Issue Brief posted April 24, 2014
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.
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 23, 2014
Crisis in Venezuela: UNASUR and U.S. Foreign Policy
Earlier this month, Secretary of State John Kerry urged Congress not to respond to the Venezuelan government’s deadly crackdown against the democratic opposition. Recent high-level talks between the Venezuelan government and select members of the opposition have led the Secretary to mistakenly believe that the crisis will soon end. Additionally, he urged Congress to avoid…
Issue Brief posted April 9, 2014
Peru: President Humala Should Push for More Economic Freedom
When Peruvian president Ollanta Humala took office three years ago, some feared the worst. After all, during his first presidential run in 2006, Humala (a former Peruvian army officer) had donned the fire-breathing mantle of the populist, “Bolivarian” left that was personified by Venezuela’s then-president (and also ex-army officer) Hugo Chávez.
So although Humala lost…
Issue Brief posted April 4, 2014
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 April 2, 2014
Tomahawk Cancellation an Error of Defense Strategy and Alliance Policy
Earlier this month, the U.S. Navy announced that it will stop buying Tomahawk cruise missiles in fiscal year (FY) 2016 and will seek to field a replacement within a decade.
This decision is an error of both defense strategy and alliance policy. Congress should reject the Navy’s plans and require that it continue to buy a sufficient number of Tomahawks annually to keep…
Issue Brief posted March 28, 2014
If Russia Attacks: How the U.S. Should Respond to Further Aggression Against Ukraine
After Russia’s illegal invasion, occupation, and subsequent annexation of Crimea, there is a concern that Moscow will not stop until all of Ukraine is under Russia’s control. By invading Crimea, the regime of President Vladimir Putin has made it impossible any longer to consider Russia a responsible nation or suitable partner for the United States in solving regional and…
Issue Brief posted March 27, 2014
Obama’s Saudi Summit: Focus on Iran, Syria, Egypt, and Terrorism
President Barack Obama will meet with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah on Friday amid mounting reports of acute Saudi disillusionment with Obama’s foreign policy. The Saudis, like other Middle Eastern allies including Israel, are concerned that Obama cannot be trusted to safeguard their national interests in the face of Iran’s military buildup, the political turbulence of the…
Issue Brief posted March 24, 2014
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 24, 2014
Afghanistan–Pakistan: U.S. Must Ensure that Its Military Gear Does Not Exacerbate Regional Tensions
After 12 years of fighting against the Taliban in Afghanistan and failing to convince Pakistani leaders to crack down decisively on terrorist bases on their side of the border, American military planners are considering providing Pakistan with billions in leftover equipment from the war. A Washington Post story from last weekend indicates that U.S. military planners are…
Issue Brief posted March 21, 2014
Ukraine, NATO, Trade, and Afghanistan Should Dominate Obama’s Visit to Europe
On March 24–27, President Barack Obama will make his first trip to Europe in 2014. He will visit Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, and Vatican City. He will also attend the U.S.–European Union Summit in Brussels.
This trip will provide an opportunity for the President to demonstrate America’s commitment to transatlantic relations. The President needs to get the…
Issue Brief posted March 12, 2014
Obama’s Meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk
On March 12, the new interim Prime Minister of Ukraine, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, will meet with President Barack Obama at the White House. This will be the first such visit since the removal of Viktor Yanukovych’s government.
In what is best described as a blatant disregard of Ukraine’s national sovereignty, Russian troops continue to occupy key sites across the Crimean…
Issue Brief posted March 11, 2014
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 March 7, 2014
Aid to Ukraine Should Not Be Held Hostage by IMF Politics
The Obama Administration is insisting that before Congress can support courageous, Westward-looking Ukrainians, it must first reduce the power of the United States at the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The White House wants Congress to attach its approval of an IMF governance “reform package” that has been pending for three years to any legislation providing…
Issue Brief posted March 6, 2014
Lift Restrictions on Natural Gas Exports to NATO Allies in the Baltics
The United States has been experiencing a boom in energy production in recent years, most notably natural gas production. This energy boom should allow for a strong export market for American liquefied natural gas (LNG) to hungry markets abroad. However, legal and regulatory hurdles make it unnecessarily difficult for American companies to export LNG to many countries…
Issue Brief posted March 4, 2014
Venezuela: U.S. Leadership Needed
For the past few weeks, Venezuela has been rocked by anti-government protests. What started as small-scale demonstrations in the capital city of Caracas has escalated to mobilizations throughout the country.
In response, the Venezuelan government has ordered security forces from the national guard to armed motorcycle gangs to brutally crack down on the democratic…