All CFR Reports

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

Credit Default Swaps, Clearinghouses, and Exchanges

Credit Default Swaps, Clearinghouses, and Exchanges

Author: Squam Lake Working Group on Financial Regulation

Credit default swaps (CDS) are contracts that provide protection against the risk of default by borrowers. The failure of one important participant in the CDS market can destabilize the financial system by inflicting significant losses on many trading partners simultaneously. A clearinghouse could in theory reduce counterparty risk by standing between the buyer and seller of protection, insulating the counterparties’ exposure to each other’s default. This Working Paper, the fifth in the Squam Lake Working Group series distributed by the Center for Geoeconomic Studies, analyzes the market for credit default swaps and makes specific recommendations about appropriate roles for clearinghouses and about how they should be organized.

See more in United States; Financial Markets; Financial Regulation

The Canadian Oil Sands

The Canadian Oil Sands

Author: Michael A. Levi

The Canadian oil sands present an important challenge to policymakers: they promise energy security benefits but present climate change problems. Michael A. Levi assesses the energy security and climate change effects of the oil sands and makes recommendations for U.S. policymakers within the context of broader bilateral relations with Canada.

See more in Canada; Climate Change; Oil

Reversal in Iraq

Reversal in Iraq

Author: Stephen D. Biddle

Iraq is currently in the early stages of a negotiated end to an intense ethnosectarian war. As such, there are several contingencies in which recent, mostly positive trends in Iraq could be reversed, threatening U.S. national interests. This Center for Preventive Action Contingency Planning Memorandum by Stephen Biddle assesses four interrelated scenarios in Iraq that could derail the prospects for peace and stability in the short to medium term and posits concrete policy options to limit U.S. vulnerability to the possibility of such reversals.

See more in Iraq; Wars and Warfare

A Systemic Regulator for Financial Markets

A Systemic Regulator for Financial Markets

Author: Squam Lake Working Group on Financial Regulation

Financial regulations in almost all countries are designed to ensure the soundness of individual institutions, principally commercial banks, against the risk of loss on their assets. This focus on individual firms ignores critical interactions between institutions and can also cause regulators to overlook important changes in the overall financial system. The solution: One regulatory organization in each country should be responsible for overseeing the health and stability of the overall financial system. This Working Paper, the fourth in the Squam Lake Working Group series distributed by the Center for Geoeconomic Studies, argues that the central bank should be charged with this important new responsibility.

See more in Financial Regulation; Financial Markets; Global

U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy

U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy

This report finds that nuclear weapons will remain a fundamental element of U.S. national security in the near term, and makes recommendations on how to ensure the safety, security, and reliability of the U.S. deterrent nuclear force, prevent nuclear terrorism, and strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation regime.

See more in Proliferation; United States

If the U.S. Dollar Plummets

If the U.S. Dollar Plummets

Author: Brad W. Setser

The scale of financing needed to support the U.S. fiscal deficit—together with the Federal Reserve’s policy of keeping U.S. interest rates low to ward off deflation—has revived concerns about a sudden and sharp depreciation of the U.S. dollar. This Center for Preventive Action Contingency Planning Memorandum by Brad W. Setser examines potential triggers and indicators of such a crisis and posits concrete policy options to limit U.S. vulnerability to the possibility of a plummeting dollar.

See more in United States; Monetary Policy

The Evolution and Future of Donor Assistance for HIV/AIDS

The Evolution and Future of Donor Assistance for HIV/AIDS

Authors: Kammerle Schneider and Laurie Garrett

This Working Paper, a contribution to the aids2031 project, focuses on the future of donor financing for HIV prevention and treatment programs and makes recommendations for what the donor community and national governments can do now to build a foundation that ensures steady, long-term funding for HIV/AIDS and alleviates the impact of future challenges.

See more in Foreign Aid; Global; Diseases, Infectious