Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part series. Part I examined the need for a global economic grand bargain. Part II examines what such an economic grand bargain might look like. BEIJING — The recent market correction and an increasingly bleak economic outlook have sharpened the case for a G-20 economic grand bargain. China has the capacity to take a lead in any such arrangement, using its $3 trillion foreign exchange reserves as bargaining chips for reshaping the global economy to better suit its interests. This could form the bedrock of broad-based and coordinated policy action to address […]

As the Libya operation enters what appears to be its final phase, the debate is only beginning as to what it portends for the future of U.S. policy and the international system as a whole. The course of events in Libya over the past months validates what I have termed the “just enough” doctrine. The Obama administration successfully resisted pressure — from Libyan rebels, European allies and domestic critics alike — to increase the U.S. role in order to achieve a faster outcome in Libya. If that doctrine takes on greater coherence, it could strengthen the arguments for limited, targeted […]

Suspending Coca Eradication Part of Wider Strategy in Peru

The Peruvian government’s suspension of coca eradication operations last week raised the question of whether newly elected President Ollanta Humala might embrace a pro-coca legalization policy in line with that of President Evo Morales in neighboring Bolivia. In addition to suspending eradication, Humala also replaced Peru’s top counterdrug and intelligence officials. However, according to Coletta Youngers, a senior fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America and specialist in international drug control policy, neither development signals an aggressive shift in Peru’s counternarcotics policy. Youngers cautioned Trend Lines this morning not to “read more into what has happened with [Peru’s] eradication […]

Ian Bremmer, the founder and head of Eurasia Group (for which I work as an analyst), has argued that we are living in a “G-Zero” world, or one in which there is no genuine great-power leadership. From the perspective of political science, it is hard to disagree, as anyone reading a newspaper these days can attest. Still, the historian in me says this situation cannot last for too long. My reasoning here has nothing to do with the global correlation of military force, since thanks to globalization’s emerging middle class, “butter” will inevitably emerge as the winner over “guns.” Instead, […]

It is amusing to hear U.S. politicians of all ideological stripes sounding like classic libertarians as they proclaim that, in these times of fiscal austerity, the United States should no longer act as the “world’s policeman” and that other countries should be contributing “their fair share” to global security. Nevertheless, the many studies undertaken by the fellows of the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, detailing how the United States can shift to becoming an “offshore balancer,” thereby reducing its footprint around the world, and how our European and East Asian allies can afford to do more in the service […]

U.S. Set to Pass Trade Deals With Colombia, Panama and S. Korea

At long last, Washington looks ready to pass free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. Congressional ratification has been a long time in the making — the trade agreement with Colombia was signed in 2006, while the agreements with Panama and South Korea were inked in 2007. The trade deals with Colombia and Panama were, in some sense, part of a last-ditch effort by President George W. Bush to salvage the work put in by former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton to create the Free Trade Area of the Americas. Hopes for that hemisphere-wide trade zone […]

The biggest defense news from the past week concerned the beginning of sea trials for China’s first aircraft carrier, Varyag. A former Soviet/Ukrainian hulk and the sister ship of the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, Varyag finally set sail after a long process of refurbishment. The ship, which may now go by the name Shi Lang, will likely only serve as a training carrier, but her embarkation on trials has generated great consternation among observers of the Asian naval scene. Officials from both the United States and Japan have asked China to explain its need for an aircraft carrier, as […]

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has had a rocky seven months in office. Having already shuffled her cabinet three times, twice due to corruption scandals, Rousseff is now facing a brewing controversy in the Tourism Ministry that has the potential to force a fourth cabinet change. One might expect the shaky start to undermine Rousseff’s credibility, but so far she has managed to weather the storm. Despite her lack of charisma, her inexperience as a politician and a cabinet tainted by corruption allegations, she remains popular. Her approval rating stands at 67 percent, according to a poll by Brazilian firm IBOPE […]

Global Insights: Harmonizing U.S. Military Tools

In thinking about how to support the twin goals of deterrence and assurance, the Obama administration has been struggling with how best to integrate U.S. nuclear weapons, conventional forces and missile defenses into a coherent strategic posture. Now budgetary pressures are making the trade-offs involved in striking the necessary balance for such an initiative even sharper. These three military tools interact in complex ways. Nuclear forces are very powerful but for the most part unusable due to their destructiveness and the taboo associated with their use. Their main value is therefore to deter adversaries and reassure allies, thereby helping to […]

Global Insider: U.K.-South America Relations

The U.K. recently announced plans to cooperate with Bolivia against drug trafficking, following a diplomatic overture to Brazil in June. In an email interview, Juliana Bertazzo, an associate at the London School of Economics and an associate fellow at the Institute for the Study of the Americas at the University of London, discussed U.K.-South America relations. WPR: What is the recent history of the U.K.’s relations with South America? Juliana Bertazzo: The most significant recent event is a new rapprochement between the U.K. and individual South American countries after Argentina’s latest attempt to gather multilateral support for its claim on […]

Expanded CIA Role in Drug War Could Impact Mexican Election

With the U.S. expanding the role of CIA operatives and possibly private security contractors in Mexico’s drug war, there were reports this week that both countries are intent on circumventing Mexican laws that prohibit foreign military and police from operating inside the country. That Mexican President Felipe Calderón would openly embrace such a strategy is “not entirely surprising,” says Hal Brands, a historian at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, who notes that Mexican laws have long left the country in an awkward position when it comes to seeking security assistance from its northern neighbor. “The problem is that […]

Last Thursday will likely be remembered as a low point for Chilean President Sebastián Piñera. Police clashed with students during an unauthorized protest, inviting unflattering, if exaggerated, comparisons to the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. The same day, the Center for Public Studies — known by its Spanish acronym, CEP — released a poll finding that Piñera’s popularity had dropped to just 26 percent, the lowest level of any Chilean president since the return to democracy in 1990. The two events were hardly coincidental. Like his predecessor, former President Michelle Bachelet, who faced student protests of similar magnitude in 2006, […]

This month’s debt-ceiling deal in Washington did little to quell the growing chorus of complaints around the world concerning America’s continued inability to live within its means. As those complaints invariably translate into corporate hedging, government self-defense strategies, credit rating drops — Standard and Poor’s is already in the bag — and market short-selling, the U.S. will most assuredly be made to feel the world’s mounting angst. This is both right and good, even as it is unlikely to change our path anytime soon: Until some internal political rebalancing occurs, America will invariably stick to its current cluster of painfully […]

Global Insider: The International Whaling Regime

Last month the U.S. threatened to impose sanctions against Iceland over its increased whaling activities. In an email interview, Peter Stoett, professor at Concordia University, discussed the politics of the international whaling regime. WPR: What are the main components of the international whaling regime, and what is its recent trajectory? Peter Stoett: The International Whaling Commission is the central global body, mandated to protect the whaling industry back in 1946. As the threat of extinction for several species of cetaceans rose and whales assumed a prominent space in public environmental consciousness, the IWC gradually swung towards an anti-whaling position, led […]

LIMA, Peru — During Peru’s recent presidential election campaign, a chorus of politicians and pundits warned that a victory by leftist candidate Ollanta Humala would put the country on the same track as Venezuela under President Hugo Chavez. But since winning the second-round run-off on June 5 and being sworn in as Peru’s new president July 28, Humala has surprised critics and supporters alike by the moderation of his rhetoric and quality of his cabinet. Humala, a 49-year-old retired lieutenant colonel, is the first leftist to be elected president of Peru in two decades, but he did so by promising […]

While Washington lawmakers congratulate themselves for avoiding a default on U.S. government obligations by raising the debt ceiling at the proverbial 11th hour, and the halls of the Capitol ring with praise that the “system worked as intended,” the view from outside the Beltway is not so sanguine. Certainly, the U.S. has not fallen into the morass that bedeviled 18th-century Poland, where with a single negative vote, any member of the assembly could force its dissolution — and the nullification of all legislation passed during that session. But the inability of the House of Representatives, the Senate and the president […]

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