Articles

Academic articles by CFR fellows and experts.

A Checklist for Mitt Romney to Consider Before Signing On as Trump’s Secretary of State

Author: Stephen Sestanovich
Wall Street Journal

Donald Trump’s meeting with Mitt Romney this weekend has fueled speculation that the 2012 Republican presidential nominee may be Mr. Trump’s choice for secretary of state. If the president-elect makes the offer, Mr. Romney ought to be ready with a list of conditions for taking the job.

See more in United States; Presidents and Chiefs of State; Organization of Government

How to Talk to Donald Trump About Valuing U.S. Allies

Author: Stephen Sestanovich
Wall Street Journal

Mr. Trump needs to understand that, in a world where the balance of power is changing, the point of alliances isn’t just to keep large powers from pushing small ones around.  It’s also to keep large powers from pushing us around. If a businessman-turned-president can’t see that, he’s got the wrong job, argues Stephen Sestanovich. 

See more in United States; Presidents and Chiefs of State; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Post-Election, Will the U.S. Have an Asia Policy?

Author: Sheila A. Smith
East Asia Forum

Among many challenges revealed during the 2016 presidential election to the Obama adminisration’s rebalance to Asia, Sheila A. Smith, senior fellow for Japan studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, notes “it is the United States’ own commitment to the region that seems the most fragile.”

See more in United States; Asia and Pacific; Elections; International Organizations and Alliances

How The Next U.S. President Can Contain China In Cyberspace

Authors: Robert K. Knake and Adam Segal
Journal of International Affairs

When transition planning gets underway in earnest this fall, one of the hardest memos to write will be the outbrief from the current National Security Council (NSC) team on what to do about China’s ongoing campaign of cyber espionage targeting the intellectual property of U.S. companies. While long a focus of both the president’s cyber and China teams, there is little chance that in the coming months the issue is going to be brought to any type of resolution. Instead, the next president will inherit a partially implemented plan that has produced positive results in the short term, but its long-term sustainability remains uncertain. He or she would be wise to follow the playbook left by the Obama administration, with a redoubled focus on the investigation and prosecution of cybercrime.

See more in United States; Cybersecurity; China

How Cities and States Are Leading the Fight for More Beneficial Trade

Author: Edward Alden
PBS NewsHour

“The real progress has been not in Washington—where the idea of an active government role in promoting economic competitiveness remains suspect—but in the states and the largest cities. More and more local governments have taken the lead in developing competitiveness strategies that start from the premise that local prosperity depends in good part on success in international economic competition,” argues CFR Senior Fellow Edward Alden. This is an excerpt from his new book, Failure to Adjust: How Americans Got Left Behind in the Global Economy.

See more in United States; Competitiveness

What the ‘Hillary Hawk’ Talk Gets Wrong

Author: Stephen Sestanovich
Wall Street Journal

The Hillary-as-hawk talk is a caricature. Much damage has been done to U.S. influence first by failed military involvements and then by the effort to downsize the U.S. role and shift burdens to others. Acute awareness of that damage would shape the strategies of a Hillary Clinton administration. Doing better will take time, thought, and effort. It can’t rely on instinct.

See more in United States; Politics and Strategy

Trade, Social Preferences and Regulatory Cooperation

Authors: Thomas J. Bollyky and Petros C. Mavroidis
Columbia Law School, Center for Law and Economic Studies

Global value chains have changed the way that the world trades. The World Trade Organization (WTO) should embrace the confluence of shared social preferences and trade, where it may exist such as digital trade, food and drug safety, and climate smart-agriculture, as a motivation for advancing international regulatory cooperation. To do that, changes to the corporate governance of the WTO are needed to facilitate the use of plurilateral agreements and to multilateralize progress already occurring bilaterally and regionally. 

See more in Global; Trade

The Cult of the Expert—and How It Collapsed

Author: Sebastian Mallaby
The Guardian

Sebastian Mallaby uses the framework of central bank power to examine the rise and recent decline of the cult of the expert. He concludes that, ironically, experts need to play the political game if they hope to maintain their legitimacy; and that a healthy democracy is well served by a mix of public accountability and technocratic independence. 

See more in United States; Monetary Policy; International Finance