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Twenty Agendas at G-20

On April 2, heads of state from the Group of Twenty (G-20), which represents twenty of the world's leading and major emerging economies, meet in London to discuss the international response to the global economic crisis. The following is an outline of which policy issues...

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What's Next for NATO?

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is one of the world's most successful multilateral alliances and a vital component of the global security architecture. On April 3-4, President Obama will attend NATO's 60th anniversary summit in Strasbourg, France, and Kehl, Germany. In a paper titled,...

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The Group of 20

IntroductionThe Group of 20 (G-20) brings together the European Union and nineteen countries that represent the world's major and top emerging economies. The group was established in September 1999 by the Group of Seven (G-7) industrialized nations, which convenes several times a year to discuss...

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Extreme Threats

Extreme threats to life are those which could cause several hundred thousand to several million deaths. They are more troublesome and in the aggregate certainly more likely to occur than catastrophic threats. While such threats could cause major damage to the nation, they would...

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France's Creeping Reintegration by F. Stephen Larrabee

At the upcoming [April 3-4] NATO summit in Strasbourg-Kehl, French President Nicolas Sarkozy is expected to formally announce France's return to NATO's integrated military command, from which President Charles de Gaulle withdrew France in 1966. The full reintegration of France into NATO, if confirmed,...

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The Shanghai Cooperation Organization

IntroductionThe Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)--composed of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan--was formed as a confidence-building mechanism to resolve border disputes. It has risen in stature since then, making headlines in 2005 when it called for Washington to set a timeline for withdrawing from...

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Primer: The Financial Stability Plan

IntroductionThe U.S. Treasury and other government agencies have joined forces with the Federal Reserve in a sweeping attempt to stabilize beleaguered U.S. banks and facilitate credit flows to companies and individuals.The Treasury calls its framework for dealing with these problems the "Financial Stability Plan." The...

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Engaging Russia

The long-term prospects for Russia are bleak. Industry inherited from the Soviet era was typically outmoded and inefficient; much of it has been closed down. International trade has followed a Third World pattern based largely on raw materials, particularly oil and gas. The high energy...

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Islam: Governing Under Sharia

IntroductionSharia, or Islamic law,influences the legal code in most Muslim countries. A movement to allow sharia to govern personal status law, a set of regulations that pertain to marriage, divorce, inheritance, and custody, is even expanding into the West. "There are so many varying interpretations...

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The Troubled Afghan-Pakistani Border

IntroductionAfghanistan shares borders with six countries, but the approximate 1500-mile-long Durand Line along Pakistan remains the most dangerous. Kabul has never recognized the line as an international border, instead claiming the Pashtun territories in Pakistan that comprise the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and parts...

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Breaking the Stalemate in Afghanistan

After more than seven years of war in Afghanistan, the United States is upping the ante. With an additional seventeen thousand troops slated to begin arriving this spring, President Obama and his military commanders say they will seek to improve security and in turn, clear...

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Debating a 'Clean Coal' Future

IntroductionCoal is a vital energy source for many countries, and its use is on the rise in some of the fastest-growing developing states. Yet burning coal produces significant amounts of the greenhouse gas emissions believed responsible for accelerating global climate change. Coal use thus poses...

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Potential Costs of Obama Administration

Contrary to the prevailing wisdom which holds that there's little downside to diplomatic engagement with Washington's adversaries in the Middle East, there could be a significant cost associated with the Obama Administration's talks with Syria. While the potential gains of the Administration's initiative may justify...

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National Missile Defense: A Status Report

IntroductionThe United States has pursued missile defense technologies since the end of World War II, though efforts to deploy a layered missile shield only took shape during the two terms of President George W. Bush. Since the election of President Barack Obama, however, the future...

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Missile Defense Technology

IntroductionThe United States has been developing missile defense technologies since the beginning of the Cold War, first with nuclear-tipped interceptors and later with conventional so-called "hit-to-kill" missiles--weapons intended to destroy enemy warheads in flight. As of 2009, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency was testing and...

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The Dangers of 'Deglobalization'

From construction laborers to Harvard-educated bankers, foreign workers are being forced to return home as once-booming economies around the world contract. Globally, 24 million to 52 million people could lose their jobs in 2009, according to the International Labor Organization's latest estimates. And populist sentiment...

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Are the US and Russia Playing Nuclear Games

US-Russian disagreements over the proposed deployment of land-based missile defenses in Poland and Czech Republic have renewed the debate over the impact of defenses on arms control. In an article posted on the Centre for Research on Globalization web site, former US intelligence and arms...

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G-20 Policy Priorities

IntroductionLeaders from the Group of 20 (G-20) countries are to meet in London on April 2 to discuss how to respond to the global economic crisis. The summit, which follows G-20 meetings in late 2008, has inspired heady expectations from policymakers and market watchers. Britain's...

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Policy Priorities for the G-20

IntroductionLeaders from the Group of 20 (G-20) countries are to meet in London on April 2 to discuss how to respond to the global economic crisis. The summit, which follows G-20 meetings in late 2008, has inspired heady expectations from policymakers and market watchers. Britain's...

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Cybersecurity--Not So Sure

On March 10, a subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee held a hearing on cybersecurity. The report featured testimony from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The GAO identified 12 key areas of improvement identified by a panel of cybersecurity experts (listed in Appendix 1)...

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Pakistan's Fragile Foundations

IntroductionPakistan's struggles to suppress rising militant violence have prompted a number of experts to call for the government--with help from international partners--to address the country's long-standing structural flaws. Among the main recommendations: greater political rights for provinces; socioeconomic equality for various ethnic groups; and a...

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French Military Strategy and NATO Reintegration

IntroductionThe French government's decision to rejoin the integrated military command structure of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) formalizes a decade-long rethink of French military strategy and foreign policy. Under President Charles de Gaulle, who perceived the alliance as dominated by the United States and...

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U.S.-Cuba Relations

IntroductionCuba has been at odds with the United States since Fidel Castro assumed power in 1959. Successive U.S. administrations have tried a range of tough measures, including prolonged economic sanctions and designation of Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, none of which substantially weakened...

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Homeland Security Grant Dollars Analyzed

Since 9-11, the federal government has distributed tens-of-billions of dollars in homeland security grants to state and local governments. According to the Congressional Research Service, in FY 2009 Congress appropriated $4.36 billions for these grants. According to the Government Accountability Office, the Department of Homeland...

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Bosnia: What Is To Be Done?

By Morton Abramowitz and Daniel Serwer Bosnia is stuck. Its Bosniak Muslim leader, Haris Silajzic, stridently calls for abolition of the Serb entity (Republika Srpska), whose prime minister, Milorad Dodik, wants increased autonomy and threatens a referendum on independence. By taking extreme positions, Dodik and...

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Catastrophic Threats

Catastrophic threats address events which could kill tens of millions of Americans and destroy the nation. Two hundred people a year are killed by asteroid impacts. Actually, that is only a gross average, and it has not happened yet. But the geological record suggests...

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Tibet's Tense Anniversary

Fifty years after the failed Tibetan revolt against Chinese rule, prospects for resolving the dispute over the Himalayan region remain remote. China treats Tibet as an inalienable part of the country and vilifies the region's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, as a "splittist." The Tibetan...

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A Russian Key

U.S. foreign policy is mired in controversies. Iraq is slowly resolving as chaos spreads to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Iran and North Korea both pose nuclear challenges but the nation has little leverage and few options. Nuclear nonproliferation is also strained by the India-Pakistan rivalry; by...

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A Costly Exit from Iraq

Measured in blood, the price tag in Iraq is absolute: 4,238 Americans (PDF) have died during America's six-year war. For Iraqis, the toll is far greater. Icasualties.org, which tracks body counts reported by the media, notes nearly 45,000 civilians have been killed since Iraq's Shiite-led...

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Will More Troops Fix Afghanistan?

Policy debates over whether we "need" more troops in Afghanistan miss the point. We do need more troops, but military might, alone, will not address the long-term problems. US policy toward Afghanistan will require a fundamental shift in order to stabilize that country. A focused,...

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Arrest warrants for Bashir: Sudan election challenge by Linda Bishai

The International Criminal Court at the Hague issued an arrest warrant Wednesday for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan, who was indicted for his alleged role in a five-year campaign of violence in Darfur. Al-Bashir is the first sitting head of state to be...

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Dancing with Damascus: Washington Engages by David Schenker

Two senior Administration officials will travel to Damascus for meetings with their Syrian counterparts. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Jeffrey Feltman and NSC Middle East Director Dan Shapiro's visit constitutes the highest-level US-Syria bilateral contact in years. The meeting follows...

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After Indictment, Sudan Holds Its Breath

In July 2008, chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo asked the International Criminal Court to indict the president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, for abuses committed against the people of the Darfur region. The move set off a firestorm of controversy about whether it would obstruct efforts to...

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The Meaning of Nationalization

For decades now, "nationalization" has been a dirty word in U.S. business circles. The term conjures associations abhorrent to most economists--from dysfunctional resource-rich nations seizing the assets of foreign companies to bloated European government structures suffocating on bureaucracy. A government taking control of private companies,...

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Overhauling Homeland Security

President Barack Obama has been quick to distinguish his wartime policy from that of his predecessor. During his first month in office the new U.S. president ordered troop commitments refocused to Afghanistan; downplayed "war on terror" rhetoric (AP); and sought to reassure Muslims overseas that...

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