As with many qualms of presidential candidates, Florida Senator Marco Rubio's latest speech on foreign policy was severely lacking in any substantial concrete policy visions. TCF fellow Michael Cohen confirms that, like many presidents, Rubio talks a big game, but rarely has much to say in terms of specific actions he would like to take if elected.
He offered the oft-heard — and untrue — GOP assertion that President Obama has retreated from the world. He assailed the president for hundreds of billions in defense cuts — cuts that are a direct result of the budget caps a Republican Congress forced on the White House. He criticized Obama for betraying American values through “the expediency of negotiations with repressive regimes,” which makes me think that if Rubio ever saw a picture of Ronald Reagan shaking hands with Mikhail Gorbachev his head might explode.
Read Cohen's full article here.
TCF fellow Thanassis Cambanis writes that Egyptian president al-Sisi is on the verge of acting like a dictator given his recent actions. The recent terrorist attacks and broken economy have left al-Sisi grasping for ways to assert and maintain his power, which has resulted in some heavy-handed tactics.
Today’s governing agenda in Egypt centers around three things: a crackdown on “terror” and dissent, maintaining a steady flow of cash from the Sunni monarchies of the Gulf, and modest economic reforms that at a minimum give the impression of vision and positive momentum.
Read the full version of Cambanis's article.
Despite the inspiring headlines and statistics emerging following the Great Recession, TCF fellow Daniel Alpert confirms that the state of the economy is in fact not as healthy as it appears in the public eye. Apparently lackluster financial effects remain such as impending inflation and lower than average employment rates.In fact, the entire post-recession economic recovery in the U.S. has been far less than stellar. Median household real incomes have not recovered and jobs created have been at lower wages than previously existing jobs. The pace of job growth has slowed significantly this year, with the percentage of the employable population actually working near a 35 year low.
Read Alpert's full article here from CNBC.
The Century Foundation launched its report, Wake Up, Pakistan, this week in Islamabad. Speakers at the event included Ambassador Thomas Pickering, Pakistan's former foreign secretary Riaz Khokhar, Ambassador Ann Wilkens, Ambassador Cameron Munter, and other prominent officials and journalists.
The United States and the international community should use diplomatic, intelligence and military channels to ensure Pakistan and Afghanistan never supported anti-state actors against each other.
This was recommended in a report, “Wake up Pakistan” prepared by the Country Foundation International Working Group on Pakistan. The launching ceremony of the report was organised by the Centre for Research and Security Studies at a local restaurant on Tuesday.
Read more on the event in Dawn.
As instances of extreme weather continue to increase in frequency in South Asia, the need for cooperation against the threat of climate change has become more and more apparent. TCF policy associate Neil Bhatiya discusses the need for India and Pakistan to work together on climate change before it's too late.
Unlike the other transnational challenges including terrorism and nuclear proliferation that have plagued the region for decades, the increasing threat from climate change cannot be deterred through alliances with larger states or more military spending. More importantly, whatever steps the nations in the region take on their own to address this growing challenge are likely to be insufficient: if they want to make progress against the impact of climate change, they must learn to work together.
Bhatiya's article can be found at FP.
Was invading Iraq ever the right decision to make? While many often discuss "what we know now" versus "what we knew then" to justify the reasoning that led the United States into war more than twelve years ago, TCF fellow Michael Cohen says that even in 2003, the facts available never should have resulted in war.
Even if the U.S. had found Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, and even if there was evidence that Iraq was trying to reconstitute its nuclear program, the case for war was always extraordinarily weak—one that was hyped by Bush administration mouthpieces with evidence that was, at best, circumstantial and at worst, manufactured out of thin air. The threat Iraq posed to the United States was not imminent—indeed, it barely even existed. Saddam had no links to terrorist organizations, and even if he did, there’s still little reason to believe he would have shared WMDs with them.
Read more of Cohen's argument in World Politics Review.
Economists are largely politically polarized in their theories on how to improve the fiscal policy in the U.S. TCF fellow Mark Thoma says that unlike other professions that can rely on tests in a lab, economists must rely on modeling assumptions which inevitably means their work involves a high degree of "mathiness" or, "restricting your microfoundations in advance to guarantee a particular political result and hiding what you are doing in a blizzard of irrelevant and ungrounded algebra.”
We must find a way to make it clear what the preponderance of evidence says about important policy decisions. Far too often, confusion about the degree to which economists are unified, or not, clouds the public debate. Somehow, and surveys such as the IGM Economic Experts Panel are a start, we must do a better job of communicating the general view within the profession about important policy issues.
Read Thoma's full article featured in Fiscal Times.
TCF fellow and co-director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab Harold Pollack conducted an interview with The Marshall Project on the recent shooting incident in Waco, Texas involving dueling biker gangs. He says that this type of violence becomes largely overlooked because of the high likelihood that biker gangs are typically white.
So are the biker gangs a real problem, in your view?
I don’t know. Some outlaw biker gangs have certainly sold a lot of meth or been involved in other drug distribution. There is something very 1971 Rolling Stone about this scene. I couldn’t quite believe it when I read this news.
Read the full interview here.
A Clinton-era study called Moving to Opportunity (MTO) that looked at the effects moving individuals out of high-poverty neighborhoods with vouchers and into census-tracts with less than 10 percent poverty to see if this would improve their life outcomes. TCF fellow Stefanie DeLuca countered the article and says that programs like this do not go far enough to assist those living in poverty.
For DeLuca and Rosenblatt, there’s plenty that MTO did right but confronting endemic poverty and segregation requires a more systematic approach. That is, something perhaps more akin to the Baltimore Mobility Program (BMP), through which 2,400 Baltimore families have relocated since 2003. Whereas MTO offered housing search counseling to program participants, BMP provided that plus post-move counseling, second move counseling if necessary, and financial literacy and credit repair training.
Read the full article featuring Stefanie DeLuca's work.
Last week, The Century Foundation released a new report on Pakistan at an event held in Washington, D.C. Dawn, Pakistan's oldest and most widely read English-language newspaper, covered the launch, reporting on the highlights from panelists' discussion.
“The absence of rule of law lies at the heart of many problems Pakistan faces now,” he said. “This is the biggest threat.”
Read more about the event and the conversations it sparked here.