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  • Issue Brief posted July 29, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer, Charlotte Florance, Anthony B. Kim Congress Should Upgrade the African Growth and Opportunity Act

    The House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee will convene a timely hearing on the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) on July 29. The hearing takes place at a critical juncture for America’s engagement with Africa. AGOA, first enacted under President Bill Clinton and amended and extended by legislation three times under President George W. Bush, enjoys broad…

  • Issue Brief posted July 23, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer, Ambassador Terry Miller U.N. Repeating Past Mistakes in New Sustainable Development Goals

    The United Nation General Assembly is poised to adopt a new set of development criteria called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) this September.[1] The SDGs are intended to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that expire at the end of 2015. Like the MDGs, the SDGs will involve a number of objectives that will be used by the U.N. to guide and measure…

  • Commentary posted July 8, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer, Nicolas Loris Obama's Climate-Change Deceptions

    President Barack Obama again sought to make the case to the American people for “dealing with the rapidly growing threat of climate change” last Wednesday, in a speech to the League of Conservation Voters. Right up front he said that his speech would not have “a lot of spin, just the facts.” When a politician says that, you know to expect the opposite. Obama assured the…

  • Backgrounder posted June 16, 2014 by Paul Rosenzweig, Brett D. Schaefer, James L. Gattuso, David Inserra Protecting Internet Freedom and American Interests: Required Reforms and Standards for ICANN Transition

    The U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has contracted with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to manage core functions of the Internet since ICANN was established in 1998. ICANN is a private nonprofit corporation created to manage policy and technical features of the Internet’s domain name system (DNS) in a…

  • Issue Brief posted May 23, 2014 by Bryan Riley, Brett D. Schaefer Congress Should Reject Proposed Food Aid Shipping Mandate

    The U.S. House of Representatives approved the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014 (H.R. 4005) on April 1. Largely unnoticed, H.R. 4005 would reverse reforms adopted in the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012 and the Agriculture Act of 2014 and increase the amount of U.S. food assistance required to be shipped on U.S. vessels from 50 percent to 75…

  • Commentary posted May 21, 2014 by Bryan Riley, Brett D. Schaefer Time to Privatize OPIC

    What do Enron, the Soros Economic Development Fund, Papa John’s Pizza, Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, MTV, the Bank of Palestine, and Deutsche Bank have in common? They’ve all benefited from millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies through the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). OPIC provides loans and loan guarantees for investments in developing and emerging…

  • Issue Brief posted May 19, 2014 by Bryan Riley, Brett D. Schaefer Time to Privatize OPIC

    The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) provides political risk insurance, loan guarantees, and direct loans to U.S. and foreign companies to encourage investment in developing and emerging economies. OPIC artificially lowers the cost of such investments by having the U.S. taxpayer assume a portion of the risk of the venture—a classic case of socializing risk…

  • Issue Brief posted April 30, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer, Steven Groves, James Phillips Palestinian Intent to Accede to 15 Treaties and U.S. Response

    President Mahmoud Abbas announced on April 1 that the Palestinian Authority (PA) will seek to join 15 international conventions and treaties. This is a new facet of the existing Palestinian policy of seeking international recognition by other governments and membership in international organizations to bolster claims of statehood absent a negotiated peace treaty with…

  • Issue Brief posted April 24, 2014 by Helle C. Dale, Brett D. Schaefer Time to Reform U.S. International Broadcasting

    Congressional efforts are currently under way to reorganize U.S. international broadcasting (USIB). Although the draft legislation is not publicly available, these are several key issues that any bill should address. Poor Governance The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which oversees most major civilian assets of USIB, is dysfunctional and should be reformed or…

  • Issue Brief posted April 4, 2014 by Charlotte Florance, Brett D. Schaefer Lord’s Resistance Army: Questions on Increasing Troops to Fight Joseph Kony’s LRA

    The Obama Administration announced on March 23 that additional U.S. forces and assets will be deployed to reinforce the joint U.S. and African Union Regional Task Force (AU-RTF) tracking Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). There is no question that Kony and the LRA have committed terrible atrocities and that purging Africa of Kony and the…

  • Issue Brief posted March 24, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer 11 Issues for Congress in the President’s FY 2015 International Affairs Budget Request

    President Barack Obama released his fiscal year (FY) 2015 budget proposal on March 4, 2014. Although much of the budget reflects long-standing programmatic and budgetary practice, there are 11 specific issues that Congress should address. The President’s FY 2015 budget request for International Affairs (IA) totals $50.01 billion, including a base budget of $44.1 billion…

  • Issue Brief posted March 21, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer, James L. Gattuso, Paul Rosenzweig, David Inserra Important Work to Be Done Before the U.S. Relinquishes Stewardship of ICANN

    The Department of Commerce announced on March 14 that it will give up its last bit of control of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in 2015. As is often the case with government decisions announced late on a Friday, this decision is controversial. The U.S. has exercised light oversight of ICANN since it established the organization and…

  • Issue Brief posted March 11, 2014 by Steven Groves, Brett D. Schaefer Human Rights Committee’s Review of U.S. Record: Things to Watch For

    On March 13–14, a U.S. delegation will defend America’s human rights record before the Human Rights Committee (HRC), the treaty body that monitors compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The delegation should expect harsh criticism from the HRC, whose members regularly accuse America of committing gross violations of human rights.…

  • Issue Brief posted February 26, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer U.S. Should Demand Increased Transparency and Accountability as U.N. Revenues Rise

    United Nations system revenues nearly tripled between 2002 and 2012 from nearly $15 billion to $41.5 billion. Cumulatively, the U.N. received more than $312 billion over that period. The U.S. has been and remains the U.N. system’s largest contributor, providing approximately one-fifth of total contributions on average annually over that period. Incomplete data make a…

  • Commentary posted February 11, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer, Steven Groves The U.N. Preaches to the Vatican

    The international “smart set” regularly chastises the United States for not ratifying the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). One need only look to a recent report by the CRC’s treaty committee for full justification of U.S. reticence. Human-rights “experts” on U.N. treaty bodies like the Committee on the Rights of the Child often take liberties with…