Op-Eds

Published opinions and arguments by CFR fellows and experts.

Why Did Walmart Raise Its Wages?

Authors: Benn Steil and Dinah Walker
Forbes Online

Benn Steil’s Forbes op-ed with Dinah Walker examines why Walmart is raising its minimum starting wage. Contrary to arguments from popular commentators, there is no logical reason to suggest hidden motives related to political pressure. Walmart remains as relentless on costs as ever; wage pressures in the retail sector, we show, are wholly sufficient to explain the company’s move.

See more in United States; Labor

In Yemen Strikes, Signs of Saudi Arabia's Foreign Policy Shift

Author: Ray Takeyh
Wall Street Journal

The Saudi-led military incursion into Yemen signals a major shift in Saudi policy toward the region, one more suited for a post-American phase, writes CFR’s Ray Takeyh. Perceiving that they are unable to reliably depend upon support from the United States, Saudi Arabia is adopting a more independent and aggressive policy to ensure its security.

See more in Yemen; Saudi Arabia; Conflict Assessment

Three Misconceptions About Inequality

Author: Peter R. Orszag
Bloomberg View

Concern about inequality in the U.S. is getting well-deserved attention. Unfortunately, though, discussions of the problem too often rest on three misconceptions: that capital is rising as a share of the economy, that most of the rise in wage inequality is explained by growing gaps within companies between higher and lower paid workers, and that workers are increasingly moving from one job to another. 

See more in United States; Financial Markets

What's Unusual About Today's 'Dual-Use' Technologies?

Author: Samuel C. Hinote
Cicero Magazine

Whether it’s finding our way around with the help of a GPS, sending large files through e-mail, or flying across the country, we all benefit from technologies that were originally developed for military use. Our lives would be very different without inventions such as the Global Positioning System, network packeting, and the jet engine. These “dual-use” technologies have proven to be winners in both military and commercial contexts—they help us to fight better and live better. As we look to the future, we will undoubtedly see many more of these technologies emerge. The predominant path for their development, however, is changing in a profound way.

See more in Global; Technology and Science; Defense Technology

Make No Mistake — the United States Is at War in Yemen

Author: Micah Zenko
ForeignPolicy.com

The United States is now engaged in yet another military intervention in the Middle East—this time in Yemen. Micah Zenko argues that what has become the standard operating procedure for how the United States goes to war should be alarming, particularly when the latest intervention “lacks clear courses of action, coherent objectives, or an intended end state.”

See more in Yemen; United States; Conflict Assessment

Congress Shouldn't Cut Military Research on Climate Change

Author: Varun Sivaram
The Hill

The new House budget sets a deadline of October 1 to “cut waste, eliminate redundancies and end the abuse or misuse of taxpayer dollars,” and it specifically targets the Department of Defense (DOD) for spending “part of their budget studying climate change.” Varun Sivaram highlights how the military’s broad portfolio of climate change adaptation efforts should not be considered redundant or wasteful because it bolsters American national security interests.

See more in United States; Climate Change; Budget, Debt, and Deficits

The Iran Time Bomb

Authors: Ray Takeyh, Michael V. Hayden, and Olli Heinonen
Washington Post

As negotiations between Iran and the great powers press forward, Secretary of State John F. Kerry seems to have settled on this defense of any agreement: The terms will leave Iran at least a year away from obtaining a nuclear bomb, thus giving the world plenty of time to react to infractions.

See more in Iran; Treaties and Agreements

Tunisia's Fragile Success Under Attack

Author: Max Boot
Commentary

Tunisia was struck by a terrible act of terrorism today: gunmen, presumably of Islamist persuasion, stormed the Bardo museum in the capital, Tunis, killing tourists indiscriminately. Early news accounts suggest that at least 19 people were killed before security forces stormed the building and killed the terrorists.

See more in Tunisia; Terrorist Attacks

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

We Need Defense Innovators More Than They Need Us

Author: Samuel C. Hinote
Cicero Magazine

If knowledge is power, we should all be feeling more powerful. The defining trend of our time is the ever-increasing connectedness made possible by technologies such as the Internet, satellite communication, and cell phones.With this connectedness comes instant access to a large portion of the world’s knowledge.

See more in Global; Innovation; Defense and Security