Middle East

The White House On Targeted Killings: More Questions Than Answers

Attorney General Holder gave a widely-anticipated speech yesterday attempting to shed some light on the Administration's policy regarding the targeted killing of American citizens engaged in terrorism abroad. Politico has a good summary of what was said and I recommend reading Adam Serwer's take over at Mother Jones.  The bulk of the speech was boilerplate that we've heard before, but the important portion was when Holder laid out the standard used by the Administration when making decisions about targets:

"Let me be clear: an operation using lethal force in a foreign country, targeted against a U.S. citizen who is a senior operational leader of al Qaeda or associated forces, and who is actively engaged in planning to kill Americans, would be lawful at least in the following circumstances: First, the U.S. government has determined, after a thorough and careful review, that the individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States; second, capture is not feasible; and third, the operation would be conducted in a manner consistent with applicable law of war principles."

While this is the clearest statement that's been given by the Administration on the subject, it begs more questions than it answers. He characterizes Al Qaeda as posing an ongoing and imminent threat to the US. Given that reality, it's not clear what relevant distinction exists between "operational" and non-operational leadership. Holder's internal logic wouldn't seem to preclude the targeting of people who provide significant material, recruiting, or logistics support if the entire organization is viewed as posing an imminent threat to Americans.

He goes on to acknowledge the necessity of "robust oversight," explaining the detailed procedures in place to deal with intelligence gathering, wire-tapping, and prosecuting suspects through military tribunals. When he gets back to the situation at hand, however, the only oversight that appears to apply to targeted killings is for the White House to "regularly inform...the appropriate members of Congress." Mere Congressional notification hardly seems like a robust form of oversight. In fact, it's really the bare legal minimum. It certainly sounds as though the White House is operating under the amended National Security Act which doesn't require them to notify all of Congress, or even everyone on the relevent Intelligence committees. They can choose to brief only the so-called "Gang of 8," and the Congressional Research Service points out that "Congress does not have the authority under statute to veto outright a covert action." There may be compelling reasons for the Administration to limit oversight so severely, but the Attorney General didn't make those arguments.

Holder did, however, attempt to take his most vocal legal critics head-on when he asserted--correctly--that "Due process and judicial process are not one and the same." The Supreme Court has consistently allowed for alternative, extra-judicial processes in instances where a judge and traditional trial are unnecessary. Kevin Drum points out, however, that historically this approach has been "meant to keep full-blown trials from being required even for fairly minor offenses, something that could grind the criminal justice system to a halt. It's not meant to demean the due process required for something as serious as targeting someone for killing." The legal precedent is clearly on the side of the Administration here, but in order to know whether or not they are, in fact, demeaning the standard--we would need a lot more knowledge about how the internal process of target selection and approval is carried out. These are details that the White House appears intent on keeping to itself.

It isn't just American terrorist supporters who have a deeply vested interest in this policy, however. There's more than a few foreign countries that I'm sure are weary of American Hellfire missiles targeting people within their borders. Holder recognized these concerns, assuring the audience that the White House's legal interpretation "does not mean that we can use military force whenever or wherever we want." After this throat-clearing, however, he goes on to remind everyone that "neither Congress nor our federal courts has limited the geographic scope of our ability to use force... the use of force in foreign territory would be consistent with these international legal principles if conducted, for example, with the consent of the nation involved - or after a determination that the nation is unable or unwilling to deal effectively with a threat to the United States." We know that the Osama bin Laden raid, for example, was conducted without the consent or knowledge of the Pakistani government, so presumably there is some kind of process and criteria in place to make a determination about whether or not a country is "unable or unwilling" to act. Like the process for determining individual targets, though, the actual standards and calculus being used remains too opaque to judge.

All told, I commend the Administration's attempt to increase, if only marginally, the transparency around this policy. Americans, legal scholars, and foreign countries are right to view these actions with skepticism. The Authorization for Use of Military Force, passed by Congress in the wake of the September 11 attacks, grants the President broad powers to use "necessary and appropriate force" in protecting the nation from terrorism. As the Attorney General himself pointed out, though, proper oversight and review are essential to ensure that the White House exercises this power in a way that's consistent with our constitution, values, and international legal commitments. The ACLU, in a response to Holder's speech, argued that "judicial oversight is critically important given the breathtaking authority the government has claimed." Some accommodation for national security is clearly appropriate, but whether more formal judicial oversight is needed can't be fairly determined without understanding the rigor of the Administration's internal due process. With that in mind. civil rights groups are doing a real service by continuing to push for the needed level of disclosure. 

Foreign Policy Chat: Posturing On Iran And A Third Term For Putin


The escalating rhetoric on Iran is converging this week with a high-profile visit from Israeli PM Netanyahu and AIPAC's annual conference. Israeli hard liners and their American supporters have been pressuring the President for weeks to toughen up his position on Iran, emphasize military options, and to articulate concrete "red lines" - Iranian actions that would spur a military response from the US. The President took the stage at AIPAC to reassure the audience that he stands with Israel and is working diligently to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. The President's two-track strategy--which led with the option of diplomatic rapprochement and then pivoted to tough sanctions--has been credited by many analysts as causing significant economic turmoil in Iran and isolating them internationally in unprecedented ways. The fact remains that while no one can guarantee that the Administration's strategy will prevent Iran from developing nuclear capability, the hawks calling for air strikes certainly have not made any kind of compelling case for what that end game looks like and how we would deal with the massive regional instability that would result.

Daniel Levy penned an interesting piece analyzing some of the behind-the-scenes politics and strategy on the Israeli side and concludes that Bibi probably won't attack Iran. It's a great read for some background on the closed-door debates likely to be happening in Washington this week. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney has seized the opportunity to try and criticize Obama's Iran policy and cast him as weak on the Middle East. His argument, however, seems unlikely to resonate when his characterization of what a Romney foreign policy would look like is virtually identical to the one advanced by President Obama. Romney's suggestion that he "will have those military options...and will take those crippling sanctions and put them into place," could be verbatim from any White House press release. In trying to contexualize all of the noise on Iran, I highly recommend this radio clip from last week's On The Media, in which New York Times reporter Scott Shane explains the way that media coverage of Iran is impacting public opinion. Interesting stuff. 


Putin Claims Third Term

Sunday night saw Vladimir Putin shed tears as he claimed a third term as Russian President amid a backdrop of protests and allegations of electoral fraud. This result is anything but shocking, with international election observers promptly issuing a report revealing that the entire election left much to be desired: “Although all contestants were able to campaign unhindered, the conditions for the campaign were clearly skewed in favor of one candidate. Also, overly restrictive candidate registration requirements limited genuine competition. While all candidates had access to media, one candidate, the current Prime Minister, was given clear advantage in the coverage… The process deteriorated during the count which was assessed negatively in nearly one-third of polling stations observed due to procedural irregularities.” After the results were announced, police arrested more than 500 protestors and Putin reportedly paid $10 a head in order to fill the seats at a dramatic victory party.

The details of Russia’s rocky experience with democratic governance is less important in the short term, however, than how Putin chooses to play his cards on other regional and strategic issues. The Secretary-General of NATO issued a statement expressing his confidence that the organization will continue to collaborate on issues of importance—such as missile infrastructure and Afghanistan. The continuity of government in Moscow will also have important implications for the ongoing international response to the crisis in Syria. Russia recently vetoed a Security Council resolution on the subject, seeking to protect their long-time ally and warm-water naval base. US and European officials will have to wait and see whether the security of a six year Presidential term will make Putin more or less inclined to come to the table and engage with the West. 

Foreign Policy Chat: What To Do About Syria, North Korean Nukes, And Foreign Policy In The 2012 Election

Today we're launching a regular feature called Foreign Policy Chat. I'll be highlighting a few daily stories that are driving the chatter in foreign policy circles, providing interesting links, and offering some brief analysis. I welcome your feedback and comments. Stay up to date throughout the day via Twitter by following @BradEEB and #FoPoChat. 


As the Syrian rebels have been forced into a “tactical retreat” from Homs and the SNC struggles to establish the ability to effectively represent the Syrian people, debate continues in the US about aid and possible intervention. GOP presidential candidates have criticized the President’s failure to act militarily, but proponents of intervention have failed to confront the stated logistical concerns of nearly all top policy makers from the White House, Capitol Hill, and NATO. A CNAS report by Marc Lynch, published last week, convincingly argues that intervention or arming the rebels stands little chance of improving the situation on the ground and would likely make the conflict far more bloody. Until the hawks can articulate a reasonable path forward that addresses all of the tactical and strategic problems, their position simply isn’t credible.

Foreign Policy and the 2012 Election

With the economy slowly improving and polls trending positively for Democrats, GOP operatives are beginning to suggest moving the national debate onto issues of foreign policy. Two of the political architects behind George W Bush’s failed foreign policy misadventures, Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie, recently penned an article arguing that the President is weak on security issues and vulnerable on foreign policy. The irrationality of their arguments, however, has been exposed by two compelling rebuttals: One by Stan Greenberg and Jeremy Rosner; the other by Michael Cohen. While Rove and Gillespie’s assertions about Obama’s vulnerability are largely baseless, this debate suggests that we’re going to be hearing a lot more about foreign policy between now and November. NDN’s own Simon Rosenberg recently explored how Obama’s Middle East strategy will likely fit into forthcoming Republican attacks.

North Korea

This week saw a surprise announcement that the US had struck a deal with the North Koreans to freeze their nuclear program, discontinue missile tests, and allow UN inspectors in exchange for significant food aid. Secretary Clinton characterized the move as a “modest step forward,” while North Korea experts Victor Cha and Ellen Kim argued that this may be a bad-faith ploy from a Pyongyang leadership with no real intention to make lasting changes. Critics are right to be skeptical. The long-running pattern of North Korean behavior suggests that the cat and mouse game over their nuclear program is far from over. This latest move occurring so closely on the heels of Kim Jong Un’s ascension, however, is almost certainly positive. Many analysts were afraid that the younger Kim would feel compelled to flex his military muscles in order to earn the respect of the military establishment. The fact that he feels comfortable enough to make any nuclear deal with the US seems to suggest that it’s unlikely the regime will aggressively lash out in the near term. 

The Real Economic Implications of the Uprising in Egypt

Thanks to globalization, the uprising in Egypt raises serious questions about the impact on Western economies, including America, as well as Egypt’s political and economic development.   The precipitating event for the current unrest almost certainly was a facet of globalization -- steadily rising worldwide food prices which hit record levels just before the unrest broke out.   An average household in Cairo has to spend 40 percent of its income on food, so price increases of more than 30 percent in recent months almost certainly helped fuel the volatile dissatisfaction.  Outside Egypt, the economic issue is, as usual, the price of oil.  Egypt produces little of the black stuff; but unlike Tunisia, it is an important transit country for crude.   Despite media doomsayers, however, the current unrest is very unlikely to take a serious toll on Western economies.  

A full-out civil war certainly could compromise the Suez Canal and the Sumed pipeline that links the Red Sea to the Mediterranean.   If that happens, tankers carrying more than 2 million barrels of oil a day will have to add another 6,000 miles to their journeys.   Such an interruption of shipments through the Canal and the Egyptian pipeline would shake up world oil markets and set the stage for speculators like Goldman Sachs and large hedge funds to gin up a short-term spike in prices, and profit nicely by it.   And yes, oil price increases can have huge effects on the American and world economies.  The recessions of 1974-1975, 1980, and 1990-1991 were triggered by big jumps in oil prices; and what became the Great Recession of 2007-2009 also was set off by oil price hikes. 

 But in order to threaten the U.S. and global recoveries, an oil price spike would have to be both very large and persistent -- for at least four-to-six months.    Before this year’s unrest gripped Tunisia and Egypt, oil prices in 2010 had risen by about 27 percent.  That cost the United States an additional $72 billion for oil imports, an extra $70 billion for the EU’s oil imports, and $27 billion more for Japan.  That’s not peanuts, but it was still just ripples for economies of their size.  Saudi Arabia is the only country with the capacity to engineer and maintain a price spike sufficient to wreck real economic havoc – as it has the capacity to prevent any other oil-producing country from trying to do the same.   

The real economic impact here threatens Egypt, not the United States; and once again, globalization is the key.   As China, Eastern Europe and parts of Latin America attest, globalization creates a new path for rapid economic development, based on vast foreign direct investments (FDI).  Over the last decade, the world’s leading multinational companies have transferred hundreds of billions of dollars in advanced technologies and business organizations directly to developing countries, including Egypt.  But FDI goes to countries whose economic and political stability those companies trust.  The political and economic conditions that emerge in Egypt once the uprising is resolved will determine whether FDI to Egypt continues, sustaining its path to modernization, or reverses itself and puts the country on a path to economic stagnation.

These FDI transfers to Egypt swamp, for example, all U.S aid.  Over the last decade, American economic assistance to the country has averaged about $500 million per-year, and total economic and military assistance has run about $1.8 billion per-year.   Over the same period, FDI into Egypt has averaged $4.8 billion per-year, nearly three times all U.S. assistance and almost 10 times our economic aid.   Moreover, these FDI transfers increased sharply in recent years, averaging $9.4 billion per year since 2006 or 6.2 percent of Egypt’s GDP.  

There’s no doubt that the chief investment officers at the world’s largest companies have put on hold new investments in Northern Africa, at least until the outcome of the uprising becomes more clear.  Many factors go into the decisions about where to set up new foreign operations by companies like Coca Cola, General Electric, and Mitsubishi – or in Egypt’s case, by energy companies such as APA and BP, and financial service giants such as Citigroup and Metropolitan life.  The size and composition of a national or regional market count, as do a developing country’s infrastructure, the skills of the local labor force, the taxes multinationals will have to pay, and the soundness of a country’s currency.

Underlying all of these conditions is a country’s basic political stability and willingness to embrace Western businesses.  Sadly, multinational have no special preference for democracies over dictatorships, so long as both can guarantee stability and the rule of law.  To be sure, democracies tend to be a little more stable and lawful than many dictatorships, and sometimes they’re more prone to undertake the large public investments that Western companies look for.  But if the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies end up on top in Egypt, the modernizing investments now planned for there and many already in place will almost certainly go to other countries – dashing many of the hopes for a better life that have fueled the uprising. 

Big Press Day for Upcoming NDN Speakers Rep. Adam Smith and Peter Bergen on Afghanistan

Next Wednesday, October 28, Afghanistan experts Congressman Adam Smith, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities of the House Armed Services Committee, and journalist Peter Bergen, the Co-Director of the New America Foundation’s Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative will speak to NDN about America’s challenges in Afghanistan. Both had important contributions to the conversation today in the press, Smith in lead quote in the New York Times and Bergen in an article in The New Republic.

Here's what Adam Smith, who recently traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan, had to say in a piece on Taliban financing:

Despite efforts by the United States and its allies in the last year to cripple the Taliban's financing, using the military and intelligence, American officials acknowledge they barely made a dent.

"I don’t believe we can significantly alter their effectiveness by cutting off their money right now," said Representative Adam Smith, a Washington State Democrat on the House Intelligence and Armed Services Committees who traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan last month. "I'm not saying we shouldn’t try. It’s just bigger and more complex than we can effectively stop."

And an excerpt from Peter Bergen's piece called "The Front: The Taliban - Al Qaeda Merger:"

...as President Obama weighs whether to send more troops to Afghanistan, the connection between the region and Al Qaeda has suddenly become a matter of hot dispute in Washington. We are told that September 11 was as much a product of plotting in Hamburg as in Afghanistan; that Al Qaeda and the Taliban are quite distinct groups, and that we can therefore defeat the former while tolerating the latter; that flushing jihadists out of one failing state will merely cause them to pop up in another anarchic corner of the globe; that, in the age of the Internet, denying terrorists a physical safe haven isn't all it's cracked up to be.

These arguments point toward one conclusion: The effort to secure Afghanistan is not a matter of vital U.S. interest. But those who make this case could not be more mistaken. Afghanistan and the areas of Pakistan that border it have always been the epicenter of the war on jihadist terrorism--and, at least for the foreseeable future, they will continue to be. Though it may be tempting to think otherwise, we cannot defeat Al Qaeda without securing Afghanistan.

To see this important discussion on Afghanistan between Smith and Bergen, it's well worth viewing NDN's webcast at 7:00 pm on October 28. Details here.

Long-time NDN Friends Hit Stewart, Colbert Shows Last Night

For those of you who have followed NDN for a while, television's must-watch shows hosted familiar faces last night. Jon Stewart hosted Vali Nasr, a professor at the Tufts University and adviser to Richard Holbrooke. Nasr was promoting his new book, Forces of Fortune: The Rise of the New Muslim Middle Class and What It Will Mean for Our World, which sounds like an important entry into the newly forming canon of books on the "rise of the rest." Simon interviewed Nasr, the footage of which can be found below the Stewart interview. 

Beneath that, you can find Shai Agassi, the founder of Better Place. An electric car startup that seeks to radically change transportation, Agassi appeared at NDN's "Moment of Transformation" conference last year. His appearance on Colbert last night is a good update on their progress. 

Nasr on the Daily Show:

Simon interviews Nasr:

Agassi on the Colbert Report:


Agassi at "A Moment of Transformation:"

Drezner on Russia, Iran, and US Interests

Yesterday on FP.com, the Tufts Fletcher School’s Daniel Drezner wrote about the problems Russia is causing itself by being seen to meddle in Iran’s internal politics (in stark contrast to Obama's smart response).  Basically, he picks up on an Andrew Sullivan blog in which Iranians seem to believe that something like a Russian Coup is actually happening, and that the Russians are now very concerned about this and trying to backtrack, likely unsuccessfully.

I also think Drezner’s right on in terms of where things are headed, which is now in stark contrast to where the situation was just a couple days ago. Until recently, Obama was accurate in saying that there was little difference in terms of policy outcomes between an Ahmadinejad and Mousavi win (and he was certainly right to say it, so as to not pronounce an American favorite, thereby handicapping that person). Now, as Drezner rights, the situation in Iran is at a fundamentally different point (my emphasis):

I'm pretty sure a Rubicon has been crossed in Iran that can't be uncrossed.  This isn't 1999 and 2003 -- too many days have passed with the Khamenei regime on the defensive.  The regime as it existed for the past twenty years -- hemmed-in democracy combined with clerical rule -- is not going to be able to continue.  With the largest protests of the past week scheduled for tomorrow, I think this ends in one of two ways:  the removal of Ahmadinejad and Khamenei from power, or bloodshed on a scale that we cannot comprehend. 

Actually, come to think of it, those two outcomes are not mutually exclusive.  

Obama and Realism, Continued

Yesterday on the NDN Blog, Simon, Sam, Dan, and I wrote quite a bit about Obama’s foreign policy philosophy, and I’d like to present a couple more takes on the subject. First, TNR’s Peter Scoblic applauds the Obama Administration’s response to Iran, and their ability to craft a middle ground between realism and idealism:

I don't accept the suggestion that if one is not an idealist, one is necessarily a cold-blooded realist. Although there are certainly those who believe that the internal affairs of other countries are irrelevant or unimportant, it is possible to care about human rights while questioning America's ability to influence the internal affairs of other countries and while doubting that our values and our interests are always synonymous. The United States has other priorities as well. Thus one can be skeptical of the efficacy and wisdom of diplomatic and military pressure in the name of human rights without being amoral. Moreover, although realism may be "cold," its ideological opposite, which puts the nature of regimes at the center of our foreign policy, is even more problematic. In this view, one espoused chiefly by conservatives and neoconservatives, the fact that a regime is good or evil becomes not simply a moral observation but a strategic guide. Idealism's concern with regimes, in other words, can rapidly deteriorate into a dangerous Manichaeism.

I think it is possible to have a foreign policy that harbors no illusions about the nature of enemy regimes, but that recognizes our limited capacity to change those regimes and therefore our need to engage them. I think it is possible to have a moral foreign policy that is not moralist. But how, exactly, do we pursue our idealist instincts without sabotaging the security of the United States and our allies? How can we be appropriately self-interested without being utterly selfish? These are the questions we're wrestling with right now. At first glance, the answers may seem to differ only in balance and degree. (Does one speak loudly and decry the evil of the mullah-cracy in order to support the protestors, or does one hold back, recognizing that interference could backfire not only against Mousavi's backers but against American interests more broadly?) But these are not simply tactical questions…they are the manifestations of fundamentally different worldviews, which is to say they represent different assessments of our strategic priorities and our capabilities.

Also, Stephen Walt over at FP.com convincingly rejects Andrew Sullivan’s call for Western governments to refuse to acknowledge Ahmadinejad as president of Iran, asking how far we would have to apply that standard. He is also (not surprisingly) pleased with Obama’s response to Iran:

Obama's measured response to the events in Iran strikes me as more sensible: we can and should deplore the abuses of basic rights and the democratic process, while making it clear that the United States is not interfering and remaining open to the possibility of constructive dialogue. Given our long and troubled history with Iran (which includes active support for groups seeking to overthrow the current government), any sense that we are now trying to back Moussavi is likely to backfire. Trying to steer this one from Washington won’t advance our interests or those of the reformists.  

Here's a hypothetical question for you to ponder. Which world would you prefer: 1) a world where Ahmadinejad remains in power, but Iran formally reaffirms that it will not develop nuclear weapons, ratifies and implements the Additional Protocol of the NPT, comes clean to our satisfaction about past violations (including the so-called "alleged studies"), permits highly intrusive inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities, and ends support for Hamas and Hezbollah as part of a "grand bargain" with the West; or 2) a world where Mir Hussein Mousavi -- who was the Ayatollah Khomeini's prime minister from 1981 to 1989 -- wins a new election but then doesn't alter Iran's activities at all? 

This is hypothetical, of course, and almost certainly does not reflect the likely policy alternatives. But your choice of which world you'd prefer probably reveals a lot about how you conceive of the national interest, and the degree to which you think foreign policy should emphasize concrete security achievements on the one hand, or normative preferences on the other.

Finally, I hesitate to even link to this, but Robert Kagan embarrassed himself this morning in the Washington Post. Jonathan Chait at TNR does a fine job of dismantling his argument.

Pragmatic Liberalism in Iran

Simon wrote this morning:

[President Obama] has already been cast in a different role by history -- one of inspiring champion of all those throughout the world who need someone to speak for them… Our president, as chief global advocate of free and open societies, cannot sit on the sidelines as people attempt to throw off the shackles of old and anti-democratic regimes. This moment is too important, this particular leader too powerful, for America not to ambitiously re-assert itself as the great global champion of universal aspirations of all the world's peoples.

I think Simon is right that this will be the central challenge of the Obama Doctrine—to lead the world by example and not by fear. To stand for our values without shoving them down the throats of our partners overseas. To hold America up as a paragon of liberty and justice while, of course, keeping the country safe and secure.

It has been extraordinary to watch the fallout from the hijacking of the Iranian government by President Ahmadinejad, Ayatollah Khamenei, and the Supreme Council. The massive protests we have read about on Twitter, watched on YouTube, and seen in so many incredible photographs continue to gain steam, and there’s no telling where they could lead.

And here we have a situation where our interests and our ideals converge. Moussavi and his followers clearly carry the twin banners of freedom and self-rule in the face of what is, in effect, a military coup. The reformists would, it seems, be more likely to cut a deal on Iran’s nuclear program, and would certainly be easier to work with on the global stage.

But what can we do? What can President Obama say?

The last time our country got involved in Iranian politics, we helped overthrow a democratically elected leader, Mohammed Mossadeq, and enabled a decade of autocratic rule by the Shah. That misadventure led directly to the 1979 Revolution, and our image hasn’t much improved among the Iranian people since then. Any bold statement by the American president in support of Moussavi would be turned against us as fodder for Ahmadinejad’s populist, anti-American rhetoric. Any evidence of covert American involvement in Iran would shatter the legitimacy of the reformist movement.

President Obama’s challenge is to support this movement in Iran without undermining it, and in this objective, he has been right to hang back and quietly offer an ongoing commitment to negotiations with Iran. As I wrote above, his task is not to enforce democracy, but to enable it when he can, and lead by example when he cannot. Guided by this pragmatic Liberalism, he will have the chance to "ambitiously re-assert America as the great global champion of universal aspirations of all the world's peoples."

NDN Backgrounder: International Economic Policy for the 21st Century

News came yesterday that the bill containing coverage for the line of credit being extending to the IMF is being slowed because some sadly misinformed members of Congress are concerned that the money is, "a bailout that could line the pockets of terrorist regimes around the world." (John Boehner, courtesy of The Hill.) This scare tactic with no basis in reality would be funny, if the IMF money weren't going to be used in large part to maintain stability in fragile countries in the midst of a global economic crisis. Of course, it's that instability in fragile countries that could actually lead to terrorism.

In the spirit of educating on international economics, please find today's economic backgrounder:

  • Douglas Alexander Delivers Major Speech on Conflict, Fragility, and Development, 4/27/2009 - Alexander, the United Kingdom's Secretary of State for International Development, argued that governments aiding failed and fragile states must do more than work to support economic growth and provide basic services such as clean water, health and education; they must now "support political institutions and processes -- parliaments, political parties, civil society and the media."
  • The Politics of the Bottom Up Go Global by Simon Rosenberg, 4/3/2009 - Rosenberg, reflecting on President Obama's town hall in Strasbourg, writes that Obama has begun the transformation from President of the United States to the paramount leader of the world's peoples.
  • Shapiro Speaks on G-20, Need for Global Economic Action, 4/1/2009 - At an NDN event on "The G-20 and Beyond: Challenges Facing the Global Economy," Shapiro delivered wide-ranging comments on the global Great Recession, its causes, and the global leadership necessary to combat it. The event also featured U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, Foreign Policy magazine Editor-in-Chief Dr. Moisés Naím. 
  • U.S. Rep Adam Smith at The G-20 Summit and Beyond, 4/1/2009 - Ahead of the G-20 Summit, Smith, a Congressional leader on trade, terrorism, and international development, speaks on international trade and the need for a globally coordinated development strategy.
  • The Fallout of the Great Recession for Trade by Dr. Robert Shapiro, 2/11/2009 - Shapiro argues that the world is currently experiencing the economic symptoms of protectionism without actual protectionist measures being put in place, which could have dangerous consequences for the global economy.
  • Recovery Without E-verify and Buy American by Simon Rosenberg, 2/10/2009 - Rosenberg advocates for the removal of "Buy American" and E-verify provisions from the stimulus, provisions that will not stimulate the economy and will do more harm than good. 
  • The Global Economic Crisis and Future Ambassadorial Appointments by Simon Rosenberg, 11/26/2008 - With the mammoth task of rebuilding international financial architecture and recovering from a global recession awaiting the new President, Rosenberg points out the the ambassadors to the G20 nations will be key members of the economic team.
  • Harnessing the Mobile Revolution by Tom Kalil, 10/9/2008 - Tom Kalil, now the Associate Director for Policy of the White House Office of Science and Technology, authored this paper for the New Policy Institute. The paper argued that mobile communications technology can be a powerful tool for addressing some of the greatest challenges of the 21st century.
Syndicate content