers shift from defined benefit pension plans to defined contribution plans, such as 401(k) accounts. This Working Paper, the sixth in the Squam Lake Working Group series distributed by the Center for Geoeconomic Studies, analyzes the pros and cons of defined contribution plans and recommends measures that will improve the performance of the nation's retirement saving system.

See more in United States; Financial Crises; Aging