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Highlights From CFR

December 13, 2013


Ten Elections to Watch in 2014

James M. Lindsay

While the many 2013 elections mattered primarily to the people who cast ballots, 2014 is shaping up as a year in which the choices voters make could reverberate well beyond their countries' borders. Among the ten elections to watch are Afghanistan's presidential election, Iraq's and India's parliamentary elections, and South Africa's national assembly election. Read more on The Water's Edge »

Prospects for the Global Economy in 2014

Robert Kahn, Ernesto Talvi, Yukon Huang, Mark Zandi, and A. Michael Spence

The International Monetary Fund expects the growth of the global economy will accelerate to 3.6 percent in 2014 from 2.9 percent in 2013. Five top economic experts offer insights on how to read trends in different regions. Read more »

Making the Poor—and the U.S.—Poorer Still

Robert E. Rubin, Roger C. Altman, and Melissa Kearney

It has been a generation since the United States last had a robust conversation about combating poverty. Now is the time to reinvigorate that conversation, not cut needed benefits. Read more »


U.S. Budget Deal: A Needed Step

Robert Kahn

The budget deal members of Congress announced last night will provide breathing space for markets if it is approved. That it was negotiated ahead of the absolute deadline is something to build on. Read more on Macro and Markets »

Can Congress be Saved?

Richard N. Haass

The greatest threat to U.S. national security is not China or terrorism or Iran or anything else coming from beyond this country's shores. Rather, it is America's own political dysfunction. Far more significant than changing how Congress handles foreign policy would be changing how Congress handles its core business. Read the article »

Defense on a Diet

Melvyn P. Leffler

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the consequences of past U.S. defense cuts were not all bad. In fact, history shows that austerity forces Washington to think strategically, something it rarely does when times are flush. Read more on »


The Removal of Jang Song-thaek

Scott A. Snyder

Kim Jong-un's decision to remove and then execute his "regent," Jang Song-thaek, will strengthen his power in the near term and eliminate speculation among the highest-level cadres that Kim is subject to challenge. Read more on Asia Unbound »

Mexico’s Historic Energy Reform

Shannon K. O'Neil

Mexico's legislature passed a landmark energy bill opening Mexico's energy sector up to the broader world of investment. If it is implemented, this reform will lower consumer gas prices, increase stability of supply, and make Mexico a more attractive place for foreign investment. Read more on Latin America's Moment »

Three Weeks of Protests in Ukraine

Stephen Sestanovich and Anya Schmemann

Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich's gamble to get both the European Union and Russia to stop Ukraine's slide into bankruptcy has resulted in mass demonstrations in Kiev, an increasingly fragile economy, and a situation where no clear winner emerges. Yet compromise is more likely than an Orange Revolution 2.0, as Yanukovich's space for maneuvering is limited and the political and economic realities of all players involved point toward bolstering Ukraine's economy in the short term. Read the transcript »

Crucial Stage for Mideast Talks

Robert M. Danin

Despite Secretary of State John Kerry's statement that Israeli-Palestinian talks are at a crucial stage, the two parties dispute any notion that they are closer to an agreement than they have been in a long time. Kerry is focused on trying to resolve the question of who will police the West Bank if it is turned over to Palestinian control. Read the interview »


An Audio Preview of the World Next Week

James M. Lindsay and Robert McMahon

In this week's podcast, Lindsay and McMahon discuss the resumption of U.S.-EU trade talks in Washington, DC; Congress's new budget deal; and U.S.-Afghan security talks. Listen to the podcast »

Afghanistan After the Drawdown

Seth G. Jones and Keith Crane

A majority of U.S. troops that remain in Afghanistan after the 2014 drawdown should be assigned to train, advise, and assist Afghan national and local forces. Smaller numbers of troops should be tasked specifically with conducting strikes against terrorists. Read the Council Special Report »

Banking on Growth: U.S. Support for Small and Medium Enterprises in Least-Developed Countries

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

As government-aid budgets grow slimmer, the U.S. could gain a far greater return on its development dollars by directly investing in the entrepreneurs creating growth in their communities. The creation of an American development bank would maximize investment in small and medium-sized businesses in the world's least-developed economies. Read the Policy Innovation Memorandum »

Egypt: Mockery

Steven A. Cook

President George W. Bush's forthright calls for freedom and democracy in the Middle East forced leaders like Hosni Mubarak to position themselves as reformers, which, in turn, allowed activists to pursue their reform agendas in new ways. In keeping Major-General Abdel Fatah al Sisi honest in his commitment to democracy, President Barack Obama should take a page from his predecessor's play book. Read more on From the Potomac to the Euphrates »

Farewell to the Age of Free Trade

Joshua Kurlantzick

Over the past two years, international trade has grown so slowly that it has fallen behind the growth of the world economy. Major potential trade deals are at risk of falling through, and this month 159 members of the World Trade Organization agreed to move forward with basic trade facilitation measures but failed to reach a consensus on what should be on the table for the next WTO round. Read the op-ed »

Rewrite and Renew the Authorization of the Use of Military Force

Charles E. Berger

With the end of combat operations in Afghanistan expected next year, we should resist the urge to declare the "War on Terrorism" over and revert solely to a law-enforcement model of counterterrorism. To ensure the nation's counterterrorism strategy does not regress to a pre-9/11 framework, Congress should reauthorize and reframe the Authorization of the Use of Military Force. Read the op-ed »

Ask CFR Experts

Colette Mazzucelli asks, What is the likelihood, and potential impact, of a U.S.-EU free trade agreement? CFR Adjunct Senior Fellow James P. Dougherty says the likelihood of a U.S.-EU trade pact is slim, due to divisions in Congress, the NSA spying scandal, and the upcoming election year in Congress. Read the full answer and submit your question »

World Events Calendar

November 18: EU Foreign Affairs Council to Meet, Brussels

November 20: P5+1 Talks on Iran’s Nuclear Program, Geneva

View the Calendar »

Inside CFR

3-D Printing: Hugh Evans, Brad Pietras, and Cliff Waldman discussed 3-D printing technology—its current capabilities, future applications, and implications for U.S. manufacturing and competitiveness. Watch the event »


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