Policy Innovation Memoranda
Policy Innovation Memoranda target critical global problems where new, creative thinking is needed. Written for policymakers and opinion leaders, these brief memos aim to contribute to the foreign policy debate by providing succinct background, rigorous analysis, and specific recommendations.
The United States needs a civilian capacity to foster better-functioning institutions in chaotic countries, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) should lead that effort. To embrace a state-building mission, however, USAID will have to be transformed. Max Boot and Michael Miklaucic argue that the agency will need to do less but do it better, and limit its efforts to strategically important states while enhancing its focus on building core state functions.
See more in United States; Foreign Aid; Nation Building
The International Military Education and Training (IMET) program, which provides U.S. government funds to members of foreign militaries to take classes at U.S. military facilities, has the potential to be a powerful tool of U.S. influence. Joshua Kurlantzick explains how the program can be reformed to more effectively promote U.S. interests.
See more in Asia and Pacific; United States; Diplomacy and Statecraft; Military Leadership
Of all the factors currently tearing the Middle East apart, none is more consequential than the war in Syria. Given the dire consequences of the status quo or military escalation, Philip Gordon outlines the best chance for de-escalating the conflict and achieving a cease-fire.
See more in Syria; Peace, Conflict, and Human Rights; Wars and Warfare
Since defecting from Six Party negotiations on denuclearization in 2008, North Korea has pursued nuclear development unchecked by international constraints. Scott A. Snyder outlines steps the United States should take to lead coordinated multilateral action opposing North Korea’s nuclear status, while still leaving a denuclearized North Korea a route for regime survival.
See more in North Korea; Nonproliferation, Arms Control, and Disarmament
As the international troop presence in Afghanistan shrinks, the United States and India have a shared interest in a stable future for Afghanistan. CFR Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia Alyssa Ayres writes that the United States should encourage Indian support for Afghanistan in areas of Indian expertise: democracy, economics, and civilian security.
See more in Afghanistan; India; Regional Security; Nation Building
The United States needs new policies designed to help people develop the skills they need to manage economic change with greater personal security. Matthew J. Slaughter and Robert B. Zoellick lay out a jobs-policy overhaul to support innovation and adapt to changing needs.
See more in United States; Labor
Max Boot details a comprehensive strategy to defeat ISIS by committing to the fight on multiple fronts: intensify air strikes, utilize U.S. personnel and capabilities, encourage local and regional partners, and prepare for nation-building.
See more in Iraq; Syria; Wars and Warfare
Europe can no longer afford to put off its debt problem. Robert Kahn recommends that policymakers draw lessons from the Paris Club to provide a rules-based approach to debt relief that can get Europe back on the path to growth.
See more in Europe; Financial Crises; Budget, Debt, and Deficits
South Korea and the United States have reached an impasse in bilateral talks on nuclear cooperation. Senior Fellow Scott Snyder argues that the United States should extend the current agreement and make a follow-on agreement contingent on the results of an ongoing study on feasibility and proliferation risks of South Korea's right to enrich and reprocess U.S.-origin nuclear fuels.
See more in South Korea; Nuclear Energy
The marketplace for medicines is highly fragmented and globalized, posing acute public health threats. Stewart Patrick and Jeffrey Wright assert that a global coalition of medicines regulators, designed with distinct features in mind, would better ensure the safety and integrity of our medicines.
See more in Global; Pharmaceuticals and Vaccines; Health Policy and Initiatives
Each year, governments around the world spend more than half a trillion dollars on fuel subsidies, crowding out productive investment in poverty alleviation and growth. CFR Senior Fellow Isobel Coleman proposes establishing a private-public partnership to help governments build the case for subsidy reform directly with citizens.
See more in Global; Energy Policy; Economics
Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia Alyssa Ayres argues that the United States should support India's bid to join the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.
See more in India; Trade
Each year, U.S. state and local governments waste tens of billions of taxpayer dollars competing to lure or retain business investment, with little impact on business behavior. Edward Alden and Rebecca Strauss lay out incremental steps for curbing the subsidy war, beginning with greater disclosure and cost-benefit analyses, and building up to a multistate agreement that creates strong disincentives for continuing subsidies.
See more in United States; Economics
To advise state and local government on how best to use private investment and build more critical infrastructure in a cost-effective way, Heidi Crebo-Rediker recommends the federal government create a new advisory unit within the Treasury Department called "Infrastructure USA."
See more in United States; Infrastructure
CFR Senior Fellow Ray Takeyh argues that it is necessary for the United States to emphasize human rights issues during discussions of a nuclear agreement with Iran.
See more in Iran; Human Rights
Benn Steil and Dinah Walker argue that the ECB's bank stress tests will roil rather than calm markets if recapitalization funds are not set aside in advance, as they were in the case of the highly successful U.S. tests in 2009.
See more in Europe; Banks and Banking; Financial Crises
Charles Berger argues that the United States should fund the establishment of a permanent terrorist rehabilitation institution in Yemen, providing a critical counterterrorism partner with a needed strategic capability to counter al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and forming the cornerstone of a strengthened intelligence-sharing relationship.
See more in Yemen; Radicalization and Extremism; Terrorism
Elliott Abrams argues that U.S. policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian peace process should focus on pragmatic, achievable goals rather than raising expectations for a comprehensive peace settlement that is not now attainable.
See more in Israel; Palestine; Treaties and Agreements; Diplomacy and Statecraft
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon argues why it is in U.S. interests to create an American development bank that invests in small- and medium-sized businesses, including those owned by women, in the world's least-developed and newly emerging economies.
See more in Global; Economic Development
Two new revolutions in biology—gain-of-function research and synthetic biology—are forcing policymakers to rethink current national and international surveillance and regulatory systems, and any resolution will require international buy-in since the threat entails all living organisms.
See more in Global; Health