Avoiding Creeping Defeat in Afghanistan: The Need for Realistic Assumptions, Strategy, and Plans

Avoiding Creeping Defeat in Afghanistan: The Need for Realistic Assumptions, Strategy, and Plans. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Anthony H. Cordesman. August 28, 2012.

The U.S. is not losing the war in Afghanistan in the classic military sense. The U.S., its allies, and Afghan forces still win virtually every direct military encounter. The problem is that this is a political war where the political impact of combat, politics, governance, and economics are far more important than tactical success in directly defeating the enemy. At this level, the insurgents still seem to have significant momentum and are certainly not being decisively defeated. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 17 pages, 542.49 KB].

More Interest in GOP Platform than Romney’s Speech

More Interest in GOP Platform than Romney’s Speech. Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. August 27, 2012.

As the Republican convention gets underway, more Americans express interest in learning about what’s in the GOP platform than in the speeches by either Mitt Romney or his running mate. About half of the public (52%) is interested in learning about the Republican Party’s platform, while 44% are interested in Romney’s acceptance speech and about the same percentage (46%) in Ryan’s convention speech. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 17 pages, 224.75 KB].

Why Some Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Are Not Sold Domestically

Why Some Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Are Not Sold Domestically. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Bill Canis. August 17, 2012.

There is nothing in U.S. emissions or fuel economy regulations that prevents automakers from marketing high-efficiency diesel cars in the United States. Volkswagen and others already offer a few models domestically. To meet U.S. emissions standards, however, automakers have to modify their EU-certified diesel engines. Where a manufacturer sees large demand for diesel vehicles in the United States, it is free to do so. However, the U.S. market for diesels is very small. Most Americans have shunned this technology because of some adverse experiences with diesel engines more than 30 years ago, as the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association noted. Current diesel engine technology has changed markedly since then, but there appears to be a lingering bias against such vehicles by U.S. consumers, reinforced by the fact that, unlike in Europe, in the United States, diesel fuel is more expensive than gasoline.

[PDF format, 7 pages, 263.15 KB].

What Is Global Health Security and Why Does It Matter?

What Is Global Health Security and Why Does It Matter? Center for Strategic & International Studies. Rebecca Miller and Scott F. Dowell. August 21, 2012.

Leaders in the U.S. government and others around the world increasingly recognize the importance of investing in global health security. Quality public health systems, including effective and adequate laboratories, information systems, and human resources to conduct disease surveillance and epidemiological analyses, and effective response strategies can protect Americans and persons around the world from both predictable and unforeseen emerging health threats that can quickly cross populations and borders. Work by the U.S. and its partners in global health security often draws minimal attention from the general public, especially during lulls in the perceived threat of emerging infectious diseases and man-made pathogens. This can and will change suddenly, when a serious outbreak occurs that triggers intense media attention and an international scramble to mobilize. This cycle makes it difficult to sustain adequate support to accomplish global health security mandates. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 16 pages, 48 KB].

US Economy – Muscular or Obese?

US Economy – Muscular or Obese? YaleGlobal. David Dapice. August 16, 2012.

The U.S., with great potential for economic growth, still could rescue the dragging global economy, the country’s energy development, agricultural output, steady labor force, and education programs all offer promise. But the U.S. has immediate challenges, argues Dapice, including rising inequality and high youth unemployment rates. Young workers often bring innovations to workplaces, and without them, quality and skills of the labor force could suffer. Inequality, lopsided government spending and heavy borrowing, and delayed infrastructure maintenance pit rich against poor and young against old. Politicians fail to enact regulations or reforms, spurred by a few wealthy industries and political donors willing to invest millions to pursue their narrow interests, says the author. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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How the Presidential Candidates Use the Web and Social Media: Obama Leads but Neither Candidate Engages in Much Dialogue with Voters

How the Presidential Candidates Use the Web and Social Media: Obama Leads but Neither Candidate Engages in Much Dialogue with Voters. Pew Project for Excellence in Jouralism. August 15, 2012.

On the eve of the conventions, Barack Obama holds a distinct advantage over Mitt Romney in the way his campaign is using digital technology to communicate directly with voters. The Obama campaign is posting almost four times as much content and is active on nearly twice as many platforms, according to the study. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 33 pages, 1.55 MB].

How Raising the Federal Minimum Wage Would Help Working Families and Give the Economy a Boost

How Raising the Federal Minimum Wage Would Help Working Families and Give the Economy a Boost. Economic Policy Institute. Doug Hall and David Cooper. August 14, 2012.

Over the past year, increasing attention has focused on the prevalence and growth of income inequality in the United States. While soaring incomes at the top of the income distribution have played a large role in these trends, so too has the failure to ensure that lower-income workers earn a fair wage. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 19 pages, 852.22 KB].

Cereal Secrets: The World’s Largest Grain Traders and Global Agriculture

Cereal Secrets: The World’s Largest Grain Traders and Global Agriculture. Oxfam International. Sophia Murphy et al. August 3, 2012.

The world’s largest commodity traders have a significant impact on the modern agri-food system. Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus, are dominant traders of grain globally and central to the food system, but their role is poorly understood. The report considers the traders – collectively known as the ABCDs – in relation to several global issues pressing on agriculture: [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 80 pages, 904.34 KB].

Arms Control and European Security

Arms Control and European Security. Strategic Studies Institute. Stephen J. Blank and Louis H. Jordan, Jr. August 10, 2012.

Is the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty dead, or waiting to be reborn? These three papers from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Russia illuminate the complexities and dilemmas facing any attempt to raise the vexed issue of conventional arms control in Europe. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[HTML format with a link to PDF].

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Background and Current Developments

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Background and Current Developments. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Jonathan Medalia. August 3, 2012.

A ban on all nuclear tests is the oldest item on the nuclear arms control agenda. Three treaties that entered into force between 1963 and 1990 limit but do not ban such tests. In 1996, the U.N. General Assembly adopted the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which would ban all nuclear explosions. In 1997, President Clinton sent the CTBT to the Senate, which rejected it in October 1999. In a speech in Prague in April 2009, President Obama said, “My administration will immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.” However, the Administration focused its efforts in 2010 on securing Senate advice and consent to ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). The Administration has indicated it wants to begin a CTBT “education” campaign with a goal of securing Senate advice and consent to ratification, but there have been no hearings on the treaty in the 111th or 112th Congresses. As of July 2012, 183 states had signed the CTBT and 157, including Russia, had ratified it. However, entry into force requires ratification by 44 states specified in the treaty, of which 41 had signed the treaty and 36 had ratified. Seven conferences have been held to facilitate entry into force, most recently on September 23, 2011.

[PDF format, 61 pages, 583.90 KB].