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As growth slows in mature economies across the developed world, economic inequality has reachednew heights. Defined in terms of the shares of disposable income of households across the economic spectrum, adjusted for varying needs, inequality today in the United States is significantly higher than it was a generation ago.
See more in Global; Economic Development
In recent years, as public anxiety over growing inequality has intensified, policymakers and academics have started scrambling for some increasingly extreme solutions.
See more in Brazil; Poverty
On January 28, 2009, barely a week into his presidency, Barack Obama met with the U.S. military’s top generals and admirals on their own turf, inside “the tank,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s conference room on the second floor of the Pentagon. A senior official recalled the new president as “remarkably confident—composed, relaxed, but also deferential, not trying to act too much the commander in chief.”
See more in United States; Presidents and Chiefs of State
The nuclear deal that the United States and five other great powers signed with Iran in July 2015 is the final product of a decadelong effort at arms control. That effort included sanctions in an attempt to impede Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapons capability.
See more in Iran; United States; Nonproliferation, Arms Control, and Disarmament
The scholar Edward Corwin famously described the separation of powers between the executive and the legislative branches set out in the U.S. Constitution as “an invitation to struggle for the privilege of directing American foreign policy.” With different parties controlling different branches of government, partisan politics tends to intensify this struggle, and the consequences can be ugly.
See more in United States; Media and Foreign Policy
Since the early 1990s, daily life in poor countries has been changing profoundly for the better: one billion people have escaped extreme poverty, average incomes have doubled, infant death rates have plummeted, millions more girls have enrolled in school, chronic hunger has been cut almost in half, deaths from malaria and other diseases have declined dramatically, democracy has spread far and wide, and the incidence of war—even with Syria and other conflicts—has fallen by half.
See more in Global; Development
At a time when Russian relations with the United States and western European countries are growing cold, the relatively warm ties between China and Russia have attracted renewed interest.
See more in China; Russia and Central Asia; International Organizations and Alliances
At the end of September, Russia began conducting air strikes in Syria, ostensibly to combat terrorist groups. The strikes constitute Russia’s biggest intervention in the Middle East in decades. Its unanticipated military foray into Syria has transformed the civil war there into a proxy U.S.-Russian conflict and has raised the stakes in the ongoing standoff between Moscow and Washington.
See more in Russia and Central Asia; Wars and Warfare
After Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014, the Obama administration responded with what has become the go-to foreign policy tool these days: targeted sanctions.
See more in Russia and Central Asia; United States; Sanctions
Last October, the European Court of Justice struck down the Safe Harbor agreement, a 15-year-old transatlantic arrangement that permitted U.S. companies to transfer data, such as people’s Google-search histories, outside the EU. In invalidating the agreement, the ECJ found that the blurry relationship between private-sector data collection and national security in the United States violates the privacy rights of EU citizens whose data travel overseas.
See more in United States; Europe; Intelligence
Almost five years ago, mass protests swept the Egyptian autocrat Hosni Mubarak from power. Most local and foreign observers believed that Egypt was on the path to a democratic future; some even proclaimed that democracy had arrived.
See more in Global; Democratization
Just a few years ago, Latin America was on a roll. Its economies, riding on the back of the Chinese juggernaut, were flourishing. A boom in commodity prices and huge volumes of foreign direct investment in agriculture and natural resources generated a golden decade.
See more in Americas; Economics
The biggest revelation offered by Ben Bernanke’s memoir of his time as chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve is just how much the public, the media, and especially elected officials have misunderstood the real lessons of the 2008 financial crisis and the subsequent Great Recession—events that defined Bernanke’s tenure, which began in 2006 and ended in 2014.
See more in United States; Financial Crises
The EU is under siege. The arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria has tested the single-border principle at the core of the union.
See more in Europe; Refugees and the Displaced
If the world is to avoid climate calamity, it needs to reduce its carbon emissions drastically by the middle of this century—a target that is simply out of reach with existing technology. Varun Sivaram and his co-author present the case for a massive investment in clean energy research and development to reach that goal.
See more in Global; Renewable Energy
In this May 2016 Foreign Affairs article Rob Knake looks back at the Obama administration's "cyberdoctrine" and the importance of making cybersecurity a private sector responsibility.
See more in United States; Presidents and Chiefs of State; Cybersecurity
Why U.S. Trade Deals Haven't Exported U.S. Drug Prices
See more in Asia and Pacific; United States; Treaties and Agreements; Pharmaceuticals and Vaccines
Robert E. Litan and Hal Singer examine future scenarios and the multiple possibilities for the future of net neutrality regulations.
See more in Global; Internet Policy
The control of Iran’s clerical hardliners over electoral processes has guaranteed the demise of the country’s left-wing movement, writes CFR’s Ray Tayekh with Reuel Marc Gerecht. The country has moved so far to the right that die-hard reactionaries are presented as reasonable conservatives.
See more in Iran; Elections; Political Movements and Protests
In the next five years, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will face new challenges as it struggles to come to terms with a rapidly changing global marketplace and with lending rules poorly suited for the crises the institution will likely face. These challenges will force the IMF to scrutinize and adjust its lending rules. A broader issue is also at play: financial markets are becoming bigger more quickly than the institution’s resources are, and IMF rescue alone may be insufficient in the future . How the financing burden is shared with other official creditors will help determine whether the fund is an effective leader of the global effort to prevent and resolve economic crises in the coming decades.
See more in Global; International Finance; International Organizations and Alliances