The dollar's status as the world's reserve currency has become a facet of U.S. power, allowing the United States to borrow effortlessly and sustain an assertive foreign policy. But the capital inflows associated with the dollar's reserve-currency status have created a vulnerability, too, opening the door to a foreign sell-off of U.S. securities that could drive up U.S. interest rates. In this Center for Geoeconomic Studies Capital Flows Quarterly, Francis E. Warnock argues that a sell-off came close to happening in 2009. How the United States uses this reprieve will affect the nation's ability to borrow for years to come, with broad implications for the sustainability of an active U.S. foreign policy.
How would an Iranian acquisition of a nuclear weapons capability affect U.S. policy in the Middle East? In this discussion paper, sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Mitchell B. Reiss enumerates several strategic choices that would face U.S. regional allies and the adverse implications for U.S. interests.
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.
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.
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.
This Working Paper, sponsored by CFR's International Institutions and Global Governance program, examines the complicated landscape of global health governance, assesses the capabilities of existing institutions, and recommends more effective strategies for policy implementation.
This International Institutions and Global Governance program Working Paper argues that current U.S. political will to reduce nuclear dangers should be channeled into a practical set of control measures that are more likely to secure bipartisan support and can begin to be implemented without the legal consent of other states.
The controversial relationship between the United States and the International Criminal Court (ICC) is at a crossroads: After an initial period of hostility toward the ICC, the United States has in recent years pursued a policy of cautious engagement. Vijay Padmanabhan offers a backdrop of the U.S.-ICC relationship and policy recommendations for the U.S. delegation attending the Seven-Year Review Conference in May/June 2010.
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.
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.
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.
Most discussions about using international institutions to address climate change focus narrowly on the work of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. However, many other international institutions also have a significant role to play in mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change. This paper examines the existing climate-related efforts and capabilities, as well as the future potential, of a variety of international institutions, including those that deal with environment, energy, and economics. While there are still major shortfalls, the paper argues that there is significant existing institutional capacity to draw from in addressing climate change.
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.
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.
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.
NATO has been a cornerstone of security in Europe--and of U.S. foreign policy--for six decades. But its ability to continue playing such a central role is unclear. James M. Goldgeier takes a sober look at what the alliance and its members must do to maintain NATO's relevance in the face of today's strategic environment.
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.
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.
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.
Rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in low- and middle-income countries are increasing faster than in wealthier countries. The Independent Task Force outlines a plan for collective action on this growing epidemic.
The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2014 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 »
Now Available: Foreign Policy Begins at Home
The biggest threat to America's security and prosperity comes not from abroad but from within, writes CFR President Richard N. Haass in his provocative new book. More