Articles

Academic articles by CFR fellows and experts.

Of Debt and Detriment

Authors: Benn Steil and Emma Smith
Weekly Standard

Benn Steil and Emma Smith show how China mirrors the U.S. “exorbitant privilege” from minting the world’s primary reserve currency. While the United States is deeply indebted to the rest of the world, it still earns far more abroad than it pays out. China, in contrast, has become the world’s largest creditor while paying foreigners far more than it receives. Steil and Smith argue that China is making itself vulnerable to financial crisis by massively subsidizing its geostrategic objectives.

See more in China; United States; Economics

The United Divided States: San Francisco Sues Donald Trump for Sanctuary Cities Order

Author: Catherine Powell
Just Security

Amidst the well-placed outrage over Trump’s Executive Order selectively banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries – including an array of critiqueslawsuits, and court decisions challenging its legality and wisdom – Trump’s Executive Order (EO) on Sanctuary Cities, which threatens to cut off federal funds to so-called “sanctuary cities,” has been somewhat overlooked.

See more in United States; Refugees and the Displaced

Our Man in the Middle East: The Confusing Worldview of Trump Aide Derek Harvey

Author: Steven A. Cook
salon.com

Though retired U.S. Army Colonel Derek Harvey, who oversees Middle Eastern affairs in the National Security Council, has mainstream ideas about combatting extremism, containing Iran, and stabilizing Iraq, his underlying ideas about how to achieve these goals are either confused, uninformed, or burdened with unhelpful ideology, writes CFR’s Steven A. Cook.

See more in Middle East and North Africa; Politics and Strategy

Regional Challenges to Global Governance

Author: Miles Kahler
Wiley Online Library

In a special section of Global Policy edited by Miles Kahler, five authors examine the opportunities and risks presented by regional institutions across five issue areas: finance, trade, development lending, human rights, and peace operations.

See more in Global; Global Governance

The Last Chance for the Old Guard of Kenya’s Opposition

Author: Tiffany L. McGriff
World Politics Review

A fourth presidential bid loss by Kenyan opposition leader and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga could cost him the confidence of his base, and if by a close margin or because of perceived voting irregularities, could ignite the kind of ethnic violence seen after Kenya's 2007 election and narrowly avoided after its 2013 race, argues CFR's Tiffany McGriff.

See more in Kenya; Presidents and Chiefs of State; Elections

Japan And South Korea Welcome Some Much-Needed Reassurance From The Trump Administration

Author: Scott A. Snyder
Forbes

Northeast Asia is facing profound political uncertainty: South Korea is immobilized by a political scandal that has resulted in the impeachment of its president and ensnared top business elites; Japan has been left high and dry after U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership, arguably the country’s best chance at growth; and North Korea is getting closer and closer to becoming a nuclear power. And no one knows what President Trump's "America First" agenda means for the country's Asian allies. What both Japan and South Korea need right now is assurance from the United States that its alliances are a priority. In his first overseas trip as the new Secretary of Defense, General James Mattis will be sure to affirm that commitment.

See more in Japan; South Korea; Politics and Strategy

A Peace Plan for Syria III

Authors: James Dobbins, Philip H. Gordon, and Jeffrey Martini
RAND Corporation

Philip Gordon, along with James Dobbins and Jeffrey Martini of RAND, presents a plan for de-escalation in Syria based on a national ceasefire, agreed zones of control backed by outside powers, and the international administration of Raqqa province.

See more in Syria; Conflict Assessment

Crowd Size Is Trivial; Trusting White House Numbers Is Not

Author: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
cnn.com

The Trump administration is only a few days in and already the fight with reporters over the media's view of the White House and the math behind its crowd counts is occupying America's headlines. A tug-of-war over facts -- both real and alternative -- is now in full swing, with the White House pulling crowd count numbers over to the side of the unbelievable with the committed vigor of the believer.

See more in United States; Presidents and Chiefs of State

Post-Ebola Reforms: Ample Analysis, Inadequate Action

Authors: Suerie Moon, Jennifer Leigh, Liana Woskie, Francesco Checchi, Victor Dzau, Mosoka Fallah, Gabriella Fitzgerald, Laurie Garrett, Lawrence Gostin, David Heymann, Rebecca Katz, Ilona Kickbusch, J. Stephen Morrison, Peter Piot, Peter Sands, Devi Sridhar, and Ashish K. Jha
British Medical Journal

Reports on the response to Ebola broadly agree on what needs to be done to deal with disease outbreaks. But Laurie Garrett and colleagues find that the world is not yet prepared for future outbreaks.

See more in Global; Health Policy and Initiatives; Public Health Threats and Pandemics

Will Trump Be the End of the Pax Americana?

Author: Max Boot
Los Angeles Times

With the “America First” emphasis in his truculent inaugural address, Donald Trump has signaled that a radical reorientation of American foreign policy may be in the offing. For more than 70 years, the United States has been the world’s leading champion of free trade, democracy, and international institutions, particularly in Europe and East Asia. But for how much longer?

See more in United States; Presidents and Chiefs of State

Nuclear Test, Political Fallout, and Domestic Turmoil

Authors: Scott A. Snyder and See-won Byun
Comparative Connections

South Korea’s domestic political vacuum following the impeachment of Park Geun-hye on December 9 overshadows prospects for renewing China-ROK relations in the year ahead. While the current cycle of DPRK provocations and international sanctions has drawn attention to vital Chinese interests in ensuring stability on the peninsula, Beijing’s deteriorating bilateral relationships with the two Koreas and the United States impede immediate regional efforts to break this cycle.

See more in United States; Asia and Pacific; Regional Security; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Assessing U.S.-Asia Relations in a Time of Transition

Author: Sheila A. Smith
Asia Policy

“Although Abe’s quick reach out to Trump in the wake of an election has eased some of the anxiety about the future of the alliance under new U.S. leadership, the larger uncertainty about how the new president will shake up U.S. policy toward Asia continues to shape Japanese attitudes on the transition,” writes CFR Senior Fellow Sheila Smith.

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