CFR's Michael Levi says the Obama administration faces tough negotiations on a global climate change agreement at the December Copenhagen meeting without clear support from Congress. But he says Obama has other legislative options.
Eileen B. Claussen interviewed by Stephanie Hanson
Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, says U.S. domestic climate legislation might pass in 2010, after Congress deals with health care reform. But a global climate agreement, set to be discussed in Copenhagen in December 2009, is dependent on U.S. policy, she says.
Gillian Tett of the Financial Times assesses the new U.S. plan for regulating derivatives markets and says regulators must balance the need to create transparency against the risk of stifling financial innovation.
CFR's Sebastian Mallaby says the G-20 summit could mark the beginnings of a profound shift in global financial regulation. But he says challenges lurk in the way the IMF is funded and how it monitors economic governance.
Mo Ibrahim, a Sudanese businessman who promotes good governance and entrepreneurship in Africa, says foreign investors, whether they are corporations, funds, or donor nations, must take the lead in bringing transparency and accountability to Africa's government and business sectors.
CFR economic expert Sebastian Mallaby credits President Obama with highlighting the long-term structural reforms needed to repair the U.S. economy and competitiveness, but says the scope of reforms may be too ambitious.
Elizabeth Economy, CFR's director of Asian Studies, says that China's economy is now "losing steam very quickly" and that the "global economic crisis is going to make it much harder for China to address its own domestic economic problems."
CFR President Richard N. Haass, who worked on previous presidential transitions, says that given the current world situation, he believes the first priority for President-elect Barack Obama lies in "the financial and economic side," and that "the near-term foreign policy challenges are probably Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, [and] a little bit of Iraq."
Daniel Markey, a former State Department specialist on South Asia, says Pakistan "is going through another series of really tough times" brought on by the economic downturn that has hit the country, and by the continuing problems fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
The Financial Times' Martin Wolf argues that massive accumulations of currency reserves enabled housing bubbles in developed economies and sparked the current financial crisis. The shakeout, Wolf says, could take years.
David Rubenstein, founder of the private equity firm the Carlyle Group, sees more pain ahead for global markets. He says the "entire economic construct" of recent decades may have to undergo radical change before the present crisis subsides.