What the editors of CFR.org are reading for the week of December 2 - December 6, 2013.
A sortable index of the best online analyses and inquiries on foreign policy.
What the editors of CFR.org are reading for the week of December 2 - December 6, 2013.
"The crisis unleashed by Yanukovich's rejection of EU overtures in favour of closer ties with former master Moscow has cast fresh light on the intrigue and promiscuous politics of Ukraine's post-Orange Revolution elite; like all good businessmen, oligarchs hedge their bets."
"And as president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Richard Fisher helps make the money go round. Meet the Fed's most unlikely central banker."
"While there is a great deal of variation in the responses based on region, province, urban versus rural, education level, income, and gender, the 2013 survey findings give reason for cautious optimism as Afghans move into critical elections and security transition in 2014."
"The path towards 2014 demands greater reconciliation among ethnic groups so as not to derail either the development process or the physical and moral resources of the government in chairing ASEAN and hosting other related summits in 2014."
"Egyptian voters might well be asked to approve the new constitution without knowing much about when their new president and parliament will be elected or what sort of system will govern the parliament. They may not know whether the defense minister who ousted Morsi will run for president or whether a malleable civilian will be put forward for the job. They may not even know whether the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party will be dissolved and therefore banned from running for seats in parliament. All these are salient points, because the vote in January will be more a popular referendum on the July 2013 coup than one on the draft constitution itself, which few are likely to read."
"Snowden grew up in the shadow of the biggest intelligence-gathering organization in the world – the National Security Agency – in the Anne Arundel County community of Crofton, Maryland. A solidly middle-class, planned community of 27,000 that Money has ranked as one of the '100 Best Places to Live,' Crofton, like the towns around it, fed the workforce of the defense and intelligence contractors in the area. The NSA, which employs tens of thousands of people in the public and private sectors, was just 15 miles away, at Fort Meade, whose high school boasts a 'homeland-security program' to funnel kids into the industry."
"If the eurozone adopts the program outlined above, there should be no need for Germany to pick up any tab. But under the perverse policies that Europe has adopted, one debt restructuring has been followed by another. If Germany and the other northern European countries continue to insist on pursuing current policies, they, together with their southern neighbors, will wind up paying a high price."
"All of these steps are meant to ensure that the prime minister, and not the Army chief, is the most powerful Sharif in Pakistan. But that status is not easy to guarantee: before he was toppled by Musharraf, in 1999, Sharif thought that his position was invulnerable, thanks to a landslide victory that gave him an overwhelming majority in Parliament. If the direct threat of a coup has receded, today Sharif faces a broader array of checks on his power."
"The government refuses to confirm or deny whether someone is on the list, officially called the Terrorist Screening Database, or divulge the criteria used to make the decisions—other than to say the database includes 'individuals known or suspected to be or have been engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism and terrorist activities.' Even less is known about the secondary watch lists that are derived from the main one."
"China is eager to re-establish dominance over the region. Bitterness at the memory of the barbaric Japanese occupation in the second world war sharpens this desire. It is this possibility of a clash between a rising and an established power that lies behind the oft-used parallel between contemporary East Asia and early 20th-century Europe, in which the Senkakus play the role of Sarajevo."
"A day spent as an inpatient at an American hospital costs on average more than $4,000, five times the charge in many other developed countries, according to the International Federation of Health Plans, a global network of health insurance industries. The most expensive hospitals charge more than $12,500 a day. And at many of them, including California Pacific Medical Center, emergency rooms are profit centers. That is why one of the simplest and oldest medical procedures—closing a wound with a needle and thread—typically leads to bills of at least $1,500 and often much more."
"Once you have beaten back a disease to just a few hundred cases, they will almost by definition be concentrated in places where there's some barrier—geographical, cultural, political—to easy vaccination. In general, each marginal case will cost more, and will consume more time and effort and labor, than the one before it...[but] the math of cost-benefit analyses runs aground when it comes to eradication campaigns, because the benefits, in theory, are infinite."
"If Japan's government can overcome a demand setback after the tax increase takes effect – leaving the economy functioning smoothly and initiating a recovery in government revenue – Abe will be able to declare Abenomics an unequivocal success."
"Unlike his predecessors, Xi is making foreign policy with the mindset of a great power, increasingly probing U.S. commitments to its allies in the region and exploiting opportunities to change the status quo."
"When asked if Karzai was concerned that the US might lose faith and withdraw altogether, the president's spokesman said: 'We don't believe there is a zero option.' This rock solid belief that the U.S. will not walk away from Afghanistan gives Karzai the confidence to hold out when the Americans, as well as everyone at the jirga...are pressing him to sign."
"[Karzai] would support an alternate center of power in the provinces in order to undermine the official one, such as the governor, that he had formally appointed. That way, both could be controlled by being balanced against each other; two weak allies were better than a single strong one who might break away. The result was perpetual instability. The tragedy of Karzai is that his survival strategy has been one that ultimately promotes weakness rather than strength."
What the editors of CFR.org are reading for the week of November 18 - November 22, 2013.
"In our interview, [Anote] Tong said he believes the Obama administration cares about the issue. But he noted that "there are people in Congress who are allergic to the term 'climate change.' " These are the people, he said, he wants to visit Kiribati before it's too late."
"What then might be done to convince Russia to end its defense of Assad's atrocities and to continue down the constructive path suggested by the chemical weapons deal at the UN and the statement in favor of humanitarian relief? One reason Moscow has been able to continue its intransigence for so long is that it has paid little price for it."
The story of the tragic and often tormented relationship between the United States and Pakistan, and a call to prepare for the worst, aim for the best, and avoid past mistakes. More
An authoritative and accessible look at what countries must do to build durable and prosperous democracies—and what the United States and others can do to help. More
A groundbreaking analysis of what the changes in American energy mean for the economy, national security, and the environment. More
This Independent Task Force report finds that as more people and services become interconnected and dependent on the Internet, societies are becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks.
This Independent Task Force asserts that Turkey is an increasingly influential regional and economic power and calls for the United States and Turkey to forge a new partnership.
The authors assess the political, security, and economic challenges facing U.S. policymakers in Afghanistan and evaluate a range of policy options.
Special operations play a critical role in how the United States confronts irregular threats, but to have long-term strategic impact, the author argues, numerous shortfalls must be addressed.
This volume brings together a broad range of Foreign Affairs content to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of Samuel Huntington’s classic article “The Clash of Civilizations?” More
December 16 Application Deadline:
Stanton Nuclear Security Fellowship
January 17 Application Deadline:
IAF in Nuclear Security
March 1 Application Deadline:
Edward R. Murrow Press Fellowship
For application instructions and more information, visit www.cfr.org/fellowships.
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