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  • Issue Brief posted November 26, 2014 by Luke Coffey Russia and the South Caucasus: A Situation the U.S. Cannot Ignore

    While the U.S. and NATO are focused on Russian activity in Central and Eastern Europe, there are three developments in the South Caucasus that merit closer attention: (1) recent political instability in Georgia; (2) possible Russian annexation of Georgian breakaway territories; and (3) increasing tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Armenian-occupied…

  • Issue Brief posted November 26, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Dakota Wood, James Phillips, Luke Coffey National Security Priorities for the Next Secretary of Defense

    President Barack Obama is replacing his Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel. Hagel was the third Secretary of Defense to serve under President Obama, following Robert Gates and Leon Panetta. The announcement of Hagel’s resignation, reportedly under pressure from the White House, was not accompanied by mention of a successor, who must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Hagel…

  • Issue Brief posted November 26, 2014 by Luke Coffey, Daniel Kochis Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine: The U.S. Needs a Strategy

    In November 2013, the former Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, postponed signing an Association Agreement with the European Union after receiving an ultimatum from Moscow to choose between closer ties with Europe or Russia. One year later, Yanukovych is out, a pro-Western government is in power, Russia has illegally annexed the Crimea, and the Ukrainian oblasts of…

  • Backgrounder posted November 25, 2014 by James L. Gattuso, Michael Sargent Beyond Hypothetical: How FCC Internet Regulation Would Hurt Consumers

    On November 10, President Barack Obama joined a long-simmering debate at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), urging the agency to adopt comprehensive government regulation of Internet service providers, such as Verizon and Comcast. These regulations would require companies that provide Internet access to end users (households and businesses) to process all…

  • Issue Brief posted November 24, 2014 by Bruce Klingner U.S. Election Should Energize Asia Policies

    The results of the midterm elections could reinvigorate U.S. policies toward Asia, which have suffered from a lack of resources and resolve. The new Congress will likely be more supportive of concluding free trade agreements, funding U.S. defense requirements, and imposing additional sanctions to leverage North Korean compliance with international agreements. That said,…

  • Issue Brief posted November 22, 2014 by James Phillips Nuclear Negotiations with Iran: U.S. Must Avoid a Rush to Failure

    The November 24 deadline for a nuclear agreement with Iran is fast approaching, with no sign that a deal that would advance U.S. national security interests can be reached by that date. After almost a year of negotiations, Iran has won international acceptance of its once-covert uranium enrichment facilities and obtained substantial sanctions relief in exchange for…

  • Backgrounder posted November 20, 2014 by James M. Roberts The IMF’s Analysis of the U.S. Economy: Faulty Assumptions and Bad Policy Advice

    The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) 66-page report on its 2014 consultation with the U.S., pursuant to Article IV of the IMF’s Articles of Agreement, repeats a number of long-standing, orthodox, and desirable policy recommendations that urge the U.S. to confront its many long-term fiscal and monetary challenges. This year’s report also contains an unprecedented…

  • Issue Brief posted November 20, 2014 by Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D. Medicare’s SGR: Fixing It the Right Way, Not in a Lame Duck Session

    Congress needs to junk the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula that governs Medicare physician payment. Under the formula, if Medicare physicians’ payments in any given year increase by more than the economy’s growth, an automatic and proportionate reduction in their reimbursements is imposed the following year. Conceptually flawed and practically draconian, the formula…

  • Backgrounder posted November 18, 2014 by Stephen Moore, Joel Griffith The Trans-Alaska Pipeline: Lessons for the Keystone XL Pipeline Debate

    Citing various environmental and economic objections, in April, the Obama Administration again delayed construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, this time until at least early 2015. Before the latest in a six-year string of delays, the President emphasized “how Keystone impacted greenhouse gas emissions would affect our decision,” lamenting “we’re already seeing severe…

  • Issue Brief posted November 18, 2014 by Daren Bakst, Rachael Slobodien The EPA and the Corps’s CWA Interpretive Rule: A Regulatory End Run

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers released an interpretive rule[1] narrowing an important Clean Water Act (CWA) exemption for agricultural activities. It was released at the same time they released their proposed “waters of the U.S.” rule that would greatly expand the waters the federal government can regulate under the CWA. By…

  • Issue Brief posted November 17, 2014 by Jordan Richardson Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Goes Mainstream

    Civil asset forfeiture enables law enforcement agencies to seize money and property that they suspect is being used to commit a crime or represents profits from criminal activity. Law enforcement agencies do not need to convict or even charge the property owner to make these seizures. Civil asset forfeiture was intended to be used as a tool to combat organized crime, but…

  • Issue Brief posted November 17, 2014 by Robert Rector How Welfare Undermines Marriage and What to Do About It

    Historically, marriage has played a critical role in the raising of children. In most cases, the economic benefits of marriage are substantial. Marriage among families with children is an extremely powerful factor in promoting economic self-sufficiency: the ability of families to support themselves above poverty without reliance on government means-tested welfare aid. The…

  • Special Report posted November 17, 2014 by Lisa Curtis, Charlotte Florance, Walter Lohman, James Phillips Pursuing a Freedom Agenda Amidst Rising Global Islamism

    Contributors Lisa Curtis is Senior Research Fellow for South Asia in the Asian Studies Center, of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, at The Heritage Foundation. Charlotte Florance is a Research Associate for Economic Freedom in Africa and the Middle East in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign and National…

  • Issue Brief posted November 13, 2014 by Hans A. von Spakovsky The Dangers of Lame Duck Sessions in Congress—Unfair and Undemocratic

    An awful lot of people are confused as to just what is meant by a lame duck Congress. It’s like where some fellows worked for you and their work wasn’t satisfactory and you let’em out, but after you fired ‘em, you let ‘em stay long enough so they could burn your house down.[1] —Will Rogers When Congress comes back into session after the November election and before a new…

  • Issue Brief posted November 13, 2014 by Charlotte Florance Nine Questions for the House Ebola Hearing

    Over the past seven months, Ebola has infected more than 13,000 people and claimed nearly 5,000 lives. Most of the infected people have been in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Both Nigeria and Senegal successfully overcame transportation-related cases in their countries and were declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organization on October 20. The virus has also…