Op-Eds

Published opinions and arguments by CFR fellows and experts.

The Austerity Wars: Debunking Paul Krugman

Author: Benn Steil
Forbes Online

Benn Steil’s new Forbes op-ed examines Paul Krugman's data analysis purporting to document definitively that "austerity," defined by declines in real government purchases, damaged growth between 2010 and 2013. He shows that this finding collapses entirely when he excludes countries without independent monetary policies, such as those in the Eurozone. For countries with independent monetary policies, changes in real government purchases had no effect on growth.

See more in Global; Monetary Policy

Is Netanyahu Right About How to Bargain?

Author: Stephen Sestanovich
Wall Street Journal

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress last week was described here and there as “maximalist”—meaning, he insisted on the best imaginable terms for any agreement with Iran about its nuclear program. Because “Maximalist” is the title of my book on U.S. foreign policy since World War II, people have asked me whether Bibi’s approach isn’t the one the United States used for its own tough negotiations.

See more in Israel; Presidents and Chiefs of State

"Do India's Renewable Energy Targets Make Sense?"

Author: Varun Sivaram
CFR Blog: Energy, Security, and Climate

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government recently set a target of 100 GW of solar panels in India by 2022, a target that would leapfrog India over all developed countries. Varun Sivaram critically examines how realistic the Modi Government’s ambition is for India to become the “renewable energy capital of the world.”

See more in India; Renewable Energy

The U.S. Government Should Pay Anonymous in Bitcoin to Fight ISIS

Author: Emerson Brooking
Foreign Policy

Writing in Foreign Policy, Emerson Brooking argues that, given ISIS’ strategically significant use of social media for recruiting and messaging, any comprehensive plan to defeat the terror network must also neutralize its online presence. He proposes the creation of a bounty system that would pay hacktivists in anonymized Bitcoin to flag ISIS social media accounts and disrupt its websites. 

See more in United States; Cybersecurity; Counterterrorism

Why the Oil Price Drop Matters

Author: Michael A. Levi
World Economic Forum

After three years of unusual stability around $100 a barrel, oil prices fell steeply in the second half of 2014, dropping from $115 a barrel in June to around $60 by December. With oil critical to national economies, international security and climate change, what does the apparent new world of oil mean?

See more in Global; Oil

Obama's Bay of Pigs

Author: Micah Zenko
Foreign Policy

The U.S. plan to arm Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria looks eerily similar to the infamous 1961 failed Bay of Pigs operation. Micah Zenko argues that a clarification of phase two—how the United States will support the armed rebels once they are trained and equipped—is needed before the United States proceeds.

See more in Syria; Defense Strategy; Conflict Assessment

The Murder of Yet Another Putin Critic

Author: Max Boot
Commentary

In 1934 Sergei Kirov, an old Bolshevik who had been head of the Party organization in Leningrad, was assassinated with a shot to the back. Most of his NKVD bodyguards had been mysteriously removed before the murder. Josef Stalin, the Soviet Union’s absolute dictator, expressed shock at the murder and promised to investigate personally.

See more in Russian Federation; Presidents and Chiefs of State

The Strategic Genius of Iran's Supreme Leader

Author: Ray Takeyh
Washington Post

On the surface, there is not much that commends Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. An anti-Semite, he has frequently questioned the Holocaust and defamed Israel in despicable terms. As a conspiracy theorist, he endlessly weaves strange tales about the United States and its intentions. As a national leader, he has ruthlessly repressed Iran’s once-vibrant civil society while impoverishing its economy.

See more in Iran; Presidents and Chiefs of State