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  • Backgrounder posted July 23, 2015 by Lisa Curtis U.S. Engagement Required: Afghanistan Must Avoid an Iraq-Style Breakdown

    This past year’s surprise success of the Islamic State (ISIS), which has put the future of Iraq in jeopardy, has prompted concern among U.S. policymakers that, as U.S. and coalition forces depart, Afghan forces could face a similar threat from the Taliban. While Afghanistan does not face the same Sunni–Shia sectarian divisions that have fueled the fighting in Iraq, the…

  • Issue Brief posted July 22, 2015 by David S. Addington Truth as the Victim of Kerry’s Promise to Iran

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made an unusual promise to the Islamic Republic of Iran: All senior Obama Administration officials will make every effort to support the Iran deal in their public statements. For any Obama Administration officials who have doubts about all or any part of the Iran deal, or about the likelihood that Iran will actually honor the deal,…

  • Issue Brief posted June 15, 2015 by Olivia Enos Achieving Resolution in the Southeast Asian Migrant Crisis

    More than 4,800 Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants have landed on the shores of Malaysia, Indonesia, Burma, and Thailand over the past several weeks.[1] The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimates that as many as 2,000 additional migrants may still need to be rescued.[2] While many migrants have safely reached shore, their journey is far from over. Even after the…

  • Issue Brief posted June 4, 2015 by John Gray, Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D., Michael Sargent House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations: The Highway to Bankruptcy

    The House of Representatives will soon consider the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill. The THUD appropriations bill provides funding for the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development. The bill provides $55.3 billion in discretionary budget authority. This represents a $1.5 billion increase above the current…

  • Issue Brief posted April 3, 2015 by Olivia Enos U.S. Should Not Stand By While Government in Burma Undermines Religious Liberty

    Burma’s President Thein Sein has proposed four pieces of legislation that threaten the very fiber of Burma’s already halting democratic reform process. If passed, the Protection of Race and Religion bills would violate religious liberty and institute potentially severe population control measures. The U.S. should maintain its opposition to them. Religion Laws The…

  • Backgrounder posted February 26, 2015 by Lisa Curtis, Olivia Enos Combating Human Trafficking in Asia Requires U.S. Leadership

    Despite increased U.S. foreign policy attention over the past decade, human trafficking remains widespread and deeply entrenched in many Asian countries. The precise number of people being trafficked is difficult to estimate, but new studies suggest nearly 36 million victims worldwide. Of those 36 million, nearly two-thirds are from Asia.[1] Total profits from worldwide…

  • Issue Brief posted February 20, 2015 by Edmund F. Haislmaier King v. Burwell: Assessing the Claimed Effects of a Decision for the Plaintiffs

    Should the Supreme Court rule in King v. Burwell—a case challenging the Obama Administration’s implementation of the premium tax credit provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—that the statute restricts the payment of premium tax credits only to individuals obtaining coverage “through an Exchange established by [a] State,” its ruling would preclude the Treasury paying…

  • Issue Brief posted February 4, 2015 by David Inserra FEMA Reform Needed: Congress Must Act

    Several weeks ago, President Barack Obama announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would provide work authorization and protection from deportation to as many as 5 million unlawful immigrants. A serious consequence of this policy is the harmful redirection of attention and resources from other pressing homeland security issues. In order to implement the…

  • Issue Brief posted October 31, 2014 by David Inserra Five Questions the Secret Service Review Panel Must Answer

    A ‌series of alarming security breaches have caused ‌many to question the Secret Service’s ability to protect the President.[1] In the wake of these events, an independent four-member review panel—two senior officials each from the Bush and Obama Administrations—will investigate the Secret Service’s recent security breaches and advise the Department of Homeland Security…

  • Issue Brief posted May 29, 2014 by David Inserra Reforming DHS Through the Appropriations Process

    In March, President Obama released his fiscal year (FY) 2015 budget request. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is given a total budget authority of $60.9 billion plus another $710 million that the President proposed as part of a supplement known as the Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative (OGSI). The result is a 1.6 percent increase in the DHS budget,…

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  • Backgrounder posted February 26, 2015 by Lisa Curtis, Olivia Enos Combating Human Trafficking in Asia Requires U.S. Leadership

    Despite increased U.S. foreign policy attention over the past decade, human trafficking remains widespread and deeply entrenched in many Asian countries. The precise number of people being trafficked is difficult to estimate, but new studies suggest nearly 36 million victims worldwide. Of those 36 million, nearly two-thirds are from Asia.[1] Total profits from worldwide…

  • WebMemo posted October 12, 2011 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Forty-Second Plot Highlights State-Sponsored Terrorism Threat

    On October 11 in New York, the Justice Department charged Manssor Arbabsiar, an Iranian-born naturalized U.S. citizen, and Gholam Shakuri with an array of charges related to a plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S., Adel al-Jubeir, by bombing a public venue in Washington, D.C. The plotters stated that they were unconcerned if innocent civilians died…

  • Issue Brief posted April 9, 2013 by Dean Cheng Kerry’s First Visit to Asia: Where Is the Pivot?

    While testifying before Congress regarding his nomination to be Secretary of State, then-Senator John Kerry indicated that he was uncomfortable with the Administration’s “pivot to Asia” and indicated that, in his view, this was neither necessary nor wise. Whether then-Senator Kerry was enunciating a new position is unclear, as Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter…

  • Lecture posted July 24, 2012 by The Honorable Patrick Meehan Boko Haram: An Overlooked Threat to U.S. Security

    Abstract: Since 2009, the jihadist insurgency in Nigeria known as Boko Haram has been escalating its attacks across the country, targeting security forces, politicians, and civilians. Assuming that Boko Haram will refrain from targeting U.S. interests in Nigeria (a country of strategic significance) or in the U.S. homeland is a dangerous gamble—as was the case with other…

  • Commentary posted March 30, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Learn from Iraq: don’t abandon Afghanistan

    Former secretary of state, national security adviser and Nobel Peace Prize winner Henry Kissinger is, by all measures, a foreign policy heavy weight. At a recent black-tie dinner, he stood—stoop-shouldered and peering imperiously over his signature thick, black-frame glasses—and remarked: “Unilateral withdrawal is not victory.” Whom could he have been talking…

  • WebMemo posted September 2, 2008 by Ryan O'Donnell, James Phillips Textbook Appeasement: The State Department and the Islamic Saudi Academy

    Updated 09.02.08 Pop quiz: Murder is permissible if the victim is: (a) An apostate (b) An adulteress (c) A polytheist (d) All of the above If you answered (d), then you are either a hardened Islamist hunkered down for a last stand in Mosul or a twelfth-grade student at the Islamic Saudi Academy (ISA) in Alexandria, Virginia. While the above quiz…

  • WebMemo posted February 3, 2012 by Helle C. Dale Fill the Public Diplomacy Leadership Vacuum

    The U.S. government’s public diplomacy institutions are running on autopilot. While other nations, such as China, are ramping up public diplomacy and soft-power capabilities, the attention of the political leaders in this country is focused elsewhere: the budget deficit, the economy, the presidential election, etc. The effect is that the people who should be advocating…

  • Backgrounder posted August 23, 2010 by Walter Lohman, Nicholas Hamisevicz Make China Account for Its Dismal Human Rights Record

    Abstract: China’s human rights record is dismal and not improving. Successive editions of the U.S. Department of State’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices have documented China’s lack of progress in human rights, ranging from continued abuses in Tibet to imprisonment and harsh treatment of political prisoners to a general crackdown on religious groups that…

  • WebMemo posted August 10, 2011 by Helle C. Dale Security Assistance Act: Responsibly Tying Foreign Policy Budgets to Security Demands

    The Security Assistance Act of 2011 (Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2012, H.R. 2583), which authorizes appropriations for the State Department for fiscal year (FY) 2012, represents a strong, back-to-basics answer to the Obama Administration’s overly ambitious attempts at redefining U.S. foreign relations. The bill’s aim is to tie American foreign affairs…

  • Issue Brief posted May 31, 2012 by Ariel Cohen, Ph.D. To-Do List for Hillary Clinton’s Upcoming Trip to the Caucasus and Turkey

    On May 31, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will begin her tour of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey. In Scandinavia, she will address several forums on climate change and green energy. While in Sweden, she will also discuss Internet freedom, Afghanistan, and the Middle East. But it is in the Caucasus and Turkey that Clinton will…

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  • Issue Brief posted July 22, 2015 by David S. Addington Truth as the Victim of Kerry’s Promise to Iran

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made an unusual promise to the Islamic Republic of Iran: All senior Obama Administration officials will make every effort to support the Iran deal in their public statements. For any Obama Administration officials who have doubts about all or any part of the Iran deal, or about the likelihood that Iran will actually honor the deal,…

  • Issue Brief posted June 15, 2015 by Olivia Enos Achieving Resolution in the Southeast Asian Migrant Crisis

    More than 4,800 Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants have landed on the shores of Malaysia, Indonesia, Burma, and Thailand over the past several weeks.[1] The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimates that as many as 2,000 additional migrants may still need to be rescued.[2] While many migrants have safely reached shore, their journey is far from over. Even after the…

  • Issue Brief posted April 3, 2015 by Olivia Enos U.S. Should Not Stand By While Government in Burma Undermines Religious Liberty

    Burma’s President Thein Sein has proposed four pieces of legislation that threaten the very fiber of Burma’s already halting democratic reform process. If passed, the Protection of Race and Religion bills would violate religious liberty and institute potentially severe population control measures. The U.S. should maintain its opposition to them. Religion Laws The…

  • Backgrounder posted February 26, 2015 by Lisa Curtis, Olivia Enos Combating Human Trafficking in Asia Requires U.S. Leadership

    Despite increased U.S. foreign policy attention over the past decade, human trafficking remains widespread and deeply entrenched in many Asian countries. The precise number of people being trafficked is difficult to estimate, but new studies suggest nearly 36 million victims worldwide. Of those 36 million, nearly two-thirds are from Asia.[1] Total profits from worldwide…

  • Issue Brief posted April 9, 2013 by Dean Cheng Kerry’s First Visit to Asia: Where Is the Pivot?

    While testifying before Congress regarding his nomination to be Secretary of State, then-Senator John Kerry indicated that he was uncomfortable with the Administration’s “pivot to Asia” and indicated that, in his view, this was neither necessary nor wise. Whether then-Senator Kerry was enunciating a new position is unclear, as Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter…

  • Backgrounder posted March 12, 2013 by Scott G Erickson, Jessica Zuckerman, Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D. Lessons from Benghazi: Investigation Leaves Important Questions Unanswered

    When armed terrorists stormed the United States Special Mission compound in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, killing Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, it was not the first such breach of a U.S. diplomatic installation. In fact, it was one of four such attacks that occurred over the course of the week in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, and Libya. This…

  • Issue Brief posted February 28, 2013 by James Phillips Kerry Offers More Aid but Still Lacks Sound Strategy on Syria

    Secretary of State John Kerry has embarked on his first official trip abroad, traveling to the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar. Although NATO and European issues have been featured prominently in Kerry’s early stops, much of his agenda will focus on containing the destabilizing spillover effects of…

  • Issue Brief posted February 21, 2013 by Luke Coffey, Nile Gardiner, Ph.D., Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. John Kerry’s Grand Tour: Priorities for Europe

    From February 24 to March 6, John Kerry will make his first trip overseas since being appointed U.S. Secretary of State. During this period, he will be visiting the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar. The Obama Administration has too often taken America’s relations with Europe for granted. Secretary…

  • Issue Brief posted January 9, 2013 by Nile Gardiner, Ph.D., Luke Coffey, Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. Hagel, Kerry, and Brennan Senate Confirmation Hearings: U.S. Policy on Europe

    In the coming weeks, the United States Senate will begin the confirmation process for three key Administration positions: Senator John Kerry (D–MA) for Secretary of State, former Senator Chuck Hagel (R–NE) for Secretary of Defense, and White House Chief Counterterrorism Advisor John Brennan for Director of the CIA. All three have been prominent backers of President…

  • Issue Brief posted November 14, 2012 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Morgan Lorraine Roach Lessons from Benghazi: Rethinking U.S. Diplomatic Security

    Understanding what was behind the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. facility in Benghazi and the tragic results is vital for preparing for future security threats to embassies, consulates, and diplomatic missions. The attack in Benghazi reveals a terrorist attack profile that the U.S. is likely to see again. If the U.S. is to learn the lessons of this…

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