In February, Martin Indyk and Richard Haass engaged leading Gulf policymakers in detailed conversations about what they are looking for from a new American president. While all those with whom they spoke were fascinated by the American presidential primary elections and seem to be following the results closely, few have yet focused on the possibility that a significant change in U.S. foreign policy might result from a new administration in Washington. There was also a significant disconnect between leaders and publics: The leaders are focused on how the next administration will deal with complex regional security challenge posed by Iran, whereas the publics are hoping that a new president will resolve the Palestinian issue and press authoritarian governments to be more open, transparent and accountable.
Bruce Riedel traveled to India in February to meet with business leaders, government officials, and members of the media. Riedel notes that much of the conversations revolved around Iran's pursuit of nuclear capabilities and the Iran-India relationship. Some in the United States have strongly criticized India for maintaining strong economic relations with Iran and for having exchanges of low-level military delegations. Riedel notes that although India opposes a nuclear Iran, its ties with Iran will lead it to oppose use of a military option against Iran.
Daniel Byman traveled to Israel and Jordan in March -- a time of crisis in the Middle East. During Byman's trip, Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired rockets against the Israeli cities of Sderot and Ashkelon, an attack occurred in the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and Israel took retaliatory measures in the Gaza Strip. In both Israel and Jordan, Byman found that the predominant mood was one of frustration and gloom. Israelis felt trapped between their sense that inaction would encourage more violence and their recognition that the military and political options looked unpromising. Jordanians fretted that the Israeli reaction to the violence would strengthen the radicals politically.
In February, Tamara Cofman Wittes and Isobel Coleman met with business leaders, academics, journalists, and civic activists in Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Among Wittes and Coleman's key findings are that many Saudis welcomed the emergence of a more open atmosphere, pointing to King Abdullah's ascension to the throne, dynamism in neighboring Gulf states, and a new "post-post-9/11" environment as key catalysts for the change. Yet, there was frustration at the unpredictability and arbitrariness of the newly expanded social and political space. The next U.S. administration may have a new, but narrow, window of opportunity to reintroduce itself to Saudi Arabia. Many Saudis argued for the creation of a deeper, multi-dimensional relationship between both countries that engages civil society, not just the government and business sectors.
Intuition tells us that oil-rich countries are not friendly to the United States, and that entreprenurial—or “smart”—countries are not endowed with oil. In this Center for Geoeconomic Studies Working Paper, the authors find a triangular relationship between oil wealth, entrepreneurial spirit, and friendliness to the United States. They confirm the idea that “oily” countries are not U.S.-friendly, in contrast to smart countries, which are friendly to the United States and do not have oil. The authors conclude that it is in the U.S. interest to support education and economic diversification in petro-states so those states can become more entrepreneurial and friendly.
How should the United States respond to Kenya’s political crisis in the wake of the power-sharing deal announced on February 28, 2008? In this POP, Adjunct Fellow Michelle D. Gavin suggests steps the Bush administration could take to promote political and ethnic reconciliation and to restore the viability of Kenya’s governing institutions.
In this paper, the first of a new publication type from the Council called the Policy Options Paper, Senior Fellow Daniel Markey poses a set of recommendations for the United States to consider in response to Pakistan’s ongoing political crisis—in particular, what position the Bush administration should take with regard to the country’s upcoming national elections.
Over the course of thirteen months, delegates from Africa, China, and the United States met three times in an effort to identify strategies of cooperation among their respective nations with the goal of accelerating economic development in Africa. This overview describes why the trilateral dialogue was established, how it was implemented, and what it achieved.
Since 2000, President Robert Mugabe’s refusal to tolerate challenges to his power has led him to systematically dismantle the workings of Zimbabwe’s economic and political systems, replacing them with structures of corruption, intimidation, and repression. Michelle D. Gavin surveys the current situation in Zimbabwe, identifying current structural and legal impediments to economic and political recovery.
A flexible labor market and an open economy are crucial to economic competitiveness, but can sometimes cause prime-aged and older workers to suffer large, long-term income losses. This report explains why existing government programs, which emphasize retraining and insurance for short-term job loss, don't assuage workers' fears about globalization. It also proposes a shift of resources from existing programs to wage insurance.
With IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato resigning in October, a new report analyzes the reform measures that will be bequeathed to Mr. de Rato's successor, and argues that the reform measures deserve the support of the United States, including the U.S. Congress when it is asked to implement some of the key measures.
This report argues that Angola deserves priority attention in the formulation of U.S. foreign, national security, and economic policies, particularly in the design of policy toward Africa. This report is also available in Portuguese.
This report examines the contributions that an expanded use of nuclear energy can make to improving energy security and reducing global warming while balancing these benefits against the risks and lingering questions over nuclear energy’s safety and security.
This report describes what steps might be taken by Nigerians and the international community to avoid a breakdown of democracy, and possibly stability, in the wake of Nigeria’s April 2007 electoral contest and to tackle Nigeria’s fundamental challenges of governance, security, and development in the longer term.
This report examines the economics of illegal immigration and finds that the fiscal benefits of illegal immigration offset its costs. Further, the report finds that the flexibility provided by the illegal immigration system that benefits the U.S. economy cannot be provided by the legal immigration system.
This report encourages the U.S. government to redirect its policy toward Bolivia from "wait and see" to one with an emphasis on conflict prevention and preserving the democratic process in order to address the nation's many challenges. This report is also available in Spanish.