Articles

Academic articles by CFR fellows and experts.

Trade, Social Preferences and Regulatory Cooperation

Authors: Thomas J. Bollyky and Petros C. Mavroidis
Journal of International Economic Law

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; International Organizations and Alliances

Trump May Threaten a Trade War Over NAFTA, but His Options Are Limited

Author: Edward Alden
World Politics Review

When then-President Bill Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement in a White House ceremony in December 1993, he called it “a defining moment” for the United States and praised Mexico and Canada as “our partners in the future that we are trying to make together.” All three countries had made what then seemed like an irreversible decision to marry their economic futures. Yet today, less than a quarter-century later, those bonds are badly fraying.

See more in Americas; Trade

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