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  • Commentary posted August 31, 2015 by William T. Wilson, Ph.D. Easier Path To Recovery Chosen By Beijing Has Hard Landing

    In mid-June, China's Shanghai Composite Index was up a dazzling 60% since the beginning of the year. It was the highest level in more than six years. Some took it as a sign that the recent weakness in China's economy would be short-lived. Yet only a little more than two months later, and the index had lost all its gains since the first of the year. Many small domestic…

  • Special Report posted August 26, 2015 by James M. Roberts, William T. Wilson, Ph.D. 2015 Global Agenda for Economic Freedom

    Introduction The Index of Economic Freedom, published annually by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal, is entering its third decade with the publication of the 21st edition. Since the first edition the world has witnessed profound advances in the cause of freedom. Open economies have led the world in a startling burst of innovation and economic growth,…

  • Issue Brief posted August 20, 2015 by Lisa Curtis Sri Lankan Poll Results Augur Well for Relations with the U.S.

    Monday’s parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka will bring to power a coalition government headed by Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP), which is expected to continue democratic reforms and efforts toward ethnic reconciliation that were started six months ago. This is welcome news for the U.S., which has been pressing Colombo to improve the human rights of…

  • Commentary posted August 19, 2015 by Jim DeMint, Bruce Klingner Easing the Strains Between Japan and South Korea

    As world attention has recently been focused elsewhere, longstanding tensions between two critical U.S. allies, Japan and South Korea, have quietly been easing. This is the result of initiatives by the leaders of both countries, as well as the concerted efforts of diplomats. That’s good news for Washington, since together the three nations can better address common…

  • Commentary posted August 17, 2015 by Lisa Curtis How Pakistan Is Tightening Its Grip on the Taliban

    The Taliban is in transition. Its leadership council in Quetta—in Pakistan’s Balochistan province—announced recently that Mullah Akhtar Mansour would replace Mullah Mohammed Omar as the leader of the insurgent movement. The appointment of Mullah Mansour to head the Taliban is an opportunity for Pakistan to solidify its control over the organization and finally help bring…

  • Special Report posted August 17, 2015 by William T. Wilson, Ph.D. Washington, China, and the Rise of the Renminbi: Are the Dollar’s Days as the Global Reserve Currency Numbered?

    The U.S. dollar has dominated the international monetary system for approximately 70 years. While the U.S. economy has generated weak growth over the past six years and accumulated a large sovereign debt, the dollar’s status as an international medium of exchange and reserve currency (currency held by foreign central banks) has defied the odds and has not diminished. On…

  • Issue Brief posted August 10, 2015 by Olivia Enos A Call to Review Evaluation Methods in the Trafficking in Persons Report

    The 2015 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report has recently come under fire for upgrading the rankings of Malaysia and Cuba. Speculation about the political motives behind these seemingly unwarranted upgrades has highlighted broader challenges plaguing the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, namely the difficulty of defending the objectivity of the…

  • Commentary posted August 5, 2015 by Bruce Klingner The Iran Nuclear Deal and the North Korean Nuclear Issue

    The international nuclear agreement with Iran has generated some speculation about the potential for resurrecting similar negotiations with North Korea. Indeed, the Obama administration’s dramatic shifts in policy toward Burma, Cuba, and now Iran might suggest an analogous gesture toward Pyongyang. But, while a desperate Hail Mary pass is a dramatic end to a football…

  • Issue Brief posted July 28, 2015 by Lisa Curtis, Olivia Enos Pakistan Must Release Asia Bibi to Demonstrate Protection for Its Religious Minorities

    Pakistan’s Supreme Court took an encouraging step forward last week when it decided to reconsider blasphemy charges against Pakistani Christian woman, Asia Bibi, who is facing a death sentence. This decision provides an opportunity for Pakistan to acquit Bibi and show the world its commitment to protecting its religious minorities. The U.S. must prioritize the issue of…

  • Issue Brief posted July 24, 2015 by Bruce Klingner U.S. Should Encourage Reconciliation Between Japan and South Korea

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe’s forthcoming statement commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II has the potential to either repair or further impair Tokyo’s current stilted bilateral relations with Seoul. Indeed, a cottage industry has sprouted up predicting what he will say or will not say and the effect his words might have on recent…

  • 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…

  • Commentary posted July 23, 2015 by Lisa Curtis Can Pakistan succeed in its quest to reconcile conflicting regional interests?

    Ahead of the inevitable withdrawal of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan and the ensuing shift in the regional power balance, Pakistan is striving to position itself in an arena of conflicting interests. As well as consolidating historical ties with China, Islamabad wants to stay in with long-standing Gulf ally, Saudi Arabia and buddy up with new regional influencers,…

  • Backgrounder posted July 22, 2015 by Olivia Enos The U.S. Role in Ensuring that Burma’s Fall 2015 Elections Are “Free and Fair”

    Burma is set to hold parliamentary elections on November 8, 2015. The elections will be a test of Burma’s political reform—a test the U.S. government considers one of the most important for the reform process. Jonathan Stivers, Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), stated that the U.S. government “has made a long-standing…

  • Testimony posted July 21, 2015 by Walter Lohman The Value of America’s Southeast Asian Alliances

    Testimony before the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific Committee on Foreign Affairs United States House of Representatives July 15, 2015 Walter Lohman Director of the Asian Studies Center The Heritage Foundation My name is Walter Lohman. I am director of the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation. The views I express in this testimony are my own, and should…

  • Commentary posted July 20, 2015 by Lisa Curtis U.S. Must Avoid an Iraq-Like Meltdown in Afghanistan

    Two years ago, while commanding U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Gen. Joseph Dunford convinced President Barack Obama to slow the pace of U.S. troop withdrawals from that still-beleaguered nation. Now, Obama has named Dunford to head the Joint Chiefs of Staff. If, as expected, Congress confirms the nomination, the general will have to continue making the case for…