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Millennials and U.S. Foreign Policy: The Next Generation’s Attitudes toward Foreign Policy and War (and Why They Matter)

June 22, 2015 Comments off

Millennials and U.S. Foreign Policy: The Next Generation’s Attitudes toward Foreign Policy and War (and Why They Matter)
Source: Cato Institute

First, Millennials perceive the world as significantly less threatening than their elders do, and they view foreign policies to deal with potential threats with much less urgency. Second, Millennials are more supportive of international cooperation than prior generations. Millennials, for example, are far more likely to see China as a partner than a rival and to believe that cooperation, rather than confrontation, with China is the appropriate strategy for the United States. Finally, thanks in particular to the impact of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Millennials are also far less supportive of the use of military force and may have internalized a permanent case of”Iraq Aversion.”

The rise of the Millennial Generation portends significant changes in public expectations and increased support for a more restrained grand strategy. There is no reason, however, to expect that U.S. grand strategy will become particularly coherent under Millennial leadership. Millennials, like every generation, reflect significant partisan splits over core issues. In the absence of a unifying security threat, these partisan divides ensure that U.S.foreign policy will feature as much debate and dissensus in the future as it does today.

EU-Turkey relations [What Think Tanks are thinking]

June 17, 2015 Comments off

EU-Turkey relations [What Think Tanks are thinking]
Source: European Parliament Think Tank

Turkey’s ruling AKP party won the 7 June parliamentary election, but lost its majority in the house, opening the way for talks on a coalition government and plunging the country into uncertainty. The vote ended more than a decade of single-party rule in the EU candidate country and dealt a blow to President Tayyip Erdogan’s ambitions for a more powerful executive role. It is expected to have many implications, including on EU-Turkey relations. This note offers links to commentaries, studies and reports from major international think tanks on recent developments in Turkey, and the relations between the EU and Turkey.

NATO Publics Blame Russia for Ukrainian Crisis, but Reluctant to Provide Military Aid

June 15, 2015 Comments off

NATO Publics Blame Russia for Ukrainian Crisis, but Reluctant to Provide Military Aid
Source: Pew Research Center

Publics of key member nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) blame Russia for the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Many also see Russia as a military threat to other neighboring states. But few support sending arms to Ukraine. Moreover, at least half of Germans, French and Italians say their country should not use military force to defend a NATO ally if attacked by Russia.

A median of 39% among NATO publics say Russia is the main culprit in the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine. The pro-Russian separatists in Luhans’k and Donets’k (18%) are a distant second. Half say Russia is a major military threat to other neighboring nations. In response to the crisis, 70% among allied countries say Western countries should send economic aid to Ukraine. A majority (57%) also supports Ukraine becoming a member of NATO.

The Costs of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

June 12, 2015 Comments off

The Costs of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Source: RAND Corporation

For much of the past century, the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has been a defining feature of the Middle East. Despite billions of dollars expended to support, oppose, or seek to resolve it, the conflict has endured for decades, with periodic violent eruptions, of which the Israel-Gaza confrontation in the summer of 2014 is only the most recent.

This study estimates the net costs and benefits over the next ten years of five alternative trajectories — a two-state solution, coordinated unilateral withdrawal, uncoordinated unilateral withdrawal, nonviolent resistance, and violent uprising — compared with the costs and benefits of a continuing impasse that evolves in accordance with present trends. The analysis focuses on economic costs related to the conflict, including the economic costs of security. In addition, intangible costs are briefly examined, and the costs of each scenario to the international community have been calculated.

The study’s focus emerged from an extensive scoping exercise designed to identify how RAND’s objective, fact-based approach might promote fruitful policy discussion. The overarching goal is to give all parties comprehensive, reliable information about available choices and their expected costs and consequences.

Seven key findings were identified: A two-state solution provides by far the best economic outcomes for both Israelis and Palestinians. Israelis would gain over three times more than the Palestinians in absolute terms — $123 billion versus $50 billion over ten years. But the Palestinians would gain more proportionately, with average per capita income increasing by approximately 36 percent over what it would have been in 2024, versus 5 percent for the average Israeli. A return to violence would have profoundly negative economic consequences for both Palestinians and Israelis; per capita gross domestic product would fall by 46 percent in the West Bank and Gaza and by 10 percent in Israel by 2024. In most scenarios, the value of economic opportunities gained or lost by both parties is much larger than expected changes in direct costs.

Alternative Policies to Agricultural Export Taxes That Are Less Market Distorting

June 11, 2015 Comments off

Alternative Policies to Agricultural Export Taxes That Are Less Market Distorting
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

Many economists believe that export restrictions increase world prices for food commodities, thereby exacerbating food insecurity and poverty among the world’s poorest people. The authors examine alternative policies to a conventional export tax that are less market distorting and less welfare diminishing.

Diplomacy for the 21st Century: Embedding a Culture of Science and Technology Throughout the Department of State

June 11, 2015 Comments off

Diplomacy for the 21st Century: Embedding a Culture of Science and Technology Throughout the Department of State
Source: National Research Council

Diplomacy for the 21st Century recommends steps that the Department of State should embrace to take full advantage of the leading science and technology (S&T) capabilities of the United States. These capabilities provide the department with many opportunities to promote a variety of the interests of the United States and its allies in a rapidly changing world wherein S&T are important drivers of economic development at home and abroad and help ensure international security. This report assesses and makes recommendations concerning the changing environment for the conduct of diplomacy in the years ahead, with a focus on the role of S&T in the development and implementation of U.S. policies and programs. According to this report, prompt steps by the department’s leadership are essential to ensure adequate comprehension of the importance of S&T-related developments throughout the world and to incorporate this understanding within the nation’s foreign policy for the 21st century. This report also urges the adoption by the department of a broader whole-of-society approach in carrying out its responsibilities at home and abroad – extending beyond traditional interagency coordination and the narrow band of current external partners to include foundations, universities, research centers, and other groups who are extending their international reach.

Electronic Cigarettes: Imports, Tariffs, and Data Collection

June 10, 2015 Comments off

Electronic Cigarettes: Imports, Tariffs, and Data Collection
Source: Government Accountability Office

Why GAO Did This Study
E-cigarettes are becoming more popular and widely used. At present, the federal government does not systematically collect data on e-cigarette sales, numbers of manufacturers and importers, or types of products sold. Although information about the e-cigarette market is incomplete, most e-cigarettes sold in the United States are thought to be imported. CBP enforces U.S. customs laws and collects tariffs for goods imported into the United States.

In conducting its work, GAO analyzed CBP’s classification rulings related to e-cigarette imports and tariff revenue data for fiscal year 2014. GAO assessed the reliability of the data by performing data checks for inconsistency errors and by interviewing cognizant officials. GAO determined that CBP’s tariff revenue data were sufficiently reliable for the purposes of this report. In addition, GAO interviewed officials from CBP, USITC, and Census as well as industry experts, such as financial analysts and researchers.tional Trade Commission (USITC), U.S. Census Bureau (Census), and CBP. According to USITC officials, no entity had requested statistical reporting numbers for e-cigarettes, parts, or liquid as of April 1, 2015.

What GAO Found
Import volume and tariff revenue for electronic cigarettes, known as e-cigarettes, are unknown, because the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS)—which is used to classify U.S. imports and exports for tariff and other purposes—does not contain statistical reporting numbers specific to e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes, e-cigarette parts, and e-cigarette liquid are imported under HTS statistical reporting numbers for residual or basket categories that cover a range of goods, such as special effects strobe lights, seaweed extracts, and hand sanitizer. As a result, although U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) collects data on import volume and tariff revenue for the basket categories that include e-cigarettes, parts, and liquid, CBP officials said they are unable to identify the volume of and tariff revenue from e-cigarette imports within these categories.

The interagency Committee for Statistical Annotation of Tariff Schedules, if requested, can create statistical reporting numbers to classify specific goods to improve an industry’s or the federal government’s ability to track import and export volume and tariff revenue for imported goods, but there are currently no statistical reporting numbers specific to e-cigarette imports. The committee consists of the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC), U.S. Census Bureau (Census), and CBP. According to USITC officials, no entity had requested statistical reporting numbers for e-cigarettes, parts, or liquid as of April 1, 2015.

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